Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday notebook

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn prefers to maintain a breakneck pace.

That said, he actually enjoys it when opposing defenses call timeouts to slow down his attack.

“It’s good to see our hard work, we really strained our guys, we tried to get them in no-huddle shape, and then when we upped the tempo it was nice that they had to use a timeout in the middle of the game,” Malzahn said. “I know our guys really felt good about that.

“They feed off it. The thing is we strained them and we pushed our kids in that area. We’d like to think we’re in a different kind of shape then a lot of people. So when tat hard work pays off it’s a good feeling for players and it’s also a good feeling for coaches to see the hard work pay off too.”

During the second quarter against Tennessee, the Volunteers were forced to call a timeout to regroup after Auburn moved the ball 66 yards from its own 13-yard line.

RB Ben Tate scored from 12 yards out two plays after the timeout.

“It meant a lot to us. It kind of signified that we’re doing our job as far as pacing, and that’s something that we feel is going to be a great advantage for our offense,” H-back Mario Fannin said. “Coach Malzahn harps on it during practice and it pays off.”

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL: Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville always made sure to offer his opponents respect in the days leading up to games.

Now that he’s a football analyst instead of a coach, however, he doesn’t worry about shying away from his opinions.

Tuberville said Wednesday on Birmingham sports talk radio station WJOX that he expects Auburn to win by three touchdowns.

Arkansas can’t stop a cold but they’ll try to score some points,” Tuberville said. “They’re not real good. They can score on you. They can’t play defense.”

The two coaches squaring off in Saturday’s game – Auburn’s Gene Chizik and Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino – both coached under Tuberville as coordinators in 2002.

Petrino was also involved in Jetgate, when Auburn attempted to oust Tuberville in favor of the then-Louisville coach.

CELEBRATE QUIETLY: The SEC announced this week that officials made the wrong decision when they penalized A.J. Green for an unsportsmanlike penalty in the closing minutes of Saturday’s LSU-Georgia game.

Partially because of a 15-yard penalty enforced on the kickoff, LSU got a long return. The Tigers scored a few plays later to sneak out of Athens, Ga. with the win.

Chizik didn’t weigh in on whether the call was appropriate or not, saying simply the rule is left to the officials’ discretion.

Instead, he hopes his players don’t put the team in a situation to be penalized.

“It kind of goes back to the team concept,” Chizik said. “If you’re going to celebrate, make sure you celebrate with your teammates and hand the ball to the official. We try to, every day, impart that on our guys but sometimes the excitement of the moment can get you. They have to be very cognizant of that rule.”

DEPTH CONCERNS: Even before the season started, Chizik was concerned about the depth situation at linebacker.

Now he finds himself down a pair of scholarship linebackers – Spencer Pybus and Harris Gaston.

For Pybus, who has struggled while attempting to come back from a concussion, there is no timetable on his return.

“There are some medical issues, obviously,” Chizik said. “We’ve had some in-depth talks and I won’t go into the details about it at this point but the medical issues are still out there.”

Chizik also said Pybus is “more than likely” out for the remainder of the season.

Gaston has played in four games this year but missed Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury.

“Harris is going to be kind of a day-by-day thing,” Chizik said. “We’re just going to have to kind of play that one by ear. That one could go either way. He’s not going to play this week. We’ll see what happens once the weeks go on.”

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