Auburn 62, Western Carolina 3: Postgame quotes

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Players and coaches discuss the Tigers' Homecoming victory.

AUBURN

Head coach Gus Malzahn

Opening statement...

"The big thing that stood out to me was I really feel like our team got better today. Our coaches really challenged the guys, saying `Hey we need to get better each week.' Other teams in our situation wouldn't have. I'm proud of our team, and the fact that they went out there and took care of business today."

On Jeremy Johnson...

"I thought Jeremy did a solid job. I think he made some good decisions early. The line protected him extremely well. He's been playing very well in practice and that carried over today."

On the decision to not redshirt Jeremy Johnson...

"He's been in the mix for a couple of weeks now and our starter was not 100 percent healthy. We felt like it was a great time to get him in there. We feel like he'll help us the rest of the season, and I want to make this clear, Nick Marshall is our starting quarterback. When Nick is 100 percent, he will be back. We feel very good about Jeremy and it was great to get him some in-game experience."

On Nick Marshall...

"Well, Nick is our starting quarterback and that's the bottom line. At the same time, Jeremy will help this team win the rest of the season."

On taking off Jeremy Johnson's redshirt...

"We've been thinking about playing him for a couple of weeks. So, I just thought the timing was perfect. Of course, Nick needs to be 100 percent, so we will see where that is at."

On Nick Marshall returning for Texas A&M...

"We wanted to rest him and make sure he is 100 percent. We're hoping so. We'll see where he's at tomorrow and Tuesday in practice."

On Nick Marshall's injury...

"I'm not going to get into the personal things. We just want him 100 percent when he comes back."

On school record for total offense...

"I'm proud of our team. Our line did a good job up front. Our backs broke some tackles. We had some explosive plays in the passing game and we've talked about that for the past two weeks. We talked about being more balanced, so I'm proud of our offense."

On the differences between Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson...

"Well I think they are both very talented players. Jeremy has a very strong arm with a quick release and he's a good runner within his own rank. "

On Jeremy Johnson's passing...

"I thought his numbers were very good. I believe he was fairly accurate, but he's been that way for a while. He's an accurate thrower and he's very good in that aspect."

On a quarterback controversy...

"No, not at all. I think we proved today that we have two very capable quarterbacks and I think that will do nothing but help us moving forward."

On getting both of them in the game...

"We'll see where that goes. I'll get with Coach (Rhett) Lashlee. We're always going to try to do what we feel like gives us the best chance schematically and personnel on the field."

On Jonathan Wallace...

"I think that's how it was during the first part of the season, but as the season progressed Jeremy has gotten more reps in practice and the majority of the number two reps."

On Patrick Miller and Brandon Fulse...

"Neither one of those guys played. They had some off the field things that they need to take care of."

On the run game...

"It was a really good thing. We are a run play-action team and any time we run the football effectively, it opens everything else up. I thought our line did an outstanding job and I thought our running backs broke some tackles."

On Jeremy Johnson's accuracy...

"He's been very accurate throwing the football and I think any time it's your first time you're going to be a little jacked-up on your first deep ball. Of course, he over threw it. He's been extremely accurate during the passing game."

On Texas A&M...

"All I can say is we have gotten better each week and that's been the name of the game throughout the season. I like where our team's at now and I like the fact of us getting better."

On playing so many different guys...

"Well I think it's really good. It gives you more depth and we've played a lot of guys any way this year. Any time they get more experience, it does nothing but help you."

On Jonathan Ford...

"We moved him to corner this year and we'll see after the year what happens. I think you can see he's a phenomenal player. The fact that we have three experienced backs obviously has something to do with that. He's a threat, there's no doubt."

On what Malzahn said to Jeremy Johnson when he took him out...

"Really not much. I just shook his hand. We will evaluate him and grade him, but overall I thought he had a solid day."

On playing Nick Marshall if it was a tight game...

"I don't know. We would have had to make that decision as we went."

On player injuries...

"We just wanted to make sure we were healthy moving forward. We want to make sure guys are healthy as we are about to hit our stretch. We will have our hands full the last six games and we need everybody as healthy as we can."

On how Nick Marshall is dealing with the injury...

"Nick has been great. Nick is just a team player and he was helping in the meetings and on the sideline. We got three guys that are just class guys. They help each other, they support each other and that's rare, but we have three of them."

On Fulse and Miller being suspended...

