Friday, December 30, 2011

Chizik: Dyer's status unchanged

ATLANTA – The status of suspended Auburn tailback Mike Dyer has not changed, according to Auburn coach Gene Chizik.

Chizik was asked Friday during a Chick-fil-A Bowl press conference about recent rumors that Dyer, an Arkansas native, plans to transfer to Arkansas State, where Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was recently hired as head coach.

“Mike Dyer’s status has not changed,” Chizik said. “If it does, I’ll let you know. I’m not aware of any of that.”

Dyer, a sophomore, has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons and led the Tigers in rushing this year with 1,242 yards.

He was suspended indefinitely Dec. 11 for an undisclosed violation of team rules, although Chizik left the door open for Dyer’s return should he accomplish certain objectives.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What Auburn's coaches are saying about the Cavs

ATLANTA - Auburn safeties coach Tommy Thigpen and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn met with the media on Thursday to talk about the Tigers' upcoming matchup with Virginia in Saturday's Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Thigpen analyzed Virginia's offense, while Malzahn discussed the Cavaliers' defense. Here'w what they had to say:

Thigpen on Virginia's offense

"What we’re seeing is a team that doesn’t allow you to do much on defense. With all the switching and the motions, it creates a lot of confusion. So if you have a young team like we have, it limits you. If you’re watching teams that play them, they’re not playing much man coverage versus them, because of the shifts and the motions and the miss-fits. So we’ve got to be pretty vanilla. And communication is key. They take a lot of pride in running the football. That’s been Virginia’s MO since I was in high school. I’m from Virginia. I was recruited by Virginia back in the days and it doesn’t seem like they’ve changed at all as far as run the ball, run the ball, play action. They do a tremendous job.

The offensive line is big, they’re strong. They kind of look like an SEC team. They run the ball. They take a lot of pride in running that football. Communication’s got to be right on point. We can’t bust any assignments."

Malzahn on Virginia's defense

"Virginia’s defense is very sound. They’re very impressive up front. They play a great run defense, especially in between the boxes. They try to keep things in front of them. They try to make you earn it – very few big plays. And at the same time, they’ll pick and choose when they pressure and they do a good job with their pressure. They’re well coached. You can tell the guys, they know what they’re doing, they know the situations and they’re going to make you earn it."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lolley talks about Chizik as DC

AUBURN Auburn's assistant coaches met with the media after Wednesday's bowl practice for Saturday's Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia.

Auburn secondary coach Phillip Lolley had an interesting take on Auburn head coach Gene Chizik as a defensive coordinator. Chizik has been serving as defensive coordinator since Ted Roof left earlier this month for a similar job at Central Florida.

Here's what Lolley had to say:

I've worked with him before. I know exactly what to expect. He's always a great teacher, always motivated. The whole team sees that he loves to coach. The head coach role is different. You can tell he's missed being out there and being in the battle.

"I always know what to expect from Coach. He's a great leader, a great teacher. You can tell that we started from ground level with our teaching methods. That's what we wanted to accomplish going into this bowl game – get the ground work again knowing that we've got a lot of young players. We've done a lot of teaching, a lot of drills, a lot of fundamental. He's been highly, highly excited. Not being able to coach a position for 4 or 5 years, having to serve as the head guys, he's been highly motivated. It rubs off on everybody; it's contagious.

"It's something we talk about all the time, but they're seeing the head man now in a teaching role. They see why he was in demand to be a head coach. It all started on defense for him. It's been a new experience for our guys, but to me I've been there with him before. I knew what to expect.

Is it fun for you?

"Absolutely! It's been fun. It brings back a lot of memories. We were undefeated before he went to Texas. I knew what to expect. I've worked with him. I knew he'd be highly motivated and he'd be fast-paced.

"The players who played at Auburn before understood that. When he was hired as head coach, you saw a lot of our old players come back because they remembered him as the defensive coordinator. They knew how highly motivated he was. Now these younger players that we have are able to see what the older players saw back then.

Is it a return to the old Chizik?

"He's always been the same guy. When he was coordinator before, he was always highly motivated and stressed fundamentals. He's the same Chiz I remember. Being in a head coach was new to me. Being in this role isn't new to me. I remember."

Auburn will face Texas A&M in 2012

(Courtesy of Auburn sports information)

AUBURN — Auburn football’s 2012 Southeastern Conference schedule has been released by the league office.

Auburn’s conference home games at Jordan-Hare Stadium will include LSU (Sept. 22), Arkansas (Oct. 6), Texas A&M (Oct. 27) and Georgia (Nov. 10).

The 2012 home schedule will feature the defending SEC Champion (LSU) and SEC East Champion (Georgia), and a first-ever trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium by new conference member Texas A&M.

The Tigers’ SEC road schedule will be games at Mississippi State (Sept. 8), Ole Miss (Oct. 13), Vanderbilt (Oct. 20), and Alabama (Nov. 24).

The non-conference schedule will include games against Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic to start the season as well as home games against ULM, New Mexico State and Alabama A&M. The dates for the four non-conference games will be announced at a later date.

Auburn will host its annual A-Day on Saturday, April 14. The A-Day kickoff time as well as the entire weekend of A-Day activities will also be announced in the near future.


Sept. 8 at Mississippi State

Sept. 22 LSU


Oct. 13 at Ole Miss

Oct. 20 at Vanderbilt

Oct. 27 TEXAS A&M


Nov. 24 at Alabama

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Auburn defense has its swagger back

ATLANTA – For a unit that ranked at or near the bottom of the SEC in most major statistical categories, Auburn’s defense has an unusually high level of confidence heading into the Tigers’ New Year’s Eve Chick-fil-A Bowl showdown with Virginia.

Must be that new defensive coordinator.


Yeah, Newton's the real deal

ATLANTA – Auburn coach Gene Chizik was fielding questions from the media after the Tigers’ Tuesday practice in the Georgia Dome when a reporter changed the subject from Saturday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl to former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.

Chizik was asked if he were maybe just a little bit surprised with Newton’s success as a rookie quarterback with the Carolina Panthers.

“No. I'm not surprised,” Chizik said. “Anybody who wanted my opinion last year, that's the opinion I gave them. He's a star. And anybody who thought differently…they have their own opinion. I was around him every day, I watched him every day, and I'm not one bit surprised. As the years go on, and he learns more about the league, and learns more about the defenses, you're going to see more of the same.”

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mason likes the Georgia Dome

AUBURN - Auburn held its first practice in the Georgia Dome Monday in preparation for Saturday night's Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia.

Afterward, several of Auburn's players met with the media, including freshman running back Tre Mason.

Here's what Mason had to say:

Talk about playing in this game.

"It's exciting. It's a great opportunity I was given, so I'm just going
to do what I've got to do to win.

What do you think of the Georgia Dome?

"I like the turf. The turf is a fast track."

Does that give you and Onterio McCalebb an advantage?

"I feel like it is. It'll be an advantage for us. We're a couple of
fast guys. This will actually help us get to be where we need to be,
which is the end zone, a lot faster.

Has Onterio been helpful?

"He's helped me greatly. He's like a brother. What I didn't really
understand, he corrected me on it. He's got me to where I understand
the entire offense."

Are you ready to run between the tackles?

"I've been ready. I've been ready since high school to run between the
tackle. That's what I'm here to do."

Are you big enough?

"I think it really takes a lot of heart, and not being afraid to run
between the tackles. Some running backs may be shy between the
tackles, but I’m not. It's not a size thing at all."

Talk about the work you got during the regular season.

"A lot of reps. It was Mike (Dyer) and I. We were getting an equal amount of
reps, and we just kept each other going because you never know when
somebody might go down."

How has Quan Bray fit in?

"He's perfect. He's versatile. He could play every position on the
field if you wanted him to. He could play defense, too. He's just a
great athlete."

Talk about your freshman year?

"It was good to get your feet wet and learn some of this offense. I
can't wait until next year and really play a lot."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Coordinators unlikely to be hired before bowl game

AUBURN – Auburn coach Gene Chizik concedes it will likely be after the Tigers’ Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia before he hires an offensive or defensive coordinator.

“Again, without boxing myself in the corner with the timeline, that’s certainly a very good possibility, yes,” Chizik said Wednesday.

Chizik must replace offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who will be leaving after the bowl game to become the head coach at Arkansas State, and defensive coordinator Ted Roof, who left two weeks ago to take the defensive coordinator’s job at Central Florida.

Although Chizik said he’d like to hire coaches who he knew would stay for several years, he said hiring coaches who are a good fit for Auburn is more important than continuity.

“I think you hire the best guy,” he said. “Obviously, continuity is something you would really, really like to have. The real unfortunate reality is if you hire really good ones, there are a lot of people who want them. But I want to hire the best fit and the best person for Auburn. Obviously, continuity would be a big deal but the most important thing is that it be the right fit, in terms of being on the same page and the same philosophies. That’s the most important thing.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jermaine Whitehead, philosopher, offers something to chew on

Auburn freshman cornerback Jermaine Whitehead has an interesting view on how a defense is supposed to work.

“A defense is like a picture... or it's like a pie,” Whitehead explains. “You don't want a piece out of the pie. You want the whole pie. That's how the defense is."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chizik talks with media after Monday practice

AUBURN - Auburn coach Gene Chizik met with the media following Monday night's practice for the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl game. Here's what he had to say.

“We had a really good practice tonight. Again, I thought it was uptempo. Went back to a lot of teaching tonight. Had a pretty good full-padded practice (Saturday) and got after it pretty good. Anyway, we had a great practice. Again, we’re going to go pads tomorrow, and get back after some fundamentals and continue to try and grow in that area. We expect fully to have two more good practices before we get out of here.”

How much game plan is in?

“Piece by piece we’re starting to get there. We’ve got two more days and then we’re going to have four when we get there. We’ll have enough time to get in what we need. Piece by piece, we’ve definitely done that.”

Talk about how T'Sharvan Bell seems to have a good attitude about going through the re-hab on his knee.

“I think outstanding. I think he has done a really, really good job. You know part of the process of rehabbing from injuries is how you mentally go through it. I don’t think there’s any question he has approached this well. So I think that’s half the battle, but he’s in great spirits as you guys know. I think his rehab is really right on time. Again, I don’t see any reason to believe he’s not going to have a great positive attitude moving forward because he has certainly done that the last couple weeks.”

What have you seen from the young guys in bowl practice?

“I feel like we’ve gotten better. I feel like a lot of the young guys who actually played a good bit during the year, you give them a little bit of time off and they come back a little more veteran like, but I think they’ve gotten better.”

What's the key to your success in bowl games?

“I think you have to be really smart in how you proceed in terms of how you’re practicing, how much you’re practicing, how little you’re practicing. Some guys can take it to the other extreme and by the time your team plays they’re tired and beat down. We’re trying to get them to a place where we’re physically and mentally ready, but we’re not overcooked, so to speak. I think we’ve done a good job over the years of managing the time we have with them. And give them the right amount of walk throughs, meeting time and on the field practice time.”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Trotter's status for next year uncertain

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN – With Clint Moseley established as Auburn’s No. 1 quarterback, and freshman Kyle Frazier getting equal reps with Moseley, redshirt junior Barrett Trotter seems to be the odd man out.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Saturday has had some discussion with Trotter about his future with the program, but nothing definitive.

“We've talked on the surface where's he's at, the details of that I'm not going into it,” Chizik said. “We'll talk more when the season ends.”

Trotter started the first seven games this season for the Tigers (7-5). He completed 81 of 149 passes (54.4 percent) for 1,009 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Moseley has completed 65 of 104 passes (62.5 percent) for 794 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Auburn hands out awards

AUBURN - The Auburn football team held its annual awards dinner Friday night. Listed below are the winners.

Awards Voted on by Players

Offensive MVP — Emory Blake

Defensive MVP — Neiko Thorpe

Special Teams MVP — Steven Clark

Team MVP — Philip Lutzenkirchen

Awards Voted on by Coaches

Special Teams Points Leader — Cody Parkey

Outstanding Offensive Newcomer — Reese Dismukes

Outstanding Defensive Newcomer — Jermaine Whitehead

Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year — Corey Grant

Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year — Daniel Pond

Academic Eye of the Tiger — Eltoro Freeman

Strength and Conditioning MVP — Jared Cooper, Corey Grant

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Auburn works on special teams

AUBURN - Auburn devoted Thursday’s bowl practice strictly to special teams’ work.

“Practice was great,” said special teams’ coordinator Jay Boulware. “Coach (Gene) Chizik likes to run our program here at Auburn like an NFL football team. Basically, we had an NFL special teams practice today. It allowed us to hone in on some of the stuff, game-plan wise, and we were also able to go back and refine some of the other things that we haven’t touched on in a while and things that we touch on once a week - hands team, on-side kick team and stuff like that.”

Boulware said the practice went well.

“It was crisp,” he said. “It was sharp. It was kind of a touch-up in some areas and put some guys in that may have been out before and are healthy now and getting ready to go for the game against Virginia.”

The Tigers play Virginia Dec. 31 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chizik issues statement on Malzahn departure

AUBURN - Auburn coach Gene Chizik issued the following statement Wednesday about offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's departure to take the head coaching job a Arkansas State.

Chizik said Malzahn will continue to work with the Tigers through the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia.

“I’m very happy for Gus and the opportunity that awaits him at Arkansas State. Gus has always had the strong desire to become a head coach and the chance for him to return to his home state that he is so familiar with, will be very beneficial. He’s meant a tremendous amount to our program the past three years, helping our offense and our program achieve unprecedented heights, winning a BCS National Championship and setting countless offensive records. Gus has experienced success in each stop of his coaching career and I have no doubt that he will have similar results at Arkansas State. We look forward to having Gus stay with us through the bowl game and hope to send him out with a victory.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Malzahn leaving for Arkansas State

By Charles Bennett

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is expected to be named the next head coach at Arkansas State today.

Arkansas State has scheduled a news conference for 3:30 p.m. to announce the hiring of a new coach to replace Hugh Freeze who left to take the head coaching job at Ole Miss last week.

Whether Malzahn will begin his duties immediately or stay with the Tigers through their Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia is unknown.

If he leaves immediately, the Tigers will be without an offensive or a defensive coordinator. Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof left last week to take a similar position at Central Florida.

Earlier Tuesday, Auburn coach Gene Chizik, who is presently serving as defensive coordinator, was asked about the possibility that Malzahn would leave for another coaching job before the bowl game.

“Gus and I have a great relationship and we’ve had several discussions about moving forward in his career and where his goals are,” Chizik said. “At the end of the day, his decisions are going to be up to him and I’m sure he’s going to make the best decision for him and his family. But we’re very open when we talk about it. Again, if an opportunity arises, I’m sure he’ll do what’s best for him and his family, just like I did.”


Clark, Lutzenkirchen honored by SI

Courtesy of Auburn sports information

AUBURN – Auburn punter Steven Clark and tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen were both named to the Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-America Team, the magazine announced Tuesday.

A native of Kansas City, Mo., Clark has 69 punts this season with an average of 40.5 yards per punt. The sophomore has 32 punts inside the 20, a mark that ranks him tops in the Southeastern Conference and for second in the nation.

With 34 fair catches and two touchbacks, only 10 of Clark's punts have even been returned this season for just 62 yards. Of the 10 returns, five have gone for zero or negative yardage. For his efforts this season, Clark has twice been named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week and was named to the All-SEC First Team.

Lutzenkirchen, a native of Marietta, Ga., is third on the team in receiving with 24 catches for 238 yards and seven touchdowns, ranking him third on the team in scoring this season. Just a junior, he holds the Auburn touchdown record for a tight end with 14and holds the single-season record with his seven this season.

An All-SEC Second Team selection, Lutzenkirchen is tied for third nationally for touchdowns among tight ends. He has three game-winning touchdown receptions on his career and also helped block for an Auburn rushing attack that tallied 2,097 yards this season.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pro Football Weekly honors Clark

(Courtesty of Auburn sports information)

AUBURN - Auburn sophomore punter Steven Clark has been named to the Pro Football Weekly All-America Team, the magazine announced Monday.

Clark finished as a finalist last week for the Ray Guy Award and was named to the All-SEC First Team by the league’s head coaches.

A native of Kansas City, Mo., Clark has 69 punts this season with an average of 40.5 yards per punt. He has 32 punts inside the 20, a mark that ranks him tops in the Southeastern Conference and for second in the nation.

With 34 fair catches and two touchbacks, only 10 of Clark's punts have even been returned this season for just 62 yards. Of the 10 returns, five have gone for zero or negative yardage. For his efforts this season, Clark has twice been named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Chizik speaks about Dyer situation

Auburn coach Gene Chizik briefly addressed the suspension of tailback Mike Dyer while speaking with reporters prior to a press conference Monday in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

"When you see him back in an Auburn jersey, you know he's done everything we've asked him to do," Chizik said.

Chizik deflected further questions about Dyer by saying, "I'm not going to talk about the ones who are not here."

Auburn had confirmed reports of Dyer's indefnite suspension on Sunday.

Dyer, a sophomore who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons, will not play in Auburn's Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia, and his future with the Tigers beyond the bowl game remains uncertain.

Junior Onterio McCalebb and freshman Tre Mason are expected to fill Dyer's spot.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dyer suspended for bowl game

AUBURN – Auburn tailback Mike Dyer has been suspended for the Tigers’ Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia because of an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Dyer, a sophomore, has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons for the Tigers.

Auburn officials confirmed the suspension Sunday that was first reported by, and the Birmingham News, but offered no elaboration.

Last week, Dyer was selected first-team All-SEC by both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.

Dyer rushed for 1,242 yards this season, second in the SEC behind Heisman candidate Trent Richardson of Alabama.

Auburn (7-5) plays Virginia (8-4) at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 31 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Auburn begins search for defensive coordinator

AUBURN - Auburn has spoken with Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops about the Tigers' vacant defensive coordinator's position, according to a report by

Auburn is seeking to replace Ted Roof, who left last week to take the defensive coordinator's job at Central Florida.

In his second season at Florida State, Stoops' defense ranked sixth nationally in total defense, including second in rushing defense and 18th against the pass.

Other coaches whom Auburn is apparently interested in include South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson and former North Carolina interim head coach Everett Withers.

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is serving as defensive coordinator for the Tigers as they begin preparations for their Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia.

Chizik has indicated there is no timetable in place for naming Roof's successor.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Auburn's Dismukes earns post-season honors

(Courtesy of Auburn sports information)

AUBURN – Auburn freshman center Reese Dismukes picked up a pair of post-season awards Thursday as he was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and the CBS Sports Freshman All-America Team.

A native of Spanish Fort, Ala., Dismukes started all 12 games at center for the Tigers and was the first Auburn true freshman to start at center in four years. A mainstay on the Auburn offensive line this season, Dismukes helped the Tigers rush for 2,097 yards this season, ranking fourth in the SEC. The Tigers rushed for more than 200 yards in six games this season, including a season-high 291 yards at Arkansas.

He also helped block for running back Michael Dyer, a first-team All-SEC selection, as he rushed for 1,242 yards on the season, enough for second in the SEC and 10th all-time at Auburn.

Chizik will fill Roof's spot for bowl game

AUBURN – With the departure of Ted Roof, Auburn coach Gene Chizik will serve as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator for the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A showdown with Virginia.

Chizik said Thursday he will be patient in making the hire and doesn’t feel any particular sense of urgency to replace Roof, who left to take the defensive coordinator’s job at Central Florida.

