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The SEC West 'is unbelievable,' says Auburn's Gus Malzahn
Oct. 6, 2014

It's a touchdown for Sammie Coates and Auburn against LSU

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala.  Three SEC West teams are ranked in the Top 3 in the AP poll. Four are in the Top 7. Five are in the Top 14.
Two of them will slug it out Saturday in Starkville when No. 2 Auburn meets co-No. 3 Mississippi State at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.
"The Western Division is unbelievable," said Auburn's Gus Malzahn on the school's Tiger Talk radio show Monday night. "Every team in it is a very good team. This year there seems to be even more at the top. They're well deserving. 
"We have a tough one this week."
Auburn leads seven ranked SEC teams. The others are Ole Miss, tied with Mississippi State at No. 3 in the AP poll, with Alabama at No. 7, Georgia at No. 13, Texas A&M at No. 14 and Missouri at No. 23. 
Auburn was voted No. 1 Monday in the Grantland Rice poll conducted by the Football Writers Association of American and the National Football Foundation.
The nation will turn to Starkville when Auburn and Mississippi State, both 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the league, meet in one of the biggest games in Bulldog history.
"They're a very physical team. I'd like to think we're a physical team, too," Malzahn said.
Mississippi State is also cowbell central. Malzahn says Auburn will have to deal with that.
"On the road, in our league, it's going to be loud," he said. "As a coach, you just do the best you can to prepare your guys for crowd noise in practice. It's great we have an indoor (practice facility). We can close the doors and turn the music up. Communication will be a big factor."
Malzahn also had nice things to say about Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, saying he's "like another running back" and "he's throwing the ball so well this year."
Malzahn also said on Tiger Talk...
• He was happy a bunch of his injured players returned for last week's 41-7 win over LSU, and, on injured offensive lineman Patrick Miller, that "hopefully, we'll get him back fairly quick, too."
"He practiced Sunday. He's day-to-day."

• Sammie Coates' two early big-time catches against LSU "really changed the dynamics of the whole game."
• Running back Cameron Artis-Payne "is really settling into our offense."
He's rushed for 594 yards and has 99 receiving yards, too.
Against LSU, "he did a good job catching the ball out of the backfield, did a good job protecting and did a good job running the football and protecting the football."
• On Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson: "He's seen every offense known to man. He can definitely make adjustments."

Auburn's defense is featured here.
• That kicker/punter Daniel Carlson was "well-deserving" as the SEC special teams player of week.
"He's off to an excellent start."

Carlson hit a career-best 46-yard field early against LSU.
"That was big. It gave us momentum. He's gotten better since Game 1."
• Defensive lineman Gimel President "has done a good job for us. He's a tough guy. He does a lot of the dirty work that goes unnoticed."
The defensive line has "really been a factor" in helping the Tigers.
• Defensive back Nick Ruffin will play against Mississippi State after sitting out a half after he was ticketed with a targeting penalty against LSU. 
 "It was a tough hit. A bang, bang deal."
• On defensive back Derrick Moncrief: "He had an excellent game on special teams, too. He's just getting more comfortable with the defense. He's a very good tackler, too."

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



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