Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn
That task is not refuting rumors and anonymous reports. It’s doing his part as the Tigers try to go 11-0 and win the Southeastern Conference West when Georgia visits Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.
“He sure has,” Malzahn said. “As a matter of fact, he’s extremely motivated. He had a good practice tonight and good practice last week. He’s very focused.”
The No. 2 Tigers (10-0, 6-0) will try to end a four-year drought against the Bulldogs (5-5, 3-4) winners of four of the last five games.
Malzahn said Auburn players have rallied around Newton.
“I think that’s fair to say,” Mazlahn said. “Our guys know what’s on the line. They’ve worked hard to get to this point. Off-the-field stuff really won’t matter.”
Malzahn’s offense, with Newton under center, has picked up steam throughout the season. The Tigers lead the SEC in scoring offense at 42.2 points per game, rushing offense 307.2 points per game and total offense at 509.4 yards per game.
Newton leads the SEC in rushing at 114.6 yards per game and leads the nation in touchdown responsibility with 35. Malzahn said he expects Newton to need his arm as much as his legs in the games to come. And he says Newton is ready to do that.
“Really, he’s kind of been that way all the way since fall camp,” Malzahn said. “He understands our base pass concepts with the progression. He’s done an outstanding job, really, all year from my standpoint. Y’all haven’t seen a lot of it because w haven’t thrown that much. Down the stretch, we are going to need to do both effectively. We feel like he can do that.”