Head Coach Gene Chizik's Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 9, 2010


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Head Coach Gene Chizik

"Being a head coach at Auburn and being in the coaching profession, it's obvious you have to win football games. There's no question that that's what every head coach's goal is, to win football games. That's certainly ours here at Auburn and there isn't anyone that's more competitive than myself and my coaching staff. The value of winning here for us is huge and it's very important to us. However, there are other things that are extremely important to us, too, and that is being able to get in young men's lives and making a difference and help guys grow as young men. I have 120 young men on this football team, and as their head coach, as their mentor, sometimes as their father-figure, I have a responsibility to our young guys to defend and protect. Certainly, we ask them to do all the things right on and off the field here at Auburn as an Auburn football player. When I see a young man doing everything that we ask him to do, to carry himself the right way, to talk the right way, to act the right way, both on and off the field, I have a very high appreciation for that.

"Where I'm going with this is Cameron Newton is one of the young men on our football team that has not only excelled as a tremendous athlete, he has done everything we have asked him to do since the day he stepped on campus at Auburn. I want to make this very clear because I'm wasting my time addressing allegations that completely, to be frank, blow my mind that they're even out there because there are federal privacy laws that dictate that these things don't even get out in public, so I'm not even sure how that happens. But I'm standing up here on a very important week trying to defend something that, quite frankly, is garbage. Is there a wizard behind the curtain? I don't know. Is there one, is there two, are there 10? I don't know and I don't care. But what I do care about is coming to the defense of not only a great football player, but a great human being who comes from a great family.

"Now look, if you really want to do your homework, go and start with his little league coach, then go to his junior high coach, then go to his high school coach, then go to his junior college coach, and then come talk to any coach at Auburn and you're all going to hear the same thing. This is a waste of my time, but I'm going to address it because I'm defending a young man who deserves it. He's one of the leaders in the Heisman race because he deserves it. That's fact. If distractions and whatever's out there, whatever people want to drum up and dream up and try to distract, it is what it is and it's not changing. Cameron is going to be focused on playing Georgia this week. Nothing has changed in terms of who he is and what he is, but he is like our son here, and I have a problem with it. I have a problem with it. So here's what we're going to do. Because this is pure garbage, I'm going to move on and I'm going to talk about Georgia. I'm not taking one question about Cameron Newton unless it has to do with the Georgia game. If you want to ask a question about the Georgia game, I'd love to answer it to the best of my ability. But that's where we're going with this because this deserves zero of my time and I've already wasted about four minutes talking about it.

"That being said, we have a very tough game against Georgia this week. It's going to be a great crowd here. The Georgia series, obviously, is one of the greatest in college football. We have our work cut out for us. This is a very good football team and they're playing extremely well as a team right now. Offensively, they're hitting on all cylinders. I think their quarterback certainly has enough games under his belt right now where he's really becoming a really good SEC quarterback. Defensively, they're playing much better. They're probably in the top four in probably just about every category defensively in the league and they're going to come in here ready to play. We have a lot of work to do between now and game time. We'll be focused on the task at hand. There's no question in my mind that it's going to be a great game and it's going to be a lot of fun. So if you have any questions related to the game, I would love to answer those."

On what this weekend's game means to the team...
"It's like we've talked about, everybody knows what's out there. Everybody knows as you keep winning, the stakes get higher. There isn't a lot of rhetoric between myself and the team about what's out there. I think they know that. They're excited to play. This is one of the games that you try to play college football to be a part of. It's going to be an exciting time for our players and our fans. Just a fun time. We're going to try to really enjoy every moment of it."

On what Georgia does well that could give Auburn some problems...
"They throw great deep balls. They have receivers, they have a great tight end, they have really two or three really athletic, 6-3, 6-4 receivers. At least 6-3, 6-4. (Aaron) Murray does a great job of getting the ball up in their hands, certainly on early downs. Their running game is starting to come around as well, and I think they've run the ball much better here recently. I think they've gotten a lot of confidence. Their offensive line is playing really physical. In that regard, offensively, that's what they're doing well. They have a really great set of special team units. Their kickoff coverage team, which you're talking about field position, is probably number one in the league. They do a great job on coverage units. They have the best kickoff return guy, or one of the best kickoff return guys, in the league in (Brandon) Boykin. Then defensively, I think they've really settled in and really kind of gotten used to the new defensive coordinator and his system. You can tell that there is much more of a comfort level in how they're playing now. I think just as a football team, without question, all the way around they have definitely improved and are playing really good football right now."

On how critical the punting game will be this weekend...
"It's huge. That just kind of ties in with the rest of their special teams unit. Their kickoffs are out of the endzone more than half the time it seems like. Their punting game is off the chart in terms of field position, depth position and the punts down inside the 10. We're going to have to do a really good job of trying to field some of those punts and at least getting a first down return-wise to get us out of some of those holes that really kept us in the hole all night against LSU. At the end of the day, all of our special teams units are really going to have to be on their A-game to be able to compete with these guys on their special teams. They have a lot of great athletes and a lot of great coverage units and they're just very skilled at what they do."

