Talking Football With New Auburn Coach

Jay Boulware talks to Inside the Auburn Tigers about making the move to Auburn, his background in coaching and working with Gene Chizik.

Auburn, Ala.--Jay Boulware says he was hoping to get a call from Gene Chizik to come on down and join the football coaching staff at Auburn.

This weekend that happened and the former Iowa State assistant has been reunited with the former ISU head coach, who has been on the job for less than a month as head coach of the Tigers.

Asked if he has been in limbo waiting to see if he would get an offer from Chizik to join the Auburn staff, Boulware tells Inside the Auburn Tigers, "Yes, he has been really close to the vest for the last few weeks here and rightfully so because this is a big-time program here.

"Anybody who is anybody wants to be a part of this staff and come in here and have an opportunity to one, prove everybody wrong," he says, noting that he realizes that Chizik wasn't the universal choice of Tiger fans to take over for Tommy Tuberville.

"People have mixed emotions," he notes. "I read the papers. We feel like hey, we are pretty darn good, too. This staff is going to come into place here and is going to feel like we have something to prove and we want to win big-time ball games."

Chizik announced on Sunday that Boulware would be the special teams coordinator. The coach reveals he will also handle an additional assignment.

"Coach Chizik has informed me that as of right now that I will be coaching the tight ends, too," Boulware says. "That is something I am looking forward to doing. Next to offensive line, I think that is probably one of my offensive positions I can bring to the table.

"I am just tickled to death to be here," he adds. "I have a couple of seniors to work with here and a couple of young guys coming in so I am pretty fired up about that."

Boulware says his assignment as special teams coordinator is exciting, too.

"I absolutely love special teams," he says. "It is something I jumped into when I was at the University of Arizona. That was my first time going into it. The special teams guy there at the time, who was actually the defensive coordinator, he had been in the NFL with the Giants and the San Francisco '49ers. He told me that with your offensive line background and attention to detail you would be pretty good at this. I just took that and ran with it.

"I have been trying to grow each and every year," Boulware says. "The last two years when I was with Coach Chizik, I probably made the most growth I have ever made in this profession in my career on special teams. I just really feel like I am prepared to take on the challenge of the SEC or any other conference that we come in contact with."

Boulware notes that the chance to coach again with Chizik and to do it at Auburn made it an easy choice to join the Tigers. "This is a storied program that I have watched from afar for quite some time and I am just tickled to death to have the opportunity to coach here," he says.

The former University of Texas offensive line letterman has made coaching stops at Texas, Northern Illinois, Arizona, Stanford and Utah in addition to his two seasons with Chizik at Iowa State.

"I was one of the only guys on the (Iowa State) staff that he did not know," Boulware says of Chizik's decision to bring him to Ames. "He plucked me from the University of Utah and interviewed me. We had probably one of the most productive interviews I have ever been a part of. It was interactive. It wasn't just me just telling him things that I do. It was him posing questions and bringing up ideas. We were just bouncing ideas off of each other and had a really good interview.

"I knew at that time, I could really grow with a guy like that because he took a really strong interest in special teams play," Boulware says. "He felt like he had been in a number of big-time programs and no one really paid real close attention to the details of this phase of the game. He felt like if we did that we could be successful wherever we are at so that is what we do."

His trip to Auburn to meet with his new coaching staff and start his new job wasn't his first time on the campus.

"I had been to Auburn when I was coaching at Northern Illinois University," Boulware recalls. "We were coaching Ryan Diem. He is still playing for the Indianapolis Colts and he is their starting right tackle. I was one of two offensive line coaches we had there that year. We probably had the best team we had at Northern Illinois up until that time. We won seven or eight ball games that year, which kicked off the nine or 10 games we won the following year.

"That was a senior class that was very talented," he remembers. "Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons running back) was on that team and Justin McCareins (Tennessee Titans wide receiver) was on that team, but Auburn had a guy named Rudi (tailback Rudi Johnson) who was phenomenal. I think he rushed for over 200 yards that day. I can't remember how much he rushed for--I just remember hearing the crowd chanting his name as he ran over our guys.

"That was the only time I had been there," he says. "Obviously, it wasn't a pleasant experience at the time, but I really enjoyed the atmosphere and who knew I would end up here one day."

Jay Boulware spent two seasons in Ames working on Gene Chizik's staff as running backs coach.

Talking about the chance to coach the Tigers, he says, "I am excited. I am really, really excited. I think we are putting together a great staff here--a bunch of good guys who are hard recruiters, guys who are going to bring some fresh blood in here and hopefully get this thing going in the right direction and get this program back up, depth-wise, where it is used to being and make the fans proud.

"That is my whole goal as a coach. I like to hear the crowds cheering and enjoying seeing a good product out there on the football field. I am thrilled to death about the challenge, I am thrilled to death about being here at Auburn and I look forward to being here for a long time."

Boulware and the other Auburn coaches will be busy lining up recruits for the Feb. 4th national signing day. "There won't be any rest for the weary," he says. "I kissed my wife and baby goodbye early (Sunday) morning. I think I left my house (in Ames) at 5:30 and I probably won't see those guys again for another three or four weeks. I am hitting the road recruiting and here we go."

Boulware is the fourth addition to Chizik's staff, joining running back coach Curtis Luper, linebacker coach James Willis and offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Gus Malzahn. They will be on the road recruiting this week and will be joined by Malzahn after he finishes his duties on Tuesday night at the GMAC Bowl in Mobile where Tulsa takes on Ball State.

Chizik will continue to have recruiting help from Phillip Lolley, Jimmy Perry and Joe Whitt Sr., who helped him in the recruiting period prior to Christmas. Whitt is a former AU assistant who worked with Chizik when he was at AU from 2002-2004 as defensive coordinator. Lolley helped Chizik coach defensive backs at Auburn and is currently the director of NFL relations for the Tigers and Perry, who was also on the staff with Chizik at AU, is the director of football operations for the Tigers.

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