Quoting Gene Chizik, South Carolina Week

As his Auburn football team prepares to play South Carolina, comments from Coach Gene Chizik are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Comments from Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik's Tuesday press conference are featured as the Tigers prepare for their Top 25 matchup vs. South Carolina on Saturday.

(Opening Statement) "It's going to be another great SEC weekend. Obviously we have a huge challenge in front of us with the best football team we've played to date. I don't think there's any question about that. They're just a very sound, solid football team with a lot of talent, and they're very well-coached as you would imagine. It's going to be a great challenge for us.

"This is going to be three very physical games in a row for our football team. Our kids are excited about it and we're excited about it. The name of the game for us is going to be playing a very physical football game. I don't feel like this past week we were as physical as we needed to be. We won the football game and we're very proud of the way our team responded in a situation that at some points didn't look very good, but we're going to have to play a much more physical brand of football Saturday to beat this team. We'll be up to the challenge and we'll be ready for it and it ought to be a lot of fun."

(On playing physical football)

"There were some physical hits (in the Clemson game), but when we talk about being physical, we're talking about the point of attack on the line of scrimmage and playing on the other side of the line of scrimmage no matter who you are. For our offensive line, that's playing on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage. Same way with our defensive line, trying to play in the offensive backfield as well. That's where we have to improve as a team.

"We can run the ball on the perimeter; we can do some of that. We need to improve in a lot of ways on the line of scrimmage and that starts with our offensive and defensive lines. I'm not saying there weren't physical hits and physical play in the game because there was. I think both teams played with a lot of pride and a lot of passion, but we have to win the line of scrimmage more than we're doing right now."

(On not winning as many line of scrimmage battles with a veteran offensive line)

"I don't want to say that I'm disappointed that we're not. I feel like we need to be playing more physical. I don't feel like there's any secret. We've had that discussion over the last two days. I think they know it, we know it, they have to fix it. If we're going to win the football game Saturday, that's going to be part of the equation, that we got that fixed. Right now we're not playing as physical as we need to. We have guys that have a lot of starts under their belts."

On why the offensive and defensive lines are being challenged.

"We're going to go back to work and keep impressing upon the importance of it and work it in practice. We're going to try to continue to do it in practice. You're not going to do it in the game if you're not doing it in practice. We're going to continue with that again today."

(On if South Carolina's offense will challenge the secondary)

"Without question. It is a very talented offense. They've got great height from all their receivers. They have two extremely effective quarterbacks. They're not afraid to run their quarterbacks. Coach (Steve) Spurrier does a great job coaching the quarterbacks in terms of throwing the ball. Their running game with their tailbacks is pretty much hitting on all cylinders now as well. Going back to the receiver question, they are very talented, very athletic and obviously have some great size to them."

(On Marcus Lattimore's impact as a true freshman)

"Just watching him on film, he just looks really good. He doesn't run the ball like a freshman. He's physical, he's everything we saw in recruiting. He's doing a great job."

(On the death of former South Carolina WR Kenny McKinley and how to deal with the mental health of players.)

"First of all, that's just a tragedy and my heart goes out to everybody affected by that. It's a tough question. You know you really try to keep a good eye and try to monitor your guys, and that's why with us personally we're always trying to be involved with what's going on in their lives, with what's going on in their family life. You don't know. It's very tricky. It's tough to know what's going on at one time in every guy's world. We try to do our best to stay up on what's going on in 125 guys' lives. And that's tough, but we do our best to do that. Again, that's a tough situation."

(On the recent health problems of fellow coaches and the degree of stress that comes along with being a college football coach)

"It's extremely stressful. There's no question about it. It's just another unfortunate situation and our heart goes out to (Michigan State head coach) Mark (Dantonio). For the head coaches in Division I football there are all kinds of outside stresses on you, but I'm not sure that there's not more stress that we all put on ourselves than from the outside world. Everybody's competitive, everybody wants to win, and like it or not we control how a lot of people feel on Sunday morning and that's a huge responsibility. So it's tough territory."

(On replacing A.J. Greene at right tackle)

"John Sullen is kind of who we threw into the mix, so John's going to be at right tackle, and Brandon Moseley is going to be at right tackle, and we're going to just kind of rotate and find out at the end of the day what is the best mix. Our plan is on Tuesday to be able to rotate those guys and find the combination that fits us best. I don't know how we'll do it in the game but both guys will have equal opportunity to be the guy. We'll start looking at that today."

(On Brandon Moseley and having a back-up at left tackle)

"Brandon's going to be a swing guy and that's kind of what he's been doing since camp started. He's going to be able to be a left tackle and a right tackle and he's a very important piece. He's played some tight end too. He's going to be a big part of what we're trying to do this week."