“I’ll be serving as defensive coordinator for the bowl game,” Chizik said. “Timelines, I don’t put timelines out there for any of those types of issues. We’re always going to take our time and do our due diligence when it comes to finding the right fit for Auburn. So we’ll do that. But I will be serving as the defensive coordinator for this game.”

Chizik responds to Roof's depature

AUBURN - Auburn head coach Gene Chizik issued the following statement Thursday regarding the departure of defensive coordinator Ted Roof for a similar position at Central Florida.

“Ted has played an important role in the success of our football program, helping Auburn win 29 games in three years, including a national championship last season," Chizik said. "I’m very appreciative of the passion, energy and work ethic Ted brought to the program every day. I know that this will be a great opportunity for Ted to be reunited with his mentor in George O’Leary and we wish him and his family nothing but the best at UCF.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roof leaving for UCF

Multiple sources are reporting that Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof is leaving for a similar position at the University of Central Florida.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Auburn places six on Coaches' All-SEC teams

(Courtesty of Auburn Sports information)

AUBURN - Six members of the Auburn football team have been named to Coaches’ All-Southeastern Conference Teams, the league office announced Tuesday.

Auburn placed three players on the All-SEC First Team with sophomore running back Michael Dyer, sophomore defensive end Corey Lemonier and sophomore punter Steven Clark.

On the second team are junior tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, senior offensive lineman Brandon Mosley and junior running back Onterio McCalebb as an all-purpose selection.

Dyer ranks second in the SEC, 22nd nationally, in rushing with 103.5 yards per game and has his second consecutive 1,000-yard season in the books with 1,242 on the season. His 1,242 yards rank him 10th all-time at Auburn in single-season rushing and move him into 10th on the career rushing list with 2,335 yards.

Dyer is also fourth in the SEC in scoring with 10 touchdowns on the season. On the 2011 season, he tallied six games of 100 yards rushing and four of 150 yards or more.

Lemonier ranks third in the SEC and is tied for 12th nationally in sacks with 9.5 per game. He is also tied for fifth in the SEC with 13.5 tackles for loss this season. On the season, Lemonier is seventh on the team in tackles with 44 and has a team-high 15 quarterback hurries. He has also forced five fumbles and returned one for nine yards against Ole Miss.

Clark, a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, punted for 2,794 yards this season, averaging 40.5 yards per punt with a long punt of 58 yards. He is second in the nation in punts inside the 20 with 32 while nine of those have gone down inside the 10. Only 10 of Clark’s punts have even been returned this season with five of those for zero or negative yards.

Lutzenkirchen is third on the team in receiving with 24 catches for 238 yards and seven touchdowns, ranking him third on the team in scoring this season. A junior, he holds the Auburn touchdown record for a tight end with 14 and holds the single-season record with his seven this season.

Mosley has been a mainstay on the Auburn offensive line this season, helping the Tigers rush for 2,097 yards this season, ranking fourth in the SEC. The Tigers rushed for more than 200 yards in six games this season, including a season-high 291 yards at Arkansas.

McCalebb has been an all-purpose threat for the Tigers, ranking second on the team in rushing, second in receiving and first in yards per kick return. When running the ball, McCalebb tallied 532 yards on 102 carries for a 5.2 yards per rush average. He averaged 44.3 yards per game rushing and scored four rushing touchdowns on the season. On his career, McCalebb ranks 17th all-time at Auburn in career yardage with 1,907.

As a receiver, he tied for the team lead in catches with 30, going for 291 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 9.7 yards per reception and 24.2 receiving yards per game. Among running backs all-time at Auburn, McCalebb ranks tied for sixth in receptions, eighth in yardage and 10th in yards per reception. McCalebb also returned 10 kicks for 320 yards and a touchdown this season. He currently holds the Auburn record for kick return average with 28.3 yards per return on his career.

The SEC individual award winners will be released on Wednesday and the SEC All-Freshman Team will be announced on Thursday.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dyer makes first-team All-SEC

Auburn running back Mike Dyer has been selected to the Associated Press All-SEC first team.

Dyer was second in rushing in the SEC to Alabama Heisman hopeful Trent Richardson, rushing for 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns on 242 carries.

Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen and defensive end Corey Lemonier were selected to the All-SEC second team.

Lutzenkirchen caught 24 passes for 238 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Lemonier finished tied for the SEC lead in sacks with 9.5

Auburn faces Virginia in Chick-fil-A

AUBURN – As expected, Auburn received and accepted an official invitation on Sunday to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31.

What wasn’t expected was a late change in opponents. The Tigers will play Virginia (8-4) instead of Virginia Tech (11-2).

The Tigers (7-5) were anticipating a match up with Virginia Tech, which lost to Clemson 38-10 Saturday night in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte, N.C.

But the Sugar Bowl, in what was considered s surprise move by ESPN’s college football analysts, chose Virginia Tech over higher-ranked teams like Baylor, Kansas State and
Boise State as an at-large BCS selection to face Michigan.

When the Chick-fil-A Bowl’s turn came, they chose Virginia over Georgia Tech and Florida State to face the Tigers.

“Virginia closed the season very strong and had wins head to head over Georgia Tech and Florida State,” said Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan in explaining the bowl’s selection.

Virginia coach Mike London was pleased by the development.
“It has been a great year and a great opportunity for a young team to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl,” London said. “We’re humbled by the opportunity to go play in Atlanta, and what an opportunity, to play the defending national champions.”

Auburn will be making its 38th bowl appearance and its fifth in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, formerly known as the Peach Bowl.

This year’s game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve at the Georgia Dome.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik said the close school’s close proximity to Atlanta should please Tiger fans.

“We feel blessed to be in such a great bowl game,” Chizik said. “The Chick-fil-A Bowl has been outstanding through the years in terms of interest and fan excitement. Atlanta is a place that is very near and dear to our hearts. Our fan base is going to be extremely excited. We’re thrilled to be in such a great bowl game.”

The two schools will divide 34,000 tickets. The game is a sellout to the general public for the 15th consecutive year.

Tickets for the Chick-fil-A Bowl are $80 and may be purchased through the Auburn Ticket Office via or calling 1-855-AUB-2010. All seating assignments will be based on Tigers Unlimited Priority. For the best seats, fans are encouraged to place orders through the Auburn Athletic Department. For additional information, visit

“Virginia and Auburn represent two of the most exciting young teams in the country,” Stokan said. “With these two teams, we have two top-tier coaching staffs, incredible fan bases and great history and tradition. We’re expecting an unmatched atmosphere and a real battle in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Bowl.”

The only meetings between Auburn and Virginia came in a home-and-home meeting in 1997 and 1998. Auburn won the 1997 meeting, 18-7, in Charlottesville, while the Cavaliers won in Auburn, 19-0, in 1998. It will mark the first time the two teams have met in a bowl game.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Auburn coaches looking

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN – Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn heads a list of three Auburn football coaches who are candidates for head coaching jobs elsewhere.

Malzahn interviewed for the head coaching at North Carolina on Thursday, according to multiple sources. reported the news first.

Auburn running backs coach Curtis Luper has interviewed for the head coaching job at UAB according to the Birmingham News, while Auburn wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor is a candidate for the head coaching job at Tulane.

“I can’t say how strong a candidate Taylor is, but he’s definitely in the mix at this point,” said a source familiar with the process at Tulane. “He’s a strong recruiter, familiar with recruiting Louisiana, and that’s what Tulane needs.”

Malzahn has been one of the hottest coaching commodities in the nation since heading a record-setting offense that helped lead Auburn to the BCS title last season.

He was considered for the head coaching jobs at Vanderbilt and Maryland last season, but returned to Auburn after receiving a raise that made him one of the most highly-paid offensive coordinators in the nation at $1.3 million per year.

Malzahn has deflected questions about his coaching future, but has acknowledged on many occasions that his goal is to be a head coach.

Current North Carolina athletics director Bubba Cunningham was in the same capacity at Tulsa in 2007-2008 when Malzahn was offensive coordinator at Tulsa.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chizik discusses Iron Bowl loss, bowl practice

AUBURN - Auburn coach Gene Chizik met with the media Sunday evening and talked about a variety of subjects, including Saturday's Iron Bowl loss, the upcoming bowl game, and what went wrong for the 7-5 Tigers this season.

Here's what he had to say.

Have you watched the tape from the Alabama game?

“I’ve watched most of it. We’ve had recruits in all day, so I’ve watched bits and pieces of it. Most of it.”

Your thoughts?

“Very disappointing. And again, like I said last night, it was a very good football team. It’s disappointing because in the fourth quarter going in, if we were able to convert on that fourth-and-short and go in and close the distance to a touchdown, I think the momentum of the game and how our crowd was into it would have given us a chance to get into it and have a chance to stay in the game. We had our chances, we just didn’t execute well enough to get it done.”

Losing the way you did against teams like Georgia and Alabama, was that what makes it tough to take rather than the number of losses?

“I don’t think, regardless of what the rest of the records are, regardless of how you did in the other games, any time you get beat against a Georgia and an Alabama, very unfavorably like we did, obviously it’s very disappointing. You’ve got to keep in perspective that the losses we did have that were lopsided came against very good football teams. You take the No. 1 team in the country and the No. 3 team in the country (LSU and Arkansas), and you make mistakes on the road against great teams, that’s the result you get. That was the No. 1 team against the No. 3 team. In our case, we said it from the beginning: Our margin of error is very small. The bottom line is when we’ve played in those games and they’ve been lopsided, we’ve done things that we can’t do and win games: turn the ball over, give up big plays on defense. It’s very disappointing, and when you play in games against those good of teams, that’s the result. We’re going to take all of those things and we’re going to grow from it. We’re going to learn from it. We’re going to use those things to move forward and get better.”

