Transcript: Malzahn sets focus on Tennessee

Opening statement…"The first thing I would like to do is address the Anthony Swain injury that has gathered a lot of attention. At the time, I did not see it happen. After seeing the TV copy, I can see why people question it. I have coached for 23 years and I have never told any player to fake an injury. I promise you this, moving forward, there will be no questionable issues like that again. That is all I am going to say about it.

"We are playing a very solid team. This group has been very good at home. They beat a very good South Carolina team, took Georgia to overtime and had a chance to win that game. They have a lot of good talent and a very good coaching staff, so it will be a big challenge for us."

Putting pressure on Tennessee's quarterback early…"He is playing at home and he has experience. Our challenge will be to keep him off balance. He is a very talented young man. He can run it and throw it. He is a dual threat challenge."

The strength of Tennessee's offensive line…"It is one of the better offensive lines that we play. They are a veteran group. They are big and physical. I think they are very talented."

On Tennessee playing so well at home…"I know they have a young team. They are very comfortable at home. They have a great place to play. They have a great crowd and everything that goes with that."

Preparing for Tennessee's quarterback…"This time of year you do the best you can. You do your homework on whoever is playing and trying to predict how they attack you."

Tennessee's rush defense against Auburn's rushing attack…"That is where it starts with us. We have to establish the run. Like Coach Lashlee said the other night, the way the game unfolded last week was pretty unique. We didn't have a lot of snaps, but we were running the football and had a lead. Our quarterback really didn't practice during the week. It was his shoulder that we were worried about and the run was working. We definitely need to establish the run, but obviously, you have to be balanced and take what the defense gives you."

What the Mississippi State come-from-behind win did for the team going forward…"That was a huge win; it was the way we won that game. We were able to come back. There was a lot of pressure on our kids at home, and I think our crowd was still trying to figure out who we were as a team. I think that gave everybody a good shot in the arm moving forward."

On Tre Mason…"He's really coming on. He wanted the ball the other night. You could tell that he was real explosive. He was breaking tackles. He's a veteran guy and was wanting the football, and we just kept giving it to him. Moving forward, we'll spread the ball around. We've got two very talented other running backs, but he was hot, and that's what we go with."

Is he concerned about the lack of passing reps Nick Marshall has…"All you can do, especially if you have a guy who didn't go through spring, is you've got to prepare him in practice. We've got a lot of confidence in him. He can throw the football. We feel like he's improved. It was just last week was so unique due to the fact he didn't practice. As a quarterback, you need reps. To answer your question, I'm not that concerned about game reps. We're getting plenty in practice, and there'll be a time that we'll need to throw the football. We know that, but we've got a lot of confidence in him."

Is Tennessee better than people give them credit…"There's no doubt about that -- just the fact that they were able to beat a South Carolina team and had a chance to beat Georgia both at home. Of course that's what I'm looking at. They're a different team at home, and we know that we are going to get their best. We've got to keep improving. We've got to play better than we did last week. They do have some talented players, and they've got a very solid coaching staff that's good at what they do."

The plan with Jeremy Johnson…"Jeremy was prepared to start the game. He had a great week of practice. We have a lot of confidence in him. I was very proud of him. It's hard to come into the game and throw the football two weeks in a row and complete both of them. That says a lot about him. He played three plays and came out. He had a great attitude. We've got a lot of confidence in him. If he's called upon, we feel like he can run our entire offense."

On the confidence of the team…"I think any time you're successful, you're going to be more confident. I really feel like this team's grounded. They've bought into taking it one game at a time. I don't hear anybody talking about anything but looking forward. There's a lot of maturity from our older guys as far as leadership. They've done a very good job in that area."

On not including much of a sweep play in the offense…"I think there will be a time it will come into play. It's all about what a defense gives you. As a play-caller you have got to take what they give you. That's still a part of our offense. Hopefully as we go through this year, that will be more effective. We've had some big plays with that, but certain teams take certain things away."

On preparing for teams…"I think that first, with any game, you're trying to gather information on how they're playing. Our guys have just done a good job at executing. That's really helped us. Any time you can put points on the board early, that gives you a lot of confidence moving forward. We'll continue to do that."

On Nick Marshall continuing to start despite the injury…"That's what we're hoping."

On Pat Dye's comments regarding last year's quarterbacks…"Of course, I recruited all the quarterbacks here, and they're nothing but champions. I'm proud of the guys."

INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn Athletics Dept.