AUBURN – Fans fret over polls and BCS standings. Commentators talk about Auburn’s football team and speculate about how big quarterback Cam Newton’s lead is in the Heisman Trophy race.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik
That’s life for a college football team sitting at 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference and hard in the running for a national championship. But second-year head coach Gene Chizik says the only issue that matters is that the Tigers must keep on winning.
“Hey, I know they see it and hear it and all that,” Chizik said. “Really, in my heart of hearts, I believe that is not part of the issue with us right now. Our team is smart enough to know we have to win every week. If we don’t, all the things people are talking about aren’t going to happen. We have three regular-season games left. If we lose one of the three, it’s going to be tough.
“The only thing we do is talk about what we can do this week. We will do the same next week. Everybody knows where we are. We don’t even have to talk about it. We talk about not getting involved in the outside word distractions.”
The Tigers are overwhelming favorites to go to 10-0 Saturday when FCS foe Chattanooga visits Jordan-Hare Stadium for homecoming at noon.
“Our job is to win week by week,” Chizik said. “If we do that, everything else will take care of itself.”
More from Chizik’s weekly press conference:
On preparing for Chattanooga
“We have another great week for us to practice and get better as a football team. After going back and really looking at last week’s game tape, we still have some great areas for improvement.”
On where the team stands after nine games
“I like this football team. Again, it even kind of happened Saturday (in a 51-31 win at Ole Miss). We are playing as a team and the circumstances, good or bad, don’t seem to affect us that much. I think we’ve got a good football team. Our idea, obviously, is to continue to get better. I think we’ve proven we have a chance to be a really good team. I don’t think we are there. When we play, you see flashes of us showing we have a chance to get there.”
On Sunday night’s Halloween party and players having fun
“College football is really hard. It’s the day in, day out drive of going to class and being a student, doing all the academic stuff and the responsibilities of that, then they come over here and there is pressure every week, pressure a lot of times people don’t take into consideration.
“When we see an opportunity to have fun and make thing fun for our teams, we do that. It was a lot of fun and very family-oriented. We are always looking for ways to treat our guys first-class and do everything first-class, because that’s what we expect them to do when they represent Auburn.”
On what he hopes to get out of game against UTC
“Perfect scenario is if we show up, become a better football team and win the game. We are going to prepare like we do every week. We just want to be a better team at 3:30 than when we started.”
On whether he would run up the score because of the polls
“We got up Saturday. We were trying to win the game and go home. There were probably a couple of times this year when we probably could have pressed that. I want to make sure we don’t do something out of character for us at the end of the game and look back and regret that.”