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POSTGAME: Kentucky 21, Auburn 14

Hey peeps. I gotta boogie. Let's take a quick glance.

  • Auburn gained only 315 yards, which I believe is the lowest tally in Gus Malzahn's career as a college coordinator. I'll have to research that more carefully tomorrow.

  • Kentucky's Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke registered the first 100-yard games of their careers Saturday night.

  • Chris Todd was 10-of-24 for 80 yards. No touchdowns. One pick.

  • Auburn had 10 penalties for 76 yards. Kentucky had zero for zero yards.

  • Kentucky converted both of its fourth-down situations.

  • Kentucky was 3-for-14 on third down. Auburn was 6 of 18.

  • Gus Malzahn on the current situation: ``We’re a work in progress. This is our first year here. We're going through some growing pains. We've got to suck it up and eliminate those penalties and eliminate those mistakes."

  • Ben Tate: ``We just came out and didn't play hard," Tate said. `We had too many mental mistakes. When a team does that, it's hard to defeat any other SEC team. We need to work on our fundamentals. It's all about getting better."

  • Tate on what he told Chris Todd: ``I just told him to keep his head up and keep fighting. He’s a senior. We’ve been through this before. He’s just got to stay confident. He’s got to come out with confidence no matter what."

  • Chris Todd, who said his shoulder is "fine," on the situation: ``We’re a good football team. We’ve done some good things this season. To start off we did some things really well. We’ve got a lot of guys that have made plays. That’s the biggest thing. Don’t hang your head and learn from your mistakes. A lot of times when you have a loss like this you tend to look a little deeper to find what’s going on."

Kentucky 21, Auburn 14

Please enjoy.

  • Kentucky's first possession: PUNT.

  • Auburn's first possession: TURNOVER ON DOWNS. Drive covered 68 yards in 13 plays.

  • Kentucky's second possession: PUNT. Not much going on. Wildcats now are 0-for-7 on third down.

  • Auburn's second possession: PUNT.

  • Kentucky's third possession: MISSED FIELD GOAL.

  • Auburn's third possession: PUNT. Drive included six penalties.

  • Kentucky's fourth possession: TOUCHDOWN. Randall Cobb 6 run. PAT kick good.
      AUBURN 14, KENTUCKY 14

  • Auburn's fourth possession: PUNT. Chris Todd made two poor throws.

  • Kentucky's fifth possession: TOUCHDOWN. Randall Cobb 4 run. PAT kick good.
      KENTUCKY 21, AUBURN 14

  • Auburn's fifth possession: TURNOVER ON DOWNS. That's a wrap.

FIRST HALF: UK at Auburn

Hey everyone. We're watching the first half of Auburn's game against Kentucky. You can see it, too, on ESPNU.

That rhymes.

  • Auburn's first possession: PUNT. Drive covered 30 yards in eight plays.

  • Kentucky's first possession: BLOCKED FIELD GOAL. Jake Ricks got it. Drive covered 60 yards in eight plays.

  • Auburn's second "possession": TOUCHDOWN. Neiko Thorpe 69 blocked FG return. PAT kick good.

  • Kentucky's second possession: PUNT. Drive covered six yards in three plays.

  • Auburn's third possession: INTERCEPTION. Drive covered nine yards on six plays.

  • Kentucky's third possession: PUNT. Drive covered 19 yards in eight plays.

  • Auburn's fourth possession: PUNT. Drive covered seven yards in three plays.

  • Kentucky's fourth possession: TOUCHDOWN. Morgan Newton 4 run. PAT kick good. Drive covered 53 yards in six plays.

  • Auburn's fifth possession: PUNT. Three and out. That's three in a row.

  • Kentucky's fifth possession: PUNT. Three and out.

  • Auburn's sixth possession: TOUCHDOWN. Ben Tate 1 run on 4th-and-Goal. PAT kick good. Drive covered 48 yards in 14 plays.