You've got a lot of young players. How much will they benefit from the bowl game?

“I think it’s extremely beneficial, because they’re going to get enough time off where they’re going to get separated and removed from football, then all of a sudden start all over again. It’ll almost be like spring practice with a game at the end. For us and our football team, no question about it, that extra practice time will be invaluable.”

What's the upcoming schedule?

“We’ve got to really concentrate on the academics this week because we have exams the following week. Obviously we’ll stay in shape weight room wise and conditioning. But we’re going to prepare academically this whole week and the following week without there being any true practice time. At least that’s the plan now, and that plan could change.”

Do you hope to get some injured players back for the bowl?

“We’re hoping they can. That’s the goal for a lot of those guys that weren’t able to play this year and are going to be in that situation. We’re hoping they’re back and able to practice for the bowl game because, again, it’s going to be like their first spring practice. Some of those guys will be day-to-day when it comes to that, as far as how they progress.”

Is Kris Frost one of those players?

“He’s trying to work himself into that. He’s made a lot of strides here in the last three weeks. He’s one of the guys we think may be able to do something during bowl practice. We just don’t know exactly to what extent yet.”

Will T'Sharvan Bell be back for spring?

"You hope that when spring practice starts there’s some things he’ll be able to do. And guys just come along at a different pace faster than others. With him, I think it’s just going to be how he responds to the surgery. Certainly, we would love it. Maybe non-contact drills, it may be nothing at all, I don’t know. We’ve got to wait and see."

Where’s Kris Frost going to play?

"That’s a good questions because we haven’t seen him play yet – he never made it to the practice field. So we don’t really know. We know he’s a great athlete and he’s got the ability to probably play anywhere at those linebacker positions that we want. That’s going to be a great evaluation process for us this spring with him."

Kris is helping coaches on the sideline during games?

"Since he’s been coming back to practice and he’s been a little more engaged with us versus just with our medical staff, yes. We felt like he’s more engaged, more into it mentally and so we obviously used him to help us with signals last night."

Any update on Shon Coleman?

"I think he’s doing, medically, really well. I don’t profess to be a doctor to know exactly what that means, but it sounds like he’s really doing well in terms of treatment, where he’s going, the effectiveness of his treatments. So it’s been very encouraging. But as far as what that means for him playing, ever playing, when he may be able to play, there’s not really anything out there on that yet."

Will you consider any changes at quarterback for the bowl game?

"The bottom line is: it’s like everything that we’ll do. We’ll go back and really revisit every position at every facet. Offensively, defensively, special teams-wise, every facet of what we’re able to accomplish and not accomplish. You can lump the quarterback in there with the guards and the centers and the wideouts. It’s all the same."

Was the offense different over the course of the season. It seemed more effective early.

"Everything was done… It’s the exact same offense. That never changed. In terms of pace, in terms of what we were trying to do, whether we ran it or threw it, that was all based on, again, what the defenses were giving us or not giving us. We added a couple wrinkles in there with Kiehl at quarterback because, again, we felt like that was something that would give us a little bit of extra running game in there that we didn’t feel like we had. So really and truly, when we weren’t good on offense it was because we didn’t execute it. It’s that simple. That combined with as we got deeper in the season, obviously, we were playing some great defenses too. So, it’s a combination of that and it’s, again, it’s a deal where we’re going to go back and reassess and look at everything. But we didn’t change anything offensively. We still paced people when we felt like it was effective. Again, you’ve got to look at how your defense is playing. If your defense is on the field for 28-30 snaps and your offense has been out there for nine, you’ve got to play the game differently. So going back and evaluating it, nothing changed with the offense, but our plans did change based on what was unfolding during the game."

How much did it hurt losing Emory and Trovon over roughly the same time frame?

“Losing Emory for three or four games, whatever it was, that definitely didn’t help us. Even up to last night he’s still not 100 percent. That’s not an excuse that’s just the way it is. That’s the reality of taking away some our vertical passing game that for the first three games was there. So all that combined.”

With those guys banged up – you had Jaylon Denson who didn’t step up?

“There’s a lot of moving parts in the offense. You’ve got to put those guys in position where there’s a comfort level between the quarterback and themselves. And they’ve got to be able to convert different routes on the run based on what they see coverage wise and that’s hard sometimes on a young guy. That’s some of the reason you didn’t see them in there as much as somebody might expect. It’s just not that easy that you put a wideout in there and he runs downfield and you throw him the ball up. That’s not the way offenses are run. We know that down the road they are going to be really good players, but again, it takes time at the wideout position to learn the position.”

Do you still believe in what you’re doing offensively?

“Absolutely. I believe we have to get much better everywhere.”

Same apply to the defense?

“We have to get much better everywhere.”

Will you do what you can to keep this staff intact?

“Again, there are going to be guys who are going to be sought after as head coaches, there are going to be all kinds of different variables, but I’ve always placed a very high amount of importance on staff continuity. But at the end of the day, guys have to do what they think is best for them and their families, just like I have had to do for my whole career. Again, some guys will have opportunities, some won’t, but again they will do what is in the best interest of their families.”

Do you prefer Quick changes or slow changes?

“I haven’t really given it a lot of thought. Typically, when there are changes they all happen at different times. So I’ve got a plan in place for however it happens and whether that’s early or late.”

You mentioned making a 10,000-foot view of the program, does that include assessing personnel and changes that you instigate?

“That includes assessing everything. That includes players, coaches, managers, trainers, everything. We were 14-0 last year and I did the same thing. We were 8-5 the year before and I did the same thing. In my seat, I don’t think that’s anything unusual. That’s what you always have to do to keep moving forward. I assessed everybody and every single person in this program when we were 14-0 and I’ll do the same thing this year as well. Including myself. We’re always trying to look for a better way and a better result. We’ll assess that and at the end of the day we’ll do what we think is best for Auburn.”

How did the recruiting weekend go?

"Again, Auburn does such a great job of selling itself. Although the result of the game was not favorable, I think the atmosphere -- the game day experience, the way our fans showed up and were into it the whole game -- was incredible. That was pretty much the consensus of every recruit who was here. It was a huge success. We had a lot of official visits, a lot of unofficial visits. I don't think there's any question that the game day experience here and what our fans brought to the table -- it was second to none. I think every recruit saw it."

Are you convinced that this kind of offense can thrive in the SEC?

"It can be an extremely effective offense moving the football, running the football. You asked specifically about the quarterback position. Any offense is going to be more productive … if you don't have that epic quarterback but you're surrounded by a lot of great players with a lot of experience -- the quarterbacks have a chance in this league to be successful. If you are not surrounded by a lot of great players and your quarterback is not an epic quarterback, they may struggle because of the nature of defenses in this league. We're always trying to get the best quarterback we can get. We'll continue to do that. That's where you can pretty much start no matter what type of offense you're in. You start there. It doesn't mean your offense can't be great without a great quarterback. In this league, jn my opinion, if you have a quarterback that's not a great quarterback but he's surrounded by a lot of really, really good players with a lot of experience, you can still have a lot of success with that."

Do you anticipate a wide-open QB race in the spring?

"I anticipate having a wide-open race everywhere. At every position. Our football teams know right now that we'll go with the best guy at any position that earns that spot. That's true with every position."

Will Tre Mason get another shot on kickoff returns?

"Tre got hurt for a little while there and that kind of set him back. He just needs to keep working at it. We knew Onterio had the potential. He works it in practice. He loves doing it. He likes being the kickoff return guy. In the middle of the game, several times he's asked to go in there and get a shot at it. Tre has turned the ball over at that position some. He's still going to be really good at it. That's a great case in point of a young guy who is going to grown from mistakes that were made. He'll continue to do it for us at some points. He'll continue to battle for that job back. We have a lot of confidence that he can do it."

Can you talk about Onterio's leadership abilities?

"I'm very appreciative of guys who are willing to do the dirty work -- cover punts, knock punts back, change the game because of field position, be a kickoff return guy. You used Onterio so I will, too. He's covered every punt this season -- and we've punted a good bit. Never asked to get off it. Wants to be on it. We've got a lot of guys like that. We need that idea to catch on with everybody on our team. For our young guys to see that is invaluable."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chizik meets with media for final time before Iron Bowl

AUBURN - Auburn coach Gene Chizik met with the media Wednesday afternoon prior to the Tigers' practice. Here's what he had to say:

Everybody says Alabama in a blowout. Any impact on the players?

“I can’t really speak on what impact that has. One thing we’ve been conditioned to do around here for three years is always block out the outside distractions and I think our guys have always done a great job of that. We talk about that a lot and we talk about again blocking out all the things that you can’t control and only working on the things you can control. I really believe our teams lives by that. I don’t have any reason to believe that it’s any different now.”

Do you see confidence going into this game?

“Absolutely. Our guys, we expect to win every game we play. We’ve got to prepare like that. So far, it has been a great week of practice, as I anticipated. Again, we’re excited about getting out there and playing.”

Schooling the younger guys on the rivalry, just wondering if the “Punt, Bama, Punt” game from 1972 was part of the highlights?

“No, I mean we’ll continue to do some things during the week but right now it’s been more just talking about the importance and the history and we haven’t really gotten into specific games in past history that have had huge impact on the rivalry, but again, we’re just giving them information that is appropriate at the time.”

How much does it add to confidence that you’ve won 14 straight at home?

“Well, again, we talk about the importance of playing well at home and we talk about the importance of having our fans there and just the great game day atmosphere and that’s one of the reasons you come to Auburn. It’s a great game day experience. Again, over the last year threes we haven’t lost a whole lot of games here at home. Again, I think in this league in particular, with home field advantage there truly is a home field advantage. So we love playing at home and we love playing in front of our fans and our guys understand that it’s important to win here.”

