Quoting Gene Chizik After FAU Game

Comments from Auburn's head football game are featured following a win over FAU.

Auburn, Ala.--Comments from Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik are featured following his team's 30-14 victory over Florida Atlantic.

"Obviously, we were glad to win the football game tonight. No question about that. I was really proud of some guys that I thought stepped up to the plate. Of course, we will know more when we watch it tomorrow, but guys like LaDarius Owens who I really thought stepped up, played a lot tonight.

"Both defensively and some special teams really showed up tonight. I am really proud of guys like that. Jermaine Whitehead, obviously a young guy, who is starting to play more and more as the weeks go by, and he had an interception tonight for a touchdown and played well in other aspects of the game as well, special teams being one so there were some guys that I was proud of.

"Brandon Fulse came in and played the whole game and did some nice things. Another young guy that I think, again, probably took another step forward so there are going to be some spots like that of some guys who we are proud of. They got their shot tonight and the bottom line is I think there are some things that we can build on.

"Defensively, obviously three interceptions was a big thing for us and being able to return one of those for a score and set up some field position situations for us defensively was big so I thought there was some improvement there. We didn't play like we wanted to play the whole night, but we certainly showed a lot of improvement in my opinion. We will know more when we watch the film.

"Offensively as we all know, we struggled, and we have to get some things corrected there. That was from the opening play on really. We never really got into any kind of rhythm. So again, we have to go back and look at offensively where we can improve. We are very happy to win the game. No question about it. Three and one in the month of September with a very tough month of October ahead of us as we know. Again, we will continue to work every day to get better as a football team."

Is it a concern that in a game like this QB Barrett Trotter was under a lot of pressure?

"It is a concern. There is no question about it. A lot of times I felt like Barrett was running for his life tonight. It is not necessarily an offensive line deal or a running back deal. It's collectively a lot of different things in there. I felt like he was scrambling for his life a good bit of the night which is concerning to me. There is no question about it. I just don't think all the way around when you are talking about running game, whether you are talking about protecting the quarterback, I thought it was a very below average football game all the way around from the beginning to the end, and it never got better. So, we have to go back and really look at some things.

"Again, we have an opportunity to be a very productive offense as we have seen. There's no question about that, but we dropped balls tonight which we normally don't do. We had some passes that should have been directed into a better spot, and we didn't get them there. We got pressure on the quarterback several times tonight when we should have been able to protect him. Again, you saw it. It just wasn't a very good performance all the way around, but again, we scored 30 points. We won the game, and we will build on all of the positives tomorrow and get all the negatives corrected."

Is it a concern that the offense struggled?

"I am always concerned in any phase of the game about playing well, but over the test of time in the history of the offense right now, we know we have a chance to get better and improve, and we know that it has the capabilities to be explosive. There is no question about that. I don't know exactly where exactly every issue was until I watch the film, but we will be able to identify it real quick, and I can tell you that we will go back to work on it tomorrow."

On holding out some players and how it affected the continuity:

"Well, we did. We had to play some guys you haven't seen play much. We had five or six guys that did not play in the game that are normally either starters or significant players in terms of numbers or reps. I think there were six total, but that's the way it goes. The next guy has to step up and make some plays. That's why I'm saying a guy like LaDarius Owens, who stepped in when a Dee Ford couldn't play and showed up a lot. Brandon Fulse played for Philip Lutzenkirchen and did some nice things. He did some things right now, obviously, a freshman would do… a true freshman would do, but again, I think there are a lot of guys across the board that really did step up to the plate. If we are continuing to be in these situations to where other guys have to come in and play, they just have to step up to the plate and deliver like Jermaine Whitehead did."

On Auburn's upcoming October schedule:

"I probably really don't have to stand up here and say a whole bunch about it. You guys know who we are playing, and you know how it is going to unfold, so it is going to be an extremely tall order, and we are going to go in and next week's going to be South Carolina and that is all that we are going to be focused on for the next six days. We are going to go and play this SEC schedule like we do every year, and again, we are going to try to get better every day and every week, and we are going to go in there and have great challenges but embrace those challenges and again try to improve."

On Trovon Reed's and Onterio McCalebb's injury status:

"I can't right now. Onterio McCalebb got hit very good, and Trovon did, too. It was a physical game out there, especially in some of the open field collisions that both of those happened to be, but we will know more tomorrow."

On Auburn's special teams:

"I am just really proud of them. I wish Cody (Parkey) would have hit that field goal at the end. It is the first one that he has missed all year, but I am telling you our coverage units, our kickoff coverage unit, you look across the board right now, we have guys covering kicks tonight that have never covered them before. LaDarius Owens being one. Joel Bonomolo being one. You have a bunch of new names, new guys out there. I feel that, again, those units, our punt team, they give us a chance to play field position and win games. They really do so I am very proud of them. They have to keep coming on. They take a lot of pride in it, and we will continue to improve in that."

Are you happy with the field position on kickoffs?

"If Cody (Parkey) is not kicking them out of the end zone or at least not kicking them where they can't return them, our coverage units are really, really coming on, and it doesn't matter who we are putting in there. I just think conceptually the scheme that we have, Coach (Jay) Boulware has done a great job with that, and they have a good feel for it, and they are playing well."

On Jermaine Whitehead's interception return for a TD:

"I think it was really big. I think it was the timing as you just mentioned. The timing was big, and again that was something that I felt like we needed just because we are struggling so much offensively. So, it was good to see our defense to do that, but it was certainly good to see a true freshman, and he's been improving every week. He really has. He's been improving every week. So, it was really good to see him do that tonight."

Is it hard to focus on just yourselves in a game like this without losing focus?

"I think that every week you work on us, but it was very apparent particularly at that point defensively that we really had to spend a lot of time working on the details, the little things. But, we did it offensively as well. We went back, and we did a thorough self-evaluation for three weeks. You do that every week, but not as thorough like I felt like we needed to do it this past week for preparation for them. But, there is a fine line in there somewhere with really working on the opponent vs. working on you, and you have to be able to draw that line and figure out where it is, where you can't work too little on your opponent and too much on yourself. We will always be self-evaluating. We will always be again, trying to figure out ways to improve Auburn, and the balance is again, working on your opponent as well."


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