PREGAME: Kentucky @ Auburn

Hey everyone. It's clear and 48 degrees here at Jordan-Hare Stadium. A stiff wind from the north makes conditions seem more biting than you'd think.

I'll update with information as it develops.

  • Bryan Matthews of tells me that 4-star OT Ed Christian, a former Florida State commit, is the most high-profile recruit on campus today. He's 6-foot-5 and plays for Lowndes (Ga.) High, which played on CBS College Sports last night. You probably can watch him on replay this weekend if you're interested.

  • K Wes Byrum, rumored to be injured, is fine and kicking.

  • WR Anthony Gulley is back from his concussion.

  • LB Eltoro Freeman is out there warming up.

  • CB Walt McFadden is out there warming up and appears fine.

  • Hot Carter will start at strong-side end ahead of Michael Goggans.

GAME DAY: Kentucky at Auburn

Hey everyone. Welcome to Game Day No. 7. That means the Kentucky Wildcats will play at Jordan-Hare Stadium this evening. Toe meets leather at 6:30 p.m.

The game will be televised by ESPNU.

I'm planning to head out around 3:30 p.m. There could be tailgating. Or maybe not. It's going to be cold. Please bring warm materials.

Here is a picture that impressed me: Bo Jackson competing in the Home Run Derby last night. I'd like to have seen that.

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

Questions? Comments? Post directly to the blog below or email me at

Radio Appearance Forthcoming

Hey everyone. I will be doing my weekly segment on SuperSport 930 out of Jackson, Miss., in a bit. That extravaganza will begin around 9:05 a.m. CDT.

We'll be talkin' Auburn and other stuff. You know how it goes.

Please enjoy.

UPDATE: I will only be doing one segment this morning because I'm doing stuff at my daughter's school. So it goes.

Thursday night chatter

Hey everyone. I won't be able to make our usual Thursday Night Live session again (that's two in a row), so it's up to you to make it special.

Good game tonight: Cincinnati at South Florida. (USF fans pictured)

Please enjoy and be safe in these treacherous times.

Ask Jay A Question or Five

Stock tracker: Auburn Tigers

Hey everyone. So I was reading CNBC this morning and today is the day most major credit companies will disclose their Q3 numbers.

Shouldn't we do something similar for Auburn at the season's middle mark? We'll soon be entering Q3 of the season. It's a parallel. Basically the same. A keen segue.

  • OT Andrew McCain: The guy spent four years at Auburn before he sniffed the starting lineup, which made people like me wonder if McCain could play at all. Answer: Yes. He's been flagged for one penalty this season and has been beaten for one sack as well. If you think about how he's played 95% of the Tigers' 446 snaps this season, that's a remarkably stable performance.

  • TB/FB Eric Smith: He played last season and some people believed they were looking at Rudi Johnson Jr. I thought he looked more like Cencade Pennington Jr. Regardless, it's obvious that Smith's broad base of skills (he's a good blocker, a good runner and a surprisingly intuitive receiver) makes him an ideal fit in that utility-back role Gus Malzahn often employs. I still don't envision Smith as a featured SEC back, but he clearly will hold down a high-profile role as long as Malzahn is around.

  • LB Adam Herring: I didn't think he would play again. He was out for so long and, honestly, I heard almost nothing about Herring prior to his move into the starting lineup. Herring has emerged as a competent and useful guy on the weak side. It's rare that I see him make a great play. It's rare that I see him miss a tackle. Ted Roof is OK with that combination.

  • Honorable mention: TE Tommy Trott, S Daren Bates, coach Jeff Grimes, WR Darvin Adams.

  • WR Tim Hawthorne: I know he was hurt. He was cleared a month ago, though, and actually started against West Virginia. I expected him to become a No. 3 guy and have at least 10 catches by now. He has zero. Malzahn was asked about Hawthorne earlier this week and said Hawthorne was "full throttle" at practice. Weird.

