Auburn 31, Washington State 24: Postgame quotes

Michael Chang

Coaches and players discuss Auburn's season-opening win.

Auburn defeated Washington State, 31-24, Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Here are your quotes from the postgame press conferences.

Auburn

Head Coach Gus Malzahn

Opening Statement

"First of all I'm very proud of our team, they found a way to win. I've been preaching really since we've been here how we're going to handle adversity and we're going to stick together. I really feel like there was a lot of adversity out there, we made a lot of mistakes, some of them critical, but our guys found a way to overcome them. I'm very proud of our defense. They got us three turnovers and had two fourth down stops late especially after the offense turned the ball over you know late in the game. Special teams I thought played well. We had the big kick return to give us back momentum, but overall I'm very pleased with our team, they found a way to win. We talked about our goals, we're getting better after each practice and getting better each game, we've got a lot of work to do but we're committed to doing that."

On Defense

"They did a very good job adjusting. Our defensive coaches did a great job adjusting. I'm telling you that's a pretty good football team, they had most of their guys back from last year. They got their coaching staff back, one of the better offensive coaches in all of college football, so our defense did very good with adjustments."

On Robenson Therezie

"He played really good. He played a lot of snaps out there and he was tired but he found a way, especially with that one in the endzone late, it was one of the critical plays of the game."

On Justin Garrett

"You know it's kind of been one of those things where it was a game-time decision. We decided to hold him out, but Therezie came through and played well. "

On Montravius Adams

"I'll tell you what, Montravius is a big athlete, but he'll improve each game and you know freshmen, what usually happens is they'll improve each game."

On Nick Marshall

"You know, there were a couple things communication wise we'll get better on but overall I liked the way he handled himself; he protected the football and that's hard to do. They were showing him a lot of different looks and trying to disguise some things but he protected the football."

On Nick Marshall's nerves in the first quarter

"Yeah I would say so, that's expected. I think a lot of our guys had jitters starting out and he calmed down after the first series or two. I think we had some drops early that probably didn't help either, but he settled down and I think the game settled down for him."

On Corey Grant

"Corey can really run and I think everybody saw that today. He's got speed that's comparable to Onterio McCalebb and we just need to find ways to get him the ball."

On possibly challenging Jonathon Mincy's interception

"I thought about that, it was close. You know a challenge -- you usually want to make sure that I'm pretty sure and I wasn't pretty sure, it was a bang bang deal. I know they review everything upstairs, but there was a little bit of talk and I decided not to challenge it."

On overthrown passes

"Sometimes it takes a while when you've got a quarterback for four weeks trying to get timing with everything; they should get better as we come. I thought there was one that was close -- I didn't really get a great look at but the one in the endzone, it was close. We'll just keep working."

On message at halftime

"Well you know in the second quarter I think at one point we ran only about four plays. I think there was about four or five minutes left, but we had ideas and, like I said, we didn't want to put him in a bad situation tonight. We wanted to try and protect him and learn more about him. Just to be completely honest we learned a whole lot about our team. I told our team before `hey we want to know where we're at' and obviously I think you all saw we made some mistakes, but the good thing is most of them are correctable."

On defending Washington State's offense

"I would say average. I think our execution was average at best. You've got to give them credit, they had a good scheme and they've got some good players, but our execution was average at best."

On using the entire playbook

"We had a plan coming in, a specific plan we tried to stick to it."

On Tre Mason at the end of the game

"Yeah, he fumbled the football, but Tre is a veteran guy and I just told him we're going to give you the ball back and get confidence in you and we gave it to him and he finished the game out."

On Montravius Adams

"Yeah, he was in the backfield a lot. He was in the quarterback's face a lot, there wasn't a whole lot of that, but he was definitely one of the guys that was."

On Jeff Whitaker not playing

"Jeff's going to be out for a while. He had a procedure done last week and so he wasn't able to play and we'll see when he gets back."

