Auburn notebook: Running is fine with Malzahn, if it works
by Ryan Black
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Nov 12, 2013 | 1115 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn talks to his team during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arkansas. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn talks to his team during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arkansas. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
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AUBURN — In Auburn's last two games, the Tigers have all but forgotten about the passing game in victories over Arkansas and Tennessee. Those two victories saw Auburn pass just 16 times compared to 99 rushing attempts.

Head coach Gus Malzahn said the one-sidedness in his recent play calling hasn’t struck him as strange, citing his background as a high school coach, where being able to adapt to the skills of the roster is paramount.

“It's just whatever you do best, you need to build around that,” he said. “That's kind of what we're doing best right now.”

Though many like to draw comparisons to what Marshall is doing now to the things Cam Newton did during the 2010 season, Malzahn said the offense Auburn is fielding this year has its own attributes that set it apart.

“The first year, no matter whether it was Chris Todd or Cam Newton or Nick Marshall, the core of who we are foundation-wise didn't change,” he said. “We just build around the strengths of our quarterback.”

FRESHMAN DRAWS PRAISE: Elijah Daniel didn’t arrive with the fanfare of Montravius Adams or Carl Lawson.

But just like his heralded true freshmen counterparts on the defensive line, Daniel has found a way to work his way on the field this season. Taking part in all 10 games this year, the first-year defensive end has seven tackles (including 2.5 for loss) to go along with two sacks.

The Avon, Ind., native even has something neither Adams nor Lawson can claim: leading the Tigers in a statistical category, as Daniel has a team-high nine quarterback hurries.

And Gabe Wright believes Daniel is only beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.

“The sky is the limit,” the junior defensive tackle said. “If the sky is not the limit, then there are footsteps on the moon. Elijah is as talented as they come. He’s five-stars and he will be five-star. The only thing that was holding him back was all mental. From a physical standpoint, he’s there in the SEC. To be that way as a (freshman) D-lineman in the SEC is not easy. I give him all the praise and the glory. He deserves it.”

GARRETT'S STATUS UNKNOWN: Junior linebacker Justin Garrett has played in only two games this season. The last time he made an appearance came against LSU on Sept. 21. Since then, he has been dealing with a foot fracture he suffered just before the week of the Ole Miss contest.

Despite his extended absence and lack of game action this year, Gus Malzahn said the team still hasn’t reached a decision on whether Garrett will take a medical redshirt.

“It's still up in the air,” the coach said when asked about Garrett’s status Tuesday.
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Auburn notebook: Running is fine with Malzahn, if it works by Ryan Black
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

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