Gus Malzahn: 'Energy level was good' in first scrimmage

March 29, 2014 

After the offense had its share of highlights during last week's scrimmage, Auburn's defense bounced back on Saturday. The defense picked off two passes and allowed only one touchdown.

LAUREN BARNARD — Auburn University

AUBURN, Ala. — Saturday marked Auburn's first scrimmage of the spring.

Originally set to be played in Jordan-Hare Stadium, it was moved to the indoor practice facility due to inclement weather. That didn't slow down the Tigers, though, as Malzahn said the team ran between 90 and 100 plays. According to Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, the offense ran the ball "60 percent of the time."

"We just kind of wanted to see both sides," he said. "We let everyone play. It was fairly equal reps. It was good for us as coaches. Now we’ll be able to go into the film room for the first time with a true scrimmage and evaluate our guys. We’ll narrow it down as we go, but I thought our energy level was good. I thought it was a very physical scrimmage, which was very encouraging."

It wasn't perfect — not that Malzahn was expecting it to be. He noted a few "pre-snap" penalties that occurred, with players either jumping offside or not getting set when going in motion.

Media members were not permitted to view the scrimmage, but according to members of the team, at least three different players scored touchdowns. Cameron Artis-Payne reportedly found the end zone on a draw play while Tony Stevens and Brandon Fulse reeled in touchdown receptions.

With that in mind, Gabe Wright said defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson won't be too pleased when he turns on the tape.

"That's one of our big (emphases) as a defense. We really want to cut down on explosive plays," the senior defensive tackle said. " ... (So) considering that our goal was to cut back on explosives and we had quite a bit of them, for sure, that's going to be the emphasis (in film study)."

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