Chizik's Enthusiasm Stands Out to Burns

Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns talks about the hiring of Gene Chizik as the head football coach.

Auburn, Ala.--Even Kodi Burns wasn't immune to the coaching search drama. Auburn's sophomore quarterback had been following the ups and downs just like most fans leading up to the moment that Gene Chizik was announced as his new head coach.

Burns says even though he wasn't sure what to expect, once he met Chizik he and his teammates saw right away something to be happy with as the Tigers break for the holidays.

"We thought about it and all the candidates were pretty good candidates," Burns says "Obviously we hired Gene Chizik. The guys were skeptical at first, but after the meeting I think he put a lot of those fears to rest.

"It's just his enthusiasm," Burns says on why he likes his new head coach "He's young and hungry. He just seems like the right person for the job. He's ready to win. He's a good motivator is the main thing. A lot of guys said they've never played for a motivating coach before. This will be really fun, I believe."

Motivation was a word used by more than one Auburn player as they talked about Chizik. Most of that came from a meeting when he met his team for the first time. Telling them to be ready to work and if they didn't love the game of football to go home, Burns says his demeanor is something that really got the attention of the team.

"It does make you feel good because he's enthusiastic," the quarterback says. "He's one of those Houston Nutt guys, a good motivator that will get you pumped up before a game. He's a great speaker. He obviously has a vision for this team. That's pretty exciting to know. I think guys were on the edge of their seat in the meeting ready to start two-a-days and the season all over again."

Kodi Burns

While Chizik has already started to win over his new team after, it may take a while longer to win over the fans and alumni of the university after his hiring was met with less than universal approval. Burns says he that he hopes fans give Chizik a chance to show what he can do.

"Fans are going to be fans and they obviously want their preferences," Burns notes. "At the same time he is the coach. You've got to get behind him and support him any way you can. He's the coach of Auburn. If you love Auburn you're going to get behind him because he's not going anywhere. He's going to be a great coach. We've just got to get behind him."

Burns also isn't unlike many fans in that his first choice wasn't hired. Like many he says he was hoping Buffalo's Turner Gill would get the job, but once the decision was made and he met Chizik then he says he is happy with the choice.

"It's always something different when an African-American coach gets a chance at a head coaching job, especially at a major college," Burns says. "He definitely went through my mind and was on the top of my list as a lot of guys were. Things obviously didn't work out for whatever reason. We've got a coach. After meeting with him team-wise I feel really good."

Gene Chizik is shown when he arrived at the Auburn airport to take over as head coach of the Tigers.

While Burns had the chance to talk about his thoughts on Chizik, he also took the time to talk to several former players about his new coach. Along with the comments by Carlos Rogers, Carnell Williams and Dontarrious Thomas, Burns talked with Rogers while he was in for Chizik's press conference as well as Bret Eddins and several other former Tigers who played for Chizik. He points out that he likes what he heard about Chizik.

"It makes me feel real good because when guys like that are supporting him, guys in the NFL, they're saying he's an incredible coach," Burns says. "He's put in his work and coached these guys. He obviously had great support for them and that's key. If you get guys like this to buy in and have already bought in, you're going to get the fans to buy in as well as the young players."

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