  • LB Eltoro Freeman: He was outstanding during his lone junior-college season and throughout high school. It was reasonable to expect Freeman to slide into Auburn's lineup. He hasn't done that. Teammates say Freeman tries to be too perfect on the field, which apparently is a problem. Freeman has returned from a self-imposed week of exile. Perhaps that provided clarity of mind and purpose.

  • TE Phillip Lutzenkircken: He was a major recruit known for his receiving acumen. He has caught two balls this season, though one was for a touchdown. Two things are working against him right now: An injured left knee and Tommy Trott's dramatic increase in value. Still, I thought Lutzenkirchen was a made-to-order receiver. It looks like he has plenty of technique work ahead.

First Post: Thursday of Week Seven

Hey everyone. I know you're excited to hear that WR Philip Pierre-Louis is working at wideout and LB Eltoro Freeman has returned to practice after his "personal issue."

I wouldn't let Calgon take you away just yet.

Freeman wasn't playing much prior to his self-imposed exile. Though I don't necessarily think his reputation among coaches has fallen, it certainly hasn't improved. He's still a talented, unreliable player. Ease back on those expectations a bit.

PPL? I need to see him do something worthy of note before making an assessment. He reminds me of Jerald Watson as it stands.

Here's the Auburn situation at this moment:




I have a family commitment that will prevent me from doing Thursday Night Live as expected. I know you're crushed. As an olive branch, I will hold a Q-and-A chat beginning at 2 p.m. CDT. Details to follow.

Here's what the next few days look like. All times are CDT:

Thu., Oct. 15, 4:30 p.m. (Tiger Talk at 7 p.m.)
Fri., Oct. 16, OFF
Sat., Oct. 17, vs. Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sun., Oct. 18, 5 p.m.
Mon., Oct. 19, OFF
Tue., Oct. 20, 4:30 p.m. (Chizik presser at 11:30 a.m.; some players available around noon.)

Also, please pick up the Advertiser's print edition if you live around here! Our fine Auburn coverage is only one element of our award-winning product.

The First Official HABOTN Poll

**Due to a family commitment, I will not be available for Thursday Night Live tomorrow. To make up for that egregious breach, I will participate in an event of your choosing Thursday afternoon.

Whatever we do, festivities will begin at 2 p.m. CDT.

Let the chatting begin

Internet Appearance Forthcoming

Hey everyone. I will be participating in a chat this afternoon, held by, to discuss the upcoming UK @ Auburn game.

It'll be me and Larry Vaught (UK beat hack) taking your questions via a Cover It Live interface. We experimented with CIL last year and didn't find it to our liking. Maybe you'll change your mind today.

Time: 1:30 p.m. CDT
Link: Cat Scratches at
Motto: One HABOTN.

First post: Wednesday of Week Seven

Hey everyone. I hope you enjoyed yesterday's video. I like talking with the players about fun stuff because that's when you get the best insight into who they are. Josh Bynes' little chat about how often he plays ... that's what he's really like.

Same for Mario. He's always laughing and telling stories, though I'd never consider him gregarious. He's a behind-the-scenes joker.

We had some HOTTIES ask in a previous thread about why Ted Roof doesn't blitz very often. I'll have a story in tomorrow's edition about that. For now, I'll ask you: Who do you want blitzing? Bynes and Craig Stevens play every snap of every game as it is. They're not ideal blitz candidates.

The cornerbacks, as we saw last week, need support from the safeties. So safeties will be used only sparingly as blitzers. Until those corners step up and show they can handle everything in man, Roof will have to play conservatively.

As Gene Chizik would say, that's just where they're at.

Here's the Auburn situation at this moment:




I will not be attending practice today. I will, however, be doing a live chat at the UK Athletics website beginning at 1:30 p.m. CDT. I'll create a separate post to link you.

