Balance A Must Vs. Georgia, Malzahn Says

A report on Tuesday night's Auburn football practice features news, notes and quotes.

Auburn, Ala.--After taking Monday off the Auburn football team resumed preparations for Saturday's road trip to play the Georgia Bulldogs and the session got a lukewarm review from Gus Malzahn and higher marks from a Tiger defender.

"It was solid," offensive coordinator Malzahn said about the practice, which lasted for two hours with the Tigers drilling in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts on Tuesday night. "Our guys, for the most part, were mentally ready and trying to improve and get better."

Malzahn said the Tigers need to be ready for a Georgia defensive unit that is ranked third in the SEC this week. He said Auburn's offense has to be effective both throwing and running the ball on Saturday to have a chance to win at Sanford Stadium.

"I think any time you are playing a very good defense you have got to be balanced," the coach said. "That has been our challenge all year.

"We have tried to be balanced," Malzahn said. "Some games we have, some games we have not. Some of our deficiencies have been protecting our quarterback, some of it has been running routes and catching the ball, some of it has been getting the ball to them, but that is our challenge and we have worked hard to get better.

"At times, now that we have some guys healthy again, it looks like we are getting closer to achieving that," Malzahn said.

"We are going to have to be balanced against Georgia," he added. "There is no doubt. They are good enough where you can't be one-dimensional. If they make us one-dimensional it is going to be a tough day."

Commenting on what he has seen on video of Georgia's defense, Malzahn said the group is "very physical" up front with a "lot of speed and experience on the back end."

Malzahn noted that during the off-week the Tigers spent about half their practice time working on offensive execution and half the time preparing for Georgia's defense.

Malzahn, who also serves as Auburn's quarterback coach, said that Clint Moseley has been improving in practice and has stepped up as a leader on offense since getting his first college start vs. LSU.

"After that first week you tell that he was trying to take charge and be more direct and commanding with his teammates," the coach said. "I really think they have listened to him and they have a lot of respect for him."

A player Moseley and the other Auburn members of the offense will be watching is Georgia's Jarvis Jones, the SEC's leader in quarterback sacks.

"He is one of those hybrid players," Malzahn said. "He is kind of unconventional, but he is such a great athlete. He has got very good instincts. He has the flexibility to do a lot of things on his own and sometimes that is scary. It was very impressive the way he played against Florida."

Malzahn added that Georgia has talented players throughout the defense, something that will be a major test for the offense on Saturday.

Last year Malzahn was courted by several colleges with head coaching vacancies and his name has come up as a potential candidate at Ole Miss with Houston Nutt being replaced. Asked if he had heard from the Rebels he said that the only thing he is worried about this week is scoring points vs. Georgia on Saturday.

An Auburn defender who has been solid in recent games is Eltoro Freeman. The senior had a higher opinion of Tuesday's practice than Malzahn.

Freeman said the Tigers had good practices last week and that continued the trend this week for the Sunday and Tuesday night sessions.

"Our confidence is great," Freeman said. "I don't think we have had a bad practice yet. Everything is going smooth. We have had a couple busts overall here and there, but overall I think they have been great practices."

In other news and notes:

*In addition to the game being televised by CBS at 2:30 p.m. Central on Saturday, it will be carried on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 220 and XM channel 99.

*Auburn vs. Georgia games have been played at seven different sites going back to the first contest in 1892 at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. Auburn is 5-4-3 in games played vs. Georgia in Atlanta, 18-11 in Athens, 10-14-2 in Auburn, 16-21-2 in Columbus, 2-2 in Macon, 2-0 in Montgomery and 1-0-1 in Savannah.

*Going into Saturday's contest, the Tigers are 9-6 in away games under Gene Chizik.

*Chizik's Tigers have won 13 of their last 15 games vs. SEC opponents.

*With seven consecutive victories this season, Georgia is riding the longest winning streak of Mark Richt's tenure as head coach of the Bulldogs. In his 11th season running the UGA program, his teams have posted a 103-36 record.

*Georgia junior Branden Smith started on both offense, defense and special teams in UGA's 63-16 victory over the New Mexico State last week. Smith, who played tailback and cornerback, finished with 102 all-purpose yards. He scored a touchdown on a 56-yard run and was one of nine UGA players to score a touchdown, the most players to do that in one game for the Bulldogs since 1958.

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