On winning

"I'm just so proud of our guys. You know they went through a storm last year and they really bought in with what our coaches have asked us to do. This is kind of one of those moments that you're very happy for them. I'm very happy for our coaches and really our Auburn fans. Our fans deserve to win and we have a chance to get better I mean we're not there. I think everybody knows that, but we have a chance to get better and I'm really enjoying coaching these guys."

On the two point conversion

"You have certain plays and you run them or you don't. We just try to put pressure on the defense as much as we can. I thought it was a pretty good momentum builder there, at least early in the game."

On possibly running an onside kick

"You know we thought about all kinds of stuff. We didn't actually call it in the game, but we thought about it and talked about it.

On not going for it on fourth down

"There was a lot of talk and if I knew more about our guys I may have gone for it. I just felt at that time in the game -- you know we're learning. I learn about our guys at practice and every game, but you learn more in games and so in the future if there's a high percentage of us getting it, we'll do it. I wanted to but didn't feel like I could pull the trigger right there at that time in the game. It's very hard but we've got a good punter, a very good punter, one of the very best in the country but the timing wasn't right."

On anything that surprised him

"No not really, my big deal was adversity and my head was on a swivel. I wanted to see how we handled it, that was my big question but I didn't see heads down and all that pouting. I saw some bright eyes, I saw our guys hustling on and off the field no matter what the score was and I'm proud of our guys for that."

On freshman defensive linemen

"I think they gave us some energy, I think you saw we were rotating a lot of defensive linemen in, and all of them played and all of them played significantly. I mean they are good protecting and that quarterback is a very solid guy."

On defensive interceptions

"Well they found a way to win. You know I felt like our defensive players, secondary made some really good plays at critical times and I think offense was a little bit hit and miss, but we made some plays when we had to and there's a couple we'd like to have back. I mean the reverse pass and some thinks like that, pass protection broke down, but you know I think we'll have a chance to be solid in both areas if we keep improving."

On Marshall at halftime

"Nick's a calm guy; he didn't say much. He's just real calm and he was wanting to know where the adjustments were and you know he really handled himself well."

On this game benefiting team film

"Oh there's no doubt. You could take the first half and there's all kinds of things we can teach -- the second half too, at the end of the game, and everything that went down to the end."

On celebrating his first win

"I think you can be very proud of our team. I hope our team really is able to enjoy their night, they've earned it, but then we move on to next week. The challenge is getting better and correcting the mistakes, getting better in all phases."

On Arkansas State offense

"You know they're a very good team; we'll have to play better than we did tonight. They're a very good team and I know they will be very well prepared."

Junior DB Jonathon Mincy

About first win...

"It's definitely a great feeling to win that first game. We just found a way to win and that's very big for us."

About the offense scoring...

"Everybody was just doing their job. That's big. Everyone on that side of the ball had some great execution. It made our job easier."

About the tempo...

"We got tired, but you just have to battle through it. We'll get better with the speed every game. We just had fun out there tonight."

Freshman DT Montravius Adams

About atmosphere after the win...

"We sang the fight song when we all got to the locker room. Everybody was just happy. It was a great way to kick off the season and set the tone for next week."

About playing time...

"I wasn't expecting to get so much playing time going into the game. I'm just thankful for the opportunity to make an impact this first game."

About first sack...

"It felt great. It was my first play of the game, and I didn't want to let the team down. At the snap of the ball, my only focus was to push down the quarterback, and I did."

Junior RB Corey Grant

About playing at home...

"It's a big advantage growing up so close to Auburn. I get to play in front of my family and friends. I get to see old coaches and talk about football. When I play at home, I feel like I have to produce."

About defensive interceptions...

"Robenson Therezie's interception was huge. It was a big motivation for us early on. We needed that. It really sparked the offense early."

QB Nick Marshall

On first quarter jitters...

"I was kind of nervous on the first drive, but then I started getting more comfortable."

On halftime adjustments...

"We just had a game plan coming into the game so at halftime we didn't adjust anything, we just stuck to our game plan."

On second-half play...

"I think I did well. I protected the ball and that's what it's all about, so I think I did good."

WR Sammie Coates

On the team slogan "It's a New Day"...

"That saying is really important because it is a new day, we're working hard and we'll get better as the season goes on."

