Gene Chizik SEC Championship Press Conference Quotes

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104256278 e1285167486230 Gene Chizik SEC Championship Press Conference Quotes

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here is what Auburn coach Gene Chizik had to say about his team’s upcoming game against South Carolina in the SEC Championship.

Obviously, it’s a very exciting time for our players and our fans, for the Auburn family, just being able to be blessed enough to play in this game and our players ought to be extremely excited.

As you know, it’s going to be a great, great challenge for us. South Carolina is probably playing the best football they’ve played all year. Extremely, extremely talented, as we know, as we faced them the first time. It was very evident that’s a great football team.

So they’re much improved. It’s going to be a huge, huge challenge for us. They’re a whole football team from top to bottom. Offense, defense, special teams. Just very solid in what they do. Very well coached, as you would expect. And, again, I think they’re playing as good of football as they’ve played all year. So it’s going to be a great challenge for us.

I will open it up for questions. As I’ve said before, as long as they pertain to Cameron Newton and anything that has to do with the previous 12 games and this particular game coming up and/or, again, I don’t want to address any potential rumors and coaching issues out there that are flying around.

I would like to address only the things that have to do with this football game coming up Saturday. That is our focus. And with that I’ll open it up to any questions.

Can you just talk about – seems like both of these teams are playing better than when you met in late September. What about Auburn? Where do you think Auburn has maybe made the most improvements since the first time you played South Carolina?

Well, you know, I hope that special teams-wise we’ve continued to improve. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind in games like these where you have two really good offenses, two really good defenses, where does the special teams come into play. I hope we’ve made a lot of improvement there. The consistency of our football team right now was not there Saturday. And that’s some concern. I felt like we should have been more consistent the way we played.

But I think overall, as a football team, I think everybody understands where they fit within our team. The team chemistry and things of that nature, which I think over a 12-game season has really developed in terms of a personality of our team.

And I think we play as a team. I don’t think we play as good as we could or should all the time. And that’s obviously something we’ve got to do better Saturday.

But as a whole, I think our team chemistry is really well. I think our guys have really understood what it takes to win, certainly with all situations being told.

And they’ve been able to pull out all of our games up to this point.

As a follow-up, how do you explain the defense when you look at games like South Carolina/Clemson, Georgia/Alabama seems like such a disparity in your defensive play in the first half of these games and the second half of these games?

Coach Roof does a really nice job halftime making some good adjustments as to what we see the offense trying to do to attack us.

I think that’s one part of it. The other part of it is simply just, like I said earlier, the consistency of what we’re trying to do has not been there entirely on defense.

That’s been something that I feel as you go back and you even look at the South Carolina game, last time we played them, there’s some big plays in there where we busted a coverage or just some things that should not happen and the inconsistencies obviously can’t happen in this game Saturday.

So I think a lot of times that’s why you’re seeing a tale of two halves, it’s a combination of a guy being out of place here and there, and also our coaches doing a nice job of adjusting at halftime.

I’m not sure how much you might have gotten to watch Alshon Jeffery since he played you guys the first time. But if you have, just what are your impressions of him as a wide receiver and as a game-breaking kind of player?

I don’t think there’s any question he’s playing as confident football right now as anybody in America.

And rightly so. I think in our league games alone he’s averaging over 100 yards, I think it’s 115, 116 yards a game in receptions.

I think that obviously the quarterback and him are on the same page. Garcia has done a great job in terms of pass efficiency. Getting the ball down the field. Everybody knows how talented he is. He’s a big, physical receiver.

I think earlier in the year everybody knew he was talented. But I think he got better. And the quarterback/whiteout combination has gotten better since the season started. I don’t think there’s any question with that.

You can just tell that the confidence is there. So he’s playing wide open right now, as the rest of their offense is as well.

And he’s doing a great job and they’ve got a lot of confidence in him as well. You can tell with the coaching staff. So tall order to try to stop this one.

Do you feel like a game like the one you played on Friday gives you and your team more or less confidence going into the championship week?

I think our team is confident all the time. I don’t think there’s any question there’s no lack of confidence in our football team from the first game we played. We just need to obviously execute better earlier in the game.

We can’t start so slow, and that’s on all sides of the football. And I just think that, again, it’s not a confidence issue. It’s an execution issue. And it’s got to be something Saturday obviously to be able to beat a great team like we’re getting ready to play we have to be executing obviously much better than we did the first half of the Alabama game.

I noticed that Darvin Adams was kind of shaking his arm and it seemed like his arm was bothering him after the last punt Friday. Is he doing okay?

Again, he’s doing fine. It’s one of those deals where it’s this time of the year where, not just Darvin, but a lot of our football team is nursing some bumps and bruises, and he’s no exception to that right now.

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