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."