Nov. 13, 2013
Nick Marshall has grown into his role as Auburn's quarterback (Anthony Hall photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Big game. Rivalry. Doesn't matter. Gus Malzahn says quarterback Nick Marshall remains on a steady course heading to Saturday's game against his former team.
The Auburn coach says Marshall seems fine heading to Saturday's game against Georgia, now far removed from his opening-night nerves as Auburn's quarterback.
"He's a real honest, upfront young man," Malzahn said. "I think a lot of his nerves was just the first (game) and not knowing what to expect, didn't know his teammates very well, didn't know his coaches and how we were going to react and all that. I think he's in a comfort zone.
"He doesn't get too high or too low. He's very even keel and once the game gets going there's no doubt in my mind he'll be ready."
Marshall has thrown only 15 passes the last two games, but rushed for 214 yards against Tennessee last week and was named the SEC's offensive player of the week. He's also played a big role in Auburn's 9-1 start to the season.
Georgia will try to pressure Marshall when he does throw. The Bulldogs are second in the league in sacks. But Auburn has thrown the fewest passes in the SEC and has allowed the third fewest sacks in the league. Still, Malzahn says Georgia will present problems.
"They've got a lot of long, fast, aggressive guys," Malzahn said. "They're one of the best teams in the league getting after quarterbacks. We're going to have to do a better job than we've done. You think of our protection, you think about the offensive line, but really it's offensive line and running backs and fullbacks and quarterbacks. It's all of the above. We've got to do a better job when we do throw the football this week."
Malzahn said Georgia's front seven is "probably as good as we’ve seen."
"You don’t see a whole lot of quarterbacks dropping back to pass, squirting out of there and finding positive things to happen. They’re tough against the run, too."
Malzahn said practice went well Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I thought they had very good energy both days," he said.
Malzahn said players' attitude has "really been consistent, that's the thing that stands out to me. It's the same way it was three or four weeks ago. They're locked in. When another guy is in front of them and they're watching from the side, they're locked in and they're asking questions and that's always a positive sign."
Malzahn said "recruiting is going great. It was going good even early in the season. I think a lot of people see there are a lot of good things in the future and it's going very well."
Malzahn also likes the play of rookie defensive lineman Elijah Daniel.
"He’s done a very good job. He’s starting to play a little more inside, which is tough to do for young guys, but he’s got a lot of toughness, a lot of quickness. He creates a lot of things positive in there for us when he’s inside."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine