Quoting Gene Chizik: South Carolina Week

Comments from Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik are featured as he Tigers prepare for a road trip to play the Gamecocks of South Carolina.

Auburn, Ala.--Comments from Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik's weekly press conference on Tuesday are featured as his team prepares to play the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Opening Statement...

"This is a great challenge for us this week, our first SEC road trip and obviously in a great environment. It's another tough environment to play in against a top-10 team, so for us it's going to be a great challenge. We're looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to getting back out there today and improving as a football team. Our coaches are extremely excited to play. It's a 2:30 game on CBS so our players are extremely excited to play as well.

"Today, we're going to go back out and attempt to get better at everything we do. It's going to be a great challenge for us and one that we're definitely looking forward to."

On South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore:

"He's everything that we saw he was coming out of high school. He's quick, he's fast, he has great vision. He really does a great job of cutting the ball back and seeing things a lot of running backs can't see, and then he can get there in a hurry. On top of that, he's an incredible threat coming out of the backfield in terms of throwing the ball to him.

Marcus Lattimore

"They do a great job on their slip screens with him. They do a great job of just, whether it's a screen where they're actually running a screen, pulling a lineman out for him, or not, when they hit him on check downs and things of that nature, he's very dangerous, as you know, in open space if they can isolate him on a linebacker. He brings pretty much everything to the table. On top of that, the offensive line is blocking really well for him."

On what last year's Auburn defense did to contain Lattimore in both games against South Carolina:

"We just tried to be very sound on our run fits and not jump the little gaps and things so our guys could see where they were fitting. Really, it's a numbers game, trying to get enough people in there to stop him.

"The offensive line is playing really well right now in terms of creating holes for him to run the ball. They're physical. We're going to have to be physical up front. We're going to have to be able to get off blocks and play with our hands really well up front with our front four.

"Obviously, our linebackers are going to have to fit, and we're going to have to drop enough people down in there to stop him, which no one really has done a great job of yet. He's just an all-around great back."

On wide receiver Trovon Reed's status:

"Trovon will not be playing this week. He's out. We're going to obviously monitor him week by week to see where he goes health-wise with his shoulder. But, for this week for sure, he's out."

On who will take over Reed's snaps:

"Quan Bray. Quan's going to get more snaps than he's usually gotten. We've been bringing Quan along week by week, and now he's going to assume the same reps that Trovon got."

Will Quan be the punt returner?

"Yes."

On if the team fixed defensive issues against Florida Atlantic:

"I think we got better. I don't think there's any question, I think we did some things better Saturday night than we did the week before. Number one, we got people in the right spots most of the night, which was part of our problem the week before, so that got better.

"When we had opportunities to make plays, for the most part, we did. Being able to get three turnovers is big, and we need more of that. I think definitely, on the defensive side of the ball, there were some things we improved at. I thought our tackling, although at times wasn't where we wanted it to be, got better. I think we definitely took a step forward defensively Saturday night. We have a lot of room for improvement. We're going to continue to improve this week, and I believe that we're working in that direction."

On identifying issues on offense:

"I think that continuity on the offensive line certainly is important. John Sullen didn't play at all, our right guard. We have to continue to improve up front. That's in both the run game in identifying and protecting, along with the running backs, identifying and protecting blitzers, which we did it well some the other night, and sometimes we did not. It was mainly inconsistency.

"We have to get better in the details and the little things in what we're doing. It's not schematically an issue of some sort. We just have to execute better. We have to produce better. I think the continuity is what we're searching for. Even going into this week, one of our receivers is not going to be available, so now you have a new guy there. It's execution of the offense."

On South Carolina's passing game:

"I think it's pretty well documented. Coach (Steve) Spurrier does a great job of coaching the throwing game and how their productivity in the air over the years has been great. As you know, they have really good receivers. They have a really good quarterback who is mobile and can do numerous things, not just throw the ball. Their air attack is something we are going to have to make sure we don't give up any big plays. That's the main thing.

"We know Alshon Jeffery is definitely a deep threat at all times. He can go up over two guys and get the ball, so the big plays really are the things that, defensively, are going to be the emphasis to us. They have a great screen game and some of those yards you see and some of that production aren't always from deep balls or guys making 10 or 12-yard catches and then turning those into a 30 or 40-yard gain. A lot of that is the screen game and some of their check-downs to Marcus (Lattimore), and he takes the ball and turns a five-yard gain into a 40-yard gain.

