AUBURN, Ala. — Arkansas State head coach Bryan Harsin took part in the Sun Belt coaches’ teleconference on Monday. Check out a roundup of his quotes below.
Here’s what Harsin had to say in his call with reporters, which lasted nearly eight minutes:
On his team's running game, highlighted by David Oku:
"We'll start with David. David has experience, last year being a 1,000-yard rusher. He's got a few games under his belt to be able to come back to and draw from. I don't think he gets overly anxious going into games.
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"I think he's got a pretty good head on his shoulders as far as his demeanor out there. David is a guy that's got very good vision. I felt like in the game, we wanted him to be a downhill back and start there first. And he did that in the game. He hit the holes, he got vertical and then when he got in the open field, that's part of his deal to make guys miss, and he was able to do that. We've just got to continue that trend that he started in the first game. Just keep the downhill mentality and then once you get in the open field, do your deal.
"As far as the other two, Michael Gordon and Sirgregory Thornton, (they) did a great job when they came in. Michael's a guy that's got speed to breakaway and pull away and he showed that. He's just getting better. He's a younger guy, so the more opportunities he gets, the better he'll get.
"Sir-G, being a senior, we feel like he's one of our bigger backs. Downhill, that's his job. To get in there and to get us going downhill and get us a first down in those short-yardage situations and those types of things. He showed some power in the game, as far as pulling through some tackles. So those three guys did a very good job. We're going to need all three of those as we go through the season, because they're going to be guys that carry a lot of the load for us and we're going to need all of them to do that."
On whether Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn knowing Arkansas State's players makes Saturday more challenging:
"It's a challenge regardless, whether he knows our personnel or not. They've got a good football team. They've got very good players on their side. That's more of what the challenge is, is trying to go against the type of players that they have. Our players have watched the film, and they know that the opponent they're going to play against is very good. So we have a big challenge on top of that, along with the knowledge that he knows these players and they know he's been around them and so he understands them. But the biggest thing is just the one-on-one battles and the opponent that we have to play. We've got a big challenge ahead of us."
On what he saw from Auburn in its victory over Washington State:
"They provide different looks on the defensive side. They've got enough guys that they can utilize at some different positions, so you've got some multiplicity there from the defense. I think their corners and safeties, they feel good about. They put those guys out there and let them go one-on-one and have some battles. They also do some things to protect them with some cover-two and different things like that. Then you look at the D-line, you start there, and they've got some big guys up front. They're big, they're strong, they're physical. That's one area where when you get in the SEC, you're going to see that on both sides of the ball. And the D-line is no exception. They've got some very good players there. It comes down to establishing the line of scrimmage for us. We've got a huge challenge there. And then being able to take advantage of some opportunities outside when we can. So our guys are going to be on point. Our quarterback's got to make good decisions and we've got to protect him from those guys up front.
"Their offense is obviously very explosive. They've got a lot of talent and a lot of ability to do different things. It's one game.
"Coach Malzahn, I know he's got a lot of arsenal in his package as far as playcalling and things like that. It's still early in the year. In the first three or four games, many teams are still developing and getting in things from camp that they worked on. We'll see some things in there that we haven't seen from this year. We'll do our best to prepare for that. That's going to be a challenge, just trying to go out there and see what type of game plan they're going to have for us coming into the game.
Special teams, they've got some talented players that they utilize on their special teams. There's a lot of different things in there as well. Still some changes that will be made, I'm sure, that they'll make and we'll have to make. So that's going to be one where players just have to sit back and rely on their knowledge of what we're trying to accomplish and then adjust based on the looks that they get.
On possibly mixing things up at quarterback:
"I don't know. We utilized Fredi (Knighten) in there during this game. We'll decide what we want to do with him as far as going into this game. Adam (Kennedy) obviously will be our guy playing for us. How much we utilize him, I don't know."