Mazzone On The Hot Seat

Auburn offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and Jason Campbell talk about their struggles.

Atlanta, Ga.--Noel Mazzone blamed himself for Auburn's poor performance in the Peach Bowl, noting that his quarterback, Jason Campbell, did not get the job done vs. North Carolina.

"I didn't do a good job of coaching the quarterback," he said. "He didn't make plays for us. That is basically what it came down to. I thought the running backs ran hard, the receivers made some catches when they had to. We have to let loose of the ball and throw--let it go downfield. It was a bad job. I coach quarterbacks so it directly relates to me.

Noel Mazzone and Jason Campbell had a rough night in Atlanta.

"The defense played great," Mazzone added. "We just didn't hold up our end of the bargain. When Daniel (Cobb) came in, except for the one play when he went to the wrong man and threw an interception, I thought he really played. He made some of the plays in the offense that should have been made earlier."

Campbell only threw one deep ball in the game though there were many opportunities to do so, Mazzone said. "We have a deep man available on almost every pass play we run," the offensive coordinator said. "He just chose to look for the short man."

Speculation is running high that Mazzone is on the hotseat after the offense struggled most of the season. "I don't know," he said when asked if he thought he would be back at Auburn for the 2002 season. "I just try to do my job. Coach (Tommy) Tuberville will make the decision on what has to happen."

Mazzone admitted he was looking ahead to 2002 in keeping Campbell in the game until 5:31 was left and Cobb got the call only after Campbell bruised his rotator cuff. "I was just trying to give Jason some confidence," he said. "Daniel came in and made some nice throws for us."

Tuberville didn't address the issue of Mazzone's status after the 16-10 loss to North Carolina, but did say that he would re-evaluate all of his coaches and players after the season while concentrating on recruiting.

Cobb said that he hopes to return for the 2002 campaign. "I have already put in for the medical hardship," he said. "We will just see what happens."

Jason Campbell said he plans to go full speed ahead into the offseason program to get stronger and battle for the number one job next fall. "I am always up for a challenge," he said. "I just want to do what is best to help the team."

Campbell prepares to pass vs. the Tar Heels.

Campbell said nothing the Tar Heels did confused him or the offense. "I didn't get frustrated, but I feel like we weren't making enough plays," he said.

Campbell said it is important to look forward and not dwell too much on the poor finish. "I think the program is headed in the right direction. I think we are going to have a real good recruiting class and we have a lot of young guys who are going to stand up. I am looking forward to it."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Defensive coordinator John Lovett said he wished his team tackled better, but added, "I thought our guys fought hard for 60 minutes. They made a lot of plays and they never quit. We even stopped them at the end of the game even when it was a reach to see if we could still get them...James Callier said it was better late than never when he got his first sack of the season. "I really wanted to celebrate that one," he said with a smile. "The referee told me to calm down and and told him, ‘I had been waiting a long time for that one.' I am really disappointed in the way we finished, but I enjoyed the season and being a part of the team."

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