Auburn's schedule 'probably toughest in college football'
Sept. 22, 2014
By Charles Goldberg
Auburn's Gus Malzahn cheers on Ricardo Louis on a touchdown play at Kansas State
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — It looks as if Auburn is going to play a lot of the Who's Who of college football this season, considering eight of its opponents are ranked in the Top 25, and nobody plays more.
Live scoring update: Auburn is 1-0 against the Top 25 after beating Kansas State last week.
Many more ranked teams await, but first up for coach Gus Malzahn is Saturday's 3 p.m. homecoming game against unranked Louisiana Tech. Then, yikes, the Tigers play five Top 25 SEC West teams, plus East rivals Georgia and South Carolina, which also boast high rankings.
"We play a very tough schedule, probably the toughest schedule in college football," Malzahn said on his Tiger Talk radio show Monday night.
Those SEC games will be headliners, but Malzahn promises he won't look past Louisiana Tech.
"As far as looking forward, which one do you look forward to? They're all in the Top 20," he said. "Louisiana Tech is on our mind, nobody else. But we understand we have an unbelievable challenging schedule. We've got to deal with it."
Malzahn said Auburn got through its first Top 25 test in the 20-14 win over Kansas State despite not playing particularly well.
"You find out a lot about your team when things aren't going perfect. How are we going to act to adversity? How are we going to react to success? Are we going to make a play to win the game when the game is on the line? Our guys did that," he said. "I believe that will definitely help moving forward.
"We have to figure out how to get better. We didn't play our best, but we won. That's the bottom line. Our guys understand that. Our coaches understand that. But when you don't play your best and win against a Top 20 team, that's a positive thing."
And on Louisiana Tech? "When you turn the film on, they'll get your attention. We're not overlooking them, I promise you that."
Malzahn also said...
• On being ranked No. 5 in the land: "Right now, that doesn't mean anything to us. If you ask me that in November, it would mean a whole lot more. Right now, it's people's opinions. I've tried to figure out how some of these teams are ranked high as a coach. That's just part of it. As the season goes on, you'll figure out who really deserves to be up there."
• Quarterback Nick Marshall made the plays when he had to at Kansas State.
"Once again, Nick found a way to make a play to help us win. He'd done that time and time again."
• On Roc Thomas and other freshmen: "As the year goes on, those guys will get more and more playing time."
• On Duke Williams after an early drop: "I went up to him and said, 'We're going to keep throwing it your way.'" Auburn did. He made a big catch in the final minutes that help seal the victory.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine