Malzahn comfortable with Tigers' offense entering final stretch

Mike Horton, Nick Brahms (52) and Marquel Harrell (77) protect quarterback Bo Nix during Saturday's game with Ole Miss.

Auburn has the week off before a stretch run of three home games that includes Georgia, Samford and Alabama and head coach Gus Malzahn said he likes where his team is entering the final month of the season.

“I really felt like offensively last Saturday, I thought we did some very good things,” he said, referring to a 20-14 win over Ole Miss. “We had 500 yards of offense, the unfortunate thing is we just had 20 points. I thought we mixed things up a little better, had some short passes that got us in tempo and when we’re playing in tempo, we’re usually at our best. And we were able to run the football effectively, which down this stretch we’re going to have to be able to do both things, run and pass the ball.”

The defense played well except for one long scoring drive by the Rebels, which was aided by 30 yards in penalties against the Tigers, and a special teams breakdown on a punt return just before the half that helped Ole Miss to its first points of the game.

“We were disappointed in how we covered that punt,” Malzahn said. “We had done a really solid job of that, I guess from game three on. That was an explosive punt return. Obviously, we missed the three field goals, too, which is uncharacteristic. I really think (Anders) Carlson will rebound.”

And while quarterback Bo Nix has taken some heat in recent weeks after the Tigers failed to put up points against LSU and Ole Miss, Malzahn said he felt comfortable with his quarterback’s play over the course of the season.

“I thought Bo had his best game last Saturday,” he said. “I thought he really managed the offense well, got us in the right play, protections and everything that goes with that. I see him progressing, getting more and more comfortable.”