Oct. 26, 2010
QB C. Newton
Andy Burcham Audio Interviews: OT L. Ziemba | OG B. Isom | RB M. Dyer | DE A. Carter
Vote Chizik Coach of the Year | Vote Newton O'Brien QB Award
Head Coach Gene Chizik
"Today we'll start practice obviously for another extremely tough
road game in the SEC against a very good, very physical football team
being Ole Miss. We have our work cut out for us. It's another great
challenge again for us on the road. We'll start today and start
working on trying to get better at some things. I was going back and
looking at the game film from last week and really trying to go back
through that very thoroughly. We certainly have a lot of room to improve
in a lot of different places. We need to continue on that track if
we're going to be able to come out of Oxford with a win which is
going to be very difficult, and we're going to have to play very well
to be able to do that."
On defending Ole Miss quarterback Jeremiah Masoli...
"He's extremely talented, extremely dangerous with both his arm and
his ability to make things happen with his feet. A lot of his plays that
you'll see he's extremely effective, it's the break in the pocket,
getting out in space, and either at that point choosing to run the ball
or hitting some of those big targets he has at receivers. He does a lot
of those things extremely well. He's very talented. He just brings a
whole other kind of dimension to their offense that makes it very
challenging to stop."
On similarities between Cam Newton and Masoli...
"Well I think they both can give you a lot of problems just by their
abilities to make things happen maybe when something isn't necessarily
there. They both do that. There's no question that he's improvised
on several occasions and made huge plays for their offense, but there
are a lot of things that he does that are designed. Their zone read and
their options off their zone read, he's extremely effective at. Again,
when he gets outside the pocket and he throws the ball down the field,
they're making a lot of big things happen in that regard too. He
brings definitely a dimension to the team that's two-fold, and his
athletic ability is the reason he's able to do those things."
On how quickly the team has risen to No. 1 in BCS rankings over the past year and a half...
"I haven't really stepped back to really think about it a lot to be
honest with you. I'm just proud of our football team and the fact that
we've found ways to win every week. As I say every week, we can be
happy with the result, but we shouldn't at all be satisfied with where
we're at. We're still in search of trying to play a game of four
quarters which we haven't done yet, in my opinion. I'm really proud
of the effort of our team and I'm really proud of the fact that
they've fought and clawed their way back into games that we
weren't in and found ways to stay ahead and close the door on the
games that we have been ahead in. I think they've grown as a football
team together, but in terms of just looking at where we are and all of
that right now, it just doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is
On if team maturity helps deal with being No. 1...
"I think it helps, I don't think there's any question. Young guys
these days, they hear it, see it, there's no really getting away from
it. The maturity of the young man I think definitely plays a part. I
think it's challenging, but I think being mature and being able to
handle it and staying very grounded is the key."
On if opponents raise their level of play when playing a No. 1 team...
"I don't think there's any question. Everybody reads it,
everybody sees it and everybody hears it. We fully expect to get
everybody's best shot, not that we didn't four weeks ago. I think
that just simply from the media that surrounds the reality of it, you
continue to get everybody's best shot and we fully expect that.
That's what makes it fun."
On staying with Mario Fannin through his troubles with fumbles...
"Absolutely, we're right there with him. We need Mario to win.
There's no question about that. We're right there with him. I could
turn on the film and show you a lot of guys that have made mistakes
throughout the games that no one did notice, but they were huge.
That's our whole team. We've all made those mistakes and we're
sticking with our guys."
On working on the turnovers in practice or practicing as usual...
"We continue to work it. Coach (Curtis) Luper continues to work it
with all the running backs all the time from the time they get out there
and stretch to the time they leave the field. Again, it's just
something we'll continue to stress and hopefully we'll have a better
result. We're going to continue to do what we've been doing and
emphasize it to the best of our ability every day, every practice."
On making changes in the punt return game...
"Right now we have the order set in the people we believe can punt
return for us if something happens with Q (Quindarius Carr). We're
prepared to do what we have to do and play the best guy that gives us a
chance to win. Right now, I don't really anticipate there being any
significant changes, but we're always prepared if we have to put
another guy back there to do that."
On Zac Etheridge and where he is a year after his injury...
"He's blessed. A year ago now was a very hard time for everybody,
for him, for his family, for our team. Just the fact that he's sitting
here playing in this game is amazing. I'm in amazement when I really
step back and think about that day. He's very blessed, he knows he is
and it's just going to be somewhat of a little bit of an emotional
deal for him possibly. I don't know, we haven't really talked about
it. I know he knows how lucky he is, and I'm sure he's not going to
On the improvements in blocking throughout the season...
