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October 27, 2012
THE TIGERS TALK: Fallout from the A&M loss
AUBURN -- In the wake of Auburn's 63-21 loss to Texas A&M Saturday, coach Gene Chizik and both coordinators had plenty to say.
We generally fill this space with a notebook.
Tonight, we'll simply give you unfiltered quotes from the men who managed the Tigers' operation. This method provides the most amount of information in the smallest amount of space.
Let's gets started:
Opening statement: "I think it would be accurate to say that we couldn't stop their run game. We couldn't stop them from throwing the football. Obviously, they punted one time all night so I think that pretty much tells the story. It was a very poor performance defensively. Offensively, we sputtered early in the game. We never seemed to get on track. Against an offense like that, we have to be able to get some first downs. You have to be able to move the football some and take a little bit of pressure off the defense, but early on, we certainly weren't able to do that either. So, it is pretty evident why we got beat."
On what he told the team afterward: "I don't think there is a whole lot you can tell them other than that everybody is hurting the same amount. Just like I told them, I said, 'I love you guys for what you are trying to push through, and the adversity that comes with being 1-7.' It's tough. They are used to winning and they like to win and that just hasn't happened near enough obviously in the last eight weeks."
On why this team has fallen apart: "Well, I think you just said it. I don't think there is a simple explanation. I think that a lot of times in football, things happen with momentum or lack of momentum both in games and as seasons unfold. It has been a season where to this point I just feel like there is really not been much momentum gained anywhere to be able to build on what comes with momentum."
On Jonathan Wallace and why he didn't play more prior to this game: "I have said it pretty much weekly that Jonathan has been taking bits and pieces of the offense, and I think he has been digesting them for a young guy pretty well. He got in at a point in the game tonight where it was really, really good to see him do some things that really show flashes and signs of him maturing some. But again, you can't throw everything at a young guy and expect him to be able to execute at all. That's number one. Number two, at that point and time in the game, it had calmed down a little bit with a lot of the blitzing and pressures and things of that nature. Not to take anything away from what Jonathan did because I am very proud of him, but when you are asking a guy to take on the whole game plan and all of the things that come with it, it is just not that simple."
On if Wallace will start next week: "We are certainly going to look. I think the film tells a lot, obviously, but there is nobody that could argue he was very productive tonight. We will evaluate this upcoming week, and we will see where we are at. Again, the packages that he has had from week to week have been smaller. But for the most part, he executed the things that we asked him to do and in a lot of ways, very well, it appears until we watch the film."
On what he'd say to fans who left at halftime: "I really wasn't focused on that, but if they emptied out at halftime, it's obvious why, and I can't blame them for what they saw. Again, it was just a very poor performance."
On if he'll begin evaluating his coaching staff: "I've addressed that before, and I understand that that is your job. I've got one concern. I've got one concern, and my concern is those guys. It is those guys in the locker room and us trying to improve to get a win. So, I am not going there. I understand that it is your job to ask that question. I respect it. I'm not going there, and we are going to keep forging ahead and trying to win."
On A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel: "He's pretty good. We didn't tackle well. We didn't run him well. So he was a superior player on the field."
On if Saturday's struggles foreshadow problems with Georgia and Alabama: "Those offenses are different than this offense. Nonetheless, we've got work to do. We have to keep evaluating personnel and keep it competitive and look for changes and we have to do a better job coaching, too."
On if his group was ready for A&M's tempo: "We practiced faster. We didn't do well. We didn't communicate well early in the game. We had a couple major execution flaws. We didn't do what we needed to do with them."
On his emotions after the game: "It's embarrassing. It's embarrassing for me, it's embarrassing for Gene, it's embarrassing for the Auburn people. That's what it IS. (voice raised) That's how I feel."
On the next step for this defense: "We've got to get better. We've got to coach better, too. Players have to play better and the coaches have to coach better. The process of college is recruiting now. We have to continue to get better and improve."
On how he assesses this game: "They ran the ball, threw the ball anyway they wanted to do. That's a fair evaluation. They did whatever they wanted to out there. We couldn't stop the run. When we played coverage, we couldn't stop the pass. That's the way it was."
On the game: "We started out extremely poor. It's a combination of a lot of things. We had to maintain drives early in the game and we didn't. We brought Jonathan in later in the game which gave us a spark which was encouraging. I'm proud of how he played and performed and happy with his development."
On Wallace: "It was very good for him. Any time that you can get a player in there and get him multiple reps I think that's very encouraging and very positive for his development. He's been a guy that's been developing over the last few months and he'll continue.
On if Wallace will start next week: "I don't know that. Talk to you on Sunday about that."
On if Wallace's success was meaningful: "It was a different part of the game in terms of Mark (Snyder) started out the game pressuring and then obviously when the game was out of reach, he changed his philosophy. It was good to see Jonathan make some plays whenever he was in there but it was a different game. It was a totally different game; I'm not taking anything away from Jonathan Wallace whatsoever. I'm proud of his mentality and you would have never known that we were down the way we were with his mentality so I don't want to downplay that whatsoever but it was a different time and different part of the game."
On managing the nation's least-effective offense: "It's not fun I can tell you that. But it is what it is. It's a tough situation for everyone involved in this program and you can either do one of two things: you can run and hide or keep fighting your tail off ot find a way to improve and we need to improve immensely."
On if he's worried about his job: "I couldn't care less about that and never have. I've never worried about whenever we're on the top winning, never worried about the next job and no I could care less about that. I care about making sure that we make these players better and that is the last thing on my mind. Absolute last."