Is it an important weekend to showcase your program because it’s looking like you’re going to have a lot of recruits here?

“We’ll have some good recruits coming and we’re excited about that, but certainly it’s a week where we can show all the recruits the direction of the program, which is really important. We feel great about where we’re headed, there’s no question about it. Again, for all these young guys coming in the thing that will be very glaring to them when they come to the game to watch our football team they’ll see that they’re going to have the same opportunity next year in terms of playing time. So I think it’s going to be a great weekend.”

How are Jonathan Evans and Jawara White?

“Again, they have practiced and it appears they will be ready to play on Saturday so I think both of those guys are ready to go.”

How about Brandon Mosley and Ladarious Owens?

“Again, we’re going to see what they can do tonight. And we’ll kind of gauge the progress from that.”

How nice is it to have Thanksgiving dinner with a lot of your players and their families?

“Well, I think it’s just a neat time. A lot of the players families are already here. We really haven’t had a lot of time to spend a lot of quality time with them. It’s going to be neat for all the families, our coaches included, that we can get some time and spend it with our families and obviously for the players it’s great that they have their families coming in too.”

For the ones on rather restrictive diets, do you give them a mulligan on Thanksgiving?

“Absolutely. I’m sure that they will all eat well tomorrow.”

If Mosley can’t go, is the plan the same to move Chad Slade in there and Eric Mack?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lemonier drops four-letter word on Alabama

AUBURN - Auburn sophomore defensive end Corey Lemonier may be from Hialeah, Fla., but he got a quick introduction into the Alabama-Auburn series last year.
Lemonier, who met with the media Tuesday, discussed the difficulty in stopping Alabama's running game as well as his hatred (his words) of the Crimson Tide.
Here's what he had to say.

What do you think the key will be to have success defensively on Saturday?

“Just everybody playing their responsibility and gang tackling. You have to do that to win this game.”

Is that something you guys did against South Carolina?

“I felt like we did that. Containing Marcus Lattimore, who was like their biggest strength. Against Alabama, Trent Richardson's their biggest strength. We need to take him out of the game.”

Physically, what goes into stopping the running game?

“Just mentally preparing in practice. You might not get the look you want but you've got to be mentally prepared, just going into the film room and studying your guy.”
Nobody gives you much of a chance to win this game. Does that bother you?
“It doesn't. That's how it goes. You've just got to play and just prove everybody wrong.

Do you talk about that at all, nobody gives you a chance?

“They’re going to talk about it. They haven’t talked about it recently. I heard that we’re like a 21-point underdog. So it’s good to be an underdog.”

What did you guys learn as a defensive line from facing Georgia?

“Just everybody rushing the passer, playing their gaps, being fundamentally sound. Just do your job, basically.”

Anything you can do defensively to catch them off guard?

“We’ve been watching film and the guys we’re going to go against and they give off keys, so we’re just going to play off that, try to seize the opportunity.”

What have you seen from their quarterback?

“I don't think they put the pressure on him too much. They just run the ball; they're great at that. And he just makes plays when he has to. We've just got to eliminate the run game.”

What’s the key to beating their offensive line?

“They’re good. They're big and physical. We've just got to be physical right back. Just get after them.”

What does (defensive line coach) Mike Pelton tell you about this game? Obviously, this is one he played in and he’s been around it for a long time.

“He just says that he hates Alabama and he's like, 'You should hate them, too.' And we do hate them. Everybody in our d-line room hates them. I'm not from Alabama, but being here for one year, I just hate Alabama.”

When was the last time the defensive line played at a high level?

“We had some plays here and there every game, just not frequently. I think we had a pretty good game the Ole Miss game. We got after them.”

What do you hate most about Alabama?

“Watching that 30-30 (ESPN Special “Roll Tide, War Eagle) really makes me hate them even more.”

What sticks out to you about last year's game:

“Just perseverance to fight back, basically. Just fighting back and never quitting.”

Did you learn more about this rivalry from playing in it or what happened in the aftermath?

“I really didn't like Alabama even during recruiting. During the season, playing against them, hearing all the trash talk, that made me hate them even more.”

Was there a lot trash talk in last year's game?

“Just coming back big deficit, that's all I remember. We won, so...”

Did you gain extra confidence from that game? Coming back?

“Oh, definitely. The guys that played from last year know how to win and knows how to beat them are back. We're just going to try to do it again.”
Knowing they’re going to line up and try to run the ball at you, what does that do for you as a defensive line?

“It just keeps you on your toes, because they'll run, run, run and then throw it over your head. Basically you've just got to stop the run and make them one dimensional. That's what we're trying to do, make them one-dimensional.”

Does it fire you up at all that there’s a guy who is trying to win the Heisman (Richarsdson) against you?

“Definitely. Two years ago, they stopped (Mark)Ingram. Who says we can't do it again?”

Do you see more attention since you had that mid-season sack run?

“I don't really care about that. I'm just trying to help my team out as much as possible.”

Monday, November 21, 2011

Clark selected as Guy Award finalist

AUBURN - Auburn sophomore punter Steven Clark has been named one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, the Augusta Sports Council announced Monday.

The winner of the Ray Guy Award will be announced during the Home Depot College Football Awards live on ESPN at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8.

Clark, along with fellow finalists Ryan Allen (Louisiana Tech) and Jackson Rice (Oregon), were chosen from a group of 10 semifinalists that was taken from an overall pool of 54 nominees. The Ray Guy Award annually recognizes the nation’s top punter.

The candidates were evaluated on their overall statistics and contribution to the team. Particular emphasis was placed on the punter's net average, percentage of total punts inside the 20-yard line and percentage of punts not returned. A national voting body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) coaches, sports information directors, national media and former Ray Guy Award winners will decide the winner.

Clark, a native of Kansas City, Mo., has 64 punts this season with an average of 40.4 yards per punt. He has 30 punts inside the 20, a mark that ranks him tops in the Southeastern Conference and for second in the nation.

With 33 fair catches and two touchbacks, only eight of Clark's punts have even been returned this season for just 41 yards. Of the eight returns, four have gone for zero or negative yardage. For his efforts this season, Clark has twice been named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

ESPN College GameDay coming to Auburn

AUBURN — Auburn will host ESPN College GameDay on Saturday prior to the Auburn-Alabama game.

The traveling pre-game show which features ESPN commentators Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and Erin Andrews, will make its third appearance at Auburn in the last four years and fifth appearance on campus since 2004.

It will be GameDay's seventh visit to Auburn during its 25-year existence and will mark the 13th time that Auburn has played in the on-site game. The last time GameDay visited Auburn was on Sept. 18, 2010 when the Tigers hosted Clemson.

The show airs live on Saturdays from 8-9 a.m.on ESPNU/ESPNU HD and from 9-11 a.m. on ESPN/ESPN HD. The GameDay set location will be on the Campus Green east of Jordan-Hare Stadium. The show will also air live hits from Auburn on Friday.

GameDay’s other previous visits to the Auburn campus have been in 2008 (vs. LSU), 2006 (vs. Florida), 2004 (vs. Georgia), 1997 (vs. Florida) and 1995. Its debut on the Plains was on Nov. 18, 1995, when Auburn hosted Alabama.

The Auburn-Alabama game will be televised by CBS with kickoff slated for 2:30 p.m. at Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chizik meets with media following Wednesday practice

AUBURN - Auburn coach Gene Chizik met with the media following Wednesday's practice. Here's what he had to say.


“On a different note, I want to wish all the people that were affected by the storms today, No. 1 they’re doing OK. All our players are OK. So that’s a concern for everybody in the community, I know. Football wise, had a good week and finished practice tonight on a very positive note. A lot of energy at practice. Got one more day and we need it. And we’ll be ready to play Saturday.”

If Gus leaves, would you like to replace him with a guy who runs a similar system?

“If any of my coaches leave, we’ll replace them with who we feel is the best fit. And that’s what we’ll always base it on.”

Have you been contacted about any of your coaches this year?


When you guys first had all the injuries at defensive end, you mentioned Joel Bonomolo as a guy who could step in. What’s kept him off the field?

“It’s been kind of a strange year for him. He was healthy at the beginning of the year, then got banged up and came back. Was healthy for a little while then got banged up again. It’s really been more of an injury issue than anything.”

What about Ladarious Phillips?

“He just hasn’t progressed as fast as we’d like him to. He’s just got to grow up. Again, his progression hasn’t been what we’d hoped.”

What about Jake Holland?

“He’s getting healthier. Week by week, all the treatments and rehab are starting to help him. The week off helped him. He’s still beat up and banged up a little bit but he’s certainly better than he was two or three weeks ago.”

Has anyone emerged at Bell’s corner spot?

“I think they have all really competed and practiced hard. Again, we’re not in a position to say who is going to start Saturday. But they have all practiced really hard. They have competed. All the young guys I mentioned earlier in the week, they have all competed and all had a really good week.”

Could you take a by committee approach?

“It could be. Again, we feel like we have a couple different guys who are real close. The name of the game is to try and keep them fresh and keep the same guys in there as much as you can, but if you have to rotate them depending on what’s happening in the game during different drives we feel comfortable doing that too.”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dyer talks about Georgia loss, moving on

AUBURN - Auburn tailback Mike Dyer was one of several players who met with the media Sunday night after practice. Here's what he had to say:

How frustrating was it to lose to Georgia like that?

"It was very frustrating. We all thought we were prepared for the game and mentally focused and physically ready for the game. We had two weeks off. First quarter, first drive down there, we had a good drive, and after that it kind of went downhill. We made a couple of bad mistakes, and it just haunted us in the end."

Was it difficult not to be in the game with all the passing going on?

"It makes it a lot tougher for the whole offense to work. People have to go out there and make plays. The run's not had a lot of production as it normally does, but we just got to go out there, make plays, listen to our coaches and make things happen."

