Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Malzahn talks offense

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn met with the media following Tuesday night's practice. Here's what he had to say:

Gus Malzahn

"Good practice tonight, good focus. Our guys were locked in and ready to move on to Florida Atlantic. I feel like we got better tonight.

Was it a physical practice?

"No. No, it wasn’t. We’ve been very physical and we’ve got a stretch coming up and we’re just trying to make sure our guys are fresh. At the same time, it was good work."

How has Barrett Trotter progressed?

"I went back last year and it took us three games to really figure out Cam and strengths and all that, and Barrett’s really the same situation. He’s shown a lot of toughness. He has a very good understanding of what we’re doing. And I’m learning him too of what his strengths are. So we’re trying to build on those things."

Where do you need to improve?

"I’d say overall, execution. We’ve got to get better at the little things. We’ve got to get better at protecting. Our quarterback got hit a lot. So we’ve got to do a better job of that. Just overall. We’re just kind of looking what we’ve done the last three games, just like we did last year. And we’re starting to figure out our identity and our strengths and our weaknesses."

The first quarter against Clemson went well, the rest of the game notso well. What happened?

"Of course they made some adjustments to take away some things. You look back at that last drive and the one thing, we really, really would have felt different had we gotten the ball in the end zone and given us a chance there. That was the big thing for me. There was some positives that we can build upon. And that’s what we’re going to try to do and that’s what we will do."

Important to keep the defense off the field?

"Yeah, I think everything works together for us to win. And we’re trying to stay on the field and we need to do a better job of staying on the field. That givs us the best chance of winning, so we’re working that area. And we’re working to improve that."

Will Mike Dyer get more carries?

"I think you go into each game with a plan and he’s a workhorse type guy and can definitely handle more carries. It just depends on the game and the situation. But he’s a physical guy and he’s put together well."

Is he quicker, faster than last year?

"I think that’s fair to say. As a true freshman, he didn’t go through spring, I think he’s going to be in better shape. Coach Yox has done a great job with him. He’s worked hard and you can tell he’s a step quicker.

Talk about the communication on the offensive line

"It’s very beneficial. The first time with the noise and the crowd, it’s very loud. And our communication, we had a couple breakdowns. And it’s got to be fixed. You always learn the first time you’re on the road, no matter what type of team you have, veteran or not, so it was very good for us to experience that and that’s something that we’re really going to work on correcting the next game."

What do you guys have to do to stay on the field longer?

"I think really the bottom line is the third downs. That’s the big thing, third-down and medium is the big thing for us that we need to be better on. And we’re working hard to do that."

Are you pleased with what you're getting out of the wildcat formation?

"I think we’re getting better in that area and it is a part of our offense that’s kind of a staple. And our staple things we need to be good at. But I do feel like we’re getting better in that area."

there was a third and short play in the second quarter where you went empty backfield. What was the call?

"What I was thinking was that I was trying to catch them off guard. As the playcaller, you do your best to predict and when it works it looks really good and when it doesn’t … As far as second-guessing myself, no. They did something a little bit different and they got us. But I felt good about it at the time."

Does the fast pace hurt the defense?

"We’ve got our job to do. And we’ve got to do a better job of keeping ourselves on the field. I don’t get into all that. We’ve got to do a better job of staying on the field. And really the bottom line is if we get better on third downs, we’re on the field. So that’s my only focus."

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