Auburn head coach Gene Chizik
"I think it would be accurate to say that we couldn't stop their run game. We couldn't stop them from throwing the football. Obviously, they punted one time all night so I think that pretty much tells the story. It was a very poor performance defensively. Offensively, we sputtered early in the game. We never seemed to get on track. Against an offense like that, we have to be able to get some first downs. You have to be able to move the football some and take a little bit of pressure off the defense, but early on, we certainly weren't able to do that either. So, it is pretty evident why we got beat. Again, my job is to continue to lead these young guys and again go back to work and try to get a win next week. But again, I think it was very obvious why and how we got beat tonight and the way we did."
What did you tell the team after the game?
"I don't think there is a whole lot you can tell them other than that everybody is hurting the same amount. Just like I told them, I said, `I love you guys for what you are trying to push through, and the adversity that comes with being 1-7.' It's tough. It's tough. Again, we are just trying to continue to push forward to continue to try to encourage them when everything doesn't go exactly like you want it. Your job is to continue as a man to push through and continue to go to work so we will do that again tomorrow, but it's a locker room that is very disappointed and they are hurting. They are used to winning, and they like to win and that just hasn't happened near enough obviously in the last eight weeks. So, we will continue to forge ahead, and we will continue to give them the same message, and we will continue to try to work and improve."
How do you explain how far things have fallen?
"Well, I think you just said it. I don't think there is a simple explanation. I think that a lot of times in football, things happen with momentum or lack of momentum both in games and as seasons unfold. It has been a season where to this point I just feel like there is really not been much momentum gained anywhere to be able to build on what comes with momentum. And so, again, there are several factors in that. It would be hard to put your finger on one, but it is a tough place to be in. There is no question about it, but again, we are going to continue to keep forging forward and trying to work ourselves out of it."
Do you think the season is indicative of the program taking a step back?
"I don't know if I would assess everything in terms of that. I think, again, there are individual battles at individual positions where you have a lot of different dynamics going on whether it is youth or different things. I don't think that is the case. I don't really feel that at all. I feel like we are in a spot that is really rough, and we have to try to pull our way out of it."
Does it get harder to lead the team with each loss?
"I think that in the game of football, I think that you experience a lot of different things. We've experienced a lot of great things here. The challenging part becomes when you experience a lot of lows, which we obviously have experienced here lately. I think it is difficult for anybody no matter what you are facing whether it is a football game or something very difficult in your life. I think it is very challenging for anybody, particularly when your job is to lead people and so, sure it gets challenging, but that is my job, and I am responsible to lead 18- to 22-year-olds through good times and some bad. So again, it has been very challenging and difficult, and I as the leader will not stop forging ahead leading these young guys to the best of my ability."
On Jonathan Wallace and why did he not play earlier in the season?
"I have said it pretty much weekly that Jonathan has been taking bits and pieces of the offense, and I think he has been digesting them for a young guy pretty well. He got in at a point in the game tonight where it was really, really good to see him do some things that really show flashes and signs of him maturing some. But again, you can't throw everything at a young guy and expect him to be able to execute at all. That's number one. Number two, at that point and time in the game, it had calmed down a little bit with a lot of the blitzing and pressures and things of that nature. Not to take anything away from what Jonathan did because I am very proud of him, but when you are asking a guy to take on the whole game plan and all of the things that come with it, it is just not that simple. But I think as everybody saw tonight, you saw flashes of a guy that again, has an opportunity to keep getting weaned on to the different parts of the offense that he can succeed at. I think he showed that tonight."
Does Jonathan Wallace have a chance to start next week?
"Well, we are certainly going to look. I think the film tells a lot, obviously, but there is nobody that could argue he was very productive tonight. It was really good to see that, and I think the players caught a little spark. He is a very confident young man. We will evaluate this upcoming week, and we will see where we are at. Again, the packages that he has had from week to week have been smaller. Even tonight as much as he played, we didn't really vary off of all of the things that we have slowly been feeding him. But for the most part, he executed the things that we asked him to do and in a lot of ways, very well, it appears until we watch the film."
On the problems of the defensive front seven...
