Gus Malzahn Press Conference: News, Notes and Quotes


Jul 14, 2014; Hoover, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn talks to the media during the SEC Football Media Days at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Head football coach Gus Malzahn met with the media Tuesday for a press conference that was held in coordination with the release of the official depth chart. The session offered plenty of news, notes and quotes for Auburn fans. You can view a replay of the press conference on SEC Network+.

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Malzahn opened with some kind words for Arkansas. He spoke specifically about the number of returning starters the Razorbacks welcome back, including quarterback Brandon Allen and the talented group of running backs.

He mentioned Razorbacks tight end Hunter Henry, whom Malzahn feels is one of the best in the country at his position (and it is hard to disagree). Then, Malzahn singled out defensive end Trey Flowers as “an outstanding player, an impact player who can change the game.” We listed both among our “5 Players to Watch” this week.

Malzahn mentioned that he expects Arkansas to be an improved football team this season, and he had more kind words for the Hogs’ coaching staff. Later in Malzahn’s press conference, he mentioned that the Razorbacks appear to be much improved at the wide receiver position.

The biggest answer most of the media in attendance were searching for involved the situation surrounding quarterback Nick Marshall – who is still considered the official starting quarterback despite the fact he won’t start Saturday. Malzahn said that Jeremy Johnson has known he would start for “a while,” but that Marshall “definitely will play.”

To the surprise of no one, the head coach did not reveal the plans he and the coaching staff have for shuffling the two quarterbacks this weekend. It remains to be seen how long Marshall will stay on the bench against the Razorbacks.

“We have a plan, and they know the plan,” Malzahn said. “Me and Coach Lashlee and the rest of the guys know it.”

Speculating, it would be surprising to see Marshall appear in the first quarter of Saturday’s matchup with Arkansas. Johnson could play the entire first half, but a first quarter suspension appears to be the most likely scenario to me. Of course, decisions like this one are why Gus is paid the big bucks.

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  • Another point of interest was Robenson Therezie’s status. The 2013 starting Star has been dealing with an eligibility concern of some type, but Malzahn has never given any details. Tuesday’s press conference was no different. When asked about the time the senior would miss, the head coach said he was not sure.

    “I don’t know, but we just didn’t feel like we needed to put him on there until we have a better idea,” Malzahn said. Junior Justin Garrett, who was expected to start in 2013 before a foot injury sidelined with him, is listed at number one on the depth chart.

    At running back, Malzahn made sure to mention that Cameron Artis-Payne “or” Corey Grant is the listing on the depth chart. He did so while answering a question about Artis-Payne eventually emerging as the main ball carrier. It is likely that the two will receive nearly the same number of carries on Saturday, and Malzahn emphasized that there is great depth at the position.

    “We’ve got four guys that can run, and all four can take it to the house,” Malzahn said. He specified early in the session that Roc Thomas and Peyton Barber are the third and fourth running backs, and that there is not a specific order as to who would be called upon first. Malzahn mentioned that Thomas would be a factor as a kick returner.

    Other notes:

    • The head coach was asked how Shon Coleman would matchup with Arkansas’ Trey Flowers. Malzahn said he feels good that Coleman will be ready.
    • A definite goal for the season is to repeat as SEC Champions
    • Arkansas did a “good job controlling the tempo and controlling the clock” last season, and Malzahn obviously wants Auburn to dictate the tempo this year.
    • Gus explained that there will be similarities for Arkansas on defense this year with their new coordinator to the scheme they used in 2013. However, coaches have to make their best guesses in the first game of the season as to what exactly they will see from a schematic stand point. Adjustments are always a big part of the first game of the season.
    • Malzahn praised Brandon Allen’s strong arm and his ability to throw deep balls, and that he threw a few quality deep balls in the game last season.
    • There are several true freshmen listed on the two deep in the depth chart, and therefore, they have a good chance to play.
    • Arkansas will be aggressive on special teams, and “we’ve got to be prepared for everything,” including onside kicks and trick plays. “First games are very unique,” and “first games, special teams are usually a factor.”
    • “You root for a guy” like Shon Coleman. “He’s a football player…he’s ready to go out there and play.” Also, “he was one of the top tackles in the entire country” coming out of high school.
    • On Bielema “I’ve got a lot of respect for Coach. He coaches his program, and I coach mine.”
    • “It’s very important” to get back on the field after coming up 13 seconds short of a national championship. It will help get the bad taste out of the mouths of coaches and players.
    • Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant are “1 and 1A” on the depth chart. Malzahn is very confident in both.
    • The punt team, kickoff team, and other special teams units will have more experience and talent on them this season. It sounds like more starters or offensive and defensive role players will be featured on special teams covering kicks.”
    • Marshall “has handled himself very well” and has established himself as a leader.