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Chizik At The Podium

Here’s a rundown of Auburn coach Gene Chizik’s comments:

* Chizik seems a bit more relaxed this year than he has in the previous two summers.

* He referred to last year’s BCS title run as “an incredible journey.”  But the minute the Auburn plane touched down in Montgomery on January 11th, “we had moved on.”

* “I feel really excited about not just the 2011 football season, but really just kinda where we are in the program.  Really, really excited about it.  Feel great about the direction.  Recruiting’s going tremendous for us right now.”

* Chizik said the spring was one of the most fun spring practices he’s ever gone through.  “It’s exciting to watch young guys who have a lot of energy compete for jobs.”

* Chizik said Auburn has “about nine” players left from the 2007 and 2008 signing classes combined.

* The coach said he has the best coaching staff in the country. 

* Chizik is taking forever in his opening statement.  Makes you wonder if he’s dodging questions.

* The first question was about Michael Dyer and Gus Malzahn.  Chizik: “You must be from Arkansas, huh?”  Yep.  Bob Holt indeed works for The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

* Chizik says he will be willing to take a hands-on approach anywhere he feels it’s necessary… not just on defense, which is his background. 

* Asked about the Destin run-in with Julie Roe-Lack, Chizik said:  “Typically I don’t talk about what I thought were private meetings.  Apparently it became public somehow or another.  For that reason I will address it.  It was a real simple question of process for Julie. … And to be honest with you it was very informative and there were some clarifications that were made that had to do with process.  So I was very appreciative that we got some things cleared up.”

* “I don’t operate on rumors and innuendos or anything of that nature.”

* “I feel great about where we are as a football program.  I sleep really good… every night that my head hits the pillow.”

* Asked if he regrets “angering” the NCAA rep in Destin, Chizik said, “I didn’t see that at all.  It wasn’t an angry or agitated exchange at all for me personally, in my opinion.  It was a clarification of process.”

* Asked about the Iron Bowl, the coach said: “The Auburn-Alabama game is a huge, huge rivalry regionally and nationally as well and always has been.  And rightfully so.  It’s a great rivalry.  It is a great rivalry. … It’s great for the state of Alabama and it’s just a great rivalry.  And I’ve always said there’s such a huge level of respect for the coaches and the players and the high, high majority of the fans.  So this is a great rivalry.”  So the rivalry in a word: Great.

* Asked how to replace a Cam Newton or Nick Fairley without losing a step, the coach said: “I don’t know that you can replace a Cam Newton or a Nick Fairley in terms of production right away.”  He let out a little laugh and then said that he feels good about the recruiting AU has done the past couple of years.

* Chizik was asked if there is a code of silence among coaches when it comes to turning in other schools for cheating.  (Oh, please.)  “I can’t intelligently talk about anybody but me.  What we try to do at Auburn is we try to recruit the right way, we try to always do what we feel to be in the best interest of the student-athlete.  Our compliance office does an outstanding job of educating coaches and players. … I really don’t have the energy or the time to worry about what other people do.  I’m worried about Auburn University.”

* Regarding Toomer’s Corner, Chizik said: “The majority of the people out there, both sides, are really, really educated football people.  They’re very, very in tuned to the passion of the rivalry without going overboard.  But as with anything in life you’re going to have some individuals who go over the limit.”

* Chizik says recruiting services can be of value.

* Chizik said Mike Blakely’s case is still ongoing and “I’ll let everyone know when it’s not.”

* Chizik was asked about Danny Sheridan’s claim on a radio show yesterday that his NCAA sources had told him that they “thought they had found a third-party bag man” who tied Auburn to Newton.  Very calmly and coolly, Chizik said: “I’ll make this real clear — the NCAA on more than one occasion has said that Auburn has done nothing wrong in the recruitment of Cam Newton.  Nothing’s changed.  So, again, can’t control everybody’s microphone, can’t control everybody’s opinion, don’t try to. … I feel really good when my head hits the pillow at night.”  Great response by Chizik. 

* Chizik said the rumors haven’t kept him and his team from having “a ball” in celebrating their national title.

* Chizik said the Clemson game showed him that he had a special team last year.

* Auburn’s coach took some high, hard ones today and he handled it smoothly.  Like Hannibal Lecter, “his pulse never rose above 85.”  The last two SEC Media Days, Chizik has been the single most boring character behind the league’s mics.  He can coach football, but an engaging speaker he has not been… at least not in Hoover.  Today, however, he actually came across a little bit better, despite the tough questions.  An impressive performance by Chizik.  (‘Cause you know he wanted to tell everyone to go stick it.)


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