"I think that there has been some significant improvement from game
three. One of the things again when you challenge our guys, as a coach
you look for guys to respond. That's what you look for. If they're
not responding then we're going to have issues. Starting with our
offensive line, I went in there and told them last week, just the
offensive line, I went in there and told them, `For us to win, you
have to continue to improve, and you're much better than you were a
month ago, but you're what makes it go. So that's where it
starts.' I made that very clear to them in their meeting room that
that's what we have to have. From there, starting there and everybody
else, as you work inside out on the offense, everybody has to raise
their level of play individually. I think they're trying to do that.
They're not perfect every play, but as long as the effort's there
and it looks like they're really trying to improve at their trade,
that's all we can ask for right now. It seems like there have been
some significant improvements over the last four or five weeks."
On if Ole Miss wide receiver Jesse Grandy is a threat as a kickoff and punt returner...
"It really is. It's like Kentucky, it's like LSU, those great
returners. He took one back on us last year in our game last year.
He's had significant punt returns this year, and it'll be
extremely challenging because both of their return games are really
good. This is going to be a special teams, field position deal Saturday.
I really believe that. When you have somebody that good at what they do,
that's where it really becomes a huge point of emphasis for us for all
of our coverage units. Not just our coverage units, it's us being able
to get positive yards on our punt returns and us being able to get
positive yards on our kick-off returns. I think it's going to be a
huge special teams game."
On Eric Smith...
"We challenged him a couple of weeks ago, as well. A couple of weeks
ago I didn't think he was playing near up to the potential that he
should be, and we challenged him a couple of weeks ago and I think
we've seen a significant change in the way he's played. He shows
up. If his job is to cover kicks on special teams, and that's one of
his jobs, then he needs to show up and he has. I don't know that I
could say that necessarily a month ago near as much as you're seeing
now, and offensively the same thing. I like him because he does dirty
work. He knows that's his job. It's not always glamorous or
glorious, but it's what we have to do to be successful offensively
with what his role is in our run game and in our protections. I'm
proud of where he's come in the last month. He needs to continue on
that path, but he's one of those guys that his role is kind of unsung
and kind of the unheralded guy, but what he brings to the table when
he's playing well is huge."
On how Smith was playing previously...
"I just don't feel like he was as physical as he needed to be. I
just didn't feel like he was playing up to some of the potential that
he had the year before comparatively speaking. Since then I feel like
that has improved."
On the challenges the defensive line will face getting a pass rush this weekend...
"The first challenge is No. 8 (Masoli). That's the first challenge.
One of the reasons they don't have many sacks is because, number one,
his offensive line does a very nice job of protecting him. Any sight of
trouble, they take the ball to the perimeter because he can. That's
problematic for your pass rush obviously if he's scrambling back there
and buying an extra two or three seconds, which becomes then problematic
for your secondary and your linebackers to stay in coverage. That's a
huge challenge and we're going to have to work really hard this week
at making sure we're in our lanes; if somebody's out of our lane,
then we're replacing him with somebody else. We're doing our best to
pull him up and trying to take away some of what we call these windows
that he's able to create for himself where he can see. That's going
to require some push up the middle and trying to contain him on the
perimeter with our ends. That's a tall order because he's really
good at it. Again, they're averaging 410 yards of offense per game and
a lot of it is marginally due to what he brings, like I said earlier,
with his perimeter scrambling ability and what he does with the run
Are you able to enjoy this moment because it doesn't happen often?
"I enjoy every day I come here. Today is no different to me than a
month ago. Not one bit. I did the same things this morning I did one
month ago. I'll do the same things this afternoon I did eight weeks
ago. I'll do the same thing tonight I did seven weeks ago. I'm just
blessed to be able to get up every day and come to work here. Other than
that, nothing's changed."
On it being comforting to be in the No. 1 spot after being undefeated in 2004 and never getting there...
"I haven't given it a lot of thought, to be honest with you."
On being involved in the community and not getting much attention for it...
"Well number one, I don't think you do things for other people, for
the community or anybody else to get attention for it. That's not why
we do it. It's very important because I'm so blessed in my life that
whenever I have the chance to give something back to whoever, whenever,
that's part of what I do. That's part of what we do. That's part
of what we should do. That's part of our job. When we can do that, we
do it. We don't do it for any other reason other than the fact that we
can and we should."
