Gus Malzahn met with the media today. Let’s decipher what he said.
Gus starts by talking about the adversity the Tigers overcame against Texas A&M. This is true, they did overcome it. Without the fast start we’ve had in every other conference game this season, Auburn didn’t get to instill that panic in the opponent and cruise to a victory. Instead, it took a game-changing type of play with the punt block and Auburn took control after that.
Next, he says Georgia is very good. Yes. However, Gus, they are not battle-tested. They beat Notre Dame in Week Two, when the Irish were still breaking in new coordinators and a new quarterback. Then they throttled Mississippi State. We did that too. Other than dominating the pitiful East, they haven’t had to break a sweat in months.
He mentions that last year was frustrating losing to Georgia without allowing an offensive touchdown. It was frustrating, trust me. Glad you’re aware.
Gus talks about a bunch of new faces all over the place, and different guys practicing this week on the offensive line, and how we probably won’t know the right combination until Thursday or Friday. Once again, we adjusted on the offensive line at A&M and it paid off.
Next he talks about Georgia not being prolific throwing the ball, but being efficient at it. Jake Fromm hasn’t made many mistakes, and so that’ll be a challenge for the defense this weekend to force him into it.
He’s very mum on special teams — “we’re doing a couple different things different” — I’m not sure exactly what that means.
Running backs are playing pretty well when they’re healthy. Kerryon Johnson is special, and he’s finally back to his old self after the injury sustained against Georgia Southern. Kam Martin’s going to keep getting more carries. I hope so, his burst is fantastic.
Someone asks about the importance of this game, and Gus is very reserved while talking about exactly how big. Remember, this is the same guy who had to be coaxed to admit the Kick Six was the biggest win of his career. I have to believe that he knows the exact size of this matchup. If we win, by God, it’ll be the biggest win since Gus’ first year. If we lose, we’ll be right back where we started.
In one of his next statements, Gus is aware that constant talk and analysis and social media and hot takes create a different atmosphere in college football than there’s ever been (he’s on to us), and so it’s about compartmentalizing and shutting out the type of stuff that’s not necessary. Everything is a controversy, but only in the media. As a coach, it’s pretty cut and dry.
He likes the fact that we’ve had some tough times, and frankly, I do too. I haven’t seen Georgia get hit in the mouth, and who knows how they’ll respond when they finally do. When Jeff Holland plants Jake Fromm in the turf, and Nick Chubb runs right into the waiting arms of the Williamses at linebacker, it’ll get tough. When Darius Slayton blows by for an early long touchdown, it’ll get real. We’ll have to see how they respond.
It’s the kind of game that you get to experience as an Auburn fan, so enjoy this weekend win or lose. Hopefully we’ll get a win to set up the type of run that makes college football special.