Oct. 3, 2013
Auburn's Gus Malzahn has some advice for quarterback Nick Marshall (Lauren Barnard photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. - Gus Malzahn didn't get a win at LSU in his last game, but the Auburn football coach says he's still encouraged by the fight his Tigers showed, now almost two weeks later.
Malzahn is hoping that kind of effort will carry over to Saturday's 6 p.m. game against Ole Miss in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"I was really curious to see how our guys responded, and I really think a lot of our players were curious to see how each other would respond," he said during Thursday's Tiger Talk radio show. "I think they've got some confidence. I think they see if we correct 'this', correct 'that', we've got a chance to be solid."
Auburn fell behind 21-0 in Baton Rouge before losing 35-21. The Tigers had 333 yards of offense in the second half.
Malzahn said his message to his players was this: "I really liked the way you fought. I liked the way you represented Auburn. We'll build on those things. But we really wanted to win. It was kind of a mixed message."
Since then, Ole Miss has lost to Alabama 25-0, leaving the Rebels and Tigers with identical 3-1 overall records and 1-1 marks in the SEC.
The storyline this week has been that two former high school coaching friends - Malzahn and Hugh Freeze - will be coaching against each other Saturday. Another storyline is Auburn's new depth chart, one featuring the move of Nosa Eguae from defensive end to defensive tackle, and the now-confirmed promotion of three freshmen defensive linemen to second-team status.
"We've played a lot of guys up front," Malzahn said. "We did that strategically early to try to keep people fresh, and at the same time, to give everybody a chance. The young guys are definitely progressing."
That proclamation should give Montravius Adams, Elijah Daniel and Carl Lawson a track to more playing time, maybe against Ole Miss and quarterback Bo Wallace and running back Jeff Scott.
Scott and Auburn's Tre Mason are ninth and 10th, respectively, in the SEC in rushing. Wallace and Auburn's Nick Marshall are seventh and eighth, respectively, in passing.
Malzahn called Scott "electric."
"We'll have to know where he's at," Malzahn said.
Where Scott was last year was in past the line of scrimmage. He gained 137 yards rushing and caught a 55-yard touchdown pass. He has rushed for 349 yards against Auburn the last three years.
"The big key," Malzahn said, "is staying away from the big play."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine