Malzahn: It’s a huge game for us

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn knows that Saturday’s game is a big one for the team.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn speaks to the media Tuesday. | Todd Vam Emst

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn speaks to the media Tuesday. | Todd Vam Emst

The No. 4 Tigers will host the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide this weekend for the annual Iron Bowl game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kick off is set for 2:30 p.m.

Malzahn gave a press conference on Tuesday and talked about the game, individual players’ success this season and other topics.

“Obviously, it’s a huge game for us,” the Auburn coach said. “It’s the Iron Bowl, and the winner goes to the SEC Championship, and obviously, that’s everybody’s goal.”

Yes, Malzahn is correct in saying that the winner will represent the West in the conference title game next week in Atlanta.

The Tigers are coming off of a thrilling 43-38 win over Georgia, where a Hail Mary catch helped seal the win for AU two weeks ago.

Alabama defeated Chattanooga 49-0 on Saturday as a warm up game.

Malzahn said quarterback Nick Marshall has been a big “key to the team’s success.”

“He’s learning the offense on the go on Saturdays,” Malzahn said. “He’s a tough customer. He’s mentally tough, and physically tough.”

Alabama’s offense is led by fifth-year senior AJ McCarron, who isn’t afraid to throw the deep ball in games. He’ll hand it off to T.J. Yeldon in the back field for gains on the ground.

“He’s a very good quarterback,” the coach said about McCarron. “He has great command of the offense. He does a good job of getting them in good plays, getting them out of bad plays, and he can make all the throws.”

McCarron has a slew of weapons to throw to in Amari Cooper and Kevin Norwood, among others.

“They’ve got an outstanding offense, and we have to find a way to disrupt them,” Malzahn said.

When asked about the Alabama defense, Malzahn said there’s a lot of talent on that side of the ball in “every position.”

“Usually, you have a good idea of what they’re going to do, but the problem is executing,” he said.