Here's what the next few days look like. All times are CDT:

Wed., Oct. 14, 4:30 p.m.
Thu., Oct. 15, 4:30 p.m. (Tiger Talk at 7 p.m.)
Fri., Oct. 16, OFF
Sat., Oct. 17, vs. Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sun., Oct. 18, 5 p.m.
Mon., Oct. 19, OFF
Tue., Oct. 20, 4:30 p.m. (Chizik presser at 11:30 a.m.; some players available around noon.)

Also, please pick up the Advertiser's print edition if you live around here! Our fine Auburn coverage is only one element of our award-winning product.

Video interviews, 10/13

I have disabled auto-play for this video.

Want to see it again? Missed it the first time?


LATE player/coach comments, 10/13

Let's boogie. I've got video to do.

  • DE Antonio Coleman on his powwow with Vito Corleone Gene Chizik on Monday: ``It went great. I went up and talked about the defense. He's a very understanding guy. We sat down, had words, nothing serious. It was a great chat. I chatted with him about all the small things that caused us to lose, the things we have to correct."

  • More on that meeting: ``The first five games were great -- flying around and having fun. The sixth game was a tough loss. We didn't go out and we weren't prepared. I went up and talked about what our mindset was and how I thought the guys on the team were reacting to that loss. That opened our eyes. We're a much better football team just learning from that loss."

  • LB Joshua Bynes on today's practice: ``Today was a great practice, very physical. Coach Chizik wanted it. The offense was going against the defense at the beginning of practice setting the tone. The scout team was even physical. All you heard all practice were pads clacking, everybody was getting after it. It’s been a long time since we’ve heard things like

  • Gus Malzahn on the need for more threats at wideout: ``The longer you go the more you have to have a third guy or even a fourth guy. Some guys to get involved and take some pressure off our main guys. We're working hard to do that and we're hoping we have some guys in the wings that can do that."

  • TB Onterio McCalebb on ... cold weather: ``They said it's supposed to be cold again. We're supposed to play a night game, so I have to get prepared for that. It will be my first game that's like this, me playing football like this. I'm from Florida. I ain't used to playing in some cold like this. I'm used to playing in the heat. But I'm adjusting to it well and I'm ready to go."

EARLY player comments

Hey everyone. A few players stopped by to speak with reporters before practice today. Here are a few "highlights" as they are.

  • CB Walt McFadden on his injured knee (not an ankle): ``I'm going to get it cleared up by Wednesday hopefully. I'm trying to run on my own, trying to do a couple of things, but I really don't know what's going to happen."

  • McFadden on his teammates mobbing him after making the interception that injured his knee: ``Zac Etheridge, he was hitting me all in the head, saying 'Good interception, good interception.' I was screaming on the ground and he was jumping all over me. I was telling him: 'Back up, back up.' He basically told me to get off the ground -- Don't let them see you hurt. I appreciate everything he had done because I was fixing to lay on that ground awhile."

  • OL Ryan Pugh on reasons for Arkansas problems: ``We can make up all the excuses in the world, we just didn't come out and play very well. We didn't prepare ourselves mentally and physically in the week. The coaches gave us a good game plan. We just went out and didn't execute the things that we've been executing all the year."

  • On why that happened: ``A lack of focus. I think we let our focus slip a little bit during the week, and we didn't come out and play as good as we wanted to."

  • OL Mike Berry on preparations this week: ``I think the mood's been good. The loss was definitely a shock for us, but like Coach Chizik said it can either be the best thing that could happen to us or the worst thing. I feel like it gave us a chance to refocus. I feel like we're preparing hard for Kentucky."

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

Questions? Comments? Post directly to the blog below or email me at


Here we go ...

  • He has arrived.

  • ``They came back Sunday very focused. They understand the urgency."

  • On the possibility to UK changing its entire offense: ``It's a question mark as far as where they're going to go. We've done our homework. We have out best educated guess. We're going to prepare for a number of different scenarios."

