Thanks to Alabama, everyone is talking about kickoff times this week.

At his weekly press conference, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn made a comment that got a lot of attention in the media.

When talking about the 6 p.m. CT kickoff for the Week 3 game against Kent State, Malzahn said, “Personally, I wish it was at noon, so we’d have more time to prepare for our next opponent.”

Considering his comments came less than 24 hours after Alabama AD Greg Byrne and President Stuart R. Bell issued a statement complaining about the 11 a.m. local start time for its game on Sept. 21 against Southern Miss, Malzahn’s press conference comment was widely viewed as some rivalry ribbing. He was asked about it on Wednesday’s weekly SEC media teleconference.

“You know, I was just giving my opinion,” Malzahn said. “You get to have less time for preparation, but the other thing is, you get a chance to spend more time with your family with early kicks and your players do, too. Really, I was just giving my opinion.”

A reporter asked if Malzahn was having some fun with the comment.

“Just giving my opinion, Bob,” Malzahn said laughing as he ended his call.

On the teleconference, Malzahn also discussed some of his key players on both sides of the ball:

  • On Marlon Davidson: He has been one of our more steady players for 3 years… and really turned himself into a team leader. He has had an outstanding start to the season, he has everything it takes.
  • On his OL: We are improved, no doubt about that. The last two second halves, they have imposed their will, opened up holes in the running game, haven’t had any presnap penalties and we haven’t’ had a holding call yet.
  • On Bo Nix: I think you will see him get more comfortable each game… Mentally, the moment hasn’t been too big for him… He can tell you want he saw and when we go to the film, he’s correct.
  • On backup QB Joey Gatewood: He is our No. 2, he is capable of running our offense… We have a plan for him, that changes week to week, and I’m happy he got out there and got some quality reps last week.
  • On RB depth: I think we are deep, Boobee (Whitlow) has had the majority of the carries so far… I think over the course of the season, that depth will become a factor.