On Ole Miss running back Brandon Bolden...
"He's broken some really good runs this year. He's very physical,
he's a big guy, he's a very physical running back. I think he's
made some really nice runs, both some shorter runs that are very
physical and he's broken some to get to the second level of the
defense and scored on some big plays too. He does a really nice job on
reading the inside zone and making different cuts off the inside zone.
That's a big play for him that, to me, he's exceptionally good at
running. He's a really good tailback."
On the challenge of preparing for the SEC running games every week...
"It's what you get in the league. It's tough every week. It's
not just the running game, these are great offenses in this league.
We've talked about it before, but the production of all these
offenses in the league is up. You have great coaches out there you're
playing against every week that have great ideas on exactly what
they're doing. I take advantage of defenses and you have some great
players to go along with that. Those two things combined, you have a
great challenge every week of trying to stop these different offenses
every week in this league it seems like."
On Newton's progression throughout the season...
"I think it's been very steady, I really do. I think everybody has
to be mindful that he has been in this offense for eight games. You hope
that there's a steady progression every week. It doesn't mean that
there aren't things in there that we wish we could take back here and
there, but I don't think we could be more pleased in terms of every
week us figuring out where we can go next and where he is allowing us to
go next. I don't think there's any question there has been a steady
On Newton being a coach on the field to the rest of the team and raising their level of play...
"I think he has really made significant strides in being the true
leader of the offense because that's really what you're asking.
You're asking, `What kind of leader is he out there?' Kind of
like how his game has evolved week after week, it has gotten better and
better. Leadership is an action, it's not a position. I think by his
actions, his leadership with our football team is pretty much out there
for everybody to see. In terms of players on our team, they see it. He
does it by action because of his effort and his competitiveness and his
stick-to-it-ness and all of those things it takes to be a good
quarterback. I think everybody sees that."
Cam Newton, QB
On www.cam2newton.com ...
"I checked it out. I got a chance to glance on it but somehow or
another I can't look at it for real on my phone. Somebody put some
thought into it. I felt kind of good because they did a better job than
I could've done. It's bigger than I ever thought it could be. I'm
just trying to win games, that's it, simple and plain."
On how far he has come in the last two years...
"Every morning I try and pinch myself because I'm in a dream right
now. I can't even imagine. I wouldn't have been able to say this is
what I want last year. Everything happens for a reason. I'm a firm
believer in that and God is just using me right now and I can't
complain. I just have to keep lifting Him up in every single chance that
I get because that's the main person that's working in my life right
On painting the stands at Blinn Junior College...
"It was about a month or two month thing. Our coach, Coach (Brad)
Fran(chione), was like `The stadium is going to be what you make it
out to be.' We brought plenty of paint and paint brushes and it
wasn't like the paint brushes you get at Home Depot, these were
like the sample ones. You had to keep dipping it like three times. It
was bad. I was questioning him, I was questioning why I went there.
There were a lot of things I had on my mind that I wanted to tell
somebody. If I would have said it, it probably would've come out
wrong. Times like that consistently keep me humble and grounded right
now. I can revert back to that and remember where I came from. It was in
the spring just before the spring game. It was during the time that I
had just gotten there maybe a month, month and a half and I was like,
`Man, a couple of months ago I was drinking Gatorade looking at NFL
prospects. Now I'm looking at guys that aren't even in the same
league as my little brother.' I still keep up with those guys to this
day and they are genuine guys. I still care about those people."
On never forgetting the past and where he has come from...
"Referring back to things like that is just something that when the
times might be bigger than people may think it seems, I just have to
consistently remind myself of where I came from. The times at Blinn
where if I go to Wal-Mart or if I go get some groceries, I would just
look at that as if I was just a regular citizen. Now I can't even go
anywhere that someone doesn't recognize me. That can either be a good
thing or a bad thing in some instances, but I never let that get to me
or interfere with me as a person because that doesn't make me or break
On the atmosphere on campus...
"It's a great feeling. Honestly I can remember a time when I used
to go to campus and people weren't looking at me like they're
looking at me now. That's just another blessing in itself. When you
walk on campus, you can just feel the love of every single one. Whether
it's taking a picture or saying `War Eagle' going to class, there
is something just special about this campus that I really like and
really admire about everybody on this campus. They make you feel special
and there is more to it than just football. It's something bigger."
