Auburn notebook: Malzahn says he never has told a player to fake an injury
by Ryan Black
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Nov 05, 2013 | 2108 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn talks to his team during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arkansas. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn talks to his team during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arkansas. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
AUBURN — Gus Malzahn doesn’t agree with people who believe Anthony Swain faked an injury last Saturday.

However, the Auburn coach is aware of why people feel that way.

“At the time I did not see it happen, but after watching the TV copy I could see why people questioned it,” he said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. “I've coached for 23 years, and I've never told any player to fake an injury.”

The play in question happened at the end of the third quarter last Saturday. Arkansas had just converted on a fourth-and-three from Auburn’s 9-yard line, picking up 7 yards on a pass from Brian Buehner to Austin Tate. Swain was credited with the tackle. After making the stop, he got up and walked across the field and then fell to the ground, grabbing his knee. One play later, Arkansas scored on a 2-yard touchdown by Kiero Small to cut Auburn’s lead to 28-17 fewerthan five seconds into the final period.

Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said Sunday he didn’t get a good view of the Swain’s disputed injury, either.

“I'm in the press box,” he said. “All we're looking for, we're looking at bench for personnel, and I did not see it. Once I grade the film, he got rolled up over on the sideline and was slow getting up and that's all I could see.”

Malzahn said he wouldn’t make any further comments on the subject, but he ended with a guarantee.

“I promise you this,” he said, “Moving forward there will be no questionable issues like that again.”

MALZAHN ON PAY DYE COMMENTS: Malzahn has the utmost faith in the quarterbacks on his roster.

On Tuesday, he came to their defense after former Auburn coach Pat Dye criticized those who led the team in 2012, reportedly referring to them “cowards."

“I recruited all the quarterbacks here, and they're nothing but champions,” Malzahn said. “I'm proud of the guys.”

During a speaking engagement set up by the Knoxville Quarterback Club on Monday, Dye had harsh words for last year’s quarterbacks.

“(Dye) said both Auburn quarterbacks from last season were cowards,” tweeted Phil Kaplan, the sports editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel. “He gave no names.”

Of course, Auburn actually had three different players start at quarterback last season: Clint Moseley, Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace. Frazier started the first five games last year and was replaced by Moseley in the next three games. Both Frazier (two touchdowns, eight interceptions) and Moseley (one touchdown, three interceptions) struggled before Wallace got the starting nod for the last four contests of 2012.

Frazier absolved Wallace of any blame Tuesday morning.

“Pretty sure Pat Dye was talking about Clint and I, not Jonathan,” he tweeted from his personal account. “Jonathan did the best he could in a bad situation.”

Former Auburn player Jerraud Powers wasn’t quite as diplomatic toward the man Auburn’s field is named after.

“Pat Dye is a coward for doing that,” the Arizona Cardinals cornerback tweeted Monday night.

MASON'S ACCOLADES: Tre Mason said it multiple times: "It's a blessing."

That's the only way the running back could describe the success he's had this season. On Monday, he was named the SEC's Offensive Player of the Week after scoring four touchdowns and carrying the ball 32 times against Arkansas. For the year, Mason has run for 921 yards on 161 carries and scored a league-leading 14 touchdowns.

"It’s a good feeling," he said. "I want to continue that up to the end of the season. I want to be the leading rusher and scorer. That’s one of my goals."

Any other individual recognition can wait, though.

"Accolades will come," he said. "I’m not really worried about that right now, those will come with us winning and I’m really just worried about us winning."
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