Its been a long day, so well jump straight to the bullet points.
* Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was blunt in his assessment of Clemsons defense in last years game at Jordan-Hare Stadium, a 27-24 overtime win for Auburn. They whipped us, he said. We made some big plays. We didnt earn much. Weve got our work cut out for us. We know were going to get their best shot. Theyve got a lot of very talented players.
* Malzahn has incorporated boards with pictures on them into Auburns play-calling this year. He hopes it will help his young offense communicate in a noisy road venue like Clemsons Memorial Stadium. Itll be a great environment, he said. Itll be very noisy. Well see not only how he handles it, but how our entire offense handles it.
* The Tigers havent gone deep on many of their passes this year, something Malzahn hopes to change. When were at our best, we have big plays, he said. We definitely need more big plays.
* Malzahn had a deadpan reaction to Cam Newtons strong NFL debut, during which he threw for 422 yards. Hes pretty good, Malzahn said. It doesnt surprise me.
* Lots of d-line talk, since both Corey Lemonier and Nosa Eguae came in to chat. Lemonier thinks the group showed improvement in the second week, even if the numbers disagree. The biggest improvement? Just being physical, he said. Before it would just be mental mistakes like lining up wrong, and stuff like that.
* Eguae on that same subject: You see during two-a-days that guys are making mistakes, repeating them, repeating them, repeating them. And now, theyre making mistakes but theyre learning from them and not making those mistakes again.
* Lots of talk about Dee Ford, which I plan to turn into a feature for Thursdays paper. Heres the best quote Eguae had about him, though: The way he gets off the rock, he makes offensive linemen just chase him.
* Lemonier and kicker Cody Parkey are both from South Florida. They didnt know each other until they both made an official visit during the Alabama game in 2009. He messaged me one time and said, Are you a Dolphins fan? Lemoner said. And I said, Yeah, Im a Dolphins fan. And he was like, Were going to be goof friends.
* Like Ryan White earlier in the day, Lemonier was also asked about how old Parkey looks. He had that kind of little salad bowl haircut, Lemonier said. I was like is this kid in college? I didnt know what he was doing there. Plus he has no facial hair. He cant grow facial hair.
* Jokes aside, Parkey made huge strides in the offseason. Hes been working hard, running with me and some of that in sprints, keeping up with me, Lemonier said. It helped him out and practicing the extra hours. You can see it now.
* Tre Mason got some carries in the Mississippi State game. Hes still getting used to blocking, since he never had to do it in high school. Carrying the ball is the easiest part because once you get the ball in your hands, you just do what youre supposed to do, he said. Thats why you were recruited to come here. Learning the blocking schemes, there are certain things you have to do. There are certain landmarks weve got to be at and youve got to pick up on certain things. Thats the hardest part of learning this offense.
* Mississippi State started squibbing kickoffs late in the game because of the threat Mason posed. It makes me mad because I love to have the ball in my hands, Mason said.
* Mason on the speedy Onterio McCalebb, whos about 172 pounds: Hes so driven no matter what his size is. He plays like hes 240 pounds.
* Whos the fastest player on the team? Mason didnt say. Could be McCalebb, could be him, could be Sammie Coates (sans crutches, obviously). Weve never raced, Mason said. Maybe one day well race. Were not sure yet.
Read more: http://www.wareagleextra.com/2011/09/13/late-night-notes-gus-malzahn-says-clemsons-defense-whipped-auburn-last-season/#ixzz1XtE1C3nA