On his 40-yard dash time...
"I have no clue. We haven't run the forty here."
On whether he considers himself fast...
"I wouldn't consider myself fast, I just consider myself not being
able to get caught. I just don't want to get caught because that's
going to be the biggest topic on the sideline, `Man you got caught.'
I just hate getting caught in the open field. That would be shameful of
On embracing the process...
"(Coach Malzahn) used to always say, `Embrace the grind.' This
was leading upon two-a-days and he used to always say `The moment can
never be too big for an athlete to be able to perform.' There are
countless quotes that ol' Gus Malzahn has in his vernacular. He just
keeps spitting them out back to back. He is a wise guy, and just being
around him can make you a wise person. He's just saying that just
because he was always saying `Great teams embrace the grind.' You
just can't come out here and expect on Saturday just to practice or
play well because it starts on the first day or whenever the
installation is for the next team, and you have to love that."
On the play late in the third quarter against LSU where he pushed the pile for Michael Dyer...
"I didn't hear a whistle, and that's another quote that Coach
(Gus) Malzahn says, `Play `til the whistle.' I didn't hear a
whistle so I guess the play kept going and we just wanted to get the
crowd involved and just move the chains. If I don't hear a whistle, my
mind is machine-like to go `til the whistle."
On seeing Auburn as the No. 1 team on television...
"Honestly, I haven't even seen it. I've heard a lot of it, but it
doesn't matter after week eight if we're No. 1. There's only one
week that it really matters and that's at the end of the year. It's
kind of pointless for us to talk about it just because this can be a
one-topic or one-time deal and then the next week we could be whatever.
We have to take this week on like every other week and have an excellent
week of practice and embrace the process."
On if he were Ole Miss, if he thinks they would raise their level of play against the No. 1 team...
"That's everybody, but I don't play for Ole Miss, I play for
Auburn. We'll leave their thinking up to them."
On what he needs to work on as a quarterback...
"There are a lot of things I could work on. Just watching the film
and seeing the reads that I made, I feel like I could have been more
precise in those reads. There are a lot of things that I get away with
that a lot of people really don't see, and I just can't get lax in
my ability to get myself out of trouble. I still have to make the reads
and whatnot. While I'm running, the list goes on. I'm not satisfied
with my performance, and I don't think I would have that game that
I'm satisfied with because I always feel, Coach Malzahn always
feels, that I can get better. I see what he sees, and with that attitude
I think we're going to go a long way with that."
On Eric Smith...
"Eric is one unselfish guy on this team, and we need Eric more than
ever right now. This is the point in the season where everybody's
nicked and bruised, but Eric brings this mentality of a hard-nosed guy
that comes in and is able to do his job every single play. He takes
criticism and he turns that into his motivation to do the right thing.
Eric is one of those guys you don't hear from. Last year he had a big
role in making plays and catching the ball, but this year his job has
been even bigger not just because he hasn't been catching the ball,
but he's been in on some key moments in the game and he's making
lead blocks that people really don't see or hear from him. He
doesn't complain about that. That just goes to show you what type
of people we have on this team. "
On his impressions of Jeremiah Masoli...
"I had the chance to see Jeremiah a lot of times this year just
watching TV and recaps of a lot of games. He's an elusive guy and
he's a guy that's fun to watch also. Just with what he can do,
it's scary for defenders and for me just looking at it on the field.
Our defense will have an excellent week of practice like they've been
having and we should be successful."
On playing 11 games without an off week...
"Bye week or no bye week, we signed up to be in the SEC, and that's
what you get. Week-in and week-out you have to put your best foot
forward. Win or go home. Our mentality has been we come in the next day,
we celebrate, but the next day after that we get treatment and clear our
minds and be ready to be able to come in and learn about the next
opponent. We learn them to a tee because there could be one play that
could just change the whole direction of the game."
On if he enjoys playing on the road in a hostile environment...
"I just love football. I would rather us be playing in Jordan-Hare,
but if that's what's called for us to do, I'm accepting the
challenge. I think my team will be ready to play this game like any
On the No. 1 team losing three weeks in a row...
"If we do our job, you can cut that statistic out. We feel that our
coaches do an excellent job in preparing us for our game so we won't
have the coaches to blame because they're going to do their job.
It's going to be up to us as players to be able to come in and know
their weaknesses and know what they're good at and be able to attack
them from every single direction."