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Sunday with Chizik

AUBURN – Safety Aairon Savage will have surgery Monday and will be out indefinitely, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Sunday.

Senior safety Aairon Savage

“He is, obviously, going to be out for a while,” Chizik said. “I don’t know exactly what that means yet.”

Savage suffered an apparent broken bone in his leg in the fourth quarter of Auburn’s 65-43 victory over Arkansas last Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was yet another setback in an injury-plagued career for Savage. He missed the 2008 season after a severe knee injury suffered in preseason camp. He missed all of last season after suffering a torn Achilles, was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA and is third on the team in tackles with 37.

Chizik said it was emotional for Savage, his coaches and his teammates.

“Seeing him last night, talking to him today, the only thing I can say is your heart goes out to him and what he’s been through,” Chizik said. “He’s a tough guy. He’ll move past this like he has all the other things.”

Chizik said Savage has contributed far more than making tackles and breaking up passes.

“It’s just what he bring to the team, what he means to the team, what his journey has meant to the team,” Chizik said. “Everybody knows what he’s been through to get to this point.”

Sophomore cornerback T’Sharvan Bell went down in the first half Saturday and watched the second half in street clothes. Chizik said his situation is day to day.

“I don’t know how fast we are going to be able to proceed with his injury,” Chizik said. “He’ll have a lot of rehab and treatment to see where he is by Saturday.”

Chizik said sophomore Ikeem Means, junior Drew Cole and freshmen Demetruce McNeal and Ryan Smith will get looks for more playing time at the safeties, where senior Zac Etheridge and junior Mike McNeil will be the starters.

At cornerback, he said sophomore Anthony Morgan will get a look. The top three will be junior Neiko Thorpe, senior Demond Washington and freshman Chris Davis.

Chizik said he still expects freshman Ryan White to be redshirted and that freshman Jonathan Mincy is still not available.

More from Chizik’s Sunday meeting with reporters:

On the defense’s performance against Arkansas

“I think you note the positives, which there were some, and note the negatives, which there were many, and move on. They know what they did well and what they didn’t do well. There were some guys that really, really played hard and did play well. Overall, obviously as a unit, there were times, whether it was technique or a guy out of position, we didn’t play well.”

On players dealing with hype surrounding LSU game and being ranked No. 5

“Once they watch the film today, it will come to reality that we are highly in search of an extremely good four-quarter game. We haven’t played it yet. The reality will set in when we watch this game film. We have to play better than we did in some areas. In some areas, we played great.”

On difficulties playing pass defense

“When we got a guy covered and we’re right where we need to be, we need to win some of those. Right now, we’re not.”

On Saturday’s matchup of unbeatens with No. 6 LSU

“I will start, obviously, with their talent level, which is off the charts, special teams with their return team. Defensively, they are 1 or 2 in just about every category that matters. Offensively, they are very talented, their running game is starting to click, very physical on the offensive line.”

On running back Mike Dyer’s sore knee

“We will continue to look at it this week until it looks like he can do more. I didn’t really feel like it was to the point where it was hindering him that much. He can tolerate a lot of pain.”

On wear and tear of no open date until November

“We are trying to be on the front end of that. Last Sunday we didn’t practice after a long trip from Kentucky. We felt like film work and just trying to get them refreshed was the best thing. They are tired and beat up. We haven’t had a break. We are very aware of what that means and how to proceed.”

On linebacker Eltoro Freeman

“He is getting close. We are hoping this week he continues to improve. We’ll see.”

On defending quarterback Cam Newton

“Some of the things he does, quite honestly, you don’t have an answer for. You can have an answer for your guy against my guy, but your guy can’t make the tackle.”

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