Did you guys go in with the game plan to throw?

"I think we were just going out there to try to open up the run by passing, try to open up the game. They just had a good defense. They played us very well, and they played better than we did."

Was it their front?

"A lot of twists in the front, kind of to make confusion. They just came out and played great defense. They have solid linebackers, and they came out there and played better than we did."

What about this week against Samford?

"Just trying to get back on track and try to finish it out strong. Really, just trying to give Auburn what they deserve and play hard these last two games and see what happens."

Is it difficult to perform on limited carries?

"It's always hard when you don't get in a rhythm in the first quarter and then you have to go out there and try to get in a rhythm in the second quarter. For a running back, it makes it a lot harder, but you just have to tough it out and make things happen."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chizik talks with media after Wednesday practice

AUBURN - Auburn coach Gene Chizik met with the media following Wednesday night's practice to discuss preparations for Saturday's game at Georgia.

Here's what he had to say:


“I think again, this is kind of winding down our second week and we had a really good week of practice so far. Again, it’s going to be a fun game and we’ve got another day of preparation, which we definitely need, but they’ve been really focused and practice has done real good. We’ve still got a few things we need to clean up, but other than that, I feel good about where we’re at.”

How important is it to pace things out when you have a couple weeks to prepare?

“I don’t think there’s any question. There’s a fine line in there always between working them too much and not working them enough, kind of like a bowl game, and really trying to use some good judgment on how much they need versus how much they need to rest and get healthy. It’s important. I think we’ve got a good plan. I think our plan the way we have executed it over the last two weeks is about where we need to be. But it’s definitely important that you make some good decisions in that regard.”

Is Emory Blake making progress?

“I think so. I think he’s making progress. He’s not 100 percent, but day by day he’s getting better.”

Can you talk about the process of getting Eltoro Freeman to play so much better?

“I don’t want to make it sound like it’s a huge process. The more you play the more experience you get, the more confidence you get, the more you settle down. I think it’s more of that. I think it’s more of the experience part. Getting a comfort level with playing in those environments. You can’t simulate that in practice. It’s obviously an experience thing.”

Auburn to sign four in men's basketball

AUBURN – Although Auburn has yet to issue an official announcement, the Tigers plan to sign four men’s basketball players this week during the early signing period.

Asauhn Dixon-Tatum, a 6-foot-11, 220-pound center from Anderson, Ind., Jordon Granger, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward from Florissant, Mo., Shaquille Johnson, a 6-foot-5 small forward from Alpharetta, Ga. And Jordan Price, a 6-5 guard from Lithonia, Ga., have apparently all signed national letters of intent to play for Auburn.

An official announcement is expected later this week.

Dixon-Tatum is attending Chattahoochee Tech in Georgia this year after averaging 4.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and a conference-leading 2.2 blocks per game as a redshirt freshman at Div. II Grand Valley State in Michigan last year.

His 59 blocks were the fourth highest in school history, and he shot 57.1 percent from the field.

Dixon-Tatum chose Auburn over Memphis, Ole Miss, UAB and Evansville.

Granger led McClure North High School to the Missouri Class 5 State Championship last year while averaging 14.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks.

Granger chose Auburn over Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Saint Louis U. and Detroit.

Johnson, who is ranked as the 92nd best prospect in the nation by, averaged 9.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a junior at Milton High School last year for coach David Boyd.

Johnson won the Under Armour Dunk Contest at Venice Beach, Calif., this past August that was televised by ESPN.

He selected Auburn over Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Miami (Fla.).

Price, rated a four-star recruit by and, was also rated the 14th-best shooting guard in the nation by

Sullivan to be honored

Courtesy of Auburn Sports Information

AUBURN — Auburn Heisman Trophy winner and current Samford head coach Pat Sullivan will be recognized prior to Auburn’s game against Samford on Nov. 19 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Sullivan winning the Heisman in 1971.

The recognition will take place at 11:35 a.m. CT, 25 minutes before kickoff. Former teammates of Sullivan will join in the recognition.

“Obviously, this is very humbling,” Sullivan said. “I really appreciate (Auburn AD) Jay (Jacobs) inviting my teammates back, because I know I won the award because of their help. I’ll also look forward to having our Samford team there and to them being able to share in it. It doesn’t seem like it has been 40 years, but I appreciate all of the kindness that everybody has shown me. I will also really appreciate Jean and our kids and grandkids being there and being part of it.”

Sullivan set several SEC and NCAA records during his Auburn career, en route to being a two-time All-American and SEC Player of the Year, while winning Auburn’s first-ever Heisman Trophy in 1971. Sullivan passed for 2,012 yards and 20 touchdowns in 1971 as Auburn finished 9-2 and ended the season ranked 12th nationally.

"We are thrilled to have the chance to honor Pat Sullivan on the 40th anniversary of his Heisman Trophy," Jacobs said. "Coach Sullivan is and will always be an Auburn football legend, but more importantly, he is a class act with the utmost character and integrity. Recognizing Coach Sullivan along with many of the players from his era will be a special moment for the entire Auburn family."

Sullivan finished his career with 6,284 passing yards, 53 touchdowns and an NCAA-record 71 touchdowns responsible for.

Sullivan is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Whitaker ready for Georgia

AUBURN - Auburn defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker was one of several Auburn players to meet with the media following Tuesday night's practice. Here's what he had to say about Saturday's game with Georgia and a few other things.

Was the off week big?

"It did help a lot as far as preparation for this week. We've got a lot of people who were nicked up and need to get healthy, needed to get that extra week. Even during the bye week, we got a good bit of work in for Georgia. Today was our first full day going at it. It went great. It's going to be a great challenge."

Big game for you, being from Georgia?

"This is it. This means a lot. Last year, we actually clinched the SEC West, if I'm not mistaken, after Georgia. It's so ironic that this year they're in the same kind of deal we were in last year. It's one more game. We're going to get their all. You're going to get Georgia's all playing them anyway. I've got a lot of respect for Coach Richt. It's like going against family. It's going to be pretty special. We have a job we've got to get done."

You know these guys pretty well?

"I know Abry Jones, who is from Northside. Cross-town rivalry. You have Garrison Smith, who was recruited with me. You've got Ray Drew, who I actually recruited. I don't know too much about Crowell, but I know him by knowing Gabe, though Gabe. You've got a mixture of a lot of guys that you know or have heard of coming up through the high-school system."

It was intense game last year. A lot of personal fouls. Will it be the same?

"That's the way it. It's Georgia and Auburn. When you've got a pretty good offensive line, who don't mind hitting you in the mouth and you don't mind returning the favors, there are going to be some shots. There's going to be a little talking here and there. We're going to respect the game. We're going to play until the whistle blows."

Ben Jones said he wants to exact some revenge?

"Ben Jones is a pretty good center. I remember it, too, from last year. I don't know what that means from Ben. We have a lot of respect for Ben. He's one of the elites in this league, in my opinion, and in the county. I wouldn't necessarily grade Ben into a category by himself or anything like that, but he's pretty good. He does a great job."

It's a bit of a role reversal. You want to wreck their season this time?

"We're just trying to get seven on the board and Georgia's in the way of that. That's where we're trying to go. We understand where they're trying to go. It's all about Auburn when it comes to Auburn. It's not about the opponent."

Can you talk about the improvement of (linebacker) Eltoro Freeman?

"He lifts up the defense. We actually call him Bull. He a high-energy guy, high motor, very vocal guy. When you see him out there doing his thing, running across and making unbelievable tackles and causing fumbles and all that … when you're getting that from your middle linebacker, it lifts everybody. It makes you want to elevate your game. We were joking the either day. He was like, 'Man, you're doing your thing!' I said, 'It feels good running free, don't it?' He said: 'Yeah, yeah, yeah.' I said: 'We've got to keep it up.' He feeds off of me, I feed off of him, the whole defense feeds off Eltoro. He's a pretty good guy."

How important is getting pressure on Aaron Murray?

"It's big. Murray is one of those quarterbacks where if you give him time and let him sit back, he'll pick you apart. We've got that. There's no way we're going to underestimate him or anything like that. Murray is a great quarterback. He runs that offense. The deal is that we have to get to Murray and hit him when we can -- the right way. Not late or anything like that. I'm pretty sure they've been circling their game for a minute because of how that game ended. I'm pretty sure they're ready and pumped up, but so are we."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Moseley talks about off week, Georgia

AUBURN - Auburn quarterback Clint Moseley met with the media following Sunday night's practice. Here's what he had to say about the Tigers' off week and the upcoming game at Geporgia.

Was the off week nice?

"I really needed that break. It was awesome. Going home, it was really one of the first times that all my high school friends were in the same spot. Our whole group that we had coming up through high school. It was all of us. There was one friend who wasn’t there – he had to work, he actually works at Toys R Us in Mobile – he couldn’t come. But everybody else was there. It was what I needed. I’ve never laughed that much. We were together pretty much the whole time, made a fire, just the high school stuff that helped me get my mind off everything. I feel really refreshed. I felt like starting over when I got here today. I needed it."

What did you work on last week?

"Last week was – like I’ve said before and I know the coaches have said it – just kind of getting back to the basics and focusing on us more. Like I’ve told you before, it’s the little stupid mistakes that we make, just the little things. We’re one missed assignment away from a huge play so many times. I know that’s the case with a lot of people, but it happens a lot to us. That’s what we wanted to focus on – just making it real simple and focusing on the small things. This week we’re game-planning, but that’s what we focused on last week."

Was it nice to focus on fundamentals instead of an opponent?

"It helps my confidence and my comfort level. Those two days were two more days for me to go out there and lead and become a better leader and just kind of get used to it. It really helped and I’m really starting to… I’m really close to being 100 percent confident in the job and just where I am right now. It helped and it’s only going to get better."

Is it a different feel taking snaps vs. Ole Miss after getting a start under your belt?

