Highlights from Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s weekly presser on Tuesday, previewing Saturday’s game in Death Valley against nationally-ranked LSU:

*All quotes pulled from Auburn’s official release*

Opening statement:

“We are opening up our conference season on the road against a tough opponent. They played well last week on the road at Mississippi State in a hard-fought game. They found a way to win in a tough place to play. Defensively, they have a lot of team speed. They fly around, and they are very physical. Offensively, they run the football. They’ve got some receivers that can make one-on-one plays in space, and they can flat out run.”

On the rash of injuries:

“The first two weeks we have definitely been banged up. We have had some injuries, but you have to find a way to overcome it. I was just talking to our team about the next man up. You have to be prepared when the team calls upon you. We are counting on some young guys. The positive with that is you have a chance to grow and get better. We just need some young guys to step up and grow up pretty quick.”

How is Josh Holsey handling his season-ending injury:

“We are going to talk through all that. He is getting it fixed. It is tough on him. He is one of our team leaders, too. I know a lot of his teammates are hurting for him. He is still going to be a part of what we are doing. He is still a leader. He is an outstanding young man and represents us the right way. He was looking for a big year.”

On team’s mindset:

“They came out Sunday and had a very good practice. You turn on the film for LSU and that gets your attention early. Our guys are in a good spot. We had a good practice Sunday and we need to have good ones today and tomorrow. That will be the majority of our work and we will clean up some things on Thursday.”

On team’s confidence:

“From a player standpoint, you know when you don’t play your best. The bottom line is that we are 2-0. They know we can play a whole lot better and our coaches do too. We expect to play better. That is behind us and we are looking forward to going to LSU. That is the way you look at it when you are in the moment. You look forward and you do everything you can to improve.”

On communication with Jeremy Johnson:

“I think the big thing from my standpoint is I have to do a better job of putting him in good situations. It all works together. He’s an extremely talented quarterback. He’s going to play well. He’s had a couple of growing pains, but that’s part of it. The good thing is, we’re 2-0 going through some growing pains. We’ve got a good plan for him moving forward and he’ll play better.”

On whether or not late completions strengthened Johnson’s confidence:

“There’s no doubt, especially late in the game. There was a short play, late in the game, to Ricardo Louis where the corner was setting on it and he threw it away. Those are really good plays. Down the stretch, he made some outstanding decisions and throws. He did a good job finishing that game.”

On the offense’s identity:

“We’re still learning about our guys. We’re a run, play-action team so we need to run the football. I think the big thing from our standpoint is the explosive plays. When we’re playing good football, we have explosive plays. We’ve had very few explosive plays the first two games. From a coach’s standpoint, that’s something we’re focusing on. We’re a run, play-action team. It’s about execution. We will improve. There’s no doubt about that. You’ve got to understand, on the reads, sometimes they make the quarterback keep it and sometimes they don’t. That’s just part of it. From a coaching standpoint, you’ve got to know what to do. I think we’ve got seven or eight new starters on offense. A lot of those new guys are playing new positions. We gathered good information the first two games. We expect this offense to be a good offense. We expect to improve and that’s what will happen.”

Offensive line changes if Avery Young remains unavailable:

“Robert Leff is a guy that’s right there. He’s done some good things too. We just really need to see how this week goes and see how our guys are doing. We feel like we do have some good options. I think communication any time you move people and have got guys who are playing a role for the first time, there’s always a little bit you have to grow and get used to. Our assignments for the most part were solid; we just need to finish some things.”

On Jovon Robinson’s status:

“He hurt his ankle in that first game and he practiced a little bit on Thursday, but he just wasn’t ready to go. He’s day-to-day; hopefully he’ll be ready this week. It’s just a matter of seeing how the game unfolds. Peyton (Barber) has really stepped up. He’ll be the first guy out there, but those other three running backs – there’s a decent chance you’ll see them on the field too.”

On the challenges of playing at LSU:

“It’s a tough place to play. They play extremely well at home; traditionally, that has been the case. It’s been a while since we’ve been there and won. We’ve got to have a great week of practice, and we need to play well. We need to protect the football. We haven’t been doing a very good job of protecting the football, and I think that goes back to when you asked the identity question. When you turn the football over, that really makes things a little bit gray. We’ve got to do a better job of doing that. Defensively, we’ve just got to get off the field on third down. That’s really our focus as far as that goes. We are playing a quality opponent. We are going to have to go there and play well to win, but our guys understand that.”

Assessing the play of Duke Williams the first two games:

“He’s done some decent things. We moved his position from where we had him earlier in fall camp. But, still, he’s another guy who needs to get the ball, and we need to catch it when we throw it to him too. It works both ways.”

On Carl Lawson’s health:

“Like I said, everybody is day-to-day, so at this point, I’m not ready to say anything regarding any of them.”

Concern with pass rush if Lawson is out:

“The big thing for us is we’ve got to get better on third down, and that’s been our focus.”