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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gene Chizik teleconference, the longer version

OK, had a chance to go through these quotes. Here's some more in depth info from what Gene Chizik had to say today (also, follow the blog on Twitter):
  • He wasn't completely pleased with Auburn's performance Saturday night, despite the lopsided 54-30 score: "We had sloppy penalties. We had nine penalties in the game. One of them was a pass interference. I just felt like it was a sloppy game. I felt like we were sleepwalking at the beginning somewhat there. At the beginning, our defense plays great, three-and-out, we set the tone and then we turn around and give the ball right back. Then we score 28, 30 points, whatever it was and then we go back to sloppy football. I just -- I didn't like the flow of the game. I just thought it was sloppy. I'm glad that we won and I'm really proud of our team for being able to win a game. There's no question about that. Those games are tough because as I said to somebody earlier in the week, you can only win those games one way and everybody be happy. Really. I'm really happy we won the game but I think a lot of things could have been much cleaner, if you will, executed much cleaner."
  • If you think Chizk is upset with the win, think again. "I'm never displeased with a win. Let me clarify that," he said. "I'm never displeased with a win. I just wish that we could have played with more focus. ... I go back and say that I'm very glad to be 4-0. Am I satisfied with the way we played last night? No, I'm not."
  • On if true freshman John Sullen is the answer on the offensive line now that Byron Isom is suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules: "It's something we've got a plan for and we're continuously work the plan on a rotation with some guys," Chizik said. "(Bart Eddins) is certainly a guy who's been around a long time and knows a lot about football. He's definitely part of the equation. Jared Cooper is part of the equation. We'll just kind of go day by day on that and see where it goes."
  • Chizik thought Sullen handled himself well for his first start. "For the first time, I was really proud of John," Chizik said. "He stepped into a role and he did what we asked him to do. He's a young guy and that's a really hard position to play -- O-line -- when you're a true freshman. I think Ryan Pugh on one side of him really helps because Ryan, he gets the whole picture. Ryan's played a lot of football and he's a coach's son and he just really understands football, so that helps John having Ryan to his left. Overall, very proud of John and really got to give him a lot of credit because he came in there and stuck it in there and played hard and helped us win a game."
  • On TE/DE Gabe McKenzie, who played on both sides of the ball last week near the end: "We're just, again, trying to see exactly where Gabe can help our team the most. We'll just kind of take that step by step and see where we go with it. Really proud of Gabe for just being really unselfish and doing the things that we ask him to do."
  • DT Jamar Travis and OL Andre Harris both burned their redshirts against Ball State. "We're getting to that point in the year where things happen and we've got to make some tough decisions," Chizik said. "Maybe that decision was not clear or to the point where it is now a month ago. Through some things happening with our team, with some nicks and bruises, we've got to get through the year. Whoever we've got to play to help us win, we're going to do that. I feel like Jamar's helped us on punt and wherever else Jamar can help us to win football games, we've got to play him. We just, numbers-wise we're not where we need to be. If somebody can help us win, we've got to play him."
  • Chizik didn't get too bothered by the fact that Ball State scored 30 points last week, much of it coming against Auburn's second- and third-team defense. "Oh yeah, I don't care about all that," he said. "I got to get my guys to the next game. Three or four minutes left in the fourth quarter. When it's a four touchdown lead, we're not worried about stats. We're worried about next week, provided you feel like you have the game under control. With three or four minutes left in the third quarter, we had to start getting some of those guys out of there."
  • Chizik said that it's hard to simulate going into a hostile environment like Neyland Stadium. "I think they're going to have to experience it," he said. "Obviously when our offense has the football, crowd noise becomes an issue. But, it's like our defense at home, crowd noise becomes an issue. It's just part of it. You can pipe in the noise in the speakers and the music, you can pipe in all of that. I'm not there yet. I don't know if we'll do that or not. That's something....They just got to be ready to communicate and know that it's going to be really loud and it's going to be another great SEC venue."
  • Chizik is high on Tennessee's defense: "Defensive line is big and physical. The linebackers get off blocks. They don't stay blocked. They're very active. They're very sudden. They play great with their hands. They all play very hard. They're really good at what they do."
  • Kodi Burns (quad) and Onterio McCalebb (ankle) are, you guessed it, day-by-day. My guess? They'll play Saturday.
  • When asked if he'd take a look at different punt returners again, Chizik rolled his eyes and shook his head. "I don't want to. I don't want to see any of them. Yeah, we just ... yes, we'll continue to say the same things every day.Somebody's just got to step up to the plate. I mean, we're spending a lot of time on it, but they've got to do it in a game. And it's really, really disappointing right now. And we just got out of a team meeting and I told them it's very, very disheartening that we spend so much time and we still can't find somebody to catch a ball."
  • Who specifically will he look at? "We've discussed everybody from my son, who is 9, to Jamar (Travis) to catch it twice. We're looking for answers right now."
  • Auburn's got a phrase about not buying into impostors, which many of us on the beat didn't quite understand (possibly because some of the players were trying to explain it to us and not doing the best job). Here's Chizik's explanation: "What we talk about impostors are things that show up in the game that look one way but aren't necessarily so. It's not about a person. It's about an event or a situation that can appear to make you think one thing and if you let it, then you can go into the tank and tank it."
  • He gave an example: "In the Mississippi State game, an impostor that showed up was that we were up 14-0. Now if we start believing it's going to be that easy or if we start believing that's the way the game's going to unfold. All of a sudden you look up 17 points later and we're down by three. So we talk about those things that go back and forth right now, you've just got to keep playing through those things that aren't necessarily indicative of the way the game is really going to unfold. So we call them impostors. West Virginia it's 14-0 with five minutes after the game starts. So do we really want to believe that? Is that the way the game is going to unfold? So we try to play through what we call impostors. We try to play through those impostors because those things aren't necessarily indicative of the way the rest of the night is going to go. They're not real. You've got to play through those things and get back on track to do what you do and play through them." Everyone got that? Good.
  • That's not the only phrase Auburn uses. The team motto is D.W.W.D. -- Do What We Do. "No real origin," Chizik said. "Without getting philosophical, I feel like when you repeatedly do something, you become basically a product … your habits become that. You become a product of that. This is what we do on offense. This is what we do on defense. We're not trying to re-invent the wheel every week. We've just got to get better at what we do and that carries over into games. The game unfolds, we're not playing on one side or the other … that doesn't have anything to do with the calls. We've got to execute it better. We've got to do what we've planned to do. We always say: Plan your work and work your plan. If we're not working the plan night now, we've got to get back on track working the plan the way it's supposed to unfold. It's nothing revolutionary. We just need to do what we do and do it better if we're not playing well. That's what we've done from Day One. We've got to work our plan and we've got to be really good at it. We haven't been really good at it all the time. You can see when we are and you can see when we're not."
  • I'll have another update after interviews tonight following practice.

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