Auburn notes: Tigers preparing for inclement weather in Baton Rouge, Mark Richt comments on Nick Marshall and Zach Mettenberger

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 18, 2013 

ROBIN TRIMARCHI Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn met with reporters following the team's practice Wednesday.


AUBURN, Ala. — With the forecast calling for a 70 percent chance of rain in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday night, Auburn has taken the proper precautions for what might be slippery field conditions.

Head coach Gus Malzahn said his team has been prepared to play in adverse weather for quite some time.

“During fall camp we practiced in the rain a time or two,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “I think the big thing there is keeping the footballs dry and doing a good job of that. But we'll definitely be ready for that if it presents itself.”

The Tigers’ session on Wednesday focused on third downs, red zone and short-yardage situations, with Malzahn deeming it a “solid” effort.

Saturday also serves as Auburn’s first road affair of the season. And it comes in one of the toughest venues in the country: LSU’s Tiger Stadium. To try to simulate the crowd noise, Malzahn said the team has been piping in sound at practice all week.

“We’ve done a little bit of that up to this point, which is good, so our guys should be used to it,” he said. “Both days we’ve had crowd noise and some things to help our communication.”

If things go according to plan, Malzahn will do a walk-through at the stadium on Friday.

“I like to get familiar with things and be around when it’s possible,” he said. “Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not.”

Richt discusses former Bulldogs Marshall and Mettenberger

Saturday's matchup between Auburn/LSU, in a roundabout way, involves a third team: Georgia.

With both of the game's signal-callers — Auburn's Nick Marshall and LSU's Zach Mettenberger — being former Bulldogs, Georgia head coach Mark Richt was asked about the unusual circumstance during his time on the SEC coaches' teleconference on Wednesday.

"It didn't dawn on me until you said it," he said. "I knew we were going to play both of those teams. I had thought of it in terms of that. It'll definitely be interesting to see what happens. It'll be very interesting to watch because I know both those guys. ... I like both of them very much, I want the very best for both of them, and I'm glad they landed in a good spot."

Since Georgia was off last weekend, Richt had time to watch other games around the country. He happened to tune in to Auburn's contest in time to witness Marshall's game-winning drive against Mississippi State.

The result didn't come as a surprise to his former coach, though.

"Even before the drive started, I'm sitting there thinking, 'I've got a pretty good feeling this guy is going to start making some history there at Auburn," Richt said.

Quick hits

Malzahn said Chris Davis' status continues to be "day-to-day." The senior starting corner missed last week's game with a foot injury. "Whether he’ll play, we’ll just have to see how it goes," Malzahn said. ... If Davis is unavailable, Malzahn said receiver Quan Bray would fill in as the Tigers' No. 1 punt returner for the second straight week. Working behind Bray on punt return are two other receivers: Trovon Reed and Marcus Davis. ... During his appearance on the coaches teleconference, Malzahn was asked about Auburn being ranked the No. 1 team in the country by the Colley Matrix, a computer-generated poll. The coach dismissed the ranking. "Well, the computers can't come watch practice," he said. "We're not there yet. We're a work in progress."

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