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November 11, 2012

Sunday sitdown: Auburn coach Gene Chizik “very disappointed we are where we’re at”

AUBURN, Ala. — There’s little left for Gene Chizik to say in the wake of yet another disheartening loss for Auburn, less than two years removed from reaching the pinnacle of college football.

“I’m just very disappointed we are where we’re at,” Chizik said Sunday afternoon following the Tigers’ 38-0 loss to No. 5 Georgia at Jordan-Hare Stadium. “I can belabor the point much more than that, but I think that word is sufficient.”

The loss was the most lopsided margin in the 116-game history of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. It was also Auburn’s fifth SEC loss of 17 points or more this year, and ninth in the past two seasons since winning the BCS National Championship.

As rumors and reports circulate regarding his job security, Chizik was asked, again, if it’s difficult not to think about his future with the program.

“No, it’s not. Because this isn’t about me,” Chizik said. “Really and truly, I really want to talk about our next football game (Saturday vs. Alabama A&M, a 7-3 FCS squad) and our seniors that it’s their last time.”

“I understand the question. But it’s just really not about me. My number one focus is this week, is trying to make sure that the last game (the seniors) play in this stadium is one that they can go out with a win. Then we’ll address the next week when that comes, and we all know what that week is and the importance of that week. But it’s not about me.”

Auburn concludes its regular season Nov. 24 in the Iron Bowl at Alabama, against a Crimson Tide just knocked off its No. 1 perch by Texas A&M Saturday.

After the destructive loss to Georgia, defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said “The defense is not built with size, strength and power right now.”

Chizik’s response Sunday was, “I think that there’s some obviously some positions we feel like we need to upgrade in terms of productivity. But other than that, I really don’t know how to interpret that. I’m not really sure exactly what all that means, but we can always be bigger, we can always be stronger.”

Chizik named freshman Jonathan Wallace the starter for Saturday. The Central-Phenix City product will make his third career start, having completed 31-of-48 passes for 478 yards with three touchdowns against two interceptions.

“It’s the equivalent of a rookie starting in the NFL, somewhat,” Chizik said. “He’s in a tough situation. He played against a very effective defense, a very good, very aggressive defense. I’ve just got to give the kid a lot of credit, because he stands up in there, and takes some hits and makes some plays with his feet. He makes some things happen. He also missed some things that young guys miss. That’s really where it’s at.”

Asked what specifically has wrong on gameday, Chizik said, “that’s a little bit of a trap question for me, because anything that I’m going to say is going to sound like an excuse and I don’t make excuses.” He did acknowledge where practices have been flush in focus and passion – which players have backed up with their own testimonies – the production hasn’t been the same on a daily basis.

“The passion and the energy and them being into it and being focused is one thing. The execution of what we do is different,” Chizik said. “There’s been times at practice where the execution has not been up to the level it needs to be.”

Chizik repeated he would insist on evaluating every position on the field.

“I just think that you have to really look under the hood of the car. We got a car that’s not running very well right now,” Chizik said. “You’ve got to figure out where the problems are under the hood and that’s going to become a very extensive evaluation starting with a lot of different areas. I think that from there you can make very informed decisions on where you need to go with the next season and starting in January.”

Asked if he is the guy to be here in January to lead that resurgence, Chizik’s response was simple: “That’s very accurate.”

1 Comment

  1. Chizikball Fever….Catch it!!!!

    Comment by mark — November 11, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

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