Auburn Coach A Finalist For National Award

Auburn, Ala.--In what was expected to be a rebuilding year for the Auburn defense, the Tigers are leading the nation in fewest points allowed.

Because of that Gene Chizik, the leader of the Auburn defense, is being recognized for his good work and is one of six finalists for the Frank Broyles Award, which is presented annually to college football's top assistant coach.

He is one of three defensive coordinators up for the award along with Bob Gregory of Cal and Norm Parker of Iowa. Three offensive coordinators are also finalists--Norries Wilson of UConn, Chris Peterson of Boise State and Chuck Long of Oklahoma.

The winner will be announced on Jan. 11th at a ceremony in Little Rock, Ark.

"It's an honor to be recognized as a finalist for the Broyles Award," said Chizik, who is preparing his defense for a Saturday game vs. Tennessee with the winner being crowned the 2004 SEC Champion. "This is not the reflection of the efforts of just one person, but the collective work of the Auburn coaching staff and our defense."

Senior safety Junior Rosegreen says that Chizik deserves a lot of credit for Auburn's success. "Coach Chizik is a great coach and a great man," Rosegreen says. "He is the type of man that you want to play for as college football player. He really knows what he is doing."

Under Chizik's direction, the Tigers have overcome heavy graduation losses this year to be ranked fifth nationally in total defense. They were ranked fifth nationally in 2003, too. The Tigers are the only team ranked in the Top 10 in the four major defensive categories--scoring defense, rushing defense, pass defense and total defense.

Chizik is in his third season at Auburn after being hired away from the University of Central Florida, where he was also the defensive coordinator.

Gene Chizik has developed an aggressive and effective defensive scheme for the Tigers.

Chizik coached the safeties his first two years at Auburn. This season he has also coached cornerbacks with the Tigers adding an extra offensive coach when Al Borges joined the staff to coordinate the offense and handle the quarterbacks. Phillip Lolley, who coached cornerbacks last year, is working in an administrative role coordinating relations with high school and NFL coaches.

Going into game 12, the Tigers have allowed just one rushing touchdown this season and have given up just 32 points in the entire first half. Head coach Tommy Tuberville has high praise for Chizik and says, "I don't think I have been around a defense that has been more consistent from game one to game 11 than this defense has been."

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