ATLANTA - Auburn safeties coach Tommy Thigpen and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn met with the media on Thursday to talk about the Tigers' upcoming matchup with Virginia in Saturday's Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Thigpen analyzed Virginia's offense, while Malzahn discussed the Cavaliers' defense. Here'w what they had to say:
Thigpen on Virginia's offense
"What we’re seeing is a team that doesn’t allow you to do much on defense. With all the switching and the motions, it creates a lot of confusion. So if you have a young team like we have, it limits you. If you’re watching teams that play them, they’re not playing much man coverage versus them, because of the shifts and the motions and the miss-fits. So we’ve got to be pretty vanilla. And communication is key. They take a lot of pride in running the football. That’s been Virginia’s MO since I was in high school. I’m from Virginia. I was recruited by Virginia back in the days and it doesn’t seem like they’ve changed at all as far as run the ball, run the ball, play action. They do a tremendous job.
The offensive line is big, they’re strong. They kind of look like an SEC team. They run the ball. They take a lot of pride in running that football. Communication’s got to be right on point. We can’t bust any assignments."
Malzahn on Virginia's defense
"Virginia’s defense is very sound. They’re very impressive up front. They play a great run defense, especially in between the boxes. They try to keep things in front of them. They try to make you earn it – very few big plays. And at the same time, they’ll pick and choose when they pressure and they do a good job with their pressure. They’re well coached. You can tell the guys, they know what they’re doing, they know the situations and they’re going to make you earn it."