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Friday, July 24, 2009

Gene Chizik has spoken

Gene Chizik is currently on the stage. I'll update as he talks with any pertinent information. In the meantime, we had a quick sitdown with Chizik before he took the stage. Here are some housekeeping items:
  • In addition to DL Jomarcus Savage, DB Christian Thompson and LB Marcus Jemison, who were kicked off the team this summer for disciplinary reasons, LS Dax Dellenbach will not return this year.
  • WR Montez Billings is still working on clearing up an academic issue but Chizik said he will play this fall. He will also be ready to practice when the team reports Aug. 4.
  • No updates on the status of S Mike McNeil (leg), WR Tim Hawthorne (foot), DB Aairon Savage (Achilles') or QB Barrett Trotter (knee). Chizik did confirm Savage had an Achilles' injury. Seems odd that he wouldn't go into the severity of it when other people basically have said it's not likely he'll play this season.
  • He said Chris Todd's shoulder is as good as its been since Chizik has been at the school. He did not say how close to 100 percent it was though, since he had no basis for comparison.
  • Auburn was picked fifth in the SEC West. Chizik doesn't care. "Everybody's got an opinion," noting that the predictions really mean nothing at the end of the year. Interesting fact: the Tigers were picked to win the SEC West last year. How'd that work out for them?
  • Chizik thinks the team's offensive strengths are at running back and, interestingly, offensive line, provided it can stay healthy.
  • Practices will be closed this fall. That's not going to make for a long August for us media types.
  • On the revolving door of coordinators at Auburn, Chizik said it's important to buy in to the philosophy and not the guy running it, because "guys leave." He thinks it's a delicate situation to deal with. "Sometimes you have to put on your Dr. Phil hat," he said.
  • Best players on defense from the spring: DE Antonio Coleman (duh), LB Craig Stevens (we heard a lot about him) and DT Mike Blanc (now that's kind of surprise).
  • Depth at linebacker is one of his biggest concerns this season. "Huge," Chizik said. "Huge."
  • Tommy Tuberville was big on fans wearing orange to the game. Chizik doesn't really have as specific a request. "Navy blue and orange," he said. "Those are the colors I vote for."
  • On facing pressure going into this season: "I don't think there's any more pressure on Auburn football than what I put on the kids and myself."
  • Chizik voted for Tim Tebow on the All-SEC first team, even though he was reluctant to disclose who he voted for (he contends himself up to talking about every vote he made). We're down to Steve Spurrier, Les Miles and Lane Kiffin as possible culprits.
  • On the view that Auburn football has stumbled a bit of late. "To be honest with you, I don't really know what public opinion is." This man could deny that the sky is blue.
  • "I think the Big 12 has made leaps and bounds. I think it's leaps and bounds better than it was five years ago, top to bottom. I think it's made some significant strides. Who knows? This is one man's opinion. But the SEC, when you travel stadium to stadium, the passion, the pride, all the things that go into what makes college football great, there's greater league than the SEC. ... You've got great players. You've got great coaches. The interest is at an all-time high."
  • On being low-key: "I've got three children and my wife. I get plenty of attention when I go home. What gets you attention is when you win. It's that simple. I don't have to go out and gather attention for myself. It's not about me. It's about Auburn."
  • "There's a fine line between putting in what you'd like to do on offense and defense and trying to adjust to the talent and skill level that you have. And I think that's what makes a great coach. You have to be able to stay within the realm of what you want to do and still adapt enough."
  • On the rising assistant coaches salaries: "I think it's great. I was an assistant three years ago, and I don't forget. These guys sacrifice a lot."
  • Recruiting question about if the offseason stunts have worked, since it hasn't yielded many big-time recruits yet. I thought Chizik got a little defensive here. "If you put together the evaluation time people have put together in this room, it's about 10 minutes," Chizik said to the room full of media. "That's what we do for a living."


notabanker said...

About the only thing I like from Chizik's comments is that he is pro wearing orange and BLUE. I personally hated the all orange stuff...although it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things...it annoyed me a bit.

Russ Hager said...

I appreciate Gene's conservative approach to his answers. I would rather have him give guarded answers to the questions, than to blow smoke up our skirts with overly optumstic answers. The reality is we will not know how good or bad Auburn will be this year until they take the field.
I am always an optumstic I believe Auburn will come roaring back,and as a bonus start another string of wins against Alabama, but that is my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I think Auburn will be good!Anybody else thinks that Burns would be a great halfback because he really can run and he would have the option of a surprize pass?War Eagle!