Quoting Gene Chizik: AU vs. UK Week

Auburn, Ala.--Comments from Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik are featured from his Kentucky week press conference.

Opening statement:

"We have a great challenge this week. This is going to be another

extremely tough SEC game. It'll be our second road game and second SEC road game. Kentucky is an extremely tough football team and we obviously found that out last year when they came in here and beat us here.

"Just looking at them on film, I'm very impressed. They're a very physical football team and offensively, they're extremely explosive as you would imagine. Defensively, they're very aggressive and very sound as they were last year. I don't see a whole lot of differences as a team. They're just a very good team.

"We have our work cut out for us. It's going to be a tough game for us to go into their stadium and win, but we're looking forward to it and it ought to be a lot of fun."

On Kentucky's QB/WR Randall Cobb:

"I don't know that you can shut Cobb down. They have some really good football players on that offense. You have Randall Cobb, (Derrick) Locke, (Mike) Hartline's throwing the ball extremely well. They've thrown it well over 100 times and I think there are only three interceptions that he's thrown. They're very physical. It's an offensive line that, they're not new, but they're different from last year. They have a lot of experience, but they're very physical.

"They have some other receivers, Chris Matthews, some 6-4 receivers out there that are extremely talented. They just pose a lot of problems for you. They're not one-dimensional. They can run it, they can throw it, and they're physical while they do it. They have another fullback that's very similar to the one they had last year and extremely physical. You can tell that's their brand of football and they're doing it well. From a defensive perspective, going against their offense, we have our hands full."

On Kentucky's position players:

"To me, they do a great job of using their personnel in the right way. With Locke obviously he's a great running back. He's one of the top rushers in the league. He'll catch eight balls a game. They do a great job with him on check-downs, with designed pre-release passes with him. They just know how to get their guys the ball. That's very impressive.

"With 6-4 receivers on the outside, if you give them an opportunity where they feel like it's one-on-one with no help, they're going to throw it up to their 6-4 guys. They do a good job of protecting their quarterback. There are challenges all over the place. They are in the top four and five in the league in every offensive category there is. After you watch them on film, you understand why."

Joker Phillips

Does Kentucky look the same under new head coach, Joker Phillips:

"It's pretty much the same idea. They're a very physical team. You can tell that's what they preach. The Ole Miss game last week was extremely physical on both sides. You can tell that's their way of life and that's what they believe in, and defensively as well. Their defensive line is very solid, very athletic. They hold their points of attack really well. They have some really good linebackers and they're very sound in what they do.

"Just as an overall team, even on their special teams, you look at Locke and you look at Cobb, I think if you combine their total yards per game, I think they both account combined for 340 yards a game. That's a lot of yards whether you're a tailback or a wide-out or a kick returner or punt returner, that's a lot of yards. They just have very talented guys on a very well-coached team."

On improving toward a complete game against ULM last Saturday:

"I feel like we were more in the right direction as opposed to in the wrong direction after looking at it. Obviously there are glaring things that we could do better, but I don't feel like last week we took a step back at all. I feel like we got better in some areas, and we'll need to play better this week without question, but I don't think we took a step back at all last week."

On starting 5-0 for the second consecutive season and comparing this year's team to last year's team:

"I got asked that same question earlier in the week and I don't know what the difference is yet. I'll know when we play games six, seven and eight. I don't know. I hope that we're a more consistent team. I hope that we continue to improve maybe more so than we did at this time last year. We're on a stretch now where in this month of October we're going to find out exactly, as a team, how far we have come in a year. Right now, I don't know. I'm very happy with our team because they work hard, they're focused, they want to win. All of those things are in place, but until we take it one game at a time, I don't know what the difference is yet."

On if this year's team is more comfortable than last year:

"I think so.I think the team is more comfortable with where we're at in being in the second year of what we are trying to do.Are we going to be at a better spot this week than we were last year?I don't know.They've got to go out there and prove it in practice today, tomorrow and Thursday, and then we have to go out there and play a great game to be able to win it.I'll know more this time next week."

On resting the starters against ULM and allowing them to see the game from the sidelines:

"I think it benefits them in a lot of ways, not just physically.From a team morale standpoint, having those guys out there watching the younger guys play, coaching them, talking with them when they are coming off the sidelines.

"From a team standpoint, I think it is invaluable.I think they have a vested interest in the guys that play behind them when they watch them. They will be able to coach them.I told them in the locker room this game isn't over for anybody.If you're out, it's your job to watch your guy and coach your guy and encourage those guys.That happened.I don't think I even needed to tell them, but I did.They did a good job of that Saturday."

On the benefits of being able to rest the starters against ULM:

"I think it's big.Anytime you can take guys that you know are going to play six or seven hundred snaps for a year and you can take 30 or 40 snaps off of them, I think it's huge."

On Cam Newton getting some experience as a pocket passer last Saturday:

"I think that was one of the things that going in we needed to be able to do.There were times in the game where Cam could've made some better choices and he knows that and I think he was disappointed in some of the choices he made as a pocket passer, but I think that was invaluable experience. One great think about Cameron is that he is a very smart player.He understands when he makes a mistake and the value of not doing it twice.I think he experienced a little bit of that Saturday."

On an update on Barrett Trotter:

"I'd like to say it's all great, but it's going to be a day-by-day thing still.Hopefully, he'll be ready, but the evaluation process will continue for the next week."

On what has contributed to the solid late-game defense:

"I think it's probably a mixture of a lot of things.I think some of it is adjustments, not knowing in some of the games what the plans of some of these teams are going to be.I think our guys get into a rhythm defensively as the games go. They see more of any new things that might have occurred. They gain a comfort level as the game goes on. We play with a little more depth at certain positions early in the game. That has taken some snaps off of some guys especially on the defensive line. Maybe, you've noticed that we are going to try to get a lot of our young guys in.At one point, we might have an all freshman defensive line early in games whether we are ahead or behind. No matter what the circumstances are.I think all of those things matter as you get into the fourth quarter and I think all of those things have helped."

Nick Fairley

On defensive tackle Nick Fairley's effectiveness this year:

"I'm really proud of what Nick has done. I think he has made strides as a football player in that the carryover from practice to the games is significant and how to work and how to become a better student of the game; the importance of repetitions building up in practice and carrying those over into the games.

"I think last year when he got here he was obviously a physical presence, but I also think last year there were a lot of moving parts and he was trying to just break the huddle and then try to figure out what is going on after that.Now he is learning how to be a better player because he is very talented.There's no question he is learning how to be a better college football player and I don't know if that's necessarily where he was last year."


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