Despite dominating the action for the most part, allowing just 71 yards passing for the game, Chizik said that he thought his unit performed under the level they had achieved each of the first three weeks. That's something he hopes to see change as Auburn steps up in competition greatly next week at Tennessee.
"It was sloppy football today I thought," Chizik said. "We weren't very sharp. They played hard and made plays when we needed to, but I just thought it was a sloppy game. We certainly can't play that way against an SEC team and win. We're glad we got a victory and we played hard and came up with some plays when we needed to. Today was a long way today from where we need to be next week."
A sandwich game between Auburn's emotional victory over LSU last weekend and an upcoming top-10 showdown with the Vols in Knoxville, Saturday's contest was one that didn't get a rise out of the fans in the stands and obviously the players as well. With so much focus on next week's game, Chizik said he's not sure if his team was looking ahead or not.
"I don't know if that was the problem or not," Chizik said. "I just know that we weren't very sharp as a football team. For whatever the reason we just weren't very sharp, but we'll get them back and get ready for next week. We'll get corrections made for this game and we'll move on."
Quentin Groves hit The Citadel's quarterback Duran Lawson very hard on this play.
Ahead 23-0 at intermission, Auburn was determined to keep the starters as fresh as possible for next week and that meant giving the starters the rest of the day off. Chizik said he can't remember the last time no starter played in the second half of a game. "The whole second half we got all of our two's and three's in," Chizik said. "I don't know if you can get any luckier than that. We played pretty much everyone we needed to."
Getting extensive action in the second half were several players that has struggled at times this fall to make plays because of a lack of experience. That wasn't the case on Saturday as Quentin Groves, Tez Doolittle, Neil Brown and Christopher Browder all played well in the victory.
"It was good to see Tez do that," Chizik said. "It was good to see Quentin get active. The young defensive linemen have to keep playing and keep getting in games right now. Hopefully they'll get better and better because we're going to need them down the stretch. It's going to be a long seven weeks.
"I thought all the young guys went in there and tried to play within our defense and played hard "I was really proud of them when they returned the long kickoff return and we stopped them in three plays. That was good to see from those guys because that's what they didn't do against Mississippi State."
Auburn now turns its attention squarely to Tennessee after handling the Bulldogs with ease. Chizik said there are plenty of things to work on following the win, but overall he was proud of the way the group competed and played hard until the end.
"A game like this is not a game against The Citadel, it's a game against Auburn," Chizik said. "It's a game against ourselves so we're trying to execute our defense and play better technique that we did the week before. We want to execute the defense the right way, which we did a lot of time today, but there were times today when we didn't and that's disappointing."