Gus Malzahn met with the media earlier today, and there were a few nuggets to chew on. First, here’s the video, courtesy of Auburn Undercover.
“New coordinator, new quarterback, couple of new guys up front, gonna take some time” - Yes, apparently.
The first big nugget came right at the start when Malzahn mentions that Chip Lindsey will take his talents to the press box instead of the sideline. This is interesting, since Lindsey made a point of wanting to be at field level to look his guys in the eyes during the game. He should get a better view of what’s going on up top, though, so let’s see how he fares.
Gus jumps right into Mercer, which allows us to hear the coach speak — they’re well-coached, they play hard, etc. — but we know that this game is all about Auburn and how the Tigers rebound and change for this game.
He talks about Jarrett Stidham right away as well in the first couple of answers to writer questions, and he praises Stidham’s ability to protect the ball, but does say that the sacks came from “bad situations” and needing to put the quarterback into better situations with the line and receivers. He stresses that it was still just the second game under Chip Lindsey.
There’s a question about changes on the offensive line, and Gus says there are no changes right now, but we still have a couple days of practice left this week, and next week ahead of Missouri.
Someone asks about Lindsey moving to the press box as an overreaction to the outcome from Clemson, Malzahn explains that it’s just a normal reaction in trying to help the team. He then says that Lindsey brought up the idea of moving off the field, and that the communication won’t be weird without being able to collaborate in person. Again, Gus stresses that this offense is Chip’s deal and that he’ll do well going forward.
We move on to a special teams question about Stephen Roberts not fielding punts and giving up some ground, which Gus dives into talking about being aggressive and Roberts grabbing just a bit more experience and knowing which balls to field.
He confirms that Clemson seemed to have a good read on jumping the snap count, especially when it came to passing situations. Then he explains Kam Martin’s lack of playing time and abandoning the run in the second half as possibly seeing some things in the passing game that they could exploit, and wanting to stick with Pettway’s experience when they did run the ball.
There are a couple questions about the interaction with Lindsey on the sideline, and Gus again mentions not overreacting and that we do have a good offense and that it’ll come along.
With an update on Kerryon Johnson, he apparently moved around pretty well on Sunday, but I can’t imagine we’ll even see him against Mercer.
Gus acknowledges that he understands the frustration with the way the season ended last year and how it’s begun this season, and that we need to look at it from the big picture standpoint. We lost to one of the top two or three teams in the country on Saturday night, and that’s okay.
Someone mentions that it usually takes a few games before the offense finds a groove, and Gus again talks about some of the new pieces on offense being a factor in that. Another couple of questions come out about finding tight ends or Sal Cannella on the field, which are kind of side-stepped, because of the fact that we did have so many sacks and the receiver targets likely weren’t identified.
On the subject of injuries, Kam Pettway’s a little dinged up, and Darius Slayton’s nursing a bit of an injury, so this week will probably be a good week for some rest and relaxation for those guys.
All in all, not a whole lot of information (not surprising due to the opponent this week), but the move of Chip Lindsey to the booth will be one to watch closely. Now Auburn will have both coordinators upstairs, and we’ve seen how well Kevin Steele has done, so now it’s time for Lindsey to follow suit.