Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn met with the media following Tuesday night's practice to talk about the Tigers' upcoming game at Arkansas.
Here's what he had to say:
How was practice?
"Their focus was extremely focused in. They bounced around and seemed excited to practice. That was encouraging for this point in the season. That was encouraging."
With Emory Blake out, who will you count on at wide receiver?
"Well, Quindarius Carr is one of those guys. Travante Stallworth. Jaylon Denson. DeAngelo Benton. Those type of guys have a chance to show what they can do. D'Angelo Benton he's one of those guys just waiting for his chance and I know he's ready. He's had great practice all fall camp. It was real encouraging for him to make a big play in the game helped us win. So I feel very good about DeAngelo Benton."
Was it big for him to make a play Saturday against South Carolina?
"Oh there's no doubt. Big for everybody involved, more his self than anybody. He can do it. It's just a fact when you do it in a big moment like that it gives you nothing but positives the rest of the time."
Do you think you'll run the ball as much this week?
"We want to do whatever gives us the best chance of winning. They're a very good team and had a lot of speed on the perimeter. We just felt like we really needed to run the football. Time of possession's big. We have not gotten the first downs up to that point, and we got quite a few of them the other day and it helped our offense and helped our team."
Did the offensive line have its best game?
"I'd say that's fair to say because a very good defense they played against with some very good players and one of the best defensive coaches in the business. I was real happy, especially at the point where they were knew we were going to run the football in certain situations and we were able to do it somewhat successfully."
Did the guys on the line know you were going to run it that much?
"I think our guys knew it. I told Mike (Dyer) ahead of time to get ready. I didn't think he would carry it 41 times, but I thought it would be up there."
Will Kiehl Frazier get more playing time?
"Well we're expanding his package each week. He really did a good job in some key situations, especially third and fourth quarter. Each week we'll expand his role. He adds a differenet element to us when he's in the game."
Is he pretty excited about this week?
"I think so. You always worry about them being too excited. But both those guys it's probably real important for them to go home and play well and I know they'll give it their best."
Ever had so many true freshmen playing?
Is that scary?
"It's encouraging for the future. We're a work in progress. A lot of times when you make mistakes, it's just one or two mistakes that would have been a really well executed play. And anytime you got youth and inexperience, you're going to have growing pains. we've experienced some of those at certain times this year. It's just a matter of getting better and correcting those mistakes, but it's very good for the future."
Is this big for you, being from Arkansas?
"Well from my standpoint this will be the third time I've been there and done that. I'm just focused on our team and trying to do my best to give our team the best chance to be successful. I get to go home in the offseason and holidays and all that.
Do you still see big-play potential in the passing game?
"Yeah we have to. We're a run, play-action team. You've seen us, when we're at our best, we're hitting some big plays in the passing game when they bite it for the run. We just got to make people pay when they bring extra guys down. We were close on a couple last Saturday but it would have made me feel a little bit better if we had hit a couple of those and put it in end zone."
Where do you need to improve to get big plays?
"Protection. Quarterback delivering and receivers on the same page. It's a little bit of all of them."
Can Kiehl pass out of the Wildcat?
"He's only thrown it twice or once, and he got sacked one time. But he can throw it and we'll definitely let him do that."
When you went back to Arkansas that first time, was it weird?
"It was a little weird, a little awkward, there's no doubt. It was pretty fresh turnaround from being there. It was a little different. Second time you've got a job to do and the first emotions are all behind you."
Every week it seems you face talented defensive linemen.
"Yeah. You know you're going to find a couple guys that you know for sure are going to play in the NFL and probably be very good NFL players."