Auburn Football: Gene Chizik Not Focused on Football in Wake of Tragedy
Auburn head coach Gene Chizik met with the media for the first time since Saturday's tragic shooting, which took the lives of former Auburn football players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips and injured current Auburn offensive lineman Eric Mack.
Chizik's message was simple, according to Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com: His program is focused on recovering from the tragic events, and football is not a priority right now.
Chizik: I'm not worried about football season. This is not about football season. This is about young guys trying to get past a tragic event— Justin Hokanson (@JHokanson) June 12, 2012
Chizik added some context later in the press conference, according to Jay G. Tate of the Montgomery Advertiser.
Gene Chizik: "My No. 1 goal is to help these guys get over this ... and that they find a way to get through this."— HABOTN (@HABOTN) June 12, 2012
Chizik also offered an update on Mack, who was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his hip following the incident (via Evan Woodbery of AL.com):
Chizik on Eric Mack: "He's expected to make a full recovery. His mother is here in town. He feels very blessed."— Evan Woodbery (@auburnbeat) June 12, 2012
Players were initially scheduled to meet with the media, but the circumstances surrounding Saturday's events were still too fresh to put players through a press conference, according to Hokanson.
Chizik: Today, we talked to a couple of players about coming in here...it just wasn't the right time. It's pretty obvious they aren't ready.— Justin Hokanson (@JHokanson) June 12, 2012
There shouldn't be a rush.
Christian and Phillips were close with several members of the Tigers, and asking these young men to stand up in front of the world and talk about their emotions this early is too much to ask.
This tragedy has shaken the Auburn program, the city of Auburn and the surrounding region. Football isn't—and shouldn't—be a focus right now.
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