Auburn, Ala.--Auburn Coach Gene Chizik admitted that even for a veteran public speaker Tuesday's talk was a difficult thing to do. With two former players (Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips) killed less than three days ago in a senseless act and another bystander also dead, Chizik reminded everyone that this act wasn't a football story and shouldn't be thought of that way.
"This has been an incredibly difficult 72 hours," Chizik said. "It's hard to navigate these uncharted waters."
With current player Eric Mack also injured in the shooting but expected to make a full recovery, Chizik said that his long term physical health looks to be good. He said the bigger concern he has at the moment not only for Mack, but his entire team and the athletic department, is dealing with the pain and anguish that comes with such a horrific act.
"It's a long road ahead of us," Chizik said. "We've got a long road of grieving and everybody has a different way of doing that. There were a lot of emotions spilled out. This is a grieving process. There's no right and no wrong."
With counseling services available for the players beginning with a team meeting last Sunday night, Chizik said the process of healing is just beginning. That will continue for a very long time with such a traumatic experience and Chizik said they'll take as long as the players need to make sure they are able to handle things the right way.
"I'm not worried about football season," Chizik said. "I don't care about football season. This is about young guys getting past a tragic event."