Chizik Calls Newton Reports "Garbage"

Auburn football coach Gene Chizik made a strong defense of quarterback Cameron Newton's character at his weekly press conference.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik opened his weekly Tuesday press conference with a passionate defense of the character of his starting quarterback, junior Cameron Newton, calling media reports questioning the player's integrity "pure garbage."

Newton, a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy after directing the Tigers to a 10-0 start and a No. 2 ranking in this week's BCS ratings, has been the subject of a series of negative articles in the past week. The most recent were reports citing unnamed sources that the QB faced academic fraud charges while playing for Coach Urban Meyer at the University of Florida.

Earlier reports centered on an investigation into Mississippi State's recruitment of the quarterback when he was a student at Blinn Junior College last year. Allegations have been made that a former Mississippi State football player was trying to receive a cash payment for Newton's family to get him to sign with the Bulldogs. Newton and his father, Cecil, have strongly denied those reports. Cameron Newton said on Tuesday that he can't discuss if he and his family are hiring an attorney to defend the family's reputation.

Chizik opened his press conference saying that as a head coach winning is important before launching a defense of the quarterback. "There are other things that are extremely important to us, too, and that is being able to get in young men's lives and make a difference and help guys grow as young men," he said. "I have got 120 young men on this football team and as their head coach, as their mentor, sometimes as their father figure, I have got a responsibility to our young guys to defend and protect.

"Certainly we ask them to do all of the things right, on and off the field here at Auburn as an Auburn football player," he said. "When I see a young man doing everything we have asked him to do to carry himself the right way, to talk the right way, to act the right way both on and off the field, I have got a very high appreciation for that.

"Where I am going with this is that Cameron Newton is one of the young men on our football team who has not only excelled as a tremendous athlete, he has done everything we have asked him to do since the day he stepped on campus at Auburn," Chizik said.

"So I want to make this very clear because I am wasting my time addressing allegations that completely to be frank blow my mind that they are even out there because there are federal privacy laws that dictate that these things don't even get out in public so I am not even sure how that happens, but I am standing up here on a important week trying to defend something that quite frankly is garbage," he said.

"Is there a wizard behind the curtain? I don't know. Is there one, is there two, is there 10, I don't know and I don't care. But what I do care about is coming to the defense of not only a great football player, but a great human being who comes from a great family.

"Look, if you really want to do your homework go and start with his Little League coach, then go to his junior high coach, then go to his high school coach and then go to his junior college coach and then come to talk to any coach at Auburn and you are all going to hear the same thing. So this is a waste of my time, but I am going to address it because I am defending a young man who deserves it."

Cameron Newton leads the SEC in passing efficiency and is also the league's leading rusher.

Chizik, himself a University of Florida graduate, did not mention going to Florida's current head coach, Urban Meyer, for a character reference. Meyer issued a statement on Tuesday denying he had any involvement in the Newton situation. He repeated that on the SEC Teleconference on Wednesday and said that he is supportive of Newton and that the quarterback and his family know that. Newton transferred out of Meyer's program and played his redshirt sophomore season at Blinn Junior College in Texas.

After leading Blinn to the junior college national title in 2009, he announced last New Year's Eve he would transfer to Auburn, which he did in January. Auburn had recruited him as a high school player out of Westlake High School in Atlanta, but turned its focus to other quarterbacks after Newton struggled with his passing in a summer football camp on the Auburn campus. Newton later signed with Florida. The standout performer at that camp, Barrett Trotter, is Newton's backup at Auburn.

Coming out of Blinn College the quarterback took official visits to Mississippi State where his offensive coordinator at Florida, Dan Mullen, is the second-year head coach. He also visited Oklahoma and then Auburn before deciding to sign with the Tigers.

Newton won a quarterback battle in spring training and has been the top player in the SEC so far this season.

"Let me tell you something, he is one of the leaders in the Heisman race because he deserves it," Chizik said. "That is fact so distractions, whatever is out there, whatever people want to drum up and dream up and try to distract, it is what it is and it is not changing.

"Cameron is going to be focused on playing Georgia this week," the coach added. "Nothing has changed in terms of who he is and what he is, but he is like our son here and I have got a problem with it (attacks on Newton). I have a problem with it. So, here is what we are going to do because this is pure garbage I am going to move on and I am going to talk about Georgia. I am not taking one question about Cameron Newton unless it has to do with the Georgia game."

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was asked about Newton's recruiting at his press conference on Tuesday and said that it was routine with nothing out of the ordinary. Newton visited Oklahoma prior to his trip to Auburn.

The Tigers will take on Georgia on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. With a victory, the Tigers can clinch the SEC West title.

Cameron Newton's Comments on Video

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