On getting the first win for Coach Malzahn...

"It was amazing to get this first win. It was big for us, getting the chip off our shoulder. I think it's a big step forward."

Senior K Cody Parkey

On his performance...

"I missed a 50-yarder wide left, and that was unfortunate. I want to hit those big kicks. But I came back and hit a 48-yarder, so I was able to fix my mistakes from the first one."

Junior DB Robenson Therezie

On his second interception...

"I had to make a big play there. We knew as a defense they were going for the endzone right there and we communicated the right read and I made the play."

On his first interception...

"I was trying to get to the flats, but No. 2 didn't spot and it was fast and I ended up right by him and there was a tip ball and I got to it."

Junior RB Tre Mason

About the energy of the team...

"(There was) lots of energy. It's a new day."

On his kick return...

"That's my thing. I kind of have a knack for returning kicks and I told Coach I'd give him one. The guys up front did their job and I followed Quan Bray to the endzone. I told Coach Fountain (I was going to return a kick). I always try to take one back every game."

On leaving points on the field...

"I think we could have scored more, and we strive to be the best offense in the college football. I think we will be."

On the offensive balance...

"I trust Coach Malzahn and Lashlee. They are offensive gurus and I trust everything they tell us to do. I believed we are balanced."

Junior C Reese Dismukes

On the running game...

"I think we did great. There's obviously a lot we need to work on, but it felt good. We were gashing them."

On Corey Grant...

"He was awesome. I'm proud of him. He's a guy that works hard, and really came out tonight and busted it. We need a guy that can do that every week."

Washington State

Head Coach Mike Leach

On offensive improvement...

"I think we improved. I thought we played really hard the whole game. The biggest thing that plagued us was turnovers. I am really proud of our effort, I thought we had great effort. We just need to polish up and be sharper."

On Auburn...

"They are way better than last year. I mean they have had one top recruiting class after another so they are bound to have a great team. They always have a pretty good recruiting class and this one was no exception. I think Gus is doing a really great job of getting them circled up and playing well together."

On turnovers...

"We were just trying to make too much happen."

On running the ball...

"We have improved as a by-product of that. I think (Halliday) did a really good job of checking the line of scrimmage."

On Nick Marshall...

"I am just kind of curious about him after he gets more games under his belt. I thought our defense played well and our defensive scheme was good. There were some missed tackles we would like to have back. We just did not finish the play like we would have wanted to on a couple of them."

On distractions...

"I think we handled that pretty well. I think we handled all of our distractions pretty well. Pretty admirable for a first game when you consider our opponent."

On facing adversity...

"I thought we handled it well. We played extremely hard we just sometimes got reckless, but I feel like we handled it extremely well."

On the kickoff return...

"We just got out of position and lost contain."

On Buchanan's unsportsmanlike conduct call...

"You saw the game. You will have to evaluate that. There are other instances that you can check out and make your own opinion. It was not a head shot."

On Gus Malzahn's hurry-up offense...

"I have liked it over the years. I do not know him very well. I am not sure that today is not the first time I have met him. I might have shaken his hand I do not remember for sure. I became most of aware of him when he was at Tulsa. I used to see his games when I was at Tulsa."

Junior QB Conner Halliday

On the interception in the red zone...

"I just underthrew it. I mean they were in cover 2, so there was a little hole right there."

Thoughts on Auburn's defense...

"We moved the ball on the on them all night. The only times we got stopped was when we stopped ourselves with mental mistakes."

On the loss...

"It's frustrating because it's on my shoulders turning the ball over."

Sophomore RB Jeremiah Laufasa

On his two-touchdown debut...

"I was really excited about it, really pumped. Obviously, I would have been more excited with the win and there is other stuff I need to work on."

On offensive line...

All the running backs were just talking about how we felt the offensive line was much improved and opened up huge holes for us, and we were able to take advantage of it a little bit and gash the defense."

What to take away...

"We are definitely a better team than last year. We played a good team that was improved from last year but with any team you take away, the turnovers, the mental mistakes, and we could have easily win this game."

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