Chizik Talks Youth Movement, QB, Injuries

Auburn football coach Gene Chizik talks about the possibility of playing more young guys, the QB position, injuries and more.

Youth Movement

Auburn's defense has seen true freshmen Josh Holsey and Jonathan Jones make an impact the last two games as both have played a major role for the Tigers and Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder.

With young linebackers such as Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy getting praise last week from position coach Tommy Thigpen for their work off the field the last few weeks, Coach Gene Chizik said they are "highly considering" some young guys at linebacker to see what they can do.

"There's obviously some value in that for young guys to get there and get some experience," Chizik said. "It builds depth. Playing against an offense that really is very explosive, I mean it's been very productive against pretty much everybody they've played. It was good to see some of those young guys go up against a receiver like (Donte) Moncrief and an offense that's that productive. But yes I think there's value in young guys going out there and playing and getting thrown in there and Baptized by fire. Get them in there and let them play."

No QB Decision Yet, Injuries

Chizik said on Sunday that the Tigers will go into the week without a starting quarterback decision finalized and that Kiehl Frazier's health will dictate how much he's able to do in practice. He said the same is true of injured players such as Chris Davis, Dee Ford and Reese Dismukes.

Defensive Struggles

One of Auburn's biggest problems on defense this season has been dealing with the short passing game. Time and time again teams have nickel and dimed the Tigers on short passes that have produced big results. That continued against Ole Miss on Saturday as the Rebels took advantage of mismatches in the short game for big plays. Chizik said it all comes down to communication issues.

"Those short little routes that sneak out turn into explosive plays of 20 yards or more many times," Chizik said. "They're communication issues that shouldn't happen. It's really that simple.

"The deep balls that we've really been trying to keep everything in front of us have for the most part, gameplan-wise, those have been held in check, although Saturday there was a deep ball that we felt like we had enough people around there to make a play on it. He made a great play and we didn't. But the short underneath routes, the crossing routes underneath, we've got to get a handle on those. And we didn't do a very good job of that Saturday."

Get Tre The Ball

Mason had 13 carries in the first half, but only five in the second half as his touches diminished as did Auburn's offensive production. Chizik said much of that was because of the circumstances of the game, but the first half was more along the lines of what they would like to do on offense down the road.

"In the third, we were mixing up, we came out of halftime and he got the first carry, he had two or three after that," Chizik said. "We were mixing in some of the quarterback runs with some reads with Onterio (McCalebb) and potentially getting him on the perimeter with also the capability to get the quarterback inside so we were mixing that up. It ended up being five carries because then some circumstances change with third downs, where we were having to throw the ball. Then we get down by two touchdowns, running the football wasn't our idea at that point with that much time left in the game. The second half was more circumstantial than anything."

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