Chizik: Tigers Improve But Must Get Better

Auburn coach Gene Chizik talks about the win over ULM, getting ready for Kentucky, and updates several players.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn jumps back into SEC play this Saturday night when the Tigers travel to Lexington to face the Kentucky Wildcats. A team that has lost two consecutive games on the road at Florida and Ole Miss, Chizik said despite that fact Kentucky is a dangerous team.

"They are a really good football team," Chizik said. "Offensively if you look they are probably in the top four or five categories in everything in the league. Defensively they've got some really good pass defense and total defense. This is a very good football team and they are very well-coached.

"We got first-hand last year how good they were when they came in there. That was a good football team. They beat us at our own place. The challenge of going into another SEC environment is going to be difficult in itself. It will be our second road game. We'll have to be a much improved team over two weeks ago to go in there and beat them."

Falling 21-14 at home last season to the Wildcats, Auburn is riding high this year with a perfect 5-0 record and a #8 ranking in both the AP and Coaches' Poll this week. Chizik said while they did lose at home last season to UK it's not something that will consume the team this week.

"Last year's result and last year's team really have no bearing on this year at all," Chizik said. "That was a different team with different people and a different year. We don't use that as any type of motivation at all. We're trying to get better every day within our own team. That's really not part of the equation."

Getting better was the focus in Saturday's 52-3 victory over ULM at Jordan-Hare Stadium as the Tigers emptied the bench on both offense and defense early and often in the win. Chizik said several players stood out to him as having good days on both sides of the ball with one player literally doing both.

"We did get an opportunity to play a lot of young guys yesterday and that was great to see," Chizik said. "A guy like Anthony Morgan, he played both ways and really did a nice job. We've flipped him both ways at practice to be able to help us in different spots. I was really proud of him.

"DeAngelo Benton, boy he made a tough grab. He was out of bounds but he really went up and got that tough catch and took a hit. Jake Holland defensively played a lot of snaps and I thought did some encouraging things. Kenneth Carter is another one on defense that did some encouraging things."

Another young player that got some action on Saturday was sophomore quarterback Barrett Trotter. Completing 3-5 passes for 27 yards and rushing for 29 yards and another score, he made some plays but on his final play of the game he injured a knee diving into the end zone for a touchdown. Chizik said at the moment they're not sure the extent of the injury.

"It looks like it's kind of like a bunch of guys on our team," Chizik said. "Just a kind of a nick and bruise type thing. I don't know yet."

Chizik said if he's unable to go the Tigers feel very good about both Neil Caudle and Clint Moseley if needed as Auburn's other quarterbacks.

While the young guys got a lot of attention, so did senior running back Mario Fannin. Bothered by a shoulder injury much of the season to this point, Fannin looked healthier on Saturday and responded with 89 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Chizik said there is no question that Fannin will be a big part of things for the Tigers the rest of the year.

"He's got to help us," Chizik said. "He's a very good football player and he's a big part of what we're trying to do when he's healthy."

As we noted following the game on Saturday, wide receiver Jay Wisner has left Auburn's team for personal reasons. Chizik said he's a guy that will be sorely missed despite not having a single reception this season.

"Jay Wisner, last week, decided to leave our football team for personal reasons," Chizik said. "He's a great young man. He's done everything we've asked him to do. We're going to try to help him in any way and wish him well. Last week he decided to leave the team."

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