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Transcript: Auburn's Malzahn says Marshall will QB game against Texas A&M

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AUBURN, AL -

Opening statement…"We have another big road test against a Top 10 team. It will be a great environment and a challenge for our defense playing one of the top offenses in college football with the best player in college football at quarterback. Defensively they are very aggressive. They take a lot of chances, so offensively, we are going to have to do a really good job with our pressures and also scoring points." 

On keeping Johnny Manziel in the pocket…"I think that is a great challenge and one each week that each defense tries to scheme up. He finds a way to be effective no matter how you play him. He is the best player in college football. He is very good within their system, but he is probably even better once things break down. He is a great backyard player. He makes great decisions and puts a lot of pressure on the defense." 

Does he know more about his Auburn team than before its first road game at LSU…"We definitely know more about our team. The fact that we played a very good team on the road -- we learned a lot about our team on that night. I've got to believe that we will handle ourselves better than the first time, which we will definitely need to have a chance." 

Any concerns of Nick Marshall being rusty…"He was locked in during practice last week. He practiced Sunday and he looked good. We are past the midway point. If it was early in the season I would be concerned, but I am not too concerned now." Will Marshall start Saturday… "Yes." 

On Johnny Manziel's competitive nature…"He is almost like watching a video game sometimes with the stuff he does. The human side, his competitiveness, his toughness – that's what really stands out to me. He is a physically and mentally tough individual. He plays with that edge." 

How to prepare for someone like Manziel in practice…"You do the best you can as far as someone trying to simulate him. No one can simulate him exactly like he is. We try to do some things to prepare our defense as good as it can get. Once the first quarter comes, they will understand the speed and everything that goes with it. Hopefully you are able to adjust with it as the game goes on." 

Is there pressure on Auburn's offense to keep pace with Texas A&M's offense…"As a coach, you go in strategically each game with a plan, but then you wait to see how the game unfolds. Every game unfolds differently. You have to be able to adjust. Obviously, offensively we will need to score points and we know that. We will see how the game unfolds." 

Did he talk to Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze after last week's game…"We talk from time to time about different things. I watched it on TV. It was impressive what that quarterback was able to do."

Has Auburn has addressed Texas A&M's defense simulating snap counts in practice…"Yeah, just like every week, whatever they do we are going to try to prepare our guys the best we can and see how things turn out." 

Does Manziel make it more important to capitalize on turnovers…"Any time you are playing a great player like him, strategically that changes some things, and we are definitely aware of that. We are playing a great offense and a great player, so we are going to have to adjust offensively and defensively and really even on special teams."

How much does Malzahn get involved in the defensive game plan…"I've got a lot of confidence in Coach (Ellis) Johnson. He's one of the best in the business. We've got a great staff. I'm on top of things. I'll know what we are doing, and every now and then throw in something, but they're good at what they are doing, and I've got a lot of trust. You can tell the defense is getting better each week, and we are going to have to be better this week against this bunch." 

Does he plan on slowing down Auburn's offense to keep Manziel off the field…"I think you've got to really see how the game unfolds, and each game unfolds differently. Sometimes you may need to try to keep it away from him. Sometimes you may need to go a little faster. Whatever your advantage is what you need to do. But obviously, the more you keep the guy on the sideline, that helps your team, and we understand that. But at the same time, we're pretty good at certain things, so we've got to have that balance. We'll see how the game unfolds." 

Any past games where Manziel may have shown a weakness…"We look at everything. You look at everything to try to get a strategic advantage, but you're exactly right. The guy doesn't have any off games. He's special. If you're a casual fan, he's fun to watch." 

How did Jeremy Johnson grade out against Western Carolina…"Jeremy did a good job. For the first time ever being on a college field in front of a lot of people, we thought he did a really good job. Obviously, we had the one turnover, but he's the type -- he's a very intelligent player -- I think he'll have a chance to improve." 

How does Johnson fit in the game plan for this week…"We don't want to give all of our secrets away, but he will be used from game to game, and we'll try to have either different packages or any way to help us be successful." 

Will Jonathan Jones play again this season…"We're hoping. That's still a little bit up in the air, but we're hoping that he will be back on the field quick. He's an outstanding player, and I think when he gets out there, you can really see that." 

On Reese Dismukes' performance…"Reese has gotten stronger. I think that's the thing that stands out to me. He's really got into the weight room; and he's stronger than even last year. I think that has really helped him." 

Is there an update on Patrick Miller and Brandon Fulse…"Nothing has changed as of right now, but we'll see how that goes." 

On Greg Robinson's play…"Greg's an extremely strong young man, and the more experience he gets, you can see he gets comfortable in our blocking schemes. He's a very good pass protector, too. We have a lot of confidence in Greg. " 

The challenges of the Texas A&M offense…"They've got outstanding receivers, and of course they have the Evans kid. I think he's one of the top guys in college football. Their running backs are good as anybody in college football. Their line's good. There's not an area that really stands out that you'd say is a weakness. Matter of fact, most of them are strengths. Then when you throw that quarterback in that scrambles around and makes plays, when things break down, that creates huge challenges." 

On Nick Marshall's reps in practice Sunday…"He looked pretty good. We didn't go crazy with a 12-period practice but he looked pretty good. So hopefully another day of rest, he'll be looking good today." 

On Texas A&M's defense..."Any time their offense is scoring a lot of points, sometimes the game goes longer. So statistically, I think some of that's deceiving. Also, they've played without some of their main guys I believe earlier in the year. They've gotten better and are starting to settle in to who they are, and I thought they did a solid job defending Ole Miss. They bring a lot of pressure. They do a lot of different things. We're going to have to handle that; and score some points. " 

On Texas A&M's quick success in the SEC…"They were a good program before they got in the league. Then you throw that quarterback in, and certain players have the ability to make people even better than they really are. That's not anything to take away from their other players. They've got some great players, but he really makes them good." 

On Texas A&M's offense beyond Manziel…"Kevin Sumlin is a great offensive mind. I coached against him when I was at Tulsa, and he was at Houston. They were putting up similar numbers. He's one of the best in the business, and he's got a quarterback and some offensive guys that can really do what he needs them to do. They've got it going." 

On using games like this to determine who has a better offense…"You know all I am worried about is winning. I am not into seeing who has the best offense; it is about who has the best team, and just trying to strategically find the best chance we have to win, and doing that. That is really all I am focusing on." 

What would a win would mean to the program after last season…"To be honest with you the only thing we have talked about, and the only thing on our mind, is this year. It is a huge game for us this year, and it is a completely different deal than it was last year. It is a big one. Our guys are going to be extremely excited to play this one, and it is a huge challenge for us. It is kind of one of those measuring sticks, another measuring stick for our program and where we are at this year."

Did playing at LSU at night help prepare for the atmosphere at Kyle Field…"Hopefully it has prepared us. Obviously LSU is a very tough place to play at night. I have heard nothing but great things about this environment. We will do everything we can at practice to simulate crowd noise, but there is nothing like the real thing when everything is going on. I would like to think because of the experience we had at LSU it helped us for this one." 

Comparing Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel…"I would say those two you just mentioned are probably two of the best to ever play the game in college football. We only got a chance to see Cam Newton for one year, but this guy is in the same element. They are different, but they are still some of the best to ever play." 

On a player like Manziel from an offensive coordinator's perspective…"When you have a special player you can call anything and it usually works. They can get you out of bad plays and they can make stuff right that is not right. The special ones can do that." 

On moving on to the next play if a mistake is made…"I think that is critical. He is going to get his, there is no doubt; we just have to hang in there and keep battling. The good thing is we do have some depth on defense and that will be very critical in a game like this. You have to put the play behind you and you have to move forward. For the most part, I feel like our defense has done that this year." 

On Justin Garrett's status… "Same thing, week to week." 

On Montravius Adams and C.J. Uzomah…"I believe they will practice today."

INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn Athletics Dept.