Gus Malzahn on facing reduced Georgia crowd: 'I do expect it to be loud'
The Auburn-Georgia rivalry has seen plenty over the years, so a reduced crowd at Sanford Stadium is just the latest wrinkle to the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.”
That’s why Auburn coach Gus Malzahn expects a hostile environment at Georgia even though the number of fans will be a far cry from the normal 92,000
“It’s a unique year; I think everybody is learning as they go,” Malzahn said at his Tuesday press conference. “I do expect it loud over there and we’ll to be able to adjust to that. Each week, teams will learn; this will be our first road game. We were able to have a home game and I think our crowd did a really good job, like I talked about after the game. We expect it to be loud and we’ll learn after this first road game.”
The game is typically played in November, but Malzahn chalked up the earlier year to just another thing to deal with in 2020.
“It feels exactly as it would in November,” Malzahn said. “We know how important it is. This game usually has a direct effect on the east and the west. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing today or in November or in March.”
Georgia has won 3 straight in the series, and 6 of the last 8. Auburn’s last win in Athens came in 2005.
“First of all, I think that’s one of the toughest places to play in the league,” Malzahn said. “That’s just the facts of the matter. You have to play good football to have a chance to win. Then if it’s a close game, you have to find a way to make those plays to win. Like I said earlier, we’ll see about the crowd, but I do expect it to be loud. We’ll know more after the game as far as if it’s the same or not.”
And there is plenty of reason to digest why it’s a special rivalry for Malzahn.
“Well, I mean, you know it’s the oldest rivalry in the South, first of all,” he said. “We recruit the state; I think a third of our team is from the state of Georgia. You can look at it since I’ve been at Auburn, it’s always been very, very important and the winner’s usually went on to do real well. So, it’s a big one.”