Auburn looks for positives for Nick Marshall's return

Oct. 29, 2013

GusMalzahn
Gus Malzahn says Auburn's confidence growing, but challenges await, starting with Arkansas (Todd Van Emst photo)

Feature Coach Malzahn Press Conference Transcript (PDF)

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala.  No video is needed. Gus Malzahn will watch quarterback Nick Marshall at practice today and the rest of the week  to determine how his quarterback's sore shoulder looks heading into Saturday's game at Arkansas. 

Marshall made an early exit in last week's win over Florida Atlantic after he drove a defender out of bounds. Still, Malzahn struck a optimistic tone in his weekly Tuesday press conference, saying hoping Marshall would be full speed at practice and be ready for Saturday's game at Arkansas. 

"It's day to day right now. The fact that he was out there practicing Sunday I thought was a positive. We'll know more each day," Malzahn said. 

Marshall and a lot of other players seemed to be in fine shape as they took in an Auburn exhibition game Monday night. 

Jeremy Johnson filled in for Marshall last week, as he did in a win over Western Carolina. 

"He's got a lot of reps… I got to believe that will help. He’s a pretty calm guy, too. I know our offensive players have a lot of confidence in him, and that’s very important," Malzahn said. 

Marshall and a lot of other players seemed to be in fine shape as they took in an Auburn exhibition game Monday night. 

Injuries or not, Auburn is one of the hottest teams around at a surprising 7-1. Malzahn said his players are "getting more confident each week, but each week presents its own challenges and especially in this league. You got to improve. That’s been our message. I know I sound like a broken record, but our only focus is Arkansas and we know we got our hands full with them." 

Malzahn took the high road in discussing Arkansas, complimenting Razorback coach Bret Bielema, and saying any issues Bielema had with Auburn video would be dealt with. 

"The film exchange issue was brought to my attention yesterday. We'll always operate with the utmost integrity in everything we do and if there's ever anything I don't know about that's brought to my attention, we'll deal with it in a prompt matter," Malzahn said. "The SEC office is aware of all the details on both sides." 

Bielema said in the spring that fast-paced offenses could lead to injuries. Malzahn said he doesn't see it that way. 

"When I was standing up for our no-huddle, it wasn't directed at any one person. As a matter of fact, there were a lot of people that were coming out and saying stuff regarding that," Malzahn said. "I was just standing up for our philosophy and what we believe in on that." 

Malzahn called Bielema "an excellent coach. I mean, look at his track record."

It'll be a homecoming for Malzahn, who was a high school legend in Arkansas;  for offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, a record-setting high school quarterback in that state; and for others with Arkansas ties. 

But, Malzahn said, that doesn't matter. 

"If you ask our players and coaches, I get excited no matter who we're playing," Malzahn said. "I try to be very consistent. This is a big game. They’ve had a week to prepare  another week to prepare  and that definitely concerns me. So we expect it to be a tough one."

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