"That loss is very hard to swallow period because we had so many opportunities in my opinion," Chizik said. "We had opportunities for turnovers and we didn't capitalize on them. You go back and look at the games this year that we've won and there have been turnovers that we've created somewhere in there…We had opportunities to create some momentum swings and changes and just couldn't do it."
Stopping the run has been a concern for the Auburn defense this season and that was apparent against Georgia Saturday night when the Bulldogs gashed the Tigers in the second half for big yardage on the ground. Chizik said facing an Alabama team that runs it was well as anyone in the SEC makes the next two weeks huge for his defense in terms of preparation for the ground game.
"We were really playing the run well," Chizik said of early in the Georgia game. "I think when Eltoro (Eltoro Freeman) went out that certainly didn't help our cause. That's not an excuse, but for a good bit of that football game we played well against the run. I think at halftime they might have had 40 yards rushing. We just have to sustain that through four quarters. It's just that simple."
Without Freeman in the game the Tigers had no choice but to turn to little used true freshman Jonathan Evans. He responded my making several nice plays and Chizik said considering the situation he did some good things.
"Getting kind of abruptly thrown in there I thought he did well," Chizik said. "Obviously there were some things he could have done better, but all things being told he came in there and did an adequate job."
In addition to stopping the run, Auburn also struggled to get the running game going on offense until late in the game. Chizik said Georgia's defense had something to do with that, but it was also about his team's production as well.
"I think a lot of it was execution on our part," Chizik said. "Obviously they've got a really good front seven, there is no question about that. They played really well. I thought they got off blocks as good as anybody we've played. We had our chances to hit some runs in there. I think it was more execution on our part than what they were doing."
Late in the game the Tigers had a chance to tie or perhaps take the lead with a touchdown, but penalties proved to be the death nail as Auburn's offense backed itself off the goal line on the last drive. That has happened several times this season and Chizik said he let the team know on Sunday that it's one of the things that can't happen if you expect to win big games.
"It's very disappointing and they are by good veteran guys," Chizik said. "It's really, really disappointing. I addressed that in our team meeting. It's really disappointing. Those are guys you are counting on to win games for you that have played a lot of football. It's just disappointing. There are so many other things that happened before we even got to that. We could have played so much better. You can't ever pinpoint anything on a guy, but in those critical situations I think it's a lack of concentration and attention to detail."
Auburn gets a much-needed break this week with its only off-week following 11 consecutive weeks on the field. The Tigers will practice Wednesday-Friday before taking next Saturday off. They'll return to the practice field next Sunday to continue preparations for the Alabama game.