Auburn football coach Gene Chizik talked with the media following today’s 24-7 loss to Arkansas. Here’s what he had to say…
“You saw the game. We had two weeks to prepare, and I really felt like we had two good weeks of practice. I certainly didn’t expect to play like we played today, but the reality of it is, today we did all of the things you can’t do and win, and we know that. Offensively, you can’t turn the ball over five times, and this is the result that you get.
“We missed big opportunities. Eight sacks. Offensively, one of the most poor performances I have seen in a long time, just point blank. Defensively, we started out slow and for three quarters defended the field pretty well, made some big third down stops. Again, when we needed a stop, when we pulled the game to a 10-7 game, we couldn’t quite come up with a stop there. But again, I thought it was all around, it was a team loss.
“Again, we are going to go back to work, and we are going to continue to figure out how to fix it. The bottom line is that the Auburn fans and the Auburn Family, they did not deserve this today, and I apologize to anybody who came to the game to watch it. It was a good football team talent-wise, but we certainly have plenty of opportunities to play much better. We just didn’t get it done. So, it is no excuses, and that is about as simple as I can put it.”
It looked like at times today, Auburn’s offense regressed:
“I think you can start with turnovers and sacks. I don’t have to go any further than that. You have five turnovers, and you have eight sacks, the offense has regressed. So, I think that is pretty self-explanatory.”
On what Auburn’s quarterback situation is:
“We changed at halftime. We just felt like we needed a spark. We needed something a little different, and that doesn’t mean that’s the way it is going to stay. We felt like at that time, again, we needed something different, and we did it, and we will go back and re-evaluate it again this week and see where we are. That doesn’t mean the change is permanent. Kiehl (Frazier) handled it well.”
On if you fear how the change will hurt Kiehl Frazier’s psyche:
“I thought he handled it really, really well. I talked to them both at halftime by ourselves, us three, told them what I was going to do, and we did it. So, I am not going to look back and second guess that. Again, we will move forward and look and see what the next thing is, but that is what we did today.”
Why did the quarterbacks struggle?
“Until you look at the film right now, and you really see all of the reasons that it appears a quarterback doesn’t play well, you don’t know all of the reasons. You don’t know the pressures, and where they are coming from. You don’t know who missed who on the blocks. When you have eight sacks right now, there are a lot of different reasons why a quarterback didn’t play well. So, I am not going to blame everything on a quarterback. Just like I am not going to blame everything on a wideout or the offensive line and so, we are not going there, but you obviously have to go back and re-evaluate a lot, and we will do that.”
Did Auburn have a sense of urgency going into this game?
“We understand where we are at. We have won one game so there has been a sense of urgency in everything that we do. Again, that is why I felt like we had two weeks of practice, and I felt very good about our practices. What I saw out there today was very disappointing in terms of the quality of our practices versus the results of the game today. It wasn’t exactly what I had expected. Again, that is on us, and we are going to continue to work forward.”
Are you still confident in Mike Blakely carrying the ball after his fumble today?
“We are going to have to go back and really look and re-evaluate. He had some good runs. We have to go back and see exactly why that happened, but anytime you have guys that fumble the football, you are not comfortable with any of that. It doesn’t mean that you are afraid to put them back into the game or that he will never carry the ball again. I’m not going to say that, but he wasn’t the only one to put the ball on the ground today. So, we have to go back and reassess that as part of many other things, we have to reassess.”
Was the air let out of Auburn after Arkansas went ahead 17-7?
“I felt like our defense played really well in spurts today. That was a very potent offense. We know that. They have good players over there. The quarterback is extremely gifted and talented and good at his trade. When we needed the stop at the beginning of the third quarter when we brought it to 10-7, we didn’t get the stop. So, that was disappointing to see on our defense. We thought we had some energy. We started the game with a little bit of energy and a little bit of momentum, then I think they went on a 75-yard drive at that point, which is very disappointing. That’s why I say it is a team loss. We had our chances, and we missed big opportunities out there. We had receivers running open that we threw the ball over their head when it was protected. Again, it was a completely unacceptable offensive performance all the way around. Again, I can’t put it any more clearly than that.”
When you went to Atlanta for the opener, was there any way you would think Auburn would be 1-4 now?
“I don’t ever think that way. Ever. I always think that we are going to win. It is a journey that we are on right now. It is a tough one. There are peaks and valleys that you have to live through in your life. We are going to keep going through the valley and keep working. I don’t’ know any other way to do it, and I am not changing.”
What did you think about the Auburn fans leaving early?
“I didn’t see fans leave, but I don’t blame them. I don’t look in the stands so I don’t know about all of that. It is just disappointing to see a guy fumble (at that point Mike Blakely fumbled in the fourth quarter).”
Did you see enough from Clint Moseley to change the number of his reps before you see the film?
“No. I can’t say that. I can’t say that because he was under duress some today and some when he wasn’t, he made some errant throws and again I think he just has to look at everything. An errant throw could have been a receiver not breaking a route off at the right time. Again, the game moves fast. You have different reasons for execution that was very poor, and I am sure as we go back and look at it tomorrow, there will be poor execution by quarterbacks, running backs, offensive linemen and wide receivers. I am sure of that, and tight ends.”
Is this an open quarterback competition?
“Again, we will make those decisions as we go and we really re-evaluate this film.”
On what needs to be changed for Auburn to finish the games stronger?
“I think it is going to depend a lot on exactly what we see on that film. The bottom line is that we have looked at it. We have evaluated it. We have practiced it, and there is something there that is missing, and we have to do a better job of figuring out exactly what that is.”
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