Sept. 25, 2013
Auburn's Jaylon Denson after one of his three catches this season (Anthony Hall photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. – Gus Malzahn said Auburn's open week couldn't have come at a better time, considering the Tigers can spend a little quality time trying to get well while trying to overcome yet more injuries.
"I don't think I've been around a team that has that many this early to impact players," he said during Wednesday's SEC teleconference.
At least six starters, or potential starters, have missed games, and two more players were limited in games because of injuries. Still, Auburn has a 3-1 record as it spends this week focusing on itself before turning its attention to the Oct. 5 home game against Ole Miss.
Malzahn confirmed Wednesday receiver Jaylon Denson is lost for the season following the knee injury he suffered in last Saturday's loss at LSU. He's already had surgery.
"That's a big blow for our offense. He was our most consistent guy," Malzahn said. "It's going to have to be by-committee from here on out. It's good we have an off week so we can start working some guys. Right now, we're rotating a whole bunch of guys. After this week, we'll try to settle on a plan moving forward."
Denson had a modest four catches, but he was considered one of Auburn's most physical receivers. His willingness to block, a must in Malzahn's offense, scored points with the coaching staff.
"Losing a guy like Jaylon Denson is a huge blow," Malzahn said. "But it's opportunities for other people. The thing is, for the future, we're playing a whole bunch of young guys, and that will do nothing but help us for the future."
Denson didn’t last long against LSU. Running back Corey Grant was limited because of a sore ankle.
"He was banged up. He wasn't close to 100 percent," Malzahn said.
Players who have missed games entirely are defensive backs Chris Davis, Justin Garrett and Jonathan Jones; defensive linemen Dee Ford, Jeff Whitaker and Craig Sanders; and linebacker Keymiya Harrell.
"We've been playing without a lot of our impact players, and even when we get them back they're not quite 100 percent yet," Malzahn said.
Malzahn said the Tigers are pressing on.
"We have four games under our belt for our coaches to evaluate our personnel and see where we're at as a team and get a plan moving forward for the rest of the year," he said.
"We're really focused on ourselves and evaluating where we are as a team, personnel-wise, scheme-wise, and everything that fits."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine