AUBURN - A somber Auburn coach Gene Chizik took the blame Sunday for a lost Saturday at Mississippi State and vowed the Tigers will improve.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik says Tigers will improve
"Everything starts with me," Chizik said. "There is an urgency here, without question, to improve. There were a lot of things execution-wise we know we obviously have to improve on. Anybody watching the game could see that.
"We are coming back today to go to work. It's our job to get it turned around. That's what we are going to do."
The Tigers staggered Saturday to their first 0-2 start since 2003, collapsing in the second half and falling 28-10 to Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium.
Chizik said screams of agony from fans would not distract coaches or players as they prepare for next Saturday's home opener against Louisiana-Monroe at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Warhawks stunned Arkansas 34-31 in overtime on Saturday night.
"We stay very focused on what it is we can control," Chizik said. "We can control our play on the field. There is a great urgency there. Our guys came in today ready to work. They know we have to play better. We know we have to coach better
"Let's stay on track. Let's work every day. Let's work on the things we can control. That was the message in the team meeting."
More from Chizik's Sunday meeting with reporters:
On whether he considered replacing struggling QB Kiehl Frazier
"Part of a young quarterback's journey is he has to play through tough times. That doesn't mean that down the road, if we think that's something we need to consider, we (won't do it). He had to get through some tough times
"He's our quarterback. There are going to be some growing pains for him. Against Clemson, we saw some bright spots. We expect to get back to those bright spots."
On Robenson Therezie's move from cornerback to running back
"We just felt like depth at tailback could become an issue down the road. He played it in high school. We have some young corners who are coming on. We just thought if we start doing baby steps with him on offense it would be a good thing for us down the road. He was excited about it.
"He's fast. He's strong. He'd missed some time during two-a-days to get in that secondary lineup. We just thought this was something we would look at. He was all for it."
On playing tighter on opposing wide receivers
"You could see a little bit tighter coverage on corners. We have to mix in and out of that, especially against this team that wants to throw 40 or 50 passes. We know that. You will see a variation of those guys, playing up some and back some."
On the importance of spreading the ball to more wide receivers
"We've got to get some other guys in the mix and we know that. We have to find ways to get other guys the ball. Moving forward this week that will be a huge goal of ours."
On the status of sophomore safety Erique Florence
"He's continuing to work, just like other guys that don't have a starting role. He has to improve on learning the defense and where he is supposed to go."
On whether he believed the defensive line was physically dominated
"No. I felt like it was very inconsistent. For us to be where we need to be defensively, we have to win the physicality part of the game, game in and game out. At times we did and times we didn't. You look at some of the third and shorts and they were very physical. Get to the end of the game, we couldn't bring down he backs on counters and things of that nature."
On whether Louisiana-Monroe's win over Arkansas got attention at Auburn
"Oh, heck yeah. That is obviously a very, very good team. The quarterback extremely talented. They have wide receivers that can catch the ball. They have a great scheme. That's a good football team."