After listening in on Coach Chizik’s first game week interview as Auburn head coach, what all did we learn? Turns out, not much, considering we already knew most of what would be said.
Freshmen will contribute, and they will contribute in a large way. He said that 10-12 frosh should expect to play immediately. That includes freshman Daren Bates, who was listed as first string safety, at least until Mike McNeil returns from his injury.
On the o-line and running the football: “We know we have to run the football…We feel good about the o line…So, we are going to lean on them, and not just because of the experience. Because we think they have a chance to be a good offensive line, we're going to test them the first game.We've got some experienced tailbacks, some experienced guys who've had their hands on the ball.”
Some wondered how much Malzahn’s offense would actually implement the run originally, but the past few months it has been made very clear. It sounds as if Auburn will run the ball a lot in Week One.
Chizik on Bates: “We force-fed him the football in two-a-days to see what he could mentally handle.” He went on to say that the staff feels very confident with where he is.
On Kodi Burns: “We’ll see Kodi a good bit. He’s really adapted well and will definitely have a role for us to win games.”
Another interesting tidbit is the omission of Antoine Caldwell from the depth chart, where Chizik said he won’t comment on injuries. Hopefully we can learn more about that in the next few days.
The last question asked was about the statement he made when he first came to Auburn about the team regaining its swagger: "I don't know. I think that you find out on game day.”
Chizik didn’t mention the fact that OL Coach Jeff Grimes still isn’t sure about backups for the offensive front, but Chizik sounded very excited about the strides they have made. It should be interesting to see the changes in this unit from last season.
As I talked about in my La Tech preview, Chizik acknowledged what a great opening opponent the Bulldogs will be, and really stressed what a threat KR/WR Philip Livas will be.
All in all, Chizik didn’t give away too much information for Week One, yet sounded confident as always. He’s got to be itching to get on the field and prove all the nay-sayers wrong. In four days, the Auburn Tigers will get that opportunity.