Gus Malzahn Previews LSU

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    Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn press conference comments

    Tuesday, October 22, 2019, previewing the LSU game

    Opening remarks…
    “It’s a big road game coming up against a very good team at a tough place to play. You look at LSU offensively and it looks like a video game when you watch it on the film. Their quarterback is outstanding, the way he plays. He’s got some big-time receivers. Quite a few of them who have big play ability. The running game, when they hand the football off, they’ve been very successful. It is the No. 1 offense in our league and No. 2 in the NCAA, against some pretty good opponents. Defensively, they’re a Top 25 defense. I think they’ve got nine guys back from last year. A very impressive unit. And then special teams. They’re at the top in most of the special teams’ categories in our league. A really well-rounded team. I think that their ranking is much deserved, one of the best teams in the country at this point, if not the best, so it’s a big challenge for us. I know our guys are looking forward to going there and playing. Last year we had an extremely tough loss, the way it ended. We are looking forward to going there and playing against a very good team. Also, that’s a loud place to play. We didn’t handle the noise very well at Florida. We’ve been focused on that on the off week and even last week. So we’re really expecting our guys to handle the noise better and communicate better than we did at Florida.”

    What have you done to improve your ability to handle the crowd noise…
    We not just worked on crowd noise, but some little wrinkles that we feel that can help us as far as communication goes and along those lines.”

    Importance of the young guys performing with Whitlow out again…
    “There is no doubt, without having Boobee again obviously is a tough one, but the big thing is that these young guys got some experience last week on the road and we do know it’s going to be louder and everything that goes with it. They got that experience and we got a lot of trust in them. This is why they came to Auburn. They just have to seize the moment.”

    On Whitlow’s progression…
    “So far, so good with his rehab and everything that goes with it.”

    What specific attributes does Auburn have to break the streak in Tiger Stadium…
    “I think every team is different. We have a different team and they have a different team. We have an opportunity and two years ago we let one off the hook and a lot of our guys who experienced that are here. If we get that opportunity, we got to finish it. It’s a great opportunity. Like I said, you’re playing against one of the best teams in all of college football right now on their home field. But this team is different and every year is different.”

    On offensive lulls in the second quarter this season…
    “It’s a little bit of all of the above. Some of it is execution. We have to put our guys into better positions and all that. So we will need to be better in the second quarter this week, I’ll tell you that.”

    Does getting off script in the second quarter attribute to the lull…
    “There could be some of that. Like I said, there are a lot of different things that account for that and we are well aware and doing our best to address those things.”

    How do you overcome a lull like that at LSU…
    “We will have to see how the game goes. Obviously, they are every explosive, but we will have to see how the game goes. Hopefully we will correct it, that’s our plan.”

    Importance of the pass rush this week against LSU…
    “LSU does a good job with getting the ball out quick, they’ve done a good job. He can extend plays. You are talking about a complete guy. He throws the ball vertically down the field. He is very accurate, very accurate with his intermediate and his quick game. He is a complete quarterback.”

    On LSU being a team that throws down the field more than most…
    “They throw it down the field. Matter of fact when they throw it down the field, they are pretty accurate. They aren’t throwing just to take shots. They usually make you pay when they throw it down the field.”

    Do you expect Nick Coe to be available this week…
    “We will see how he does in practice today and how he takes care of his stuff and we will see how it works this week.”

    On Bailey Sharp’s return…
    “Bailey is progressing really well. We are hoping that we get him out there some this week to take some reps. I’ll know more later in the week, but it is good news that he is progressing well, and I say we need to get him back pretty soon to give us some depth.”

    Do you bring up the streak to the team as motivation…
    “I don’t have to bring it up because everyone else brings it up. You know and our guys know. But at the same time, just from a coaches’ standpoint that every year is different, and it doesn’t matter what happened in the past. You’ve got an opportunity and you’ve got to go seize that, seize the opportunity. So that’s really as simple as it gets as far as our approach.”

    Motivation with the national media focusing on Alabama vs. LSU in two weeks…
    “We are just worried about playing LSU. I can’t answer what everyone else is thinking, but we’ve got our hands full with these guys and we respect them. They are a very good team. It’s a big game for us especially with the way it ended last year. It was a really tough pill to swallow and we will see what happens.”

    Is the team overlooked by the national media…
    “I’ve said this before. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks good or bad or in between. We are taking it one game at a time. We are staying focused with our head down. We are not going to get distracted by anyone else’s opinion, good or bad.”

    What does a win at LSU mean for the program…
    “It means that we beat a really good team if we’re able to beat them. That’s really as simple as it gets.”

    How tough is it to beat a Top 10 team on the road…
    “It’s hard to go on the road in our league anyway. When you’re playing a very talented team that’s playing well, it’s even bigger of a challenge. That’s part of it. I’ve said that’s a challenge but that’s a challenge that we need to be ready for.”

    On Davidson and Brown so far this season…
    “We talked before the season about how Nick Fairley had a dominant season, and those two guys right now are in that same category. They’re doing it week in and week out. Both of them are dynamic impact players, and they’re both playing at a very high level right now. They have the ability to change any game. They’re impact players. I think both have done that every game this year.”

    On this being his 100th game as a head coach and how he’s changed…
    “I didn’t realize that, how about that? I think anytime you have experience, you gain wisdom as you go, and everything that goes with it. That’s probably the biggest way.”

    Wet and swampy this weekend, how it affects game decisions…
    “It just depends. If it is a torrential downpour, you got to have a plan, but if it is just raining; you practice in the rain. You keep the footballs dry, and it doesn’t change a lot. Wind, on the other hand, that’s when you really get concerned. Wind is the biggest factor that can change a game in my opinion. You separate the torrential downpour and have a plan for it, and you have a wind plan. If it’s just rain, you keep a dry football in there and do what you do.”

    Can you simulate wind…
    “In practice? Sure, you can as a matter of fact. You practice outside when it is windy, and it’s simulated for you.”

    How has secondary improved…
    “I think they have done a good job. We have had some opportunities, and Jeremiah Dinson almost had another interception the other day. We have been working on seizing the moment, catching extra balls in practice, and everything that goes along with that. As I said last week, that number will grow each week and we need to continue that each week.”

    Secondary approaching LSU offense…
    “The main thing is that you have to play sound coverage. Joe Burrow is very accurate and his timing with his receivers is really impressive to watch. We have to try and keep him off-balanced and try to make him uncomfortable. That’s the big challenge we face; he has been pretty comfortable so far and when he’s comfortable, it is really something to watch. Our defensive backs have got to play sound coverage.”

    On the importance of tackling in the open field against LSU…
    “It is real big. And we’ve done a good job up to this point. We have got to continue that. They have some guys that if you give them a little space, they can make a short one into a long one. They’ve done that just about every game so that’s really a big focus that we’ve talked about.”

    Why has Auburn struggled to win in Baton Rouge…
    “I guess we haven’t found a way to finish. Of course, I get asked that about every time, but we had an opportunity two years ago and we didn’t finish the game. So if we get that opportunity again, we got to do a better job of finishing. So that’s probably the best way to answer that.”

    How much blame do you put on yourself for the 2017 loss…
    “A lot. A whole lot. A matter of fact, all losses you look at yourself first. Like I’ve said, if we get into that situation, I’ve got to do a better job too.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pug1em_Dwws

    @AuburnEinstein

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