"The only thing I'm going to say about that is that they didn't play today and they had some things to take care of off the field."

On the season overall...

"I'm proud of our team through the halfway point of the season. I felt like we have done some good things. We've not arrived. We're not there yet, and our guys understand that. We're getting better and that's what excites me. We'll see where this thing goes."

QB Jeremy Johnson

On his first start...

"It was great and enjoyed every bit of it. You never know when the opportunity comes and I just prayed overnight and stayed focused. I want to give all the praise to my teammates and God."

On when he knew he was starting...

"Actually on the bus on the way to the hotel. Coach Lashlee called me up to the front and asked me if I was ready and I told him yes. He told me we were going to start me and from that point I stayed focused and prayed."

On an increased role the rest of the season...

"I take all the reps at No. 2 and I just practice hard. Actually, I've improved over the year and I'm looking to do whatever I have to do to help the team."

On thinking he was redshirting this year...

"I just stayed ready. If I was redshirted or not, I was still going to be happy and still improve at practice and be a player for the team."

FB Jay Prosch

On younger players getting playing time...

"It was really good to actually see some of those guys get on the field and get some action. You never know when someone is going to get hurt, so you need to prepare for something like that."

On Jeremy Johnson...

"I thought he did great. Sometimes it is hard to hear out there, and he was really loud. He was really prepared. He did a very accomplished and awesome job."

On touchdown catch...

"I wasn't really expecting to receive the ball on that play. It kind of caught me off guard. It was really surprising and awesome. It was my first receiving touchdown."

WR Ricardo Louis

On his performance...

"I thought my performance was good. I lived up to the standards that Coach Malzahn wanted me to. I glad we made history today with 712 total offensive yards. It's a big deal."

On first collegiate touchdown...

"It was a great feeling to finally score a touchdown. I work really hard on running routes. Hopefully I can do it again next week and the rest of the season."

On Jeremy Johnson...

"He did really well. He is living up to the standards. We talked about making plays since Nick Marshall was out today, and he did."

WR Tony Stevens

On Jeremy Johnson...

"He was taking control like it wasn't his first time out there. He was still motivated to go out there and keep scoring."

On his touchdown reception...

"Jeremy threw a perfect pass, and I just did the rest. We just ran the route just like we do at practice"

On Texas A&M...

"It's going to be a good game, but I think we can handle it."

RB Chandler Shakespeare

On his play...

"It was a pretty good day. I need to keep working on my moves, my cuts, ball security, and keep working with my teammates as a whole and keep improving every week."

RB/DB Jonathan Ford

On spending time on offense this week...

"I spent a little time on offense."

On the second-team offensive line...

"They opened up big holes for me and I want to thank all those guys for that."

On getting his first touchdown...

"I felt awesome. It was a feeling like no other, I was so happy, excited and overwhelmed. I'm just blessed to have the opportunity."

On an increased role at running back...

"It could, but I'm looking forward on the defensive side and help out wherever coach tells me to go."

RB Cameron Artis-Payne

On the team's performance...

"I feel like we are getting better every week. We can do some things better and I think we are learning our assignments better. We are running in form right now and I think we can beat anybody."

On what he can do better...

"Execution and just little things of that nature, but all-in-all we're playing pretty good. I think we are getting better every week."

On the offensive line and the run game...

"We definitely are improving on that. Our offensive line is great. They open up holes in the second level, helping us running backs out."

Western Carolina

Head coach Mark Speir

Opening statement...

"First of all, congratulations to the Auburn Tigers. They've got a heck of a football team. You know, Coach Malzahn is a class act. That game could have been a lot uglier than it was. I didn't know Coach Malzahn, but I've got a lot of respect for that man. I wish Auburn nothing but the best from here on out and good luck against the Aggies next week. You know, they just out-manned us, out-powered us. You know, they've got a good football team. Their running backs are probably the best trio of running backs that run hard. Their offensive line is excellent and their quarterback today managed the game well for it being his first start. Auburn has a heck of a ball team. There is a reason they are 5-1."

On the experience...

"I thought it was a good experience for our players to come and see what it takes. The kind of size and speed that Auburn played with is what we are trying to play with here at Western."

On the health of his team...

"I thought we came out relatively healthy."

On the response of his team...

"I think our guys will respond and they will be excited to get back out to practice and get excited to make a run at the Southern Conference. I think experiences like this do nothing but help you as long as you can come out of them healthy."

Transcript via Auburn Athletics

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