Quoting Auburn Football Coach Gene Chizik

Comments from Auburn's football press conference are featured as the Tigers prepare to play at Clemson.

Auburn, Ala.--Comments from Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik's Tuesday press conference are featured.

Opening statement:

"We're excited to start week three and going back and re-evaluating ourselves. As everybody knows who watched the game, we certainly have a lot of room for improvement. I think we made some baby steps Saturday in being a better football team, but so many strides are left to go.

"We are getting ready to play a very good football team in Clemson as we experienced last year when we played them. It's going to be really interesting with a very young team, taking them on the road for the first time in a really exciting venue to play in as well. It's going to be a lot of fun. We're looking forward to it.

"We'll start our heavy dose of preparation today. We had a good practice last Sunday, and again, our goal is to get better every week. We're certainly going to have to do that to have a chance to win this Saturday in a very, very tough place to play."

(On why his Auburn teams have been so good a winning close games.

"I think, number one, since we've been here, our guys are just willing to fight down to the end. They really truly believe in their hearts that when the games are on the line and things don't necessarily look well, we still believe in each other that we can pull the games out.

"That comes from a great job from our coaches. Our players trust that we're going to give them a plan to win. They trust that they work hard enough and that they're prepared during the week, and it gives them the best chance to win on Saturday.

"Literally, the old cliché of not looking up at the scoreboard, keeping on playing to the end, is what we've been able to do. I just think that it's really hard to close some of those games out if you've never done it, but we've repeatedly done it. I think that certainly helps our case."

(On last year's game against Clemson being a wakeup call to play more physically.)

"Just going back and looking at the game film from last year, we'll start there. We felt like that was more of a turning point for us as a football team last year. I felt like, physically, I thought we got beat on both sides of the line of scrimmage, just to be quite frank. We made that very clear that week.

"This is a very physical football team. That hasn't changed. They've always been that. That's been their history, meaning Clemson. That game last year, I think, really opened our eyes to what playing physical football and what it looks like needed to be. Although we came out of the game with a win, I think we learned more on what we didn't do, and we didn't play a very physical game. I don't think that's going to catch us off guard this year. I think we're ready for that.

"We know certainly in their offensive line, if you just take that, you know they're bringing back four of their five guys that they had last year on both sides of the ball. We know it's going to be a very physical battle, but yes, last year I think it was an eye opener for us. We know our guys will be very aware of what they're going to face when they go in there."

(On the relationship between Auburn Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn and Clemson Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris)

"There are a lot of similarities. I think that if you just watch the two offenses, it's obvious that there is a lot of carry over for each one. The connection that they've had over the years and the communication that they've had over the years in terms of doing the things coaches do. They pick each others' brains for different things, and there's a lot of carry over there.

"Both teams face it every day in practice. I don't think there's going to try to be anything revolutionary in either offense. There are a lot of things in the offense that you can pull from week to week so it will be in the landscape of what they do offensively. Certainly with us, being in it three years now, we'll do what we do. Very similar, and again, both defenses get an opportunity to go against it every day in practice."

(On memories from his experience as a graduate assistant coach at Clemson)

"I had a great two-year experience there when I got into college coaching with Danny Ford. I'm very thankful that he gave me an opportunity to work with him and a great staff at the time. I have a lot of very fond memories with a lot of great former players there and a lot of great people that are still there. Very fond memories for me personally. It was a great two-year period in my life, and it's a great place with great people; very similar to Auburn."

"We certainly addressed it a lot this week, and we spent a lot of time looking at it, evaluating it, on both sides of the ball. We're very poor on both sides of the ball, converting it and stopping it. I don't know how easy of a fix it will be. I know that, conceptually, we have to go back and revisit it and execute better on those downs.

"We'll know more this Saturday. We know that for us to be able to win this game right now, we have to be much better on both sides of the ball on third downs. We do know that."

(On if the difficulties on third down are psychological)

"I don't think it's psychological. It's just the execution of what we're calling on both sides of the ball. It has to get better. I don't think it's a mental thing, no."


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