Chizik Calls Real Sports Report "Pathetic"

Gene Chizik offered a passionate defense of the Auburn football program and an update on his team's fifth practice late on Wednesday night.

Auburn, Ala.--Gene Chizik said he really wanted to talk about Wednesday night's practice, but most of the questions were about an HBO Real Sports special that featured a segment on the Auburn football program and the head coach wasn't shy about ripping the entertainment network.

Calling the Real Sports show "onesided," "pathetic" and "garbage," Chizik showed his fiery side, something he seldom displays publically.

Former players Stanley McClover, Chaz Ramsey and Troy Reddick plus a signee who never played for the Tigers after a brief stay on campus, Raven Gray, all claimed in the Real Sports report they received improper benefits from boosters. All of those players were signed by former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville and his staff and were gone before Chizik took over as head coach.

"When?I was the defensive coordinator here from 2002 to 2004 all of the allegations that are out there on this particular show I can assure in my three previous years here as my assistant I had no knowledge of any of that stuff," said Chizik, who returned to Auburn for the 2009 season as head coach.

"Moving forward now to being the head coach at Auburn, that is not what we do here, that is not who we are," he stated. "That is not what we stand for. That is not how this program is going to be run and I feel very strongly about that.

"It is sad to me, it's very sad to me, that HBO is going to go ahead and air something that really admittedly they have got no proof on anything," Chizik said. "What is disturbing to me is that they interviewed other former Auburn football players who had exactly the opposite to say, but somehow or another that failed to make the air unless I missed that section.

"So I have got other former players that are calling me that are still playing who are great players, that absolutely had no knowledge of any of that stuff," Chizik said. "So, it saddens me that somebody is going to air a show with basically one side being known. I think that is pathetic and I?think it is pure garbage.

"I feel really good about how Auburn, and this program and this athletic department, is being run," Chizik added. "I feel great about the reputation we are trying to build here. Again, I think that is very clear about how I feel about it."

Chizik answered "absolutely not" when asked if he was contacted for HBO for his take on the allegations.

Asked if he has seen a culture of compliance with NCAA rules in his time at Auburn, the coach said, "Let me tell you something, our compliance office does a great job. I was here three years (as an assistant). I had absolutely no knowledge of any of that I don't have my head in the sand. That is how I?feel about it."

Chizik said he isn't sure why there have been a string of attacks on the Auburn program in recent months.

"People on the outside, they are going to speculate," he said. "They are going to ask all kinds of questions. Here is what we are doing at Auburn. Nothing has changed with us. We are focusing on the things that are important that we can control.

"I can sleep go at night," the coach said. "I feel very good in my heart that we are doing all the right things for Auburn University to represent this athletic department and this football program. It is that simple."

Normally reluctant to address something like the Real Sports report, Chizik explained why he attacked the issue head on Wednesday night. "I am speaking up for Auburn University and how we are running this football program," he said.

Auburn's fifth practice of the spring was scheduled for Wednesday morning, but heavy rain in the area pushed the workout to late into the night.

The Tigers worked in full pads and did some 11 on 11 scrimmaging. Chizik said his young team, which must replace 18 starters, is in a learning mode.

"The guys are really, really practicing at a high tempo, at least trying to," he said. "They are trying really hard. The bottom line is I?am proud of our guys. We have a long way to go."

One of the players who has an opening to step into a starting role this fall as a senior is speedy wide receiver Quindarius Carr. He has seen prime-time action, but hasn't been consistent enough to move to the top of the depth chart.

"I have had a good spring so far," said Carr, a player offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn noted has a chance to be a major part of the offense this year.

"I have been trying to make sure all of the young guys are on top of their game and get to where we were at last year," Carr said. "It has been fun so far."

Commenting on what he is concentrating on this spring, Carr said, "I am working at becoming more of a leader along with all of the other skills you need to work on as a wide receiver."

Carr said that the Tigers are showing intensity in practice this spring. "There are a lot of guys flying around out there," he said.

In addition to the losses in the receiver group, the Tigers are auditioning Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley for the starting quarterback role. "Clint and Barrett are both throwing the ball well," said Carr, who added that each QB is trying to step up as a leader of the offense.

Brandon Mosley is making the move to left tackle from right tackle this spring.

In other news:

*The Tigers are scheduled to return to practice on Friday morning and on Saturday they will have their first scrimmage of the spring at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

*Josh Harris, the only returning starting among the specialists from last season, is running first team at deep snapper ahead of Jake Lembke, a walk-on from Illinois.

*Chizik had praise for the play of senior offensive tackle Brandon Mosley and freshman center Reese Dismukes, an early high school graduate.

"I am really, really proud of him," Chizik said of Dismukes, who is backing up Blake Burgess. "He got a ton of reps tonight. Let's put it this way, when you look out there you don't necessarily think he is a freshman. I am not saying he has arrived."

Commenting on second year Tiger Mosley, who made the conversion last year from tight end/defensive end to offensive tackle, Chizik said, "I just couldn't be more proud of him. He is up to 305 pounds. He came in here as a tight end. He has really done everything we have asked him to do. He is one of those very selfless guys."

*Chizik and his program had numerous players rush to their defense on Wednesday concerning the allegations of improper payments to former players. He noted that he wasn't aware of that other than the phone calls he received then added, "But I can you tell this, this place was built on great people and great players. That is what this place stands for. I don't know who they were. I am sure I will eventually know and I will appreciate it, but they know what Auburn is all about and what we are trying to do here."


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