  • On defending the Wildcat: ``You've got another tailback in the backfield and you can spread the field out. You've got number issues, meaning how many people you can leave in there to defend. It's good stuff. It's a lot of misdirection. It's tough to defend."

  • On Coleman's chat: "It wasn't about the direction of the defense. I'm proud of him playing through all the issues. He's playing with the cast. That's not a thing you'd like to have. It had nothing to do with the defense. They're not going to come to me with an issue that I'm not aware of. They know my door is open. We'll talk about what's good for the team first and his good second. He was pleased when we got done talking about it. It was all good."

  • Chizik said Coleman won't be changing positions.

  • More on Coleman: ``The stat sheets don't tell the story. It's very overrated. He's doing what we're asking him to do with the defense. Don't look into if he had a sack or didn't have a sack. You have to play within the structure of the defense. He's been the ultimate teammate."

  • On freshmen growing up: ``By Game Seven, they've seen enough SEC football to know how to compete."

  • On Ben Tate: ``He's a good back. Let me tell you something -- the offensive line has been doing a tremendous job of opening those lanes. When he bounces things to the perimeter, he's been able to make some guys miss. He's beat up and tired on Sunday, but he's running the ball physically as we envisioned it. We've got to run the ball much better Saturday."

  • On the lack of Wildcat: ``A lot of it has to do with field position and circumstances in the game. There are some other variables in there that haven't allowed us to get in that situation during the past few games."

  • He doesn't like penalties.

  • ``We're trying to put there what we think we can do. You can't always do what you'd like to do. That's where we're at. Whether that's being very aggressive or not, we have to determine that week to week."

  • He noted that Neiko Thorpe's struggles at Arkansas forced the team to avoid blitzes. ``You have to pick and choose your battles when you can be aggressive."

  • Chizik said Eltoro Freeman is "day by day," but said they're "together."

  • Chizik said CB Walt McFadden (left ankle) is going to be a game-time decision.

  • On injuries: ``We're racking our brains every night to figure out how to keep our guys. It's definitely something we're trying to work our way through."

  • On what was learned from the Arkansas debacle: ``I know how 18 to 22-year-old guys think. They do the same thing every day, every day, and then they win a few games. Then all the sudden you go out on Saturday and get your brains beat out. Does it have to happen like that to get your attention? We'll see. When you have a young team and a team that hasn't been in this situation recently ... with being 5-0 ... it's obvious we didn't handle it very well."

  • More on that: ``It's not Chicken Little. The sky is not falling. We didn't play well. We have to re-capture the things that got us to 5-0. It's not doom-and-gloom, but let's troubleshoot and figure it out."

  • That's a wrap.

BONUS BLOGGIN: Jeff Lebo speaks


  • He noted that Auburn's opening-day oppponent, Niagara, was a really good team last year.

  • He feels "very strongly" about Dewayne Reed being "one of the best point guards in the league."

  • On F Lucas Hargrove: "He strong enought, tough enough, to guard inside now. They can't move him. It's been fun to watch his body transform. I don't see him playing any center, but I see him playing some at small forward and some at power forward."

  • C Johnnie Lett is still dealing with the ankle injury that undermined his 2008-09 season. Seriously. Same injury.

  • On freshmen: ``We've got four freshmen. Defensively, Earnest Ross and Andre Malone are ready. They can shoot the ball on the catch. They need to work on the dribble. Kenny Gabriel -- he's skinny at 6-8, but he can shoot. He's got to get stronger. Inside guys, Chubb and Armstrong, they'll get better as the season goes on. Chubb (who is 6-9) can really move and really run. They're both physical guys. If you walk them through the airport, we look like an SEC team this season. I hope we play like one."

  • On G Frankie Sullivan: ``He goes so fast. We're trying to gear him down and play more under control. We're obviously going to play him a lot."

  • Lebo wouldn't commit to Sullivan being a starter.

  • On F Brendan Knox: ``He's got to do a better job of staying away from foul problems."