"Yeah for sure. It was a lot different. It was also new. It all happened so fast, LSU and the magnitude of the game and all that. It was kind of surreal. The Ole Miss game, I’d already been thrown out in the LSU game and learned a lot and I grew up a lot. I had to handle, obviously, adversity and it really helped my confidence and how I feel mentally. Going into the Ole Miss game, I knew that I couldn’t really face a better defense than I did, so my confidence was way up and I really felt like it was a high school game as far as confidence and running the offense and not having any doubts and the competitiveness. I wasn’t not necessarily trying to mess up but at LSU, but it all happened so fast, and then Ole Miss my leadership really came out a lot more. So it was a lot better – preparing and playing in the Ole Miss game."

What does it mean to get Emory Blake and Trovon Reed back?

"Just brings two more weapons to our offense and that’s something they have to game plan for. They both require attention. You got them both on the field, that’s something the defense is going to have to point out. If they don’t, we’ll surely get them the ball. It really opens our game plan up and lets us do a few more things, I think it’s really going to help us."

What do you think of Georgia's defense?

"They’re really good. They’re really good internally on the d line. They’ve got huge guys there. We’re going to have to get them tired. When they’re fresh, they’re hard to beat. They can play with anybody. So we’ve got to wear them do. You can see that they get tired and that’s where we need to get them. They’re good tacklers, they cover well, they’re a complete defense. But if we execute like we can and we have been in practice, I don’t think they’ll be able to stop us."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chizik talks about preparations for Ole Miss

AUBURN - Auburn coach Gene Chizik met with the media following Wednesday's practice to discuss peparation for Saturday's game with Ole Miss.


“I thought we had a good practice. Again, I think our guys have responded really well this week. And like any of the other weeks we’ve come back off tough losses, they’ve really just focused and very willing to get better. Again, I think we’ve had a good week of practice, obviously we’ve got a little bit more time to prepare, which we’ll need every minute of it. But overall, I think it has been a really good week. It’s going to be a great challenge for us and I think our team is going to be ready to play and again I think it’s going to be a challenge for us.”

Talk about the trend toward offense?

“I think all circumstances are different. But I think the day and age of these different offensive philosophies have changed the game some. You can even see a little bit of it trickle up to the NFL. You can look at the NFL and see a lot of high-scoring games there with different things that people do. Certainly, you see more points scored now and you see in this day and age that offenses are so explosive that you can see in a matter of minutes 14, 21, 28 points scored. Certainly that’s the case if you turn the ball over and don’t protect the ball yourself but there’s just a lot of new ideas out there and a lot of explosive offenses with great players. I think it’s pretty simple when you look at stats these days how many teams average 450, 500 yards a game. There are a lot of them out there.”

Will it cycle back to defense at some point?

“I think this game always goes in cycles. I really do. I think defenses eventually catch up with the new wave of things out there. But it really, anyway you slice it, it’s always going to come down to blocking and tackling and having the right guys in right positions and things of that nature, but particularly in college, when you have quarterbacks who are running quarterbacks, who have the ability athletically to give an offense another dimension, other than just running the football, I think you open up a whole new realm of how to play defense. You know, so many college teams have those type of guys. So many college teams have those type of guys. Again, it becomes very challenging for college defenses.”

Will Emory play this week?

“I’m going to say I feel a little better, comparatively speaking, if we compare to where we were last week. Again, it’s going to be day to day. It really is. It’s going to be a game-time decision. He has tried to do more. He is not where we would like him to be, so only time will tell over the next 72 hours or whatnot. But right now for him to say he can play in the game full tilt, I can’t say that.”

Does it help to get Trovon Reed back?

“Yes, and Trovon should be full speed, based on what I’ve seen so far, unless something else happens. He should be in a better place than he was this time last week, so we expect him to play. We expect him to be further along than he was last Saturday.”

Emory warmed up and then didn't play. What happened?

“You know, you take them and of course we do treatments on Friday night and we continue that all the way through, do it on Saturday mornings, try to get as many treatment opportunities as we can to see where they may end up on game day. Again, you don’t know where they’re going to end up, but if we feel like there’s any chance at all, we’re going to take them and work them down to the 11th hour and see if there’s an opportunity for them to play.”

Has the running ability of the new Ole Miss quarterback opened things up for them?

“No question about it. He’s very similar to Masoli from last year in terms of the offense you can run with him in there. Him bringing another threat to the defense on the ground. Make no mistake about it, he can throw the ball too. You can see there has been an evolution with him in terms of comfort with the offense and how far he has come from the beginning of the year and what he looks like he feels like comfort-level wise from our eyes is that he has really settled in on some things that he feels good about – both throwing and running and the dimension he brings to the run game. So no question about it, he definitely adds another dimension, particularly when things break down, particularly in the pass game, his ability to scramble and make things happen.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Malzahn talks about offensive woes

AUBURN - Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn met with the media following Tuesday's practice.

Here's what he had to say.

Talk about how guys have responded since the loss to LSU?

“Well, they were pretty upbeat tonight. A lot of energy. It was very refreshing to see that. They’ve kind of put that LSU game behind. They’re looking forward. Just ready for another game.”

What stands out from film?

“Obviously, we’ve got to figure out a way to score more points. There were times when they were very aggressive on defense. Obviously, we would have liked to have been able to throw the football a few more times. We got a lot of pressure. But give that bunch credit, and we’re continuing to work to get better.”

What did you see from Clint Moseley?

“I thought he did some good things. Showed a lot of toughness. Bounced back. For a young, inexperienced guy, that’s what you look for as a coach. How is he going to respond to the adverse situations. How is he going to respond to his teammates when things aren’t going good. I was very pleased with the way he handled himself and the way he responded to his teammates.”

Why is it so fifficult in finding someone to replace Emory?

“We’re continuing to try different guys to do different things. The fact that Trovon (Reed) came back, that was a positive. He has the ability to stretch the field vertically. He only practiced one day last week and it was eliminated role, but his role will expand. We just need to get some more guys more consistent as far as that goes.”

Is it frustrating no one has stepped up?

“It’s frustrating to me when we’re not playing well on the offensive side. It’s not just one thing. There are a couple different variables that are keeping us from playing better. Some of it has to do with we’re playing very good defenses, but at the same time, we’ve got to find a way. That’s what I’m continually trying to do, trying new people, trying to figure out new pieces of the puzzle. We’re just waiting on somebody to step up and I’m very confident that will happen. We just need to do that pretty quick.”

Do you anticipate changes on the offensive line?

“The thing about the offensive line is you can see things we’re really improving on. Anytime you mix and match. Chad Slade has played three different positions and we rely on a lot of our guys working together. The fact that he has two starts under his belt and the guys are starting to be in place, we’re just continuing to work.”

Thoughts to play Robinson or Westerman?

“There has been a lot of talk about a lot of the freshmen and those two too, but you evaluate them and you evaluate if they’re ready and if they can help you. As a coach, you have to do that, but there has been talk throughout the year.”

With the blending of quarterbacks, is it hard for them to get a rythmn?

“I think so. It keeps a quarterback out of his rhythm, so I’ve got to do a better job with keeping our guys in rhythm. Kyle Frazier has done some very good things and he’ll continue to get better, but I think it’s fair to say that it has been tough, especially last week for Clint, to get into a rhythm and I need to do a better job of helping him do that.”

How are you dealing personally with the way the offense has struggled?

“Well, you’ve just got to look at everything, you’ve got to evaluate everything. My goal is to make us as good as we can be. I’m continually doing that and our coaches are continually doing that and I feel like we can get better. That’s what I told our guys today. We need to find ways to improve each week, get better at what we do, and I really look for our guys to do that.”

Do you see a bigger role for Onterio McCalebb?

“He has been carrying a big load, but he is a guy we can hang our hat on. He’s a true champion. He took some licks and he got back up. Most people would want to come out of a game like that, but he’s a great leader. He has been a great leader for us the last two years and we need to continually find ways to get him the ball.”

What did it mean to see Clint get beat up and still stay positive?

“It means a lot. Our players had a lot of respect for Clint even before that game and I know after the game, they really respected. He didn’t complain, he didn’t point fingers. He was just, ‘hey, we’ve just got to stick together.’ He showed some very good leadership skills for a guy who is very young and inexperienced.”

Would you like to get back offensively to what you were doing earlier in the season?

“Well, I think a lot of it has to do with the defenses we’ve been playing. We haven’t had a lot of time to throw the football at times and we’ve not been consistent throwing and catching. I think there are a lot of variables that have to do with that. Bottom line is we have to do a better job of taking what the defense gives us. If they’re going to put guys up, we’ve got to be able to throw the football. And at times this year we have been inconsistent doing that when they bring an extra guy down and dare you to throw. So I think that’s our challenge and we’ll continue to work on that and we’ll keep that in mind.”

Important to get back to throwing it down the field?

“I think so. I think we’ve got to be good at both running and passing. So the last couple weeks, our challenge has been throwing the football. When we get passing yards down the field and get that rhythm, we’re a lot more effective offense.”

Are you still trying to find an offensive identity?

“You look for your strengths and you try to build around them and at time we’ve had some but we’ve been inconsistent and I think that’s the bottom line for us. The challenge that I’ve got is I’ve got to get us more consistent. So that’s what we’re looking really hard toward doing. Our guys understand that. The good thing is we’re continuing to work. Now that we’re settling in offensive line wise, I think they will get better and better as it goes. Receivers, we need to get more consistent there and we need to be consistent from the quarterback position also.”

Was Emory Blake able to do anything at practice?


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Samford at Auburn set for noon kickoff

Courtesy of Auburn sports information

AUBURN — Auburn’s homecoming football game on Nov. 19 against Samford at Jordan-Hare Stadium will kick off at 12 p.m. and be offered on pay-per-view.

