NFL Trio Says They're Happy Chizik's Back

Former Auburn players who were with Gene Chizik at Auburn comment on his return as head coach.

Auburn, Ala.--Three members of Auburn's 2004 SEC Football Championship squad said on Saturday they are pleased that Gene Chizik is returning as head coach of the Tigers.

"Coach Chizik is a players' coach," said running back Carnell Williams, who plays for the NFL's Tampa Bay Bucs. "Even though he was on the defensive side of the ball, he taught all of us the importance of hard work. He's the kind of coach recruits hope to get to play for, and I think this is a great hire. I'm excited for Auburn."

Carnell "Cadillac" Williams is making a comeback this season from a knee injury that threatened his career.

Auburn officials confirmed on Saturday night that Chizik will be Auburn's next head coach replacing Tommy Tuberville. Earlier in the evening, Iowa State's athletic director announced that Chizik was leaving for Auburn after spending two years as head coach of the Big 12 school.

Chizik's star player in the secondary at Auburn, Carlos Rogers, won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2004 as the nation's top defensive back. Chizik players won the Thorpe Award in 2005 and 2006 at Texas.

"This was the best decision Auburn could have made," Rogers said. "Coach Chizik was like a dad to me. From a player and student point of view he's exactly what Auburn needs in a head coach."

Rogers, who plays for the Washington Redskins, was joined on the 2004 team by Dontarrious Thomas, a linebacker with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.

Dontarrious Thomas

"Gene Chizik will make a great addition for Auburn," Thomas said. "He knows the game of football and knows how to motivate and relate to young athletes.

"He knows how to motivate them to be successful not only on the field, but in the classroom and in the game of life. He will be a blessing for the players and for Auburn University."

Gene Chizik

During his time at Auburn, Chizik's defense led the nation in scoring during the 2004 season giving up 11.3 points per game.

When he left Auburn his Texas team finished undefeated in 2005 and the coach went 29 straight games without being on the losing side in a game.

That success didn't carry over to Iowa State, where he posted a 5-19 mark and finished 2-10 in 2008 after winning the opening two games.

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