Auburn's Gus Malzahn had reason to cheer at Kentucky last week
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Gus Malzahn flipped the calendar on Auburn's season a few weeks back, and now he hopes the Tigers will continue their success in October with a win at Arkansas on Saturday.
"We are improving ― you can see it in practice, you can see it in our guys' demeanor," Malzahn said on the university's Tiger Talk radio show on Monday night. "We're 2-0 in October, and that's kind of what we did. 'Hey, let's put that first month behind us. It's a new season.' We're 2-0. We talked about having a great opportunity, to improve each game. Very few teams around the country will improve this time of year."
Auburn has won two straight and will take a 4-2 record to Saturday's 11 a.m. game at Razorback Stadium, most likely with Sean White making his fourth straight start at quarterback after throwing for a career-best 255 yards in last Thursday's 30-27 win at Kentucky.
"When things broke down, he made good decisions," Malzahn said. "We had some explosive plays down the field in the passing game."
Malzahn also praised kicker Daniel Carlson, who was honored by the Lou Groza Award on Monday for kicking three field goals at Kentucky. Read that story here. Malzahn said Carlson, who also handles kickoff duties, has been better this year now that Kevin Phillips has stepped in as the punter.
"It's helped him with kickoffs, he's one of the best in the country," Malzahn said. "We've had very few balls returned."
Carlson has three field goals of more than 50 yards this season, including a 52-yarder at Kentucky that "would been good from 62. Right now, he's one of the best kickers in the country."
Opponents have returned only four kickoffs in the first six games.
"We feel very good about our kickoff team, and it's primarily because of Daniel," Malzahn said.
On the flip side, Auburn is fourth in the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 29.42 yards per return.
"That's a definite strong suit for us. We feel like there's some room to even improve. We need to take one back the distance. But our guys are doing a very good job with the returns. We have two or three guys we feel good that could take it to the house."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine