War Eagle Nation celebrates A-Day - WRBL

War Eagle Nation celebrates A-Day

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AUBURN, Ala. -
The Auburn Tigers had a record crowd at A-Day on Saturday. It was their first A-Day with Gus Malzahn as head coach. Here quotes from coaches and players.
 
Head Coach Gus Malzahn
Opening statement...
"First of all, I just wanted to say I really appreciate the fans. It was kind of overwhelming, 83,000 plus for A-Day. Hats off to our fans. I know that meant unbelievable amounts to our players and coaches, and that's really what stood out to me. We had 111 plays. We wanted to use this thing as still an evaluation. It wasn't just trying to window dress it as far as making it nice for a spring game so we had, I think, 80 plays in the first half. We tried to go fast and use our pace. We slowed down the second half on purpose. We had already kind of seen what we wanted. I was glad the way our guys responded. There was some good and there was some bad, but I'm real proud of our guys. The way they are responding, hustling on and off the field, dealing with adversity, dealing with some success, and really that's what I was looking for. Overall, I'm pretty well pleased. A lot of things that we did make mistakes I believe are critical."
 
On scrimmages...
"Every scrimmage I feel like we've improved in all areas--defensively and offensively. It was good to be in front of a crowd because certain players, especially young guys, you are curious to see how they're going to respond to being in front of the crowd. Of course, this was a great atmosphere, and it gave us a lot of good information from a coach's standpoint."
 
On Cameron Artis-Payne...
"I tell you what, he made some really good runs. He's a big downhill back. He's gotten better. You know, he's a junior college guy coming in. I believe the first few practice his head was spinning. He slowed down and really made some good runs in our lineup and did a solid job."
 
On Tre Mason...
"Tre, that's really the first work he's done in live work since he got injured so he wasn't 100 percent. He got in there and he played hard and did some good things."
 
On Corey Grant...
"He had a pretty good fever the last few days. He's been extremely sick. You know, if this had been a game situation he probably would've played, but he wasn't feeling good. I will say this. He's had an outstanding spring, and he's done a very good job."
 
On the quarterbacks...
"There was a couple of good things they did, there was a couple of things that are standing behind them, you know, kind of whispering to them a little bit. There's some good things. It was great for us to evaluate the guys. I wish we could be live, but we only have two guys, scholarship guys, going through spring to evaluate them a little bit better, but it gave us some good information today, especially with them."
 
On a quarterback separating himself...
"I'm big picturing it right now. I'm standing behind, but it'll be good for us to watch it on film and see who executed the best."
 
On the starting quarterback coming from current players...
"All of the positions we are going to play the best people. Whether that's quarterback or kicker or center. We've really--until you get about three weeks in to fall camp--won't have any positions just completely solidified. The verdict is still out."
 
On the size of the crowd...
"It says a lot. I think it says a whole lot to college football and Auburn fans. We had a tough year last year, but for them to come out and support our team, it's overwhelming from a coach's standpoint. I know our players, they had big eyes, and they really appreciate it. It'll go a long way for the future, especially as far as our players, our coaches and recruiting."
 
On the offensive line...
"I thought they did a solid job at times. I'll tell you what, our defensive line did a good job, too. There were a lot of times when they were playing in the backfield, and that's what coach (Rodney) Garner and coach (Ellis) Johnson have been stressing, and there was some good on both sides."
 
On Justin Garrett's first score...
"I'll tell you what, he has had an outstanding spring. Coach (Ellis) Johnson, I believe, has him in the right position, letting him play, and that was a great play he made--scoop and score. That was a big defensive play."
 
On ball security...
"Yes, that is definitely a concern. I think the first time was actually the crowd noise that got the snap. He thought he said go and the ball went flying over, but ball security really for the most part this spring the running backs have done a good job with ball security. It's just been other areas but really for the most in the spring our running backs have done a good job with the ball security, it's just been other areas but yeah that's definitely a concern. Any time you're playing a whole lot of people that's definitely a concern."
 
On two deep...
"We are getting close, there's no doubt. We got a lot of information as coaches. We have two more practices which will be another good one that will help us evaluate. But, every time you go and we have gone live quite a bit and anytime you go through scrimmages, that's when you really find out a lot."
 
On Cameron Artis- Payne...
"He's had a good spring . He's a big, strong guy, he's a hard worker, he wants to be good, and there's great competition in the backfield and that's a good thing going into next year."
 
On hit regarding Dimitri Reese...
"Well, first of all I have to say a 15-yard penalties are unacceptable. We have asked our guys to play hard, we're trying to get them to play hard but I promise you that will be corrected. That was not good, no doubt. Our guys are trying to play hard, and get big hits but definitely that will be corrected."
 
On things other than ball security you didn't like...
"There were some mistakes. When you're standing behind and you are trying to play everybody there's going to be some mistakes. There was also some good things, and I'll say this again: the number one thing I was looking for was our attitude, our physical hard edge as far as running off the field, dealing with adversity, dealing with success, playing together  and for the most part I saw that today."
 
On recievers communication...
"Well there's a lot of communication that goes in, not only from the sideline, but with each other and throughout the spring we've improved."
 
On Demetruce McNeal...
"He's dealing with some things off the field, and it's day to day and that's really all we know at this time."
 
On practices after A-Day...
"I think it's really important, especially for us to grade the scrimmage, to come back and try to get corrections the last two practices we'll have a good foundation like we talked about the first spring going into summer."
 
On Toomer's celebration...
"I've very excited about the Toomer's
 
QB, Kiehl Frazier
On the crowd….
"It was amazing. We didn't expect that many people to be out there. Especially after the season we had last year. For them to show that much support, it was amazing. We were all definitely excited. Any time people come to watch you, it is fun. For the stadium to be pretty much full was a big deal."
 
On personal performance…
"I thought I did alright. I felt like you could tell we got a little more acclimated as it went on."
 
On what he felt he needed to clean up personally…
"Just procedure, and some of my passes were airing here and there. I threw probably one or two balls that I shouldn't have thrown. So, just making better decisions."
 
On if he feels completely comfortable within the offense…
"Yeah, definitely. I feel like it's more of a spread offense, and I can run around a little bit more. Plus we're going fast paced and that's something that I grew up in, so I'm definitely feeling comfortable. We didn't do much zone read, so to get more comfortable with that is going to be a big part of our offense."
 
On comfort level with the five scholarship receivers going through this Spring..
"We are on the same page on 95% of the things. Some of the new things, we need to clean up. But since we've been here for three years now, I feel like we're a pretty close knit group."
 
On he and JonathanWallace…
"We are good friends off the field, and it's competitive on the field. I'm rooting for him to do well, but at the same time everybody wants to be the starter. But that's not really something we focus on. We're just focusing on getting better this Spring."
 
On what he feels he made need work on..
"Just a leadership role. It's a lot different being a leader of this of this offense, than it would be having the whole thing. So, just getting back acclimated to being able to lead and then being able to run the fast pace."
 
RB Tre Mason
On team unity…
"I feel like we are stronger as a group, but have to continue to try to get better."
 
On how he thought he did today overall…
"I would just say mediocre. There is always room for us to get better. So I feel like we had a mediocre day."
 
On how things started to click at the end of the first half…
"Our offense is coming together well and people are starting to make plays, but there are still things that we need to fix and adjust. I think we will be OK."
 
On the turnout today…
"I feel like as a team, offensively and defensively, we did well. We are just looking forward to getting going."
 
On what will be worked on in practices next week…
"The small things. Committing fewer penalties. We have a lot of things that we need to be better at. Our goal is to be No. 1 offensively."
 
On how close they are as a team…
"It's still too early to tell. We won't know until fall."
 
On tempo…
"I feel like we did a great job carrying out the pace. It's a high tempo offense. We're fast. Everybody was ready for it, and we were excited to do it. I didn't see a lot of people tired out there."
 
On playing with Cameron Artis-Payne…
"I've actually gotten excited. I love seeing them do their thing and ball out. We want to do this thing together. We are looking to do something."
 
On Cameron Artis-Payne's running style…
"He's a strong runner. A lot of people on defense talk about how he is going to be a problem for teams in between the tackles."
 
QB Jonathan Wallace
On A Day...
"Well, today was a successful day. I'd say that there were a lot of positives, some negatives but I'm really proud of our teammates, especially the fans. The attendance today was great. You know, today was a great day."
 
On the pace of offense...
"We did a pretty good job today. Of course, we've got a long way to go, we've got a long way to go. We have really got to work on some things. But, that's a positive thing for us, just to keep going and keep working.  We can't get complacent now, we've got to push through the summer."
 
On shaky first half...
"You know, just miscommunication.  But after that, we got things rolling."
 
On what felt good to him in the game...
"I felt pretty comfortable with everything today. I really went out there and wanted to have some successful drives and put together some long drives and I think that was something that we were able to do today to put the ball in the end zone."
 
LB Justin Garrett
On the physicality of the defense...
"I feel like everybody on the team was going after it today.  Defense was attacking, the offense was being aggressive, defense was being physical so I feel it was a pretty good A Day. I thank all of the fans for coming out and supporting."
 
