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."