AUBURN, Ala. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn spoke with media members after his team's one-sided victory Saturday afternoon at Jordan-Hare Stadium, which saw the Tigers decimate the Western Carolina Catamounts 62-3.
Malzahn praised both his team's progress and reiterated that Nick Marshall's standing as the starting quarterback despite Jeremy Johnson's sterling performance.
See the transcript of his postgame interview session below (edited for clarity), and check out his interview session at the bottom of this article.
Opening StatementThe big thing that stood out to me was I really feel like our team got better today. Our coaches really challenged the guys that, Hey, we need to get better each week. A lot of teams in our situation wouldnt have. Im very proud of our team, and the fact that they went out there and took care of business today.
On Jeremy Johnson:I thought Jeremy did a solid job. I think he made some good decisions. Our line protected him extremely well. Hes been playing very well in practice and that carried over today.
On the decision to not redshirt Jeremy Johnson:Hes been in the mix for a couple of weeks now and our starter was not 100 percent healthy. We felt like it was a great time to get him in there. We feel like hell help us the rest of the season. Now I want to make this clear: Nick Marshall is our starting quarterback. When Nick is 100 percent, he will be back. The great thing is we feel very good about Jeremy and it was great to get him some in-game experience moving forward.
On Nick Marshall:Well, Nick is our starting quarterback and thats the bottom line. But at the same time, Jeremy will help this team win the rest of the season.
On taking off Jeremy Johnsons redshirt:Weve been thinking about playing him for a couple of weeks now. So, I just thought the timing was perfect. Of course, Nick needs to be 100 percent, so we will see where that's at.
On Nick Marshall returning for Texas A&M:We wanted to rest him and make sure he is 100 percent. Were hoping so. Well see where hes at tomorrow and Tuesday at practice.
On Nick Marshalls injury:Im not going to get into all the personal things. We just want him 100 percent when he comes back.
On school record for total offense:Im proud of our team. Our line did a good job up front. Our backs broke some tackles. We had some explosive plays in the passing game and weve talked about that for the last two weeks. We talked about being more balanced, so Im proud of our offense.
On the differences between Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson:Well I think they are both very talented players. Jeremy has a very strong arm with a quick release and hes a good runner within his own rank.
On Jeremy Johnsons passing:I thought his numbers were very good. I believe he was fairly accurate, but hes been that way for a while. Hes an accurate thrower and hes very good in that aspect.
On a quarterback controversy:No, not at all. I think what we proved today is that we have two very capable quarterbacks and I think that will do nothing but help us moving forward.
On getting both of them in the game:Well see where it goes. Ill get with (offensive coordinator) Coach (Rhett) Lashlee. Were always going to try to do what we feel like gives us the best chance of winning schematically in personnel and all that.
On Jonathan Wallace:I think thats the way it was during the first part of the season, but as the season progressed, Jeremy has gotten more reps in practice and the majority of the No. 2 reps.
On Patrick Miller and Brandon Fulse:Neither one of those guys played. They had some off the field things that they need to take care of.
On the run game:That was a really good thing. We are a run play-action team and any time we can run the football effectively, it opens everything else up. I thought our line did an outstanding job and I thought our running backs broke some tackles.
On Jeremy Johnsons accuracy:Hes been very accurate throwing the football, and I think any time its your first time to be out there, youre going to be a little jacked-up on your first deep ball. Of course, he overthrew it. But he settled down and has been extremely accurate during the passing game.
On Texas A&M:All I can say is we have gotten better each week, and thats been the name of the game throughout this season. I like where our teams at now. Obviously (Texas A&M) is a huge challenge, but I like the fact we're getting better.
On playing so many different guys:Well I think its good. It gives you more depth and weve played a lot of guys anyway this year. Any time they get more experience, it does nothing but help you.
On Johnathan Ford:We moved him to corner this year and well see after the year what happens. I think you can see hes a phenomenal player. The fact that we've got three experienced backs obviously has something to do with that. Hes a threat, theres no doubt.
On what Malzahn said to Jeremy Johnson when he took him out: Really not much. I just shook his hand. We'll evaluate him and grade him, but overall I thought he had a solid day.
On playing Nick Marshall if it was a tight game: I dont know. We would have had to make that decision as we went.
On player injuries:We wanted to make sure that moving forward we're healthy. ... We want to make sure guys are healthy because we're fixing to hit our stretch. I guess we're halfway through now. We'll have our hands full the last six games and we need everybody as healthy as we can.
On how Nick Marshall is dealing with the injury:Nick has been great. Nick's a team player and he was helping in the meetings and on the sideline. Jonathan Wallace is the same way. We got three guys that are just class guys. They help each other, they support each other and thats rare, but we've got three of them.
On Fulse and Miller being suspended:The only thing Im going to say is that they didnt play today. They had some things to take care of off the field.
On the season overall:Im proud of our team through the halfway point of the season. I felt like we have done some good things. Weve not arrived. Were not there yet. But our guys understand that. Were getting better and thats what excites me. Well see where this thing goes.