On making a change in the punting game...
"We'll just kind of look and go through the week and do like we do all the time and make decisions closer toward the end of the week. We're certainly not going to change what we do punting. Protection has always been really good and our coverage has been good. We just have to get some guys that can be more consistent with their punts. I have faith that one of the two is going to be able to do it. Right now, I'm not sure which one that is. To be quite honest, it has been sporadic in practice, as well, so it's made it a little bit difficult. Hopefully we can get them refocused and get some great competition there at that position and get some punts with some good hangtime and good distance Saturday."

On how Georgia's A.J. Green has made a difference since he returned from suspension this season...
"I don't think there's any question earlier in the year when they didn't necessarily have him out there, defenses didn't have to find ways to double him or find ways to pay more attention to him, it let them play more on the run. You can do different things. When you have one guy that commands so much attention, you spend hours trying to figure out how you're going to cope with him and certainly, with him, they do a great job with some short screen-game things with him and he can turn those two- or three-yard gains into 30-yard gains or touchdowns. They throw a great deep ball to him and always have. That's always been Georgia's deal, they love to challenge you six, seven times deep in the game. He's one of the guys that they'll obviously do that with several times. He just commands a lot of attention from the defenses. That presents challenges. I think since he has been back, it has opened their offense up all the way around."

On the Auburn-Georgia rivalry...
"It's the oldest rivalry in the South, and I think if you look at the series record, it's something like 53-52-8. It's just so close. There are so many similarities between the two schools. It's one of the greatest rivalries in terms of the passion for the game, the closeness of the games. I'm not sure if in the past seven, eight years a game has been decided by more than ten points. It's always played as a very close game. You can throw the records out. Does the highest-ranked team always win? No they don't. We have a lot of Georgia guys on our roster, and though every game is special, when they're playing guys from their home state, guys they played with in high school, there's a lot of emotion and passion there. There are a lot of players that know each other, and it's a great rivalry."

On memories from the 2004 Georgia game...
"The atmosphere was off the chart, just like we expect it to be Saturday. It was a great memory for us. Obviously it was six years ago, so it's lost a bit of its luster for me. It was a great win, and it was an exciting time for the Auburn fans and for our players and coaches."

On the improvement in the secondary with more players getting playing time...
"We've been beat up, banged up, sometimes it seems like we've got a Red Cross unit back there, but we challenged our guys the week of the LSU game - young, not young, true freshmen, back-up, etc. Whatever their situation is, we challenged them. Georgia will make big plays. It will be how our guys respond to those plays, the next plays, don't let that play beat you twice. Our secondary has their work cut out for them with those receivers, a great quarterback, great tight ends, so it's going to be very challenging but (Georgia)'s going to make plays, but we just have to rebound and play for 60 minutes and continue to battle, and that's what we're going to do."

On the development of Michael Dyer...
"I think the plan has unfolded close to the way we envisioned it. With running backs, you have to deal with protections, and it's not just carrying the ball for so many yards, and not fumbling the ball. I think that Coach Luper and Coach Malzahn did a great job of bringing him along, not putting too much pressure on him early to have to be the guy. We still have Mario (Fannin) and Onterio (McCalebb), who are very good running backs and have taken a lot of pressure off of him. I think game by game (Dyer) has become more comfortable with the whole picture, and he's more effective than he was earlier in the year, and he's gotten more opportunities now. I think everyone has a better comfort level now."

On developing the team into an SEC Champion candidate in his second year...
"The only word I can use is blessed. I feel blessed, starting with the leadership of this whole athletic department, starting with Jay (Jacobs), and the vision we've had together; Dr. Gouge, our president, and our players' response to what we're trying to do in this family, this Auburn family. Playing not just for yourself, but playing for Auburn and your teammates. Also being appreciative of what you have here at Auburn while you're here, not after you leave, because that's what everyone has the tendency to do, to miss it when it's gone. Those are all things we've tried to impress upon those guys, and they've bought in. It's the players. They play hard every week, they have chemistry, they believe in each other. They've developed it after two years, because many of them were here last year. We brought in almost 30 freshmen and junior college players who fit into the mix and the fold. We've welcomed them, because that's what you do as a family. We never put a time frame on how many wins we get. We've been blessed on the journey, and we've done it to the best of our ability."

On Cam Newton's talent versus other Heisman candidates...
"I think that I have not seen every player in America. I've seen one, and that's No. 2. He is a great football player; not a good football player, a great football player. I don't make those decisions, but based on what I've seen from my own guy, he needs to be in the running. No question."

On Newton keeping his joyful spirit despite controversy...
"Right now Cam is preparing for Georgia, and he hasn't changed, and I don't expect him to change."

On the importance of this weekend's game for recruiting...
"It's our last home game, obviously, when we can bring the recruits in to Jordan-Hare and let them see a game. It'll be a huge weekend for us. Hopefully we'll have a great crowd, in terms of recruits, here, for our fans who make it special. The guys who haven't been here I think will get a treat, because our fans are going to be geared up and ready to go. Our student section is going to be alive, and all the things that come with game-day here will make it a great venue for the guys to come and watch the Tigers play."

