Chizik Says Defense Needs To Step Up For AU

Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik comments on Auburn's game two loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Atlanta, Ga.--The numbers show that Auburn's loss to Georgia Tech was primarily the result of offensive failings. However, defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said the defense didn't get the job done as his Tigers fell 17-3 to Georgia Tech on Saturday.

"That has nothing to do with us," Chizik said when asked about Auburn's offensive struggles. "We play our defense no matter where we start, no matter where we end, no matter what the situation is you play defense one way. You play it always the same way. We just aren't playing good enough right now to get it done."

Georgia Tech only gained 230 yards, but made enough plays at key points of the game to give the Yellow Jackets confidence they could win in an underdog role. True freshman quarterback Reggie Ball gave the Jackets a major boost of confidence with a 54-yard pass play to Nate Curry on Tech's first play.

Gene Chizik

"I think it did set a tone for the game," Chizik said of Tech's opening play. "They got on somewhat of a roll after that. He threw a bunch of those deep balls last week and didn't complete them. He stuck one on us early in the game and so obviously that is a tempo-setter for the offense, not the defense."

"I think he played exceptionally well," Chizik said of Ball. "He made some big plays when he had to. He threw a couple of very critical balls in there that were caught. The tight end caught a big one. Obviously, the touchdown pass was a critical one and the big one early in the game so there were three plays off the top of my head that I think were definitely big plays that he didn't come up with last week."

Ball completed 9-21 passes for 149 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Tech ran the ball 39 times for 102 yards and one touchdown.

Chizik and the Tigers now turn their focus to the opening of SEC play at Vanderbilt this week. The Tigers and Commodores will kick off at 11:30 a.m. from Nashville.

"We have had two basically preseason games now," Chizik said. "That is the way we have got to look at it. We have the conference coming up and we have to correct the problems that we have had in the first two games and move on."

Tigers vs. Tech Notes: Tech's seven sacks are the fourth most ever for the Yellow Jackets. Seven different players were credited with a sack...Tech's wide receiver standout, Jonathan Smith, did not catch a pass vs. the Tigers, the first time that has happened since the 2000 season....Tech cornerback Dennis Davis agrees with Chizik that Ball's opening bomb was big to the Yellow Jackets. "We were standing on the sidelines and saw Reggie hit the long pass and the defense started jumping up and down and got really excited. That set the tone for the rest of the game."...Auburn's 93 yards in penalties was the worst for AU since getting 97 vs. Arkansas in 2001...The Tigers are off to an 0-2 start for the first time since 1984 when they fell to 10th-ranked Miami and fourth-ranked Texas.

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