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November 26, 2013

HD: Highlights from Malzahn's Iron Bowl presser


AUBURN | Head coach Gus Malzahn talks to the media during Tuesday's press conference leading into the Iron Bowl between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Auburn.

Malzahn discusses closing the gap with the in-state rival, adjusting to the Alabama defense within a game, the significance of this season, using the second half against LSU as motivation, a growing confidence within the team and more.

MALZAHN: Opening statement…"Obviously, it is a huge game for us. It is the Iron Bowl where the winner goes to the SEC championship game, which is everyone's goal. We talked about our goal this year, which is to get better each game. I feel like we have up to this point. For us to win this game, I feel like we have to play our best game and most complete game up to this point."

Did he anticipate closing the gap on Alabama this quickly…"I knew our mindset, which was to get better. There were still a lot of question marks early in the season. We learned a lot about our team. It was our overall attitude and we felt like we had some talent here also."

How long it has taken to adjust to Alabama does defensively during a game in the past and what do they do really well…"First of all, they are extremely talented at every position. From an offensive standpoint, you look for weaknesses and all of that, and they've got very good players at every position. Usually, you have a good idea of what they are going to do; it's just a matter of being able to execute and taking advantage of things when you have them."

Has he had time to ponder what the team has done…"No, there's not time. Like I told our players, we've got a job to do. We will pat ourselves on the back at the end of the year and we will see what happens, but we can't let anything distract us. You can't let your mind go there. You have a job to do; we have a huge game. We need to do exactly what we have done to get us here. That has been our approach."

About the second half of the LSU game…"Earlier in the season, I was real concerned on how our team would handle adversity, and that was my number one thing. We got behind, it was on the road in a hostile environment and we played on the verge of terrible for a quarter and a half. At halftime we had guys that were very vocal and weren't going to let what happened in the past happen. They went out there in the second half and we made it interesting. And if we would have gotten that onside kick, it could have gotten real interesting."

On Auburn's confidence…"Each week they've gotten more and more confident. After a couple big games, you could see that the momentum and confidence was better each week."

Motivating the team throughout the season…"At first, our coaches had high expectations for our players and it was more about us. We were learning about our players. Our coaching staff has done a very good job of developing relationships with our players and trust. Our players trust our coaches and our coaches trust our players."

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