On differences in building a team here and at Iowa State...
"It's very similar. It's always doing the right things, always recruiting right, always telling the truth, bringing guys into the family, treating them right. Setting the standard and expectation that you're not coming down off of no matter who it is, and recruiting the right guys for your program that have a chance to come in here and help Auburn football win. The blueprint has not changed, and you have a sight and a vision for what you want to do, and we're not coming off of it."

On how faith plays a part in the team, and in the daily activities at Auburn...
"For me personally that's what I hang my hat on every day, that's what I do, that's who I am, and that's all I've got, because all this other stuff is going to be gone one day. With our football team, we provide our guys with all the resources necessary, if that's something that they want to engage in, we provide that resource for them just like you would provide a tutor or whatever. We provide that resource for our team, and for those young men on our team that choose to use those resources, they are certainly there for them. For me, personally, in my life, it's a huge part of what myself, my family, and my wife believe in and what we do."


Cam Newton, QB

On Georgia's defense...
"This defense that we're facing now, I've had a chance to watch them and we're not concrete on what our game plan is right now. We know that Georgia is a dangerous team as a whole. This defense has some talented players, from the defensive line position, the linebacker position and also the secondary, and we have to have an excellent week of practice. They're very talented, like I said earlier, and if we don't prepare like we have been, it could be real ugly."

On the improvement he has seen from the Auburn offensive line this season...
"I think all my success is on the offensive line because without those guys and what they've done for this team and for this passing game and rushing game, they're the guys behind the scenes that really don't get as much credit as they need to. We know that every single play, they're busting their butts to do their job and to make us successful as a whole offense. We're going out and playing this game for the seniors that have been here this long, we're saluting them off and we want to do it in a good way."

On whether it means a lot to him that Coach Chizik would come to his defense...
"Absolutely. I can't even express how much it feels, as a person, as an athlete, how much it feels to be in a place where you feel not just the love as an athlete. You go places and you just hug a stranger to you, but you know their intentions are good because they're a part of this Auburn family. You come around this complex and you feel the warmth in everybody's heart and genuineness from a person's heart around this program that they have your best interest. It works wonders in my mind and in my everyday life to know that Auburn and my supporting cast are for me."

On whether or not he's hurt by the accusations against him...
"Am I hurt? No. Am I curious? A little bit, but it really doesn't get to me that much but, you know, I'm a blessed individual. I've said that on numerous accounts and I'm just going to continuously do what God has allowed me to do and play the game that I so dearly love. I'm going to keep doing it to the best of my ability."

On the latest accusations against him...
"There are a lot of speculations, rumors going around now, and I'm not going to be up here to entertain it. I'm a person that has come a long way. I went to the University of Florida, everybody knows that, I went to Blinn Junior College and I'm here at Auburn. During that whole tenure I had an excellent time learning from so many people on different occasions. Would I change it? No, because I think that's how I've matured as a person, as a player, and I'm continuously trying to learn this crazy thing about life. I'm a blessed individual."

On his possible false representation being federal a crime and whether or not he would press charges...
"For what? That's not me. I think the people that I have been faced with up unto this point have been good people. I'm not here to bash anyone for what they said, what they did, what they allegedly did, or rumors. I'm not going to do that. I'm here to go to school, and I'm here to win football games for Auburn. It would be selfish of me to entertain anything that's been said about me because our sole focus right now is on winning this football game coming up on this Saturday."

On being accused of cheating...
"I just said I couldn't say it more clearly. I'm not going to entertain something that took place not three months, not six months, not even a year, two years ago. I'm not going to sit up here and say anything about it, whether I did or did not do it, because I think I don't want to beat a dead horse talking about it. It's not going to affect me in any way, shape, or form."

On Urban Meyer being linked to these reports and whether or not he believes Meyer's denial of involvement...
"Oh, absolutely. The coach that I knew, Coach Urban Meyer, the coach that I once committed to, a man of integrity, I would hope he wouldn't say anything like that."

On whether or not his focus and preparation has changed in the past week...
"It hasn't changed me one bit. For the most part, I have Cecil Newton, my father, Jackie Newton, my mother, to point at to keep me level-headed. On the football side of it, I have Coach Gene Chizik, Coach Gus, Gustav, Malzahn. Those guys have been keeping me on an even plane. You can't control what another person says about you. You can only live your life and try to empower any person that you come in contact with to make them a better person and to make yourself a better person. That's what I'm trying to do on a consistent basis."

On whether or not he's surprised these accusations took on a life of their own...
"I'm not sure. That's a question that I can't answer right now. Am I surprised? To some extent because that's something that, well, allegedly happened in the past, two years ago. I'm going to leave it at that."

On the possibility of these accusations affecting his Heisman candidacy...
"I'm not up here to try to impress anybody about trying to win brownie points. I'm going to continuously do what I have been doing and for me to start thinking about, like I said once before, for me to even start thinking about the Heisman trophy, I don't want to do that. My sole focus is trying to beat Georgia. I think that's a task in itself and I'm a student-athlete at Auburn University trying to win football games. From day one, since I enrolled here, I'm trying continuously to do that every single day."

On whether he has talked to his parents about hiring an attorney to defend his reputation...
"That's something I can't talk to you about. If I have or if I haven't."