Chizik Discusses Newton--Briefly

A report on Auburn's Wednesday night football practice is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--After sending his Tigers through a two-hour practice on Wednesday evening Auburn coach Gene Chizik made a comment about the favorable news for Auburn from the NCAA on Cameron Newton's status with the Tigers, but Chizik didn't say much on the subject.

"I know there is some news out there about Cameron Newton today," Chizik said. "I am glad to get all of that behind us because we are focused on one thing and that is winning the game in Atlanta.

"I will entertain any questions, as I have said in the past, that have to do with this game Saturday, this championship game Saturday, or any of the previous 12. Those are the questions I will entertain."

When asked about Newton, the coach said he had a good practice like the rest of the offense did. Newton and the Tigers had to work out indoors on Tuesday evening because of heavy rains, but on Wednesday they were on the regular practice fields.

The coach did say that he thought the Tigers had a solid practice as they prepare for the SEC Championship Game vs. South Carolina at the Georgia Dome.

"We had a good practice today," he said after his Tigers worked out in shoulder pads, helmets and sweat pants on a cool evening. "Again, I thought there was a lot of energy at practice today. I thought the guys were really focused and into it. Again, we have one more practice tomorrow which we need.

"Mentally, I think the guys are excited about playing the game," Chizik said. "They are into it as you would expect, but it has been two good days of practice so we are excited about that."

Offensive tackle Lee Ziemba was named a second team All-American on Wednesday by Earlier in the week he was named an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, "It is a great honor and it is very humbling," Ziemba said. "Anytime you get recognized like that it is all because of your teammates.

"I am sure those honors wouldn't have come if we hadn't won so many games and if my teammates don't play as well around me," Ziemba said.

Ziemba said in preseason he believed the Tigers could get to the SEC Championship Game. On Saturday they will play for the league championship against a South Carolina team the Tigers defeated 35-27 during the regular season.

Commenting on the South Carolina defense, Ziemba said, "Everybody plays their assignment. They are very tough. They come off blocks pretty easily. They have improved since the last time we played them. They are leading the conference in sacks and they are one of the best rushing defenses out there. We are going to have to improve this week."

As a group the Auburn offensive line has 157 career starts going into Saturday's game at the Georgia Dome. Ziemba has 50 consecutive starts, which is the most of any player in Auburn football history. Ryan Pugh is next with 44 starts and fellow seniors Mike Berry (33) and Byron Isom (30) also have extensive experience.

Commenting on how the season is going for Auburn's senior class that numbers 24 players, Ziemba said, "It couldn't be any better right now, but we have still got two more starting with this Saturday. It is a big one."

In other news:

*On Wednesday night after practice Chizik spoke to approximately 700 high school coaches at the Auburn Arena for a Super 6 banquet. The state's AHSAA state championship games will be played on Thursday and Friday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn's also assistant coaches used the opportunity to spend time with the high school coaches.

*Newton joins Oregon running back LaMichael James and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck as finalists for the Walter Camp Foundation's College Football Player of the Year Award that will be announced on December 9th. College coaches and sports information directors do the voting. On Wednesday the QB was named's National Offensive Player of the Year as

*The Tigers are ranked second nationally in passing efficency passing with a rating of 183.98. Auburn is the only team in the country to average a touchdown pass on more than 10 percent of its attempts (10.78). The Tigers are second in the nation with an average of 10.28 yards per pass attempt behind Boise State's 10.29. Newton's rating of 183.58 ranks him second in the nation. Newton's average of 10.34 yards per pass attempt ranks him second in the nation.

*Defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who was named a first team All-American by, needs just one more tackle for a loss to break the record of 20 in a season he shares with Terry Solomon, who set the record in 1995.

*As was the case last season the Tigers have shown the ability to score quickly. Of Auburn's 77 scoring drives 31 have taken less than two minutes.

*The Auburn offense has scored on 50-57 trips into the red zone this year. Of the seven non-scores, four of those were possessions when Auburn the Tigers took a knee to run out the clock as was the case in last week's victory over Alabama.

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