Auburn's Montravius Adams applies the pressure in the season opener
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn's defensive front received some praise from coach Gus Malzahn on Monday night. And why not? Auburn recorded nine tackles for a loss, including four sacks, in Saturday's season-opening win over Louisville.
"Especially in the first half, we played in their backfield," Malzahn said on Auburn's Tiger Talk radio show.
Malzahn said defensive end Montravius Adams "probably had his best game as an Auburn Tiger. He was everywhere." Malzahn said lineman Dontavius Russell "really did well."
"And, of course, when Carl was in there, he was a factor."
Carl Lawson was a disruptive force in the first half, when Auburn shut out Louisville, but an injury sidelined him in the second half. Auburn won 31-24 after leading 24-0 in the third quarter.
Still, Malzahn said, "We had some good things up front."
Malzahn said the "versatility and flexibility within our system to move our guys around" is a plus for defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.
"When you can do that... you turn the guys loose. They made some outstanding plays."
Malzahn covered a variety of topics on Tiger Talk, such as...
• Those very orange shoes Auburn wore.
"I'm just going to say this: Our players really like it. OK? We won. So we may wear them again," he said with a chuckle. "It's going to take me a little bit getting use to that deal."
• Malzahn said the freshmen "played hard... there are going to be growing pains." The mistakes, he said, are correctable.
"We have things we can build upon."
Twenty-three players made their Auburn debut Saturday.
• Kicker Daniel Carlson was named the SEC's special teams player of the week after booming a 56-yard field goal.
"I think it would have been good from 10 more yards," Malzahn said.
Malzahn also said Carlson "did a great job on kickoffs. That was their strength on special teams. He kicked it out of the end zone most of the time."
• Malzahn, as he did after the game, and as offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee did Sunday, rallied around quarterback Jeremy Johnson.
"He'll have the right mindset. And have a good week of practice," Malzahn said. "I just want to tell everybody, he's going to be a really, really good quarterback for us.
"He didn't play his best. He knows that. The key will be improving."
• On his Tigers in general:
"They were excited we won. And they should have been excited. Our coaching staff feels good at where we're at.
"They knew we beat a good team. They played extremely hard."
• On running back Peyton Barber, who came off the bench to lead Auburn with 115 yards rushing:
"He got stronger as the game went on."
• Malzahn said it was a physical game, one that knocked out Lawson and running backs Roc Thomas and Jovon Robinson, but said he didn't think injuries would keep anybody out of Saturday's game against Jacksonville State.
• Malzahn said he considered sending somebody deep to perhaps return Louisville's 61-yard field goal try on the last play of the first half. You know, sort of like another game in Auburn's past. He didn't.
"There was talk about that. We almost put Rudy Ford back. Probably should have..." Malzahn said.
It didn't matter as the field goal try came in short under the cross bar.
The orange shoes, via Twitter...
— Auburn Football (@FootballAU) September 5, 2015
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine