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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Late night notes: Ziemba ready for Clemson

As left tackle Lee Ziemba tried to hobble off the field at Mississippi State, he saw his coaches yelling at him to get on the ground.

They needed him to stall enough to get the No. 84 tight end jersey off of his replacement, Brandon Mosley.

“They needed some time,” Ziemba said with a laugh. “When they said to get down, I hit the deck.”

Five days after going down with what looked like it could be a serious knee injury, Ziemba said he’s fine. He practiced Tuesday at full speed and said he’ll be ready to go for Clemson.

“I knew it wasn’t that bad,” he said. “I wasn’t in agony. I just knew something wasn’t right. I’m good to go.”

Ziemba missed the final two and a half quarters and had an MRI after the game that revealed no tears in his knee.

He has 40 consecutive starts, nine shy of Will Herring’s school record.

“It doesn’t mean as much to me as winning games,” he said. “The starts will come. I just want to win football games. I think we have a chance to do something special this year. I’m really excited. I just want to do my part.”

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Here are some other notes and quotes from the late round of interviews:
  • A lot of talk about pace tonight, which I plan to turn into a full blown story for Thursday's paper. But we'll put some quotes up tonight too. Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said it was deliberate. "Yeah, we did go slower," he said. "Couple factors: We were on the road, we’ve got a new quarterback. I wanted to make sure our communication was good. And the fact that we got a lead, and we wanted to be smart and whatever gives us the best chance to win the game."
  • This was especially true near the end, especially when Auburn was trying to kill the clock. "I thought they responded well," he said. "Obviously now we would have liked to get points a couple of times in the red zone. The story of that game was we moved the ball decent but we got down in the red zone and weren't able to score. We got negative plays and backed up. If we would have scored a couple of those times, we would have felt a little better about that."
  • Malzahn said the team still wants to crank the pace. "We're going to do what we do," he said. "We still want to play fast and score points. But you've got to give Mississippi State some credit on that, too."
  • This seems contrary to Malzahn's attack philosophy. "You do whatever it takes to win," he said. "Obviously we like to go fast. But like I said, the situation dictated that."
  • The players seemed to be OK with slowing things down. "Like coach said, you got to adapt to different things," wide receiver Darvin Adams said. "At some point we tried to eat up a little clock. He did that on purpose, eat up a little bit of clock and get the defense off the field."
  • Malzahn on quarterback Cam Newton's first pick: "He didn't make very many mistakes during the game but that was one he'd like to have back. The good thing about Cam is once he does make a mistake, very rarely does he come back and make the same mistake. We'll keep working on the things that need improved. Overall, I felt he made some good decisions."
  • Although Malzahn said he likes what freshman running back Mike Dyer has shown, no change has been made to the running back pecking order. Not sure how much I believe him after the split of carries the first two weeks.
  • Malzahn was asked if he could ever see a back getting 37 carries in a game like South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore did. "Yeah, I could," he said. "That's a lot but we can do that. Ideally, you'd like to spread it around a little bit. But we have a couple that could do that."
  • Dyer took it as a compliment that the coaches entrusted him with the ball late in the game. "It was like a big decision, getting thrown in as a freshman in a key moment, trying to run the clock out," he said. "Just kind of going in and getting the reps, when it’s big time, it’s kind of like, wow, what are you going to do with it? I just wanted to go out there and protect the ball and do what I can for the team and help us win the game."
  • He ran out of bounds on the first carry, a no-no on a clock-killing drive. The coaches didn't tell him about it. "Actually, Ziemba did, not the coaches," Dyer said. "He just said stay in bounds.”
  • Adams has tweaked his ritual of quickly handing the ball to the nearest official after every touchdown catch. He’s added a little pat on the back. “He’ll smile every now and then,” Adams said. The receiver started the routine as a sign of respect. He knows there’s no risk a 15-yard celebration penalty if he simply hands the ball to the ref. “It makes the ref feel a little better,” he said. “It makes coach feel a lot better.” Does Adams think respecting the ref will pay off in the long run? “I hope so,” he said. “Maybe he’ll give me a big call one day.”
  • The ESPN College GameDay set will be on the Campus Green east of Jordan-Hare Stadium, adjacent to the Heisman Drive parking deck. It’s the same location as GameDay’s visit in 2008.
  • The show airs from 9-10 a.m. ET on ESPNU and 10-noon on ESPN. There will also be live and taped segments on Friday afternoon at a time to be announced.
  • Auburn has designated Saturday night as a “True Blue” game and is encouraging Tigers fans to wear blue against Clemson.


AUsome04 said...

This seems contrary to Malzahn's attack philosophy. "You do whatever it takes to win," he said. "Obviously we like to go fast. But like I said, the situation dictated that."

Ha, ha that's a joke right AB? I would think any coaches philosophy would be to win the game first of all.

I think a Herman Edwards quote will do it: "Hello?!?!?...you Play to Win the Game!" Lol. I've heard all kind of excuses this week from sportswriters to bloggers. Down a four year starter at left tackle in cowbell heaven for 2.5 quarters wouldn't be the most ideal situation for any offense. Sure we missed on a few points but we won the game.

MikeP said...

Lets remember, the assistant coaches don't control things like strategy, game tempo and so forth. The head coach makes those decisions and the assistants have their guys play accordingly.

Chizik's decision to slow the game down was a great call and resulted in a win. I was glad to see us use some imagination and common sense, change what we've been doing and secure the victory. Kudos Coach Chizik!

Moose said...

I don't care what Chizik, Malzahn, or anyone else says. Chizik didn't slow the tempo down on purpose to win 17-14.

Slowing down may have been the plan, but winning by 3 surely was not. That's way too close for comfort when you consider the defense we've had. The defense responded and kudos to them. But the bottom line is: This game was as close as it was because the offense couldn't deliver. Plain and simple.