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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Late night notes: Cam Newton 'extremely motivated' despite rash of allegations

Cam Newton might be in the middle of a media maelstrom in light of allegations this past week, but Auburn coaches and teammates haven’t noticed a change in their star quarterback’s demeanor.

“As a matter of fact, he’s extremely motivated,” offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said Tuesday. “He had a good practice tonight and he had a good practice last week. He’s very focused.”

Newton has twice been in the news lately, first with questions surrounding his recruitment last year and most recently with allegations of academic misconduct while at Florida.

“We know Cam and that situation, we’re not worried about it,” linebacker Josh Bynes said. “It’s not a distraction.

“I don’t really care nothing about it. Because whatever it is, I know for a fact, just like everybody out here, that it’s bogus.”

Malzahn thinks the team has rallied around him.

“I think that is fair to say,” he said. “Our guys, they know what is on the line and they have worked extremely hard to get to this point. Off the field stuff, I really don’t think will be a factor.”

"I believe it all starts with him, and he hasn’t let it affect him, so the fact it hasn’t affect him, I think it has rubbed off on the team," linebacker Craig Stevens said. "We’ve let it fly by. We feel like if he doesn’t let it affect him, there’s no reason it should affect us."

In the meantime, Newton is going about his business as usual in preparing for Georgia.

“Cam is the same person to me,” wide receiver Emory Blake said.

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Here are some other notes and quotes from Tuesday's interviews:
  • Outside linebacker Daren Bates was back at practice and going full speed after missing the last two and a half games with a right shoulder injury suffered against LSU. Jonathan Evans and Eltoro Freeman have filled in for Bates in the interim. Evans had five tackles against Ole Miss and Freeman a team-high eight against Chattanooga. That role could decrease with Bates back in the fold. The sophomore is tied for fifth on the team with 40 tackles. “With Daren out my role increased a little bit, but this week Daren is back,” Evans said. “So we’re just going out there and working hard, and whoever gets out there will play the best he can.”
  • Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green fired off a salvo early this week, saying the Bulldogs were going to “shock” a lot of people this weekend. “I know we’ve got a chance to win,” Green told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I feel like they haven’t faced anybody else like me and (quarterback) Aaron (Murray) with our offense. We’re really going to show them. We’re going to shock a lot of people.” Safety Zac Etheridge wasn’t going to start a war of words. “We don’t get into that,” Etheridge said. “You’ve got to line up and play football, and then we’ll let our pads do the talking.”
  • Georgia's passing game gets plenty of recognition -- and rightfully so -- but Bynes thinks when push comes to shove, the Bulldogs will run the ball. "This game is just like LSU, downhill running," he said. "They'll camouflage it with all that other stuff and try to get deep shots and try to put in different formations, but their main formation is what they want to do and run the ball out of the I formation. Run the ball downhill if they can. That's what they want to do and that's what Georgia's all about, so as a linebacker this is the kind of game you really want to look forward to to make plays, but we all know what Georgia wants to do. They want to run the ball and if we give them an opportunity, they'll take advantage of it like they did last year down the stretch to win the game."
  • Bynes' description of the Georgia rivalry: "It's always been such a hard, tough games when it's Georgia against Auburn. It's physical. It's tough. It's hard. It's dirty. It's nasty. It's how the game ends up being. It's always a tough game."
  • Count Bynes as one of the players saying this kind of season was possible this summer. "I don’t think people believed us, especially when I said it in the spring and when I said it at Media Day," he said. "Ain’t nobody think, ‘OK, Josh is probably just talking noise, and Auburn might be this, might be that.’ But obviously we’re in the position where all of us felt like we were going to be at. We’re 10-0, and we just have more to go."
  • Georgia runs a 3-4 defense, although Malzahn said the Bulldogs go with multiple fronts. "They do a little bit of odd, a little bit of even and they’ll come after you from different angles," he said. "They’ve got some very talented people to do it with." Malzahn said he's seen Georgia's defense improve from week to week. "“They’re very fast. They fly around. They’ve got great pass rushers," he said. "You can tell they’re starting to get a feel for their defensive coordinator and they’re playing extremely fast. You can tell they have improved each game.”
  • Malzahn reiterated that Auburn wanted to bring RB Mike Dyer along slowly. "That was the plan early," he said. "We didn’t want to throw him to the wolves early until he had a good feel for everything. I think he’s fresh right now, and that’s a good thing. He’s very comfortable with the offense and I think he has fresh legs and a fresh body and a lot of times the backs are beat up this time of year. That was our plan and I really feel like he’s got a better grip on that stuff."
  • Dyer thinks his yards are a function of the offense. "In this offense, holding on to the ball and running is the easiest thing you do," he said.
  • Left tackle Lee Ziemba on Dyer: "He's definitely grown a lot. The place you see it best is with his toughness and his ability to hit the hole and not dance around. That's tough for a freshman coming in because in high school, you can get away from out-running some folks. When you get to college, guys are a little bit faster and you've got to hit the hole. Mike has done a great job with that."
  • Want a feelgood story? How about this? Bynes’ father, Herbert, made the trek from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., to Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time in his son’s career last week on Senior Day. Neither of Bynes’ parents had been able to make the trip before for financial reasons. “I don’t want people to think that my family didn’t come just because they didn’t come,” Bynes said. “Everybody’s not able to have their family come 13 hours away to come to every game.” It was worth the trip. “My dad’s never seen a crowd like this ever,” Bynes said. “He’s a high school coach, so he’d never seen more than 20,000 at the most, maybe. But 90,000 people in the stadium roaring, and especially when he sees my name out there, I know it’s a great feeling for him. He enjoyed himself, had fun, and he’s trying to see if he can come back again.”


Clint Richardson said...

AB. You've been around more of this kind of stuff than most of us, I know me for sure. When Cam says he doesn't want to deny or confirm these alligations, does that mean something or does he just not want to 'beat a dead horse'? How much of this is there to believe and be worried about as an Auburn fan, and how much is just pure BS that would never hold water in a court of law??

AUsome04 said...

Ha, ha, finally. A back to normal post, somewhat. I guess most of the questions today to the other players were, "What do you think about the Newton situation?" lol

I don't think I've ever seen anything like this in college football ever. Wow, I guess Cam really is a bad person. Who'd have thought a young man trying to better his life by playing ball for my alma mater would cause such an uproar. Over a game, no more no less.

JC said...

The Bynes story sure is heart warming.