REMINDER: Mission statement

Hey everyone. I didn't spend much time yesterday reading through comments after, say, 2 p.m. ... and I'm somewhat dismayed at some of the stuff that occurred.

I thought I made myself clear on Sunday night.


You all are bound by the fact you're Auburn fans. There are at least 1,000,000 ways to be a good Auburn fan. Just because Fan B doesn't agree with your ideas doesn't mean Fan B should be chided for his/her ideas. They like Auburn. They watch a lot of football, too.

So let's HABOTN up, represent and live the mantra: One HABOTN.

I will put people in the Harmony Hut and subject you to repeated recording of Jacko's "Heal The World" if you don't come correct.

First Post: Tuesday of Week Seven

Hey everyone. I hope you read the Mission Statement post and will work to live your HABOTN live in accordance with that principle: One HABOTN.

In other news, I went ice skating yesterday. I like to rollerblade, I'm pretty good at it, and some of those skills translated to the ice. I didn't fall down. I was the best-skating adult on the ice.

OK, I was the only adult on the ice. So what?

Here's the Auburn situation at this moment:




It's a big day. We'll be BLOGGIN' FER YER NOGGIN' around 11:30 a.m. Jeff Lebo is going to speak at 11:15, but I'll just summarize his comments in a paragraph. The bulk of player interviews -- and our weekly chat with Gus Malzahn -- will occur this evening. I'll provide summaries of that. A video is a distinct possibility.

Here's what the next few days look like. All times are CDT:

Tue., Oct. 13, 4:30 p.m. (Chizik presser at 11:30 a.m.; some players available around noon.)
Wed., Oct. 14, 4:30 p.m.
Thu., Oct. 15, 4:30 p.m. (Tiger Talk at 7 p.m.)
Fri., Oct. 16, OFF
Sat., Oct. 17, vs. Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sun., Oct. 18, 5 p.m.
Mon., Oct. 19, OFF
Tue., Oct. 20, 4:30 p.m. (Chizik presser at 11:30 a.m.; some players available around noon.)

Also, please pick up the Advertiser's print edition if you live around here! Our fine Auburn coverage is only one element of our award-winning product.

First post: Monday of Week Seven

Hey everyone. Thanks for your patience yesterday. Some displeasing air travel took me out of commission for long periods of time and created fatigue I typically don't battle on Sunday nights. I wanted to do a video. It just wasn't meant to be.

You can read below my story about Antonio Coleman that appeared in today's editions. I'll say right here, as I did in the comments section, that I don't believe Coleman is upset about team chemistry. He's upset about registering zero tackles during the past two games. He wants to be a bigger asset and he's not sure about how to do that.

So he's planning to speak with Chizik about it.

Here's the Auburn situation at this moment:




Public schools are closed for the big COLUMBUS DAY event -- was he worth a real holiday? -- so I'm chillin' at the house with The Daughter. I'm not planning to do much with the HABOTN today, though you never know when I'll break out a post examining Kentucky.

Here's what the next few days look like. All times are CDT:

Mon., Oct. 12, OFF
Tue., Oct. 13, 4:30 p.m. (Chizik presser at 11:30 a.m.; some players available around noon.)
Wed., Oct. 14, 4:30 p.m.
Thu., Oct. 15, 4:30 p.m. (Tiger Talk at 7 p.m.)
Fri., Oct. 16, OFF
Sat., Oct. 17, vs. Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sun., Oct. 18, 5 p.m.
Mon., Oct. 19, OFF
Tue., Oct. 20, 4:30 p.m. (Chizik presser at 11:30 a.m.; some players available around noon.)

Also, please pick up the Advertiser's print edition if you live around here! Our fine Auburn coverage is only one element of our award-winning product.

Coleman seeks sit-down with Chizik

Hey everyone. DE Antonio Coleman tonight said he's a little dismayed about something and wants to speak with The Head Coach about it.

