Chizik: Tigers "Jacked Up" Over Outback Trip

Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik talks about what his team's invitation to play in Tampa means to him personally and the program.

Auburn, Ala.--Gene Chizik isn't shy about letting people know he is fired up about his team's bowl destination.

On Sunday officials from the Outback Bowl confirmed what Chizik had known since last week that the Tigers would be the SEC representative for the New Year's Day bowl game in Tampa. Who Auburn's opponent would be was not certain. On Sunday the Northwestern Wildcats, who are 8-4, were chosen over Wisconsin to be the Big 10 representative.

"We can't stand it we are so excited," Chizik says as he prepares to wrap up his first season as head coach of the Tigers.

"Our fan base, our coaches, our players, Jay (Jacobs) our athletic director and all of the administrative people we are so jacked up about this," Chizik notes. "I am going to tell you it is going to be a great following

"I know it is a great bowl because I am from down there and I get all of that," he says. "I know you guys do a phenomenal job so I want to say thank you guys because it is going to be a great week."

Chizik, who grew up in the Tampa Bay area on the coast in Clearwater, notes that his mother still lives there and that he will get to see a lot of family and friends on Auburn's bowl trip.

"It is always really, really neat to be able to come back to where you grew up," points out Chizik, who notes that his wife is also from the Tampa Bay area. "For me personally it is going to be really, really exciting."

Commenting on having a chance to take his team to Tampa, Chizik says, "It is as good as it gets. No only do we get to play a great bowl game in a city that is second to none, to also have it where you grew up and spent your childhood that is just icing on the cake for me."

Chizik's Tigers had the week off from practice and that is expected to be the case again this week. The coach says he expects the Tigers will be back on the practice field around Saturday or Sunday, but notes that is still being worked out.

Chizik says it is a big deal for the Tigers to earn a trip to a New Year's Day bowl game. "I think it is huge. What we wanted to do is to start building a foundation for what we think is going to be a great, great future. I think this is a great culmination of a lot of hard work and a year's worth of setting that foundation."

Commenting on plans for bowl practice, Chizik says, "It is a great situation when you go to a bowl game so it is almost like getting another spring practice in there. We will do a lot of work with our young guys as well, even the guys who have been redshirted.

"We are going to prepare to try to win the football game. There is no question about that. That is our first priority, but also to get some extra work for some of the young guys, the redshirted guys, I?think that is on the agenda as well."

The coach says that he believes his players and the Auburn fans are headed to a fun bowl trip. "It is in a great place, which is phenomenal for our fans who we think are the best in the country and for our players and coaches as well.

"It is getting our fans so excited," he adds. "Our fans are in frenzy. Our phones are lighting up. I think it is huge for the whole program in terms of people seeing where this thing is going down the road."

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