Auburn football: Best of the first third of the Tigers' 2013 season

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 29, 2013 

ROBIN TRIMARCHI rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com Through four games of the season, Auburn has already matched its victory total from 2012 by winning three contests, including a 24-20 victory over Mississippi State which saw the Tigers engineer an 88-yard game-winning drive with less than two minutes to play.

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn had its first open date of the season Saturday, which means there's nothing for me to review today. And with six days remaining until its next game — when it hosts Ole Miss — there's still time to look back at the first four weeks.

In the same format used in the weekly "Best of" articles, here's a look back at the best articles, quotes and videos from the first month of the Tigers' season, taking one item from each week.

BEST QUOTES

Left guard Alex Kozan, on how Gus Malzahn notices things other coaches would not (WEEK 1):

“For instance, if we were to run a zone play … most coaches would look at what their quarterback is doing, what are the running backs’ and receiver’s eyes doing. Where are their eyes? He’ll notice what the right guard’s foot placement is. Things like that. A lot of coaches will leave that up to the line coach. He’ll pull you aside 15 minutes later and say: ‘Hey, on that play, what were you doing?’ That’s impressive, I think, for any football player who has the opportunity to work with him.”

Left tackle Greg Robinson, on seeing running back Corey Grant score his first career touchdown against Washington State (WEEK 2):

"Really, when he broke off to the sideline I was cheering him on. They all knocked him down in the end zone, but he felt good about it and it's good for the hard work to pay off.”

Gus Malzahn on the Tigers' use of various pictures to help illustrate their play calls on offense (WEEK 3):

"Of course in the past, I've done a lot of numbers and colors and things like that. You've got to kind of evolve as you go, especially when you have assistants you coach against that used to coach with you and all that. So you've got to kind of keep that on the cutting edge. We played against Oregon and Chip Kelly in 2010 and I got a chance to last year. His signs were fancier than ours, so I tried to get a little competitive with that. Hopefully we're doing a better job."

Quarterback Nick Marshall on his actions prior to taking the field for the final time against Mississippi State, which would turn out to be the eventual game-winning drive for the Tigers (WEEK 4):

"I told the (offense), 'We’re going to score a touchdown.' Then I went down the sideline and told the defense to get us one stop and then we would put them in the end zone."

Junior free safety Jermaine Whitehead on the number of injuries his defensive teammates have suffered since the team reconvened for fall camp (BYE WEEK):

"It kind of hurts that our teammates couldn’t be out there, but we can’t do nothing but play for them. I know they’re watching and proud of us for fighting. I know they’ve got some things they wish they could have been out there to help on, but we’re going to get better with them. Hopefully this week they’ll get back.”

BEST STORIES

As Auburn geared up for its season opener, backup quarterback Jonathan Wallace said he was willing to do ‘anything’ the coaching staff asked of him.

Corey Grant waited a long time for his opportunity to finally arrive, and the Opelika native made the most of it versus Washington State, running for 146 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.

It's still been a problem since he first mentioned it in Week 3, but Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said his unit needed to take out the "trash plays" it allowed in the first two games of the season.

Two weeks ago, we took an in-depth look at Auburn's game-winning drive against Mississippi State, looking at the moments before, during and after Nick Marshall hit a leaping C.J. Uzomah on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds to play.

With a rare off weekend on their hands, Auburn's players planned to take full advantage. Some, like safety Jermaine Whitehead, wanted to head home. Others were going to stick around town. And then there are those like sophomore linebacker Kris Frost, who will watch as many games as he can this weekend given his love of the sport. For the team as a whole, the open date also allows those walking around at less than 100 percent (such as senior defensive end Dee Ford) more time to recuperate.

BEST VIDEOS

Alex Kozan (WEEK 1)

Corey Grant (WEEK 2)

Tre Mason (WEEK 3)

Ryan White (WEEK 4)

Gus Malzahn- Part II (BYE WEEK)

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