Auburn is coming off its first loss of the season, but the team’s flaws have been on display through the first three games.
Gus Malzahn did not address those flaws, the struggles of quarterback Jeremy Johnson or a porous defense, in detail Monday night but he did discuss the attitude of his team.
“When you go through adverse times you find out who’s all in,” Malzahn said on his weekly radio show “Tiger Talk.”
Malzahn will find out if his team can battle through adversity when Dak Prescott and Mississippi State visit Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.
Prescott has five passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns and zero interceptions this season. Prescott also has the ability to run the football, so Auburn’s defense will have its hands full.
On offense, Auburn will have to try and match Prescott’s offensive output, but with Johnson not playing well it will be a tall task. Johnson has thrown six interceptions and Malzahn did offer a reason why Monday night.
“I think it’s more after the play starts,” Malzahn said when asked about any confusion Johnson had getting the plays from the sideline.
Malzahn was disappointed with Johnson’s play, but he was impressed with Auburn’s younger players, including running back Kerryon Johnson.
Johnson was a top-recruit and Mr. Football in Alabama his senior year in high school. He has been returning kickoffs and getting spot work at running back.
The freshman was one of the few bright spots from Auburn’s first loss of the season, but the team will need its more experienced players to step up.
“We’re going to find out how close we are and I really expect our guys to start playing better,” Malzahn said.
If they don’t start playing better, Auburn’s young players may get a chance to play more than the coaching staff had anticipated.