Gene Chizik Previews The Georgia Game
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Gene Chizik
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Gene Chizik
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Nov. 10, 2009

Opening Statement...
"This is a great rivalry week for us. Georgia is going to be a great challenge. This game through the years has been one of those games that always seems to go back and forth. It is the kind of game that is a lot of fun to play in. It is just a great rivalry, so we have our work cut out for us. Georgia is a great team and we will have to play really well Saturday at their place. They are talented so it should be a good football game and our players should be into it and ready to play."

On his thoughts on his team after 10 games...
"I am really proud of our football team for a lot of reasons. I have seen them go through a lot of good and some bad, and be able to handle both. They are very resilient; they are how I thought they would be. We have played some really good football at times, we have played poor football at times, but they just keep coming back and keep fighting. We have had guys injured and new guys stepping up. They just keep hanging in there and I am really proud of them for doing that. They will have to keep doing that Saturday night."

On Georgia Wide Receiver A.J. Green...
"A.J. Green is a great talent. He has a lot of range and speed. He is their go-to guy. He has caught a lot of balls this year. They take a lot of shots down field to him; they did it last year against Auburn. He will be a huge challenge for our secondary, which should be fun for them. He is not the only one, but he is one of those receivers that are going to make you go to work all night. You always have to be aware of where he is, because they line him up at different places. You know they will throw the ball six or seven time deep to him during the game. So we are going to have to be really sound in what we do and make sure we have the right match-up when he is on the field.

On preparing for Georgia Quarterback Joe Cox...
"He is a very good QB. Like any QB you are preparing to go against, the more pressure you can get on him the better. So we know we need to do that no matter what type of rush we decided to go with. He is very accurate and a couple of interceptions he has thrown were just great plays. If you look at the Tennessee game he put one on the money and it got haphazardly tipped up and Eric Berry gets it. He is an extremely talented guy and he can put the ball right on the money and there is no question about it. So we prepare with that in mind."

 

 

On the play of Georgia's defense this season...
"I think they have done a lot of nice things on defense. They are very talented and very physical. Their front four poses many problems. They are very talented in the secondary and their linebacking corps is also very talented. When I look at them on film I see a very talented group that is productive. In this day and age, like our defense you will give up some yards at times. Overall I think they are very talented and very productive."

On being able to rest the starters on Saturday...
"It was really great and not just because those guys got to sit a half, but it is great for the morale of your team when you can get a lot of young guys playing time. There were guys on the field Saturday that may never play for Auburn again. It is great for team morale and also to rest the starters, because we have not had any time off, so it was good to get that opportunity."

On team's morale heading into a rivalry game...
"They definitely have a pep in their step, but to be honest they have been that way all year. This game is obviously a great rivalry and we have a lot of kids from Georgia on our roster so they will be very excited for the game. They are coming in and watching film. They are into it and will be excited Saturday night. I am not going to say that they have a completely different personality because they have been excited to play every week, but this one will certainly be fun for them."

On how the injuries have impacted the staff...
"I think our staff has done a really nice job of being able to plug guys in. In a lot of cases, they are young guys who've really never played before. Ontario McCalebb has been out, and some young guys have had to step up -they will continue to have to do that. When Zac (Etheridge) went out for three quarters in the Ole Miss game, a new guy had to step up and play--Demond Washington--and also had to play Saturday. I think if you look at different areas of our team, it's been happening all year long. I think our coaches have done a nice job of preparing the players."

On how he balances promoting and keeping his coaches...
"It is a fine line. But all of our guys know that I want to help them achieve every goal that they have set out to do as coaches. If that's being a head coach, I want to help them, just like people helped me. We have some really good coaches, and obviously I don't want to lose any of them, but my job as a head coach is to help them achieve their goals.

On if he can you name any coaches that helped him become a head coach...
"I hesitate to say one guy. There have been a lot of people who've helped me--there are too many to name. I think that's the job of a head coach when you get great assistants. If they want to be head coaches, there's no reason why I wouldn't help them. And they know that."

On how much Mario Fannin has helped the offense...
"Mario really has, in the last two weeks, become a big part of our offense in different ways. Sometimes he is a tailback, sometimes he's at wideout. He's been involved in our sweep and screen games; he's done a lot of nice things for our offense, which is good due to the injuries we've faced. He has really stepped up and has assumed some roles that he necessarily didn't have to fulfill at the beginning of the year. It's good to see him do that."

On if offensive momentum carries over from week-to-week...
"To me, offensive momentum is always important. Especially with what we do on offense -- trying to keep a tempo, keeping defenses out of rhythm -- it's really important. The way this year has unfolded, when our offense has been in rhythm, we've done well. When we've not been in rhythm, we've struggled, and I think that's evident and huge. You'd like to think that you could carry momentum week-to-week, but the reverse side of that is if you're not clicking, you don't want that to carry over. So, it's a game to game issue. Sometimes we start the game off slow and pick up rhythm--it's happened this year. Sometimes we start the game off fast, and lose it a little bit. Sometimes we've had the momentum all game. It happens different ways and it really is a game-by-game issue in my opinion.

On Ben Tate's accomplishments and the effect on the team...
"I'm really proud of him, and I think that the acknowledgements that he is getting right now are well deserved. He's become a team leader for us in my opinion. He's a guy that laid low at the beginning of the year and kept working on the things that he needed to do to become a better football player. I think it showed up 1,100 yards later. It's just really good to see good things happen to him, because he just really deserves it. He's put a lot of effort and everything into Auburn. He's already graduated, which is as good as it gets. It's just great to see good things happen to him, because he's really produced for us."

On if players like Ben Tate help recruiting...
"I think so. I don't think there's any question. When you have running backs out there trying to decide where to go, and you have a guy on your team that's hit 1,000 yards in nine games, in this league that's hard to do. I think the proof is there. And if you want to rush for 1,000 yards in this offense, you know you will have the opportunity to do it -- because we're going to run the ball."