AUBURN - Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Wednesday he has seen significant improvement from individual players over the course of the season, though he acknowledges it hasn't been obvious on game day.
Freshman MLB Cassanova McKinzy's status for Saturday is uncertain/Todd Van Emst photo
"There's been more improvement in individuals than groups," Chizik said. "The thing that has been part of the problem has been the inconsistency of our play as a whole. But guys have improved. The thing I appreciate the most about them is that they have kept swinging through very adverse times."
Chizik spoke with reporters before Wednesday's practice because he was scheduled to appear on Tiger Talk, his weekly call-in show, moved up a day because of Thursday's women's basketball game.
Auburn coaches, Chizik said, see things at practice that fans don't see.
"I think that I can appreciate the most about this team is that through all the adversity and tough times that are obvious, I feel like they just kept fighting. They endured a very tough scenario multiple times. I'm proud of them for coming back to keep swinging and keep battling.
"I see them every day," Chizik said. "I see them work. I see them try to improve every day at practice. I think that's the frustrating part for everybody. It doesn't always necessarily match up on game day. The Georgia game and the Texas A&M game are two very tough games to swallow, but two very good football teams."
Chizik said he understands the angst of fans who don't see what e ses.
"Again, we see these guys on an individual basis every day trying to work," Chizik said. "That's not always what everybody sees at the end of the day on the scoreboard. Trying to mesh those two together, I can understand, is difficult for the fans and anybody that watches us play. I feel very strongly that the guys have really hung in there and tried to keep swinging."
Auburn (2-8) will play FCS foe Alabama A&M (7-3) on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
More from Chizik:
On MLB Cassanova McKinzy, who has an injury to his right foot
"He's beat up and banged up. He's going to be one of those guys in the category of some of the other guys, really evaluating near the end of the week to see how he can move around."
On whether MLB Ashton Richardson will return from his Rhodes Scholarship interview in time to play
"I'm not exactly sure what the time is. We've been working Justin Garrett there a little bit. We're just kind of mixing and matching there. He got some pretty good reps last night."
On struggles at quarterback the past two seasons
"I think if you look at any level of football, if your quarterback position isn't productive and isn't consistent, it's a problem. I don't think you can blame some of our pains on the quarterback only, but certainly when you don't have the one quarterback that has been very productive and very consistent, it is really hard to have an offense that can score points and be productive."
For the video of Chizik's interview, follow the link below.