Eguae: Tigers Focused On Improving Under Chiz

Auburn defender Nosa Eguae talks about playing under Gene Chizik as the defensive coordinator.

Auburn, Ala.—If you ask Nosa Eguae if he's seen a different Gene Chizik this week as the Auburn Tigers begin bowl practices in preparation for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against Virginia on New Year's Eve and he'll tell you know. Ask him if he's seen a change in his coaching and you'll get a different answer entirely.

"He's a great coach," Eguae said. "Everybody knows that. He's just football-savvy and brings so much energy. It's nice to seeing him more and more. Your head coach, you know, he's everywhere, but we're seeing him a lot more because he's in our meetings and stuff like that. It's just nice seeing him out there.

"It's not really a big difference," he added in his demeanor. "He's just being more defense-specific. It's nothing that's really changed, or in the way he's carrying himself. He's still Coach Chizik."

Taking on the added responsibilities of defensive coordinator for the bowl game when Ted Roof departed for Central Florida, Chizik is also coaching the linebackers for the Tigers and has made a big impression on the guys in his meeting room. As for the overall defense Eguae said it hasn't been anything different they've done so far.

"It's not really a transition for us," Eguae said. "We've still got the same calls. We're doing the same things. It's just going out there and getting better every single day. That's the key in bowl practice. With so much time it's just that time when you've really got to key in on what you've got to do to become a better football player."

One of the most important aspects of bowl practices are the extra work for the players and in particular the young players. For Auburn's defense that's just about everyone involved as only Eltoro Freeman and Neiko Thorpe are seniors on the depth chart for the Tigers. Eguae said for that reason guys like Angelo Blackson, Gabe Wright, LaDarius Owens, and Devaunte Sigler up front, linebackers Jawara White, Justin Garrett and Jake Holland, along with secondary members Jonathan Mincy, Robenson Therezie, Jermaine Whitehead, Erique Florence and Demetruce McNeal should benefit greatly from the extra work.

"They're huge," Eguae said of the practices. "In the season it's a grind. Every week is a big game when you play in this league. You don't really have time to fine tune things. It's always gameplan, gameplan, gameplan. When you have time to really sit back and do the type of things you have to do to become a better player, it's nice to do that."

Getting ready to face a Virginia offense that has the ability to run and pass the ball Eguae said Auburn's single focus is on improving at the moment. With plenty of upward mobility in every area on defense the redshirt sophomore said the team is working hard to get better between now and New Year's Eve.

"Guys are getting better," Eguae said. "Guys are focusing on the right things to do, running to the football, those types of things you have to do if you want to be successful in the bowl game. You can tell guys are starting to key in and do the little things right that Coach Chizik is asking us to do and Coach (Mike) Pelton is asking us to do."

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