Good morning, Auburn folks and weagle weagle. Hope everyone had a solid Labor Day weekend. We'll attack some news and features from the past few days in a segmented approach, which may become the usual Monday approach.
On the offensive side of things, Rhett Lashlee said he was pleased with Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant on Saturday, but that we shouldn't forget about freshman Roc Thomas, who may contribute as early as this weekend against San Jose State. Peyton Barber did get three late snaps. Malzahn said a "handful" of freshmen will play this weekend.
And on defense, Ellis Johnson talked a lot about the second half improvements made to shut Arkansas out in the final two quarters. He said a lot of it simply came down to challenging his players to step up and play up to their ability.
AL.com's beat writers have begun a new series this season focusing on a lot of the formations and personnel of Gus Malzahn's offense, running accompanying pieces on the defense as well, although it's no new information here thanks to WarRoomEagle and Tuco's outstanding work. Here's their offensive and defensive snap count breakdowns, as well as unit grades for the week. Ryan Black also handed out grades for the Tigers at the Columbus L-E. ITAT's Jason Caldwell has a column broken down into nuggets about his thoughts on Saturday's game.
Also on the study hall side of the game, the Auburn Rivals site highlights Auburn's first half struggles with the Razorback's sweep play, primarily due to over-pursuit by the defenders, and then shows a feel good play at the end where Auburn stays home and shuts the cut-back lanes down.
Deserving of a place in the spotlight for his performance Saturday is SEC Freshman of the Week Daniel Carlson who hit his first career punt 62 yards, made all six extra points, kicked seven touchbacks and made a 45-yard field goal.
Several other players stood out Saturday and won some attention for themselves from the beat guys.
CAP's dominant display saw him set a career-high in yards (177) and carries (26), but he said he always had the confidence that's what he's capable of.
Before he lit up the Hogs' secondary, Duke Williams was the focus of this Q&A in the gameday program.
Former minor-league outfielder Big Play Melvin Ray had his second straight game with a long touchdown catch-and-run, and also had an awesome one-handed grab after a great late adjustment.
Phillip Marshall, new star of the SEC Network, posted a brief interview with Shon Coleman about his first start as an Auburn Tiger.
San Jose State
Malzahn said Auburn will be "ready for anything" when it comes to the San Jose State offense this weekend. In the video of Ellis Johnson above, he talks about how the visitors from the worst coast are still a relatively unknown book this season, as they probably didn't show too much last week against a I-AA side.
Ryan Black and Brandon Marcello each wrote primers about the Spartans, the L-E's here and AL.com's here.
Here is Bay Area Sparty's depth chart heading into this week.
Right on cue for the fifth anniversary of his monument to Auburn history and culture, Jeremy Henderson has produced this marvelous piece about the #AuburnFast ball boys under Malzahn's employ. TWER is so awesome.
Finally, Mike Szvetitz is leaving his role as the Opelika-Auburn News Sports Editor after ten years for a job in Richmond, and this is his goodbye column. Mike has always been nice and straight-up with me in my dealings with him and I wish him good luck in Virginia.