AUBURN, Ala. — One major obstacle stands between Auburn and a winner-take-all Iron Bowl: the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.
Auburn and Georgia will face off Saturday in Athens with the Tigers as the heavy favorite. Auburn (7-2, 5-1 SEC) is riding a six-game winning streak while Georgia (5-4, 3-4) is trying to earn bowl eligibility.
The Bulldogs have had the upper hand in the rivalry for much of the past decade. That isn’t lost on the Tigers.
Follow along with what Gus Malzahn had to say at his Tuesday press conference.
- “We haven’t had a lot of success over there as of late … We’ve got to solve that.”
- Sean White’s status: “He’ll start.”
- Kamryn Pettway’s status: “I’ll know more later in the week … Yeah, it’s a leg injury.”
- More on White: “He’s not 100 percent. If he was, he would started last week.”
- Malzahn wouldn’t specify the injuries for White or Pettway. Said that Tony Stevens is fully back. “We’re not ruling out Pettway yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if he played,” Malzahn said.
- Expressed his confidence in the rest of the running back depth.
- The defensive line “has played well all year… we’ve had some young guys step up,” Malzahn said.
- What is it about Sean White that makes other players seem better? “We put him in the second half, and it felt like there was a new energy on the sideline … His teammates have a lot of respect for him.”
- Malzahn credits leaders for bounce back. “It’s the leadership of our players. That’s where it starts. We went through a little bit of a storm early … They didn’t listen to any kind of negativity. We never had a bad practice.”
- On Jacob Eason: “He’s at the end of the year. He’s had a lot of snaps. You can tell he’s more comfortable.”
- Malzahn-Smart understanding of each other: “There’s carryover. There’s no doubt. It’s his defense. They have a lot of talented player. He had a lot of talented players where he coached before … We know each other very well. There’s a lot of history.”
- “This is one of our rivalry games. It’s always going to be big if you play here at Auburn,” Malzahn said.
- Does Malzahn think Josh Holsey is All-SEC or All-American worthy? “I think the way he’s played this year, that really speaks for itself … He definitely deserves to be in the conversation.”
- On QB injury effect: “Anytime you have an injury, it affects how you approach a game plan, how you approach practice. Every injury is different, though.”
- Georgia’s talent: “They’re always going to be one of the top-10 teams in recruiting.”
- How does Auburn have success recruiting Georgia? “I credit it to Auburn being a special place and a great school. Rodney Garner having the Georgia ties. Traditionally, we’ve always recruited well in Georgia. That’s a big state for our success.”