AUBURN, Ala. (WHNT) – The Auburn Tigers held a news conference Tuesday to discuss preparations for Saturday’s Iron Bowl.
WHNT News 19 is in Auburn – we blogged the event below, posting comments from head coach Gus Malzahn and several players. WHNT News 19’s Ryan Cody will have more this evening in our sportscasts at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
Greetings from the Auburn Athletic Complex! WHNT News 19 Interactive Content Producer Drew Galloway here with WHNT Sports Director Ryan Cody to bring you the inside track on Auburn football.
We were just treated to a visit from the War Eagle himself!
With a wingspan right at six feet, this is one tough bird of prey!
Auburn University’s Southeastern Raptor Center will begin a live online auction of one-of-a-kind jesses and lures handcrafted specially for the Auburn eagle’s gameday flight. This auction will support the center’s mission of rehabilitation, education, and conservation.
You will be able to place bids at http://www.getluredin.com beginning of Friday, Nov. 22
Auburn head coach Gus Malzhan will be taking the stage shortly.
Auburn, currently number four in the BCS standings, is currently standing between Alabama and another national championship.
Malzhan: Our goal is to get better each game, and I feel like we’ve done that. The winner of this game goes on to the SEC Championship game.
Malzhan: All of our coaches are really on their a-game this week. Our players can rely on them.
Auburn is a great place where you can win and win on a consistent basis.
“Nick Marshall has been a big key to our success… What he’s done is amazing… He’s a tough customer, tough physically and tough mentally.”
On playing Alabama this weekend, “we’ve got to find a way to make them uncomfortable and make them slow down.”
“They’re extremely talented in every position… Usually you have an idea of what they are going to do, it’s just a matter of slowing them down.”
Malzhan said he’s hoping Auburn’s recent bye week will help them improve and make a big jump this week against Alabama.
Malzhan said he has no time to reflect on Auburn’s success this year, and neither have his players. He said they would pat themselves on the back at the end of the year.
On comparing this year’s team to Auburn’s 2010 National Championship winning team: “We’re not there yet, there are still some areas that we can improve on… They were very good on defense in 2010.”
On the second half of the LSU game, “We had guys who were very vocal at halftime. They weren’t going to let that happen again.”
Malzhan said he has faith in QB Nick Marshall can run the Auburn offense.
Auburn’s no-huddle offense has been the subject of much interest and controversy as some coaches believe it to be dangerous to players.
Malzhan said he and his coaching staff have focused hard on his field goal and special teams.
Coach Malzhan has left the stage. Up next are Auburn players.
Auburn running back Tre Mason.
Mason said he’s ready and excited for the Iron Bowl this weekend.
He says he remembers “not a lot of execution” in last year’s Iron Bowl. He said he’s ready to play one here in Auburn.
About QB Nick Marshall, Mason says he’s funny off the field but all business on the field.
Mason says Marshall has improved greatly over this season.
“He’s getting more accurate and getting more comfortable running the ball.”
Mason says the LSU game was the turning point when the zone-read became more important to the Auburn offense.
On his third down performance: “I just like to keep the drive going. I feel like I can be the game changer.”
Mason is averaging almost 7.5 yards on third down carries this season.
“All season, we have been pretty much fueled by doubt. We like being the under-dog.”
“I don’t get tired of hearing about last season. It’s kept us motivated.”
Tigers center Reese Dismukes.
Dismukes says QB Nick Marshall is a humble guy and has done an incredible job in the time he has been here.
Dismukes says he’s a big key to the Tiger’s turn around this season.
Dismukes says confidence will be one of the deciding factors of the game. Confidence can neither be too high nor too low, says Dismukes.
Dismukes on the game this weekend: “This is the Iron Bowl. This is the game you come here to play.”
Dismukes says if the Tiger’s win the Iron Bowl, he will call his brother, who played for Alabama, and have a laugh.
Dismukes said he has friends on the sidelines of teams all over the country, but when you are between the white lines, there are no friends.
“We’re going to do what we do. We’re going to run the ball down the field. We will run the ball and throw it, if we have to,” said Dismukes.
Dismukes on Iron Bowl 2012: “I think the tried to break their scoreboard last year… It wasn’t too fun.”
Dismukes on the turning point in the year when he felt like the team had a shot at the SEC Championship: “I feel like after the Texas A&M game, I think the team though we could really do it this year.”
Tigers DE Dee Ford.
Ford on championship hopes: “This season, if we do what we are capable of doing and finishing out, I think we are capable of it.”
Ford says since AJ McCarron hasn’t been hit all year, he is eager to see what happens when he is.
On the hype around the Iron Bowl and talks of last year’s season: “I don’t really listen to anything outside of these walls.”
Ford on Tiger’s QB Nick Marshall: “He’s very calm and country. I remember the first conversation I had with him, I had to have him repeat himself.”
Ford says this game is just like any other for coach Gus Malzhan; the bar is set as high as it is for any game.
Ford says this year’s team wins ugly, just like the 2010 team did. He says he will take a win any way he can get it.
On AJ McCarron possibly being in the running to win the Heisman: “He’s not going to come in here and have his way.”
Ford says he tries not to think about future NFL hopes, as it might distract him from this season. He says he is grateful to his team for putting him in the position he is in now.
The Auburn Tigers’ news conference has ended. Thank you for joining us.
You can watch the Iron Bowl here on WHNT News 19 this Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled to begin at 2:30 in the afternoon.