Chizik Looking to Stay Unbeaten In Bowl Games

Auburn coach Gene Chizik heads into Saturday night's contest vs. Virginia never having lost a bowl game.

Atlanta, Ga.--Even going back to his days as a graduate assistant football coach at Clemson, Gene Chizik has never been on the losing side in a bowl game.

On Saturday night at the Georgia Dome, the Auburn head football coach will try to keep that distinction going as his Tigers face the Virginia Cavaliers in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Chizik is 2-0 in bowls as head coach at Auburn and was 3-0 in bowl games from 2002-2004 as defensive coordinator and secondary coach of the Tigers.

"I don't know if 'what makes me good' is the right word," he said on Friday, responding to a question about his bowl record.

"One of the things that I think, whether I was an assistant in being part of the decision-making process or since I've been the head coach and also been a part of the decision making process, I think there is a lot of moving parts when it comes to preparing your team," he said.

"You have a lot of hours you have, and you can use those very wisely," Chizik pointed out. "These are young men that have a life as well as playing football. They have a life outside of football.

"You can over-prepare them, you can under-prepare them," Chizik said. "You have anywhere from, depending on what bowl game you're playing in, three weeks to five and a half weeks to get your team ready to play.

"I think the most important thing that we've done or been able to accomplish thus far in the previous games that I have been a part of is getting together as a staff and really deciding. You've got to know the personality of your football team. You've got to know what they can and can't do.

"Some teams are to the point where they can't stand any prosperity," he noted. "You have to grind them a little bit more. Some are a little more mature. I think you have to know what the temperature is of your football team. You prepare your practices and how much time you're going to spend in meetings based on that.

"I think we've been, over the years, pretty accurate in terms of what we need to prepare," the coach added. "At the end of the day, I think that's the most important part: how are you going to use your time that you have available?"

Last year the Tigers defeated Oregon of the Pac 12 in the BCS Championship Game. He was also defensive coordinator at Texas when the Longhorns won the BCS title over Southern Cal. In Chizik's first year as head coach of the Tigers, Auburn defeated Big 10 opponent Northwestern in the Outback Bowl.

As an assistant coach at Auburn in 2002 the Tigers defeated Big 10 opponent Penn State in the Capital One Bowl. The next year the Tigers defeated Wisconsin of the Big 10 in the Music City Bowl before finishing the 2004 season undefeated with a victory over Virginia Tech.

Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers makes a tackle in AU's Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech. Chizik coordinated that defense and personally coached Rogers, who now plays for the San Francisco '49ers.

As the Tigers head into Saturday's 6:30 p.m. CST kickoff at the Georgia Dome, in a game that will be televised on ESPN, Chizik noted that he has been one of many coaches who are responsible for his record of bowl success. "We have been pretty accurate up to this point," he said.

In addition to Chizik's streak, Auburn has won four consecutive bowl trips and has a 21-13-2 all-time record in bowls.

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