"I don't know that I would limit that to the front seven. I would say that was the front 11. I didn't think that we could tackle. I didn't think that we could cover. I didn't think that we could rush the quarterback tonight so I think that is pretty self-evident. I don't think that you can every pin that on one group. I think that you could argue that it was whatever 11 we had out there tonight were pretty ineffective, but I do have confidence that they will come back and go back to work and try to improve."
What is the difference between Auburn vs. Clemson in the season opener and Auburn vs. Texas A&M with their offenses?
"Well, that is a good question. I think that this is a different type of offense. They are different. They are spread, no huddle offenses that are obviously difficult to defend. Some are very different than others. This one is very unique. It is not exactly the same thing that we saw the first week, but until we go back and look at the film and we see why we couldn't stop the running game, it didn't matter what they were running. We couldn't stop it. Whether that is missed fits or guys mis-aligning, I think there was probably a lot of that in there, but this is a different type of spread offense than we faced the first week, and obviously we never slowed it down."
Do you think it is harder on the guys who played on the national championship team to go through this?
"I don't think you can date back to the successes that you had and to say it hurts any more now because you won 22 games the last two years. It hurts. Nobody likes to lose. I know nobody in that locker room likes to lose. I don't know that if I can qualify that it hurts those guys more than anybody else. You have a lot of young freshmen in there that came to Auburn to win so it hurts them, too. I think it is all around very disappointing for everybody in the locker room."
What would you say to the fans that left at halftime?
"I really wasn't focused on that, but if they emptied out at halftime, it's obvious why, and I can't blame them for what they saw. Again, it was just a very poor performance."
Do you move up the timetable to evaluate the program?
"Well, here is the thing. I've addressed that before, and I understand that that is your job. That's everybody's job to ask those questions, and I respect that. But again, I've got one concern. I've got one concern, and my concern is those guys. It is those guys in the locker room and us trying to improve to get a win. So, I am not going there. I understand that it is your job to ask that question. I respect it. I'm not going there, and we are going to keep forging ahead and trying to win."Auburn Player Quotes
QB Jonathon Wallace
On tonight's performance...
"Overall, we have to find a way to win. We can't go down early. We can't win that way. We need to find a way to come out on fire."
On scoring his first touchdowns...
"It was great. I thought that play really lifted some guys' spirits. It gave us some momentum and got us back in the game. It was great to score, but it wasn't enough."
On his touchdown pass to Emory Blake...
"It was good, but it wasn't enough to win."
DE Nosa Eguae
On tonight's performance...
"It was a tough one. We just fell into situations where they did great things and we didn't. You have to give Texas A&M all the credit. They came out here and played a great game and we didn't."
On what the team needs to improve on...
"We just have to go out there and communicate better. We have to go out there and expect to win football games."
WR Emory Blake
On the game...
"They came out clicking. We got beat today. Nobody quit, but I feel like they played a very good game today."
On the passing game...
"We've been working on it all year. [Jonathan Wallace] came in and did a really good job for us. As receivers, we're expected to make plays and the O-linemen started protecting pretty well. That's what happens."
On moving forward in offense...
"We need to just keep pushing. Keep getting better at protection. Keep getting better at running routes. Keep progressing at the quarterback position, and we'll get better. There's no quit in us and we're just going to keep fighting."
RB Tre Mason
On the game...
"They were a great team and we just got beat."
On the rushing game...
"I'm not really sure, but between me and Onterio, we do what we can do when we get the ball in our hands."
On moving forward in offense...
"Run the ball."
CB Jonathan Mincy
On the game...
"It was a physical game. We were prepared for it. We just couldn't execute the way we wanted to. We just have to get back at it this next week."
On rebounding from this loss...
"We need to just learn from our mistakes and continue to work."
On what was taken away from this game...
"This is just going to be motivation for when we play them next year."
TE CJ Uzomah
On the game...
"We played together and fought to the very end, that's what the coaches asked for. We fought and played for each other tonight. Obviously, the outcome wasn't something we wanted, but we fought to the end."
On personal performance...
"The touchdown catch was fun, but I still had a lot of mistakes throughout the game. The catch was a positive, but I also have things to work on."
On what to improve going forward...
"We just have to keep fighting. The players are there. We had opportunities to convert on the plays the coaches were calling today. We just have to convert and keep fighting."