Pay-per-view will be available in the state of Alabama to cable subscribers and small dish owners who subscribe to DirecTV or Dish Network.

Individual tickets to the Samford game are currently available and can be purchased at or call 1-855-AUB-2010.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chizik not concerned about possible LSU suspensions

AUBURN - Auburn coach Gene Chizik met with the media following Wednesday night's practice. Here's what he had to say about the Tigers' preparation for Saturday's game at LSU.

“Practice went well. I think we’ve had two really good back-to-back practices getting prepared for this huge game. It’s going to be obviously a huge challenge but it ought to be a lot of fun. Again, we’re going to have to play our best game to win this game and it’s going to have to be a full team effort. Offense, defense special teams are going to have to have collectively the best game we’ve played to this point to to have a chance to win the game.”

Will the LSU suspensions factor into your preparation?

“No. absolutely not. We’re concerned with Auburn and what we’re trying to do. All that other stuff will take care of itself one way or the other. We’re really not paying a whole lot of attention to that.”

How has Clint Mseley's week

“I think it has gone good. I think he’s excited about the opportunity. I think he has practiced well. It’s going to be a great situation for him going into an environment like this. It ought to be a lot of fun for him, but I know he’s excited about it and I know he has prepared well. He’ll continue to prepare well the rest of the week, so we expect him to play well.”

Being from Louisiana, is Trovon Reed trying extra hard to get back?

“I think he’s trying extra hard every week to get ready to play, but certainly this will be special for him if he is available to play. Anytime you go back to your home state, no matter where you’re from, it’s exciting for those guys. We’re hoping he’ll be able to but again, we’ll know more by game time.”

Are mosf of the injured guys in the same boat?

“Yeah, they’re pretty much all in the same spot. Again, we’re going to try to continue to get them treatments and rehab them all the way up to Saturday. Again, we’ll see what happens Saturday and how they feel.”

Was Emory Blake able to do more?

“He has been able to do a little more. Again, it’s going to be a situation that comes right down to that morning and seeing how he feels at that point.”

Did Emory and Trovon practice some?

“A little bit. They’re working in there some. Again, not full go like they’ve been before obviously, but they’re trying to work in there and get some game preparation in there.”

Are all the young guys already getting used to playing on the road?

“I think so. I think as these guys experience different environments and things of that nature it becomes a little easier for them in terms of not the game they’re playing in actually, but the challenge of playing on the road in this league. But I think that’s really collectively for this whole team right now. Again, I think you get new experiences every week with this bunch. This will just be another great experience for them.”

Do you talk about road venue specifics – 'Hey guys, look out for the tiger in the cage,' etc.

“No, no we really don’t get into the specifics of it. I think they’ve probably got a good idea of what they’re in for. But again, it just goes with the territory in this league and that’s what makes it fun playing on the road in the SEC. Every environment is different, every environment has their little nuance that each school has. That’s what makes it fun. But we talk more about crowd noise and distractions, but the specifics of everything, we don’t really go there.”

Is it important to get used to the field in pre-game?

“Absolutely, and every field is different and the way their turf is and different grasses are cut different. There’s a lot of variables in there, so pre-game is really big for our guys to get a feel for all that. And footing and traction and things of that nature.”

Kickers in particular?

“I think so. I don’t think there’s any question. They’re looking for that hard surface. They want that hard ground and that really sturdy surface. But all the fields are in great shape. No matter where we play, they all do a great job of keeping their fields intact. But it is important that those guys get out there and get a feel for it because every field is a little bit different.”

They force a lot of turnovers. Will that be a key?

“They’ve done a great job of that obviously. As I said earlier in the week, there’s a reason they’re No. 1 in the country. Their time of possession is up there, their turnover margin is up there and they’re playing great defense. If you put those three things together, that pretty much tells the tale. So it’s going to be extremely important for us to protect the ball. It’s going to be extremely important for us try to get turnovers ourself. So that’s all part of our ingredient if we’re going to have a chance to win. Protect the football, try not to let them control the game so much in terms of time of possession. And obviously defensively for us, getting some turnover is critical. Whether we get them from defense or special teams, it doesn’t matter. We need to get some turnovers.”

Are they cxcited about playing No. 1?

“I think they’re excited to play No. 1, just because it’s a big game for Auburn every year. The LSU game is one they should look forward to. This time last year, they were excited about it. They’re excited this go-round. Just going on the road and playing another great team on the road. It’s a great challenge for us and I think they’re excited to play.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Malzahn discusses quarterback switch

AUBURN - Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn met with the media after Tuesday night's practice. He discussed, among other things, Auburn's decision to start Clint Moseley at quarterback ahead of Barrett Trotter Saturday against LSU.

Here's what we had to say:

"Had a good, solid day of practice. It was physical at times. Just tried to really focus on the fundamentals and little things and fours on the mistakes we made Saturday so we can progress rom here on out.

Talk about the decision to start Clint this week?

"At halftime, we were really needing him to give us a spark. We'd been struggling with some passing yards down the field and he made a couple plays that really helped us. I really feel like at this point that he's earned a chance to have a spot to start and lead this offense."

Because of the experience difference is he getting a lot more reps this week than Barrett did as the No. 1 last week?

"That's definitely true. He had been getting about 30% of the reps. He got a heavy amount of the reps today, which he needed especially with the new wrinkles or anything as far as our gameplan is concerned."

Will you change your playcalling because of Moseley?

"Anytime you've got another quarterback, as a playcaller you think just a little bit differently. Each quarterback has his own set of strengths. Him and Barrett are similar, but Clint does have a few things unique to him."

How is Barrett handling the situation?

"Barrett is a champion. Barrett's a great competitor. The unfortunate thing for him is that all of this is not his fault. We've got other issues around that need to be cleaned up and shored up. If you asked him, I know he'd like to have some things back. He's provided very good leadership for us. He's a very tough-minded young man. He's a team guy."

How is Clint different?

"Clint, he has that knack to do things once things break down. You saw that a little bit Saturday, made a couple plays when things broke down. He's got a little bit of the gunslinger in him. The bottom line is that we feel like he deserves a chance to lead this offense and see if he can take this offense a little higher."

You liked him at Leroy High School. Wny?

"He was a playmaker. The fact that he won three state championships. He was the MVP. He knows how to win. He has the ability to make plays when things break down. You always look for somebody who is used to winning. The fact that he was from Alabama, Mr. Football, didn't hurt, either."

Talk about Lutzenkirchen's ability to make big plays.

"He has that unique gift that he can get go get the football. He can get open. He's got the ability to make the big play when you need it. He's done that for us the past two and a half years."

Clint is from a small school. Is it hard to evaluate quarterbacks from the smaller schools?

"Anytime it's a quarterback, you've really got to do your homework. Not just on the field and film. You've got to be around them, what kind of person they are. The quarterback is the face of your program. A lot of things go into it - character, leadership, are they used to winning? All those things, not just film, go into that."

Talk about LSU.

"They're very talented. They're very quick. They've got speed, but they also have quickness. Some defenses have one or the other; they have both. Their coordinator is one of the best in the business. He's got the pieces of the puzzle right now. They make you earn it. They really are aggressive."

Clint is sort of an emotional player. Does that cause problems?

"I think he's grown up a lot. If you ask him, he would say that. There's certain things to being emotional that can be positive. At the same time, you can't get too high or too low from week to week. I'm real proud of where he's come from. He's gotten more mature - even in this season."

Have you worked with him on that?

"As a coach, you try to tell your players, specifically quarterbacks, what it takes to be successful and what it takes at the quarterback position."

How critical is the play of the offensive line this weekend?

"We've got to play better at every position. We have some deficiencies, but we've got to overcome them. We've got to find a way to be more efficient on offense. We've got to find a way to score more points. I really believe our guys have a good attitude. I really believe they've bought into our plan."

Will you need to simplify the offense for Clint?

"No, I don't."

What are you going to run?

"Each quarterback is a little different. You need to try to do what that quarterback is really strong in. You need to build around that, so that's what we'll do."

Will Kiehl Frazier's role change?

"We've tried to gradually bring Kiehl along with his package. He'll continue to have a role. He's done some good things for us."

Teams are daring you to throw?

"That's fair to say, yes. Last three weeks, yes."

Will you give in to that? Throw more?

"Uh, yeah. To be successful on offense, you have to take what the defense gives you. You've got to be effective to do that. We've not been very effective the last three weeks doing that. That's our challenge. That's what we're working hard to do.

Talk about the catch Quindarius Carr made against Florida.

"That catch Q made, that was really impressive. It was well needed. We were backed up and it really changed the field."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ole Miss at Auburn set for 6 p.m. kickoff on ESPNU

Courtesy of Auburn Sports Information

AUBURN - 19th-ranked Auburn football game against Ole Miss in Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium on Oct. 29 will be televised by ESPNU.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.It marks Auburn's first appearance on ESPNU this season.

The game will be the 36th meeting between Auburn (5-2, 3-1 SEC) and Ole Miss (2-4, 0-3 SEC) with the Tigers holding a 26-9 series lead. Auburn has won the last two meetings against the Rebels and six of the last seven. The Tigers downed Ole Miss 51-31 last season in Oxford, Miss.

Full season tickets for the 2011 season are sold out. Single-game tickets for Ole Miss and Samford are still available. For information or to purchase visit or call 1-855-282-2010 or visit

Schedule for Oct. 29

SEC Network Television - Saturday, October 29:

Arkansas at Vanderbilt - 11:21 a.m.(SEC Network)

Georgia vs. Florida - 2:30 p.m. (CBS)

Ole Miss at Auburn - 6 p.m. ESPNU)

Mississippi State at Kentucky – 6 p.m.(FSN)

South Carolina at Tennessee - 6:15 p.m.(ESPN/ESPN2*)