Chizik Expecting Tough Task Vs. Bulldogs

Auburn, Ala.—The 24th-ranked Auburn Tigers had a much needed off week following a win over the Ole Miss Rebels last Saturday and now 6-3 overall Coach Gene Chizik's team gets back to action this weekend against the #14 Georgia Bulldogs in the continuation of the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.

With a chance to evaluate his team and go back and work on correcting mistakes Auburn Coach Gene Chizik said there are plenty of positives and negatives 75 percent of the way through the regular season for the Tigers.

"There has been some good and some bad obviously," Chizik said. "There are some things that we've improved at, no question about that. There is a lot we can still improve on here in the last three weeks. We expect to win every game we play so the fact that we have three losses is very disappointing to us. We've also had some really good wins too. We're just continuing to work and trying to improve every week."

As has been the case for much of the season Chizik said there are several things that have been a sore spot for his team that continue to get work as the Tigers prepare to face a very talented Georgia team on Saturday at 2:30 central time on CBS.

"Certainly third down conversions offensively," he said of things that need work. "Being able to stay on the field and continue some drives and possess the football, that's something we need to really be able to do to have a chance to win these last couple of games.

"Defensively not giving up big plays has kind of been our emphasis. I think we've gotten a lot better since the beginning of the year at getting off the field on third downs. Overall as a team we've really looked hard and long at penalties in the games we've lost how negative plays have hurt us. Our margin for error is too slim for us to overcome a lot of that."

Chizik's Tigers will have their hands full on Saturday against a Georgia team that is balanced and playing well both offensively and defensively. Averaging 34.8 points per game and 428.8 yards, the Bulldogs are led by quarterback Aaron Murray. Defensively they are fifth in the league, allowing 19.9 points per game, and third in total defense at 282.0 yards.

"I just think they are solid all the way around," Chizik said of Georgia. "Take their whole team and they are in the top three in the league in offense and defense. When it comes to them offensively they are very efficient. They are number one in the league in pass efficiency. They can still run the ball because they are physical up front with young tailbacks.

"Defensively they are one of the top two teams in terms of sacks," he added. "When it comes to negative plays those things are invaluable. Sacks can change a football game. They are in the top two in the league in sacks. They get off the field on third downs. All the way around they are just an extremely, talented football team and they are playing with a lot confidence now."

If Auburn wants to come away with a win in Athens the Tigers will have to do a good job slowing down one of the league's top players in Murray. In nine games he has thrown for 2,060 yards and 23 touchdowns with eight interceptions. Four Georgia players have at least 23 receptions this season and 11 different receivers have caught a touchdown. Chizik said Murray is a talented player that will challenge the Auburn defense this Saturday.

"He has made some incredible throws," Chizik said. "I want to say they've thrown for 25 touchdowns, somewhere in that neighborhood. That's not by accident. They're really good in the red zone. They've got some really, really good receivers, although a lot of them were young guys.

"Aaron Murray is everything he's billed. He lives up to the billing. He makes that offense extremely explosive because at any time, they're going to throw the ball vertically down the field and hit some big plays. They can still run the ball very effectively. They're just all the way around, Aaron definitely makes them click. He's playing very confident too."

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With the off week it should help to get some of Auburn's banged-up players closer to full speed. Asked about Emory Blake and Trovon Reed, Chizik said just overall having a few extra days off should do nothing but help his team this week against Georgia.

"We're not 100 percent but obviously the time has certainly helped," he said. "That's been big, just a week of being able to get guys that have been limping some and bumped and bruised. I don't think there's any question that's helped."

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