Chizik: Newton To Play Vs. Georgia

Auburn coach Gene Chizik said on Wednesday that quarterback Cam Newton will play against Georgia this Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--After nearly a week of dealing with seemingly endless stories about quarterback Cameron Newton and his recruitment out of Blinn College in Texas, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said on Wednesday during the SEC Football Teleconference that Newton will play for the Tigers in this Saturday's game against Georgia despite rumors running rampant to the contrary.

"I want to get it off the table up front the fact that Cameron Newton will be playing Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs," Chizik said. "I want to get that off the table."

Late Tuesday night ESPN released yet another Newton story, this one claiming two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and Cam Newton admitted in different phone conversations to a pay-per-play plan while Newton was being recruited by the Bulldogs. When asked on Wednesday if anyone other than coaches was registered with the NCAA as a recruiter for MSU, Mullen's only response was "no".

Also on the SEC Teleconference, Florida coach Urban Meyer denied having any involvement in the articles that have been written about Newton.

"First, I just wanted to mention I addressed recent news stories yesterday that my SID (sports information director) made me aware of in the early afternoon," the coach said. "Those stories have absolutely nothing to do with our team and our preparation for South Carolina.

"Our entire focus has been and will always be on our team," Meyer added. "I will say also that I was very supportive of Cam when he left here and Cam knows this. His family knows this. We wish him all the best."

On Tuesday Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said there was nothing out of the ordinary about his recruitment of Newton when the Sooners were one of the finalists to sign him in late December. When asked if he was surprised by the allegations surrounding Newton, Stoops had this response to the Tulsa World newspaper.

"I don't know that anything surprises me," Stoops said. "Our recruitment of Cam could not have been better. It was just fine. I guess you never know anymore. I didn't notice anything, and none of our coaches did when we were recruiting him."

Gene Chizik

Auburn has known about the allegations surrounding Newton and his family since early in the process and Chizik along with athletic director Jay Jacobs continue to strongly back the quarterback. The coach noted that nothing has changed this week regarding Newton's status with the Tigers as they prepare to face Georgia.

"Every day we just go out there and practice to get better and we stay on the track we have been on and we don't deviate off that path," the coach said. "It has been a great week of practice so far and I don't expect anything different today."

Asked if there has been any change in the practice routine in getting the backup quarterbacks ready to play, Chizik said, "We have prepared and focused just like we have every other week. Nothing has changed."

Commenting on his team's focus on the Georgia games despite multiple news reports on Newton's recruitment by Mississippi State, Chizik said, "Our focus every week has been on the next opponent and this week is absolutely no different.

"I have got 110 to 120 guys on the team," he added. "This is a team focus situation. Everybody has to do their part. It doesn't matter if you are the scout team guy. It doesn't matter third team guy. Everybody has got a role. Everybody has got a job. They have bought into those roles. That is what we have to do every day. I don't expect today to be any different than it was three weeks ago. They have done a great job with that."

Currently 10-0, Auburn has a chance to wrap up a berth in the SEC Championship Game this weekend with a victory over an improved Georgia team. Starting the season 1-4, the Bulldogs have turned things around by winning four out of five games to even their record at 5-5. Chizik said the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry should be another classic game this weekend.

"Obviously, this will be a huge weekend for us here at Auburn," Chizik said. "We're playing an extremely tough game against Georgia, who is probably playing the best football they've played all year. It's going to be an exciting time for our fans and for us. It's another great rivalry in college football and that's a great thing."

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