Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Malzahn discusses quarterback switch

AUBURN - Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn met with the media after Tuesday night's practice. He discussed, among other things, Auburn's decision to start Clint Moseley at quarterback ahead of Barrett Trotter Saturday against LSU.

Here's what we had to say:

"Had a good, solid day of practice. It was physical at times. Just tried to really focus on the fundamentals and little things and fours on the mistakes we made Saturday so we can progress rom here on out.

Talk about the decision to start Clint this week?

"At halftime, we were really needing him to give us a spark. We'd been struggling with some passing yards down the field and he made a couple plays that really helped us. I really feel like at this point that he's earned a chance to have a spot to start and lead this offense."

Because of the experience difference is he getting a lot more reps this week than Barrett did as the No. 1 last week?

"That's definitely true. He had been getting about 30% of the reps. He got a heavy amount of the reps today, which he needed especially with the new wrinkles or anything as far as our gameplan is concerned."

Will you change your playcalling because of Moseley?

"Anytime you've got another quarterback, as a playcaller you think just a little bit differently. Each quarterback has his own set of strengths. Him and Barrett are similar, but Clint does have a few things unique to him."

How is Barrett handling the situation?

"Barrett is a champion. Barrett's a great competitor. The unfortunate thing for him is that all of this is not his fault. We've got other issues around that need to be cleaned up and shored up. If you asked him, I know he'd like to have some things back. He's provided very good leadership for us. He's a very tough-minded young man. He's a team guy."

How is Clint different?

"Clint, he has that knack to do things once things break down. You saw that a little bit Saturday, made a couple plays when things broke down. He's got a little bit of the gunslinger in him. The bottom line is that we feel like he deserves a chance to lead this offense and see if he can take this offense a little higher."

You liked him at Leroy High School. Wny?

"He was a playmaker. The fact that he won three state championships. He was the MVP. He knows how to win. He has the ability to make plays when things break down. You always look for somebody who is used to winning. The fact that he was from Alabama, Mr. Football, didn't hurt, either."

Talk about Lutzenkirchen's ability to make big plays.

"He has that unique gift that he can get go get the football. He can get open. He's got the ability to make the big play when you need it. He's done that for us the past two and a half years."

Clint is from a small school. Is it hard to evaluate quarterbacks from the smaller schools?

"Anytime it's a quarterback, you've really got to do your homework. Not just on the field and film. You've got to be around them, what kind of person they are. The quarterback is the face of your program. A lot of things go into it - character, leadership, are they used to winning? All those things, not just film, go into that."

Talk about LSU.

"They're very talented. They're very quick. They've got speed, but they also have quickness. Some defenses have one or the other; they have both. Their coordinator is one of the best in the business. He's got the pieces of the puzzle right now. They make you earn it. They really are aggressive."

Clint is sort of an emotional player. Does that cause problems?

"I think he's grown up a lot. If you ask him, he would say that. There's certain things to being emotional that can be positive. At the same time, you can't get too high or too low from week to week. I'm real proud of where he's come from. He's gotten more mature - even in this season."

Have you worked with him on that?

"As a coach, you try to tell your players, specifically quarterbacks, what it takes to be successful and what it takes at the quarterback position."

How critical is the play of the offensive line this weekend?

"We've got to play better at every position. We have some deficiencies, but we've got to overcome them. We've got to find a way to be more efficient on offense. We've got to find a way to score more points. I really believe our guys have a good attitude. I really believe they've bought into our plan."

Will you need to simplify the offense for Clint?

"No, I don't."

What are you going to run?

"Each quarterback is a little different. You need to try to do what that quarterback is really strong in. You need to build around that, so that's what we'll do."

Will Kiehl Frazier's role change?

"We've tried to gradually bring Kiehl along with his package. He'll continue to have a role. He's done some good things for us."

Teams are daring you to throw?

"That's fair to say, yes. Last three weeks, yes."

Will you give in to that? Throw more?

"Uh, yeah. To be successful on offense, you have to take what the defense gives you. You've got to be effective to do that. We've not been very effective the last three weeks doing that. That's our challenge. That's what we're working hard to do.

Talk about the catch Quindarius Carr made against Florida.

"That catch Q made, that was really impressive. It was well needed. We were backed up and it really changed the field."

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