Malzahn Looking to Help Rhythm of QBs

Comments from offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and players, plus news and practice notes, are featured in this Auburn football report.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said after Tuesday night's practice he liked what he saw from quarterback Clint Moseley in the sophomore's first college start.

The coach also said that Auburn fans could see more of the redshirt sophomore this Saturday night than they did this past Saturday afternoon at LSU.

In the first seven games this season starter Barrett Trotter shared snaps at QB with true freshman Kiehl Frazier, who runs the wildcat formation. Malzahn noted that as Frazier's playing time has increased it has impacted the opportunities for the starting quarterbacks to get a feel for the flow of the game.

"I have got to do a better job of keeping our guys in a rhythm," Malzahn said. "Kiehl Frazier has done some very good things. He will continue to get better, but I think it is fair to say it has been tough, especially last week, for Clint to get into a rhythm. I need to do a better job of helping him do that."

Clint Moseley is shown in action on Saturday at LSU.

Malzahn and the other coaches worked out their team in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts on a beautiful October evening in Auburn. Coaches and players alike said the workout was an upbeat one.

Malzahn was also upbeat about Moseley's potential at quarterback. Commenting on what he saw after studying video of Moseley's play against No. 1 ranked LSU, Malzahn said, "I thought he did some good things. He hung in there. He showed a lot of toughness. He bounced back.

"It was really good for him to see how he reacted in certain situations," said Malzahn, who also serves as Auburn's quarterback coach. "We faced a lot of adversity. For a young and inexperienced guy, that is what you are looking for as a coach--how is he going to respond to the adverse situations? How is going to respond to his teammates? I was very pleased with the way he handled himself and the way he responded to his teammates."

How a quarterback handles adversity is something always noticed by his teammates. Malzahn said the players had a lot of respect for Moseley going into his first start and what they saw reinforced that. "I know after that game they really respect him. The way he responded, he didn't complain, he didn't point fingers. He said we just have to stick together. He showed some very good leadership skills for a guy who is very young and inexperienced."

Part of the adversity for Moseley was being sacked six times by LSU's defense. Despite that Malzahn indicated on Tuesday night the coaches will stick with last week's offensive line starters featuring Brandon Mosley and A.J. Green at tackle, Chad Slade and John Sullen at guard and Reese Dismukes at center.

"The thing about the offensive line is you can see areas we are really improving on," the coach said. "Anytime you mix and match...you know Chad Slade has played three different positions. We rely on a lot of guys working together and the fact that he has two starts under his belt, and the guys are starting to be in place, we are just continuing to work."

Malzahn said the team's lack of success on offense has involved the production in several areas. One of those is wide receiver. After getting injured redshirt freshman Trovon Reed back in a limited capacity vs. LSU, his playing time should increase vs. Ole Miss. Malzahn noted that Auburn's top receiver, Emory Blake, got in some practice on Tuesday night. He was a no-go vs LSU with an ankle injury.

The coach said the Tigers need to throw the football more and are "just waiting for somebody" to step up and spark the offense from the receiver position after managing to score just 10 points vs. LSU.

"Obviously, we have got to find a way to score more points," Malzahn said. "There were times when we got whipped (by LSU). They were very aggressive and an athletic defense. Obviously, we would have liked to have thrown the football a few more times. We got pressure. Give that bunch credit and we are continuing to work hard to get better."

Malzahn said he liked what he saw from the Tigers in Tuesday night's practice. "They were pretty upbeat tonight," he said of the 2 1/2-hour practice. "A lot of energy. It was very refreshing to see that.

"They have kind of put that LSU game behind and are looking forward and are just ready for another game," the offensive coordinator added.

Malzahn said he can see a light at the end of the tunnel for the offense. "I really feel like we can get better. That is what I?told our guys today. We need to find ways to improve each week at what we do. I really look for our guys to do that."

A player on offense Malzahn has been pleased with is junior running back Onterio McCalebb. "He is one of those guys we can hang our hat on," the coach said. "He is a true champion.

"He took some good licks (vs. LSU) and he got back up. Most people would want to come out of a game like that. He is a great leader, he has been a great leader for the last two years. We need to continually try to find ways to get him the ball."

McCalebb said he believes the team was eager to prepare for Ole Miss after taking Monday off. "We had meetings today and everybody seemed like they were attentive in the special teams meeting, which was the first meeting we had," he pointed out.

McCalebb said the same thing happened at the offensive meeting that followed.

"We went out there and had an excellent practice," running back noted. "Everybody was running around, everybody was focused and everything."

Onterio leads the Tigers in receiving with 22 catches and is averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

Senior offensive tackle A.J. Greene said despite being disappointed by his team's 45-10 loss at LSU it is time to be focused on this week's opponent. "We have to take that and look at it as motivation to get better,"?he said.

The Tigers gave up six quarterback sacks in Baton Rouge. Greene said the offensive line's biggest problem at Tiger Stadium was communication in a noisy environment.

"When you go on the road the noise affects the way we make our calls," he said, noting the Tigers weren't always on the same page concerning which defensive player was supposed to be blocked by which Auburn lineman. The result, he said, was "guys were coming free" at times and that played havoc with the offense.

"Each and everyone on the line needs to challenge theirselves and continue to play better," Greene said of the offensive line's struggles vs. LSU. "That is all we can do."

In other news and notes:

*Kickoff for the Ole Miss at Auburn game is 6 p.m. CDT and Coach Gene Chizik urged the fans at his press conference on Tuesday to come out in big numbers to give the Tigers a homefield advantage. Auburn has a 12-2 edge over the Rebels in games played at Jordan-Hare Stadium and leads the overall series 26-9.

The teams have played at six other sites in addition to Auburn and on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford. Regular season games have been played in Birmingham, Jackson, Miss., Mobile and Montgomery and the Tigers won a Liberty Bowl game vs. Ole Miss in 1965 and the Gator Bowl game after the 1970 season in Jacksonville, Fla.

*Saturday's game will be televised on ESPNU with Clay Matvick calling the action with Brian Griese the analyst. Alllison Williams is the sideline reporter.

*Ole Miss traditionally has good punters and that is the case again this season. Tyler Campbell is averaging 44.3 yards per punt and is ranked sixth nationally in punts downed inside the 20-yard line with 18.

*Auburn punter Steven Clark will be trying to bounce back from his first bad performance of the season. Chizik predicted that will happen for the sophomore, who is ranked No. 2 nationally with 25 punts downed in the 20-yard line.

*Despite not getting a quarterback sack vs. LSU, defensive end Corey Lemonier continues to lead the Southeastern Conference in sacks with six, which ties the Auburn sophomore for sixth nationally this week.

*Chizik had praise for running back Onterio McCalebb's all-around play and noted the junior has worked hard to become a better pass receiver. He leads the Tigers in number of catches with 22, which ranks him 16th nationally this season for most receptions by a running back.


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