Here's what he said:
  • "I’m a fifth-year senior and I came back to have fun and to help this team win. I just have to go sit down and talk with Coach Chizik about how I feel about what’s going on."

  • "There’s a lot of things going through my head. When it boils down to it, I still have to go out there and make plays whatever the predicament is. I think I’m going to sit down with Coach Chizik and talk to him about this defense. I know we have a couple of injuries and stuff like that. Just how I feel about how this defense is playing and just a couple of things that I may see we need to work on."

  • On if he prefers to rush or drop in coverage: ``It’s 50-50. I think I made a lot of great plays yesterday dropping back in coverage. I also love getting after the quarterback. It’s a 50-50 deal and anything to help this team win."

  • On if this is really just a ruse to get more time at linebacker: ``It doesn’t matter to me. Just tell me where to play on the football field and I’ll play. I’ll play a little linebacker. Like I told Coach Malzahn, put me at offensive guard and I’ll pull around and knock somebody out for you."

  • UNRELATED BUT FUNNY: ``If you want to look at grades, go over to Haley Center and get your grades. I don’t too much pay attention to that anymore. I don’t know what’s the deal with that. It's about ballin'."

Gene Chizik speaks, 10/11

Here are some comments from The Head Coach, who held his weekly Sunday powwow moments ago.

  • On the game: ``We didn't make any improvements Saturday. Anywhere. We were por all the way around. You can't have eight penalties and three turnovers on the road -- and win."

  • On practice last week, which some players said was unusually sloppy: ``I just felt like the focus of our team was out there. I didn't think we were focused on the details of the game. I told them that on Thursday. I feel like we played that way."

  • On getting a young team turned around after (edited for politeness) a difficult performance: ``I haven't been through a week where we've lost yet. There are many things we can take from this thing and be a better football team. We're at a point in the season where depth is an issue. We're banged up. These aren't excuses. This is what you're asking. At 5-0, I don't know that we handled all the outside stuff. As coaches, we're supposed to get them ready to play. And they weren't."

  • On Auburn having a lot of trouble with Arkansas in general: ``As history would have it, there seems to be some kind of pattern. I just don't believe in that. I don't think their record, I'm talking about this year, was necessarily indicative of their team."

  • On good things distilled from Saturday's (edited for politeness) difficult outing: ``There are some things that happene din the game that were good. We rushed for 240-something yards. Our third-down defense was better than it's typically been. The outcome was very disappointing."

  • On defensive problems: ``Right now, run defense is an issue. It's only going to get tougher. We've got to shore that up. We're not anywhere close to where we need to be in this league right. We need to be better tacklers."

  • On if he'll get more involved with the defensive game plan: ``I know what we're doing. We have some really good defensive coaches."

  • More on the defense (edited for politeness) not playing as well as perhaps it did in holding Arkansas to a single touchdown two years ago: ``We played 80-something plays. Right now, we need to avoid that situation."

  • On Walt McFadden's injury: ``We don't think it's anything catastrophic."

  • On Craig Stevens: ``He's stacking up the tackles, but that's because we're on the field so much. We'd love to give those guys a rest. That's just where we're at."

  • On playing so many walk-on guys on the scout team: ``We've got to make it work if we're playing against air. Sometimes you have to throw a scout-team tight end at guard. That's not an excuse. That's not why we lost Saturday."

  • He said Harris Gaston is "dinged up". Gaston hasn't been playing.

  • He said Jonathan Evans hasn't been playing much defense and ``needs to come on."

  • On Harry Adams' play Saturday: ``About like the rest of them. Average at best."

  • On Darvin Adams' and Terrell Zachery's recent struggles: ``(Defenses) are more aware of where they're at than they were. They've gotten a lot of people's attention."

  • He again described Eltoro Freeman's situation as "day by day" and a personal situation. (I asked Chizik if he expected Freeman back today.)

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

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