(On South Carolina winning the line of scrimmage)

"As far as them winning the line of scrimmage, there's no question about it. This is another SEC brand of football. It's fast, physical, hard-hitting. Everything starts in the SEC on the line of scrimmage. I'd say that anywhere in football starts at the line of scrimmage.

"Certainly in this league with so many great inside defensive linemen as well as defensive ends and the big, physical offensive lines that we face as a defense every week. Watching them on film, they play on the other side of the line of scrimmage. There's no question about that."

(On the offensive line needing consistency at the line of scrimmage)

"I've seen flashes of it. I certainly haven't seen enough of it, in my opinion. Again, we've seen bits and pieces of what we need to be, but I haven't seen enough of it."

On if playing physically is a mentality or physical skill)

"I think it's a lot of both. It's a lot of how you approach every day, every practice. Again, you do it in practice, then that's your mentality and that's a way of life and that's what happens on Saturday. It's mental, without question, in my opinion. But certainly, physically, each guy being able to act upon that as well as think it, that's what's going to either make you physical or not. You certainly can't be if you're not mentally aware of ‘We need to be more physical, we need to get off the ball harder, our double-teams need to be more physical.' All those kinds of things right now mentally they've got to understand that that's not where we're at."

(On not running as traditional of an offense)

"We run the exact same plays that every I-back team runs. The exact same plays, powers, counters, zones, inside zones, our run game is exactly the same."

(On Michael Dyer's progress)

"I am very proud of how he's progressed. To me, number one is that he hasn't turned the ball over. He's hit the ball up in between the tackles and made some yards in between the tackles, sometimes when it's there and sometimes when it's not there, so that's good to see. I think he's going to get better and better as the games go along with his vision and being able to see that cut that he didn't see the first couple of weeks, and I believe that will come with him getting the ball more, the more experience and the more confident he feels moving forward in this league.

"We're ready for him to do more, but just evaluating him up to this point I'm proud of him and he's been very humble about doing it. ‘Whatever you need me to do, Coach, that's what I'm going to do,' and he's worked hard to get to this point so we feel better as the weeks go along."

(On utilizing the tight end position more in the passing game)

"We have to get more people involved in the pass game period. Without naming a guy or a position, in general we've got to get more guys involved in the pass game and I think that's glaring. I don't think there's any question about that so we're going to work to try and be a little bit more diverse when it comes to different routes and different guys we're getting the ball to."

(On the pass game play calling as a function of the quarterback or offensive coordinator )

"Circumstances are hard to tell. You may have one play on and it looks like it's good and then it's a quarterback scramble. There's just a lot of circumstances in there that add to why that hasn't happened, but again we know where we're at so it's our aim to try and spread the ball around a little bit more this week."

(On easing a new quarterback into the passing game)

"We're going to do in the game plan what we think gives us the best chance to win and we would love to be a 50-50 split in terms of run and pass. To win games, sometimes it doesn't pan out that way, but we would like to be able to do that. We will always work in the direction of being that but what will always overrule that is that we have to do whatever we have to do to win. If that's throwing it more than running, we'll do that. If it's running it more than throwing it, we'll do that. The ideal for us, which we were last year, is a 50-50 split. That will always kind of be the target that we're aiming for, but it won't always pan out that way."

(On Shon Coleman being at the game last Saturday and keeping in touch with him during his illness)

"Shon was able to come to the game for the first time. It's really the first time he's been here since we found out that he had cancer. It was just awesome to see him smiling and just back being himself, and I think it was neat for a lot of our coaches to see him again and his mom. We keep in touch with them on a daily basis and we want them to come back as often as they can get back. We know sometimes that gets a little taxing, but it was just awesome to see him back here and us recognize him. It was a cool deal."

(On Coleman returning to football)

"I can't make that call. I expect him to be at Auburn. Whether he's playing or not, I don't know, but I expect him to be at Auburn."

(On Cameron Newton's development in the passing game and South Carolina's rush defense)

"It's business as usual for us really. Offensively, we do what we do. We just have to do it better than we've been doing it. I don't think there's any secret to that. We think he's (Newton) throwing the ball well. We've got to be able to protect him. We had two sacks Saturday and he got himself out of trouble numerous times so we've got to protect the quarterback better than we have been. He's made some really good throws into some tight areas. We've got to give him time to throw. We've got to get some more receivers open. That's the game plan, so whether we're running the ball or throwing the ball, we feel good about asking Cameron to do either and that's our plan with him."

(On some fans booing Saturday when Auburn was struggling in the first half)

"First of all, the fans were a huge reason we won the game. As usual, they were awesome. If that was happening, when we say ‘All In,' we need everybody in all of the time. That's what that means to us. Our fans are great about being there pregame and postgame because we've got the greatest fans in the world. When we're struggling, that's when we need everyone the most, but they've been great."


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