Chizik Talks Positives And Negatives

Auburn coach Gene Chizik talks about the offense, quarterback situation, defense, Cassanova McKinzy and more.

Missed Opportunity In Red Zone

In the second quarter the Auburn Tigers faced a third and goal from the Vanderbilt 10-yard line trailing 7-0. Getting open on a post route, senior wide receiver Emory Blake got his hands on a pass from Clint Moseley that was thrown behind him. Chizik said that was a play they've got to make as it cost the Tigers four big points as they settled for a field goal.

"Offensively you can point out several different opportunities that were squandered. We had Emory in the end zone for a possible touchdown that we ended up dropping. The pass could have been in a little bit better place, but Emory had a chance to catch it and did not get that opportunity done so we had to kick a field goal."

QB Situation Unchanged?

Heading into this week's game against Texas A&M, Chizik said the quarterback situation remains the same with both Moseley and Kiehl Frazier getting much of the reps and Frazier's status determined with how well his sore arm responds. As to how much Jonathan Wallace's role will be this week, Chizik said they'll continue to add to his role in the coming weeks but there are no plans at the moment to make him the starter.

"Yesterday he had nine snaps," Chizik said of Wallace. "That can vary. Whatever the situation is will really dictate whether he gets more or less. He's got to protect that football. That got scary some yesterday. You can't give a young guy so much. He's had an opportunity to succeed. You have to continue to give him enough where he still has an opportunity to succeed. If you throw too much out there and expect a young guy to come in and flourish, sometimes that can get a little hairy for him. We'll keep feeding him and progressing him along. I think he's ready to handle a little bit more and a little bit more every week."

Some Positives For Tigers

For the first time this season Auburn dominated in the turnover battle, with the Commodores turning it over three times and twice more on downs. Even with an advantage of five however the Tigers couldn't do enough to get the win in Nashville. Chizik said his team gave itself a chance to win the game by winning that battle, but they just couldn't finish it off.

"We didn't turn the ball over and that was a good thing," Chizik said. "We had a couple of opportunities where we could have, obviously with Jonathan Wallace having to hold on to the football. We didn't turn it over and did get some turnovers so those were a couple of positives that happened. That was a senior-laden team that we had an opportunity to beat. We didn't get it done, but we were certainly in a position to do so."

McKinzy Makes Chizik Proud

Auburn freshman linebacker Cassanova McKinzy got his first career start and the first significant playing time of his career in the loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday. While he made his share of mistakes, McKinzy finished with 12 tackles and won some praise from his head coach.

"Yeah, I was really proud of him," Chizik said of McKinzy. "The time that he put in watching extra film on his own, and really preparing and carrying around the game plan and studying it. And then he was very active. Now, he had some errors in there that obviously the naked eye wouldn't see, because it's where he fits and how he's designed to fit in the defense. But overall, very proud of him, and again, I think that anybody who watched the game could see that he was very active, and I think that was very good to see. Again, he's one of those guys that loves to play the game. Football is very important to him, and it means a lot to him. Hopefully, that's a good initial start for him, and he'll continue to really improve as he gets more time in there."

Injury Situation For Tigers

Auburn played without tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker, safeties Erique Florence and Ryan Smith, running back Mike Blakely, offensive tackle Avery Young, and linebacker Justin Garrett on Saturday. While Lutzenkirchen and Young are both out for the remainder of the season, Chizik said they are hopeful the other guys will be ready to go this weekend against the Aggies.

As for the rumors that Florence and Blakely were no longer with the team, Chizik said both are in good standing and still with the team.

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