On the run defense...
"The run defense was good.  Some people may have missed a line or missed a sign, but overall I feel like the run defense was good and we've improved a lot."
 
TE Brandon Fulse
On the game...
"I had a touchdown catch and the blocking was good. But I also think we have a lot to work on and split out because I'm going to be trying to split out some more blocking space. I need to work on that a little bit more but overall, I think I had a pretty good day."
 
RB Cameron Artis-Payne
On the game...
"I thought today was a really good day. We have been working really hard and are finally starting to get our offense down. There is a lot of stuff we still need to work on and contain. There is a lot of team camaraderie and it is looking pretty good."
 
On giving people a glimpse of who he is as a player…
"I try to come out and play hard on the offensive line. The quarterbacks made some great throws and I made some good catches."
 
On his reaction to the size of the crowd…
"I have never been around 80,000 people at once, especially for a spring game so I cannot wait for the regular season."
 
On his one handed catch…
"It was a good play. Our coaches have us working on catching the ball no matter if they are bad throws or good throws; we just have to get our hands on it."
 
On being motivated for fall camp…
"As a team our focus is mostly going to be on offense. Our defense is coming together. This is motivation for us to work harder because we know the season is approaching quickly."
 
On how good the offense and the team could be…
"I think the team could be great, and I think Auburn could be great. I think as long as the players execute we can be as good as we want to be."
 
On giving Tre something to think about…
"We are a team. We do not think about that, we encourage each other.  It is definitely good to have competition. Tre is a great running back and I look to him every day."
 
On the pacing of the game…
"We definitely felt comfortable with the pacing of the game. We are getting better as the game is going on. The first couple days were completely different from where we are now. I think that we will keep moving forward and will be explosive."
 
On being pleased with his performance today…
"I do not know, I have to watch film. I feel like there are a couple of things I could have done better, and when get back and look at the film I am going to find some things to work on. All in all, we had a good day as an offense."
 
On working his way into the rotation…
Only time will tell. That is the coaches decision, I just come out and play."
 
On describing his running style…
"Physical."
 
LB Kris Frost
On the game...
"It was fun. We all got out there and had a whole lot of fun. A lot of, big turn. You know, it was like a regular practice basically with the pace. It might have even been a little slower due to the TV timeouts and everything, but it was fun overall. It was a lot of fun."
 
On the new defense…
"Yeah, I love it. It gives you a lot of chances to roam freely and make plays. All the linebackers and all the guys on defense are really picking it up really well. We are enjoying it a whole lot."
 
On progress this spring…
"We made a whole lot of progress. We're feeling really confident. Everybody knows what they are supposed to do in their assignments. Going in, we you know what to do what to do when you are prepared that gives up a lot of confidence going in."
 
DE Dee Ford
On A Day...
"The game overall, I feel like everyone played within their edge, especially by our third scrimmage. Nobody was tired. No one had any excuses. We came out and gave it our all. I really have to commend this crowd. We packed it out. I think that brought an extra edge for the whole team. I really enjoyed A-Day."
 
On the full stadium…
"Yeah, I looked up and was like man. I felt like this was a fall game. You can't ask for greater fans."
 
On the new defense…
"It's honestly the same for me. Different calls, different terminology, but all the same. It's football."
 
On the defense improving…
"I think it is dramatic. I feel like we play on the edge. I feel our guys are playing fast and playing with a purpose. I think we have really improved on little things and fundamentals."
 
DE Nosa Eguae
On A Day...
On the crowd...
"It was awesome. The Auburn Family is just resilient, and what we stand for is so much bigger than just football. When there's 84,000 strong for a spring game, it definitely makes you want to come out and put on your best performance. I'm definitely looking forward to finishing out the spring and going into the summer working hard."
 
On where he is on defense and where he thinks they are as a team...
"I feel like the communication is coming along. Anytime you get a new defense you have to get familiar with it, and that's a growing process. I feel like we came and have grown. The guys are communicating very well, the defense is cohesive and we're definitely getting better as a unit."
 
On the defense looking good...
"I think instinct does have a little bit to do with it but I don't know if the offense was doing everything that they usually do. Any time in a game like this, I think the defense looks a little bit better than the offense but I think they played great. There were a lot of guys on that end that made big plays today, once again we wanted to do it for the fans."
 
On the pace as a defensive player...
"It's real. At the beginning of the spring it was tough but we figured we would eventually get used to it. It's hard to get used to that pace but you just come out there every day and you get better. You have to focus on the technique and the little things. We came out and continued to work, and we're starting to get used to that pace for sure."

Dayne Young

Dayne is a sports anchor and reporter for WRBL. He started covering the Chattahoochee Valley in September 2012. More>>

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