"Again, overall, their short game, meaning their screen game and their check downs, are very effective. Ace Sanders, No. 9, is a great screen guy and they're very good at it. He (South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia) can also throw the ball down the field as we all know as well. It is just a very effective throwing game, and we have to be in position to not give up the big play."

On Lattimore's recruitment by Auburn:

"As I've said before, I don't worry about the ones we don't get. I worry about the ones we do get. It happens all the time in recruiting, just move on. He's a great young man, though."

On what he told Lattimore during his recruitment:

"We just recruited him and told him what we have to offer at Auburn."

On having a running back like Lattimore who can wear down defenses:

"The advantage of it is, I think when you have one running back that can do that, they get into a groove, and I think running backs need to do that. All running backs are different, but I still think there's something comforting to a running back who gets the ball enough to feel like he's in a groove, and I think that's the upside.

"The downside, if you only have one, eventually during the season in this league as you get down to the end, one guy can get worn out so you are always at an advantage to have two good, physical backs that you can play all year long. If you have that luxury, but again, not everybody has that luxury."

On Kiehl Frazier:

"I think he has been growing as a player in terms of knowledge of the game. I think his role, obviously, has expanded some and I think that has been good. He has been getting some interaction on the field and getting some participation time on the field, but I think the experience, as we all know, there's no substitute for it, but he's getting better. We see it in practice every day. He's getting more confident. Again, that's why his role has expanded some."

On whether there has been a change in the order at quarterback behind Barrett Trotter:

"No."

On whether Clint Moseley remains the backup quarterback:

"Absolutely."

On the possibility of expanding Kiehl Frazier's role beyond just running the wildcat:

"Depending on, again, where we go in terms of expanding the role, that's not out of the question, but right now, again, it's been a concerted effort to keep him in the spot with the wildcat threat as what his role is right now."

On getting Michael Dyer more carries:

"I think it would be huge. I think Michael is ready to assume that role. Again, we have to run what we think the defense is giving us an opportunity to run. If they are going to put eight or nine up there, you can try to run it all day long without a lot of success, so you have to be willing to throw the ball. When we get the opportunities to run the ball, and we feel good that those opportunities are there, we'd really like to get Michael in the groove."

On South Carolina's defense:

"They're extremely talented. We played against them last year, and they're very physical. They run the football. They're basically what you'd expect to see in this league. They're very talented."

On the maturity increase of the younger players:

"We still have a long season left. We're only a third of the way through it so I don't think that we've encountered all of the things that we're going to encounter, and I think that you see young guys grow as different circumstances unfold. We're still very premature in the year in my opinion. Are they rookies and are they virgins to playing on game day? No, but I also think that we're still early in the year, and they haven't really necessarily encountered all the different circumstances that they're going to.

"I think that's where you really see where people go and how they grow and who they are and what they become. To a certain degree, a lot of those guys are still kind of looking around, again there's always going to be new for them.

"This week for instance, this is a new SEC road game. It's a Top 10 team on the road so there's still going to be some newness as the season continues to unfold. I'm proud of them. I think they've grown up a lot without much choice. I think they've done well up to this point."

On John Sullen and Jonathan Evans:

"They have a chance to play. We're going to keep monitoring them and see where they are by the end of the week, but they certainly both have potential for them to play."

On Onterio McCalebb:

"Yes, he is ok."

On Jawara White:

"Well, he's another guy that was obviously redshirted last year, and we're trying to expand his role too, in certain ways. He was able to get a lot of reps this week. We'll continue to look at different ways we can get him on the field. Linebacker-wise, with our depth, and the depth issues that we have, he's going to need to continue to improve so that we can put him out there. That's our goal or intent, and we'll continue to work in that direction with him."

On the health status of first team cornerback Chris Davis:

"Chris is day-by-day."

On the October schedule:

"It's certainly challenging. It's what makes the league great, but you know it's going to be four great football teams that we have to play in the next month and we knew it was on the horizon. It's just here, but it's a great challenge and we'll see how our team responds. I feel good about it and feel good about going in there and having a lot of fun taking the challenge and embracing the challenge and seeing where we stand on the road."


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