Wallace To Start Vs. Georgia, Injury Updates

Auburn coach Gene Chizik talks about Jonathan Wallace, injuries and more as the Tigers prepare for the Georgia Bulldogs.

No Waiting On The Starter This Week:

Completing 9-16 passes for 164 yards and one touchdown with one interception, freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace overcame a shaky start to lead the Auburn offense to its best day of the season.

Earning the respect of his teammates for his performance, Coach Gene Chizik said after watching video of the game there is no need to wait until later this week to name Wallace as this week's starter against Georgia.

"I think that yesterday was a game that really kind of unfolded very favorably for him simply because at the beginning of the game he started very slow," Chizik said. "What you look for in a young quarterback is that when things don't start off extremely fast or you start off with a lot of confidence in some throws and things, you want to see him respond.

"That was one of the things that I was most proud of Jonathan being able to do--keep chopping wood, keep plugging along. And, eventually, he made some really good things happen.

"I think that our team has confidence in him. I think that he wllll gain more confidence as the games go on and he gets a little more playing time. I think that the spark that he can bring to our football team with some things that he can do and obviously improve on, I think will be big as we move forward."

Short Yardage Solution

One of the bright spots for the offense in recent weeks in addition to the play of Wallace has been the running of fullback Jay Prosch. Even though he has carried the ball just five times for 17 yards, the bruiser hasn't been stopped for a loss this season. That's something that Chizik said is important for the offense moving forward.

"That's exactly what we need out of a back," Chizik said. "As I said yesterday it has been very rare to none when he has been stopped in those situations. If it's third and one or two, he's a 255 to 260-pound guy that is very good with the ball in his hands. We feel very confident that he can do that."

Georgia A Familiar Opponent For BVG:

Auburn defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder will face the Georgia Bulldogs this Saturday for the first time since leaving Athens for the NFL. With Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo in place Auburn should have a good feel for what the Bulldogs want to do, but Chizik said the Tigers will have to see exactly how similar this Georgia team is to the past few years when they start watching video.

"We've got to go back and see how much change there's been," he said. "One thing that Georgia's done over the years that's been very smart and very effective, is that they do things based on their personnel, who they have at strong positions. When they had Orson Charles their tight end was a huge, huge potential receiving threat. They really, really took advantage of that when they could, when they got into mismatches on him.

"They've always had good receivers with the Kings (Tavarres King) and the Malcolm Mitchells--just off the top of my head. They do a good job of taking their people and utilizing them. It's been a long time since Brian was over there with them, but for the most part their base offense and the things that they have done really hasn't changed fully. They've done a good job of adjusting to their personnel."

Injury Update:

There is some good news for the Tigers this week as defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker could be closer to playing this week after missing the last three games with an injury.

Jeffrey Whitaker

Tight end C.J. Uzomah also missed the New Mexico State game after breaking a bone in his finger during practice this week. Chizik said he could return later this season, but that is not certain and will have to be evaluated. That's also the case with defensive back Chris Davis, who is still out after suffering a concussion, and defensive tackle Devaunte Sigler with an undisclosed injury.

Burgess A Boost:

While he's not going to be confused for either Philip Lutzenkirchen or Uzomah, Blake Burgess got involved in the passing game with one catch for 10 yards against New Mexico State. A former offensive lineman, Burgess is someone who can add punch to the running game, Chizik noted.

Blake Burgess

"I think it helps that he's been able to be down in there where it's pretty rugged down there and blocking those inside guys and then you move him out to tight end," the coach said. "He's lost some weight to play the position so he's not as big as he was in terms of weight, but he understands the leverages and he understands blocking on the perimeter and the importance of it."

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