AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football has the potential to make major waves in the college football world during the next few weeks.
It started with a win at Texas A&M days ago and will continue as the Tigers take on Georgia on the Plains this weekend. It’s the first time since 2004 that both programs are ranked inside the top 10 in the AP poll.
Later today the second edition of the College Football Playoff rankings will be released, but first Gus Malzahn will address the media and preview the looming game against the Bulldogs.
For Malzahn, this is one of the biggest games of his entire coaching career. The Tigers have fallen three straight times to Georgia and last year’s loss in Athens was particularly hard to swallow.
The head coach needs a convincing win and Auburn needs momentum ahead of the 2017 Iron Bowl.
Auburn’s offense seems to be clicking at just the right time and Kevin Steele’s defense continues to get healthier.
Here’s what Gus Malzahn said about this weekend’s game against Georgia:
- Malzahn said what stood out most about Auburn’s win over A&M was how the Tigers handled adversity.
- “Defensively you look at all the players are very good players at each position. Statistically they’re one of the best teams in the country.”
- “Offensively they run the football,” Malzahn said.
- “Overall, a very good team. This is a game we’ve been looking forward to. Last year was an extremely tough loss…this is one we’ve been waiting on,” Malzahn said.
- Malzahn said one of the biggest differences heading into this year’s rivalry game with Georgia is the health of his team. “Our starting quarterback is healthy.”
- “You have to embrace the fact that you’re playing the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country on your home field…It’s a big game. We’re not looking any further ahead than Saturday.”
- On the offensive line: “I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this many new faces and guys up front. It’s a tribute to those guys.”
- Malzahn is expecting every offensive lineman to practice today, but isn’t sure what that will mean for the weekend’s starting lineup.
- “They’ve bought in to what Chip’s doing and they’ve gotten more confident every week,” Malzahn says.
- Malzahn says Kirby Smart is doing things a little differently than he did at Alabama.
- On special teams: “I think it starts with our kickoff team,” Malzahn said. “We’re doing a couple different things different.”
- On Darius Slayton: “He’s been healthy. He got hurt the very first game. It took probably a month before he finally got his legs back under him.”
- On Kam Martin: “There’s no doubt he did a very good job. He ran hard, he protected the football.”
- Malzahn says he doesn’t have to worry about players from Georgia getting too high in the middle of the week. They’ll be ready.
- “This is a big game, but it’s not about me. It’s about our team,” Malzahn says.
- Malzahn goes on a little bit of a rant about the difficulty of managing social media and media attention now compared to two or three years ago.
- On Jay Jacobs’ announcement: “I appreciate Jay. He hired me. He gave me this opportunity,” Malzahn said. “I wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”