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Auburn's Gus Malzahn encouraged, says offense will grow
Auburn's John Franklin III has a light moment Thursday with fellow quarterback Sean White
Sept. 8, 2016

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. Now here's something you don't see every day….

Dalton asked Jenny to marry him. During Auburn's Tiger Talk radio show. On Thursday night.

She said yes in front of the very-pro Auburn crowd at Victory Grill, got all kinds of cheers for good measure and football coach Gus Malzahn saluted the family.

"I'm impressed the table asked a question before that… a football question."

Auburn's football coach had the answers and positive observations during the show, saying the Tigers gained momentum by playing better in the second half than the first half of the opener, that quarterbacks Sean White and John Franklin III have a good week of practice, that more freshmen will play in Saturday's game against Arkansas State.

Malzahn said Auburn can build on the comeback-that-came-up-short against Clemson.

"The second half we played solid football. The players definitely see that," he said. "They saw we really improved in the second half and really out-played them in the second half. We have to carry that over.

"Our offense is sort of a young work in progress. You'll see this group grow and grow.
We had a chance to win it. We're disappointed we didn't win, but I'm encouraged moving forward."

He said the attitude of the team was good, and that "the one thing they learned they can play with anybody and beat anybody."

Malzahn also said he learned from the first game, one that saw 17 players play for Auburn for the first time. Eleven of those were either true or redshirt freshmen.

"You learn a lot in practice, there's no doubt, but there's nothing like a game," he said. "That's when you really figure them out, and figure how they're going to react and how they're going to respond. It was good for us to see those guys in action."

Malzahn announced Tuesday he had streamlined the quarterback rotation to starter Sean White and backup John Franklin III. He said Thursday he was encouraged by their work and the offense would find its identity. And he said, yes, Franklin may run Saturday.

"We'll see how the game unfolds. He did some good things when he was in there."

Malzahn opened Tiger Talk bragging on his defense. He also said…

*He hasn't "completely decided" that he'll redshirt freshman quarterback Woody Barrett.

Barrett was slowed a few weeks in August by a hurt ankle. Malzahn said he's playing catch up.

"He'll have a chance he'll be a very good quarterback."

*His freshman receivers will play more and all have had a good week of practice. "They have a chance to be a very good group. I feel like this will be a position of strength in the future."

*Running back Kamryn Pettway will be on the field more than he was last week. He played four offensive snaps, but didn't get a carry in the opener.

*Daniel Carlson kicked two field goals in the opener, including a school-record sixth of more than 50 yards.

"We have a lot of confidence in him. You could see us attempt quite a few of those long field goals."

*The linebackers were sound in the opener.

"They played very physical at the point of attack."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:
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