Slade, Chizik Want More Out Of Running Game

Offensive lineman Chad Slade and head coach Gene Chizik discuss Auburn's running game shortcomings.

Auburn, Ala.--Sophomore guard Chad Slade, part of an offensive line that gave up eight sacks in a 24-7 SEC football loss to Arkansas last Saturday, vows that his group will make progress as the Tigers try to get their season turned in a positive direction this week at Ole Miss.

Auburn will travel to Oxford on Saturday for an 11:21 a.m. kickoff in an SEC contest vs. the 3-3 Rebels. Ole Miss is 0-2 in conference play after dropping a 30-27 home game on Saturday night to Texas A&M.

The Tigers dropped to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the SEC with their loss to the Razorbacks on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Asked what the problem was with the offensive line, Slade, a second-year starter, said, "I felt like the communication was terrible. We didn't play like a group like we normally do. We have a lot of room for improvement. It was the worst game we have played so we have a lot of improvement to make.

"We took a step back against Arkansas," Slade added. "We can't let what happened get to us. We have to work hard and take a step forward this week."

Chad Slade

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik made it clear he was unhappy with the lack of production in the running game. The Tigers finished with just 40 net rushing yards on 32 carries. That total included 88 yards in losses with 80 of that total coming on the sacks.

"I felt like we should have stayed and tried to develop an identity in the running game," Chizik said after evaluating game video of the loss to the Razorbacks. "We were getting some inside push in there. I think there are some things we really need to look at moving ahead to even stretch the perimeter more. We didn't effectively do that either.

"I think we have to go back and really evaluate, conceptually, an identity on who we want to be in the running game," the coach added. "We have got to continue to try to run the ball more effectively, I know that."

Asked what he believes the offensive line needs to do to make the running game more effective, Slade said, "We just have to get five guys working together.

"We have to get in the film room and keep working together as much as we can," the guard said. "I know my brothers on the offensive line don't want to feel like I feel. We are going rally, get back together and keep our heads up."

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