Auburn 51, Alabama A&M 7: Postgame quotes

John Reed-US PRESSWIRE

Head coach Gene Chizik and players comment on the Tigers' win over the Bulldogs.

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik

Opening statement...

"Certainly it was important for our seniors to go out right and to have fun on their last day. It was one of those days where we could do that. Hats off to the seniors. They've accomplished a lot here and got a championship ring and won a lot of ballgames. So it was good to see those guys go out on a good note. We played pretty well today, and I think we got some things accomplished in terms of getting a lot of guys on the field. The bottom line is getting the win, so overall, it was a good day."

On the carries given to the running backs...

"Tre (Mason) got his fill of carries, and we wanted to make sure especially with Onterio (McCalebb) being a senior, we want to give him enough carries where we felt like he's going to have a good game that he's going to remember. That was the idea behind that."

On Jonathan Wallace...

"He's a little bit beyond his years when you talk about toughness and maturity for a young guy. Our players see that in him and really respect it. Our coaches see it and respect it. He's taken a few good shots this year. He always bounces back, and he does not want to come out of the game. He's done that several times, but I think that's just kind of the case and point for him with how much football means to him, and how much it means for him to be out on the field."

On Christian Westerman...

"Christian, it was really the first week where we felt like he was really healthy. We kind of weaned him in a week ago, and he really had a good week of practice this week. We thought it'd be a good idea to let him good some good reps and let him start his first game. He was working in that direction before he got hurt, and just moving Chad (Slade) out to left tackle and letting him get some reps out there. We just thought that this was going to be a good week to be able to do that."

On Christian Westerman's injury...

"I don't know. We'll know more tomorrow. We'll probably know more tonight, but right now I'm not sure."

On Chad Slade...

"Obviously, we have to have some more production from the left tackle position, as well. Chad's been a guy that had played left tackle before, but hadn't had a chance to really do that this year. It was really kind of several things, but the move to get Chad out there and get some reps at left tackle was a wise one simply because if something does happen there, we just didn't have many answers right now because of so many guys that have been hurt."

On if today's game was a diversion from other games this season...

"Today was just a great day to go out and play football. I want to say something, too, about our fans. Since we don't have school next week, a lot of the students had the chance to go home, but I was really proud of a lot of the fans who came out to send our seniors off in great fashion. I really appreciate the fans. All the other stuff, I'm just glad we had the chance to go out there and play football with (Alabama) A&M and have fun doing it."

On Trent Fisher's interception and return for a touchdown...

"It was great to see him do that. We're looking for more production at that position, and we started Trent out there today, and again, we thought this would be a good day to do it. It was really good to see him, at the end of the game, get a pick for a touchdown. He's just one of those guys that he came here, walked on, earned his scholarship, and he's just one of those guys that deserves that opportunity. We are looking for more production at that position. That was why he got the start today."

On if he thought there was improvement in blocking and tackling this week...

"I don't know. To really be able to assess that, we really have to go back and look at the film. There were some good things that we did today, and there were some things that I'm sure if we watched the film right now, we'll see we weren't as good at. You know more when you watch the film. That's just really kind of hard to judge today."

On the Iron Bowl next week...

"It's obvious. The challenge next week is going to be huge. Just the meaning of the game and what it means to the fan bases on both sides is huge. We have an enormous challenge in front of us, but we're going to embrace it and have a lot of fun going over there and playing."

On Demetruce McNeal...

"When you look at production, that doesn't always tell the story. When we say we're looking for more production, it's because there's a lot of other things involved than just tackling. That's why we made the move."

On Tre Mason...

"Tre is one of those guys that's gotten better as the season has progressed. I don't think there's any question about that. He runs the ball hard. He runs for tough yards. It was really good to see him bust open a run that long. I think he's just gotten better as the season's gone on. I thought the offensive line covered people up well enough today to give him some cracks and be able to run the ball. I think Tre has become a more physical runner. I think he's playing with good vision. He protects the ball. I'm proud of him."

On Onterio McCalebb...

"He's very productive as well. Onterio can do different things for you. He's obviously always had a perimeter game here with the ball in his hands. He's always been pretty effective. He's learned to run between the tackles a little bit better this year than he has before because he's gotten more opportunities to do it. He's a productive guy. If you go back and just look at his whole career, whether it's a kickoff return guy or whether it's a speed sweep guy, or whether it's right back there behind the quarterback in I-backs, he's been productive. If he hits a crack or he hits a seam in there, he always has potential to break it. He's just a very productive guy. Very much a team guy."

On President Gogue evaluating the program...

"I've already addressed all that stuff."

On if winning the Iron Bowl changes the perception of the season...

"I think that anytime you get a win in the Iron Bowl, it really sets the tone for pretty much whatever's happened previously in that year, and I think it sets the tone for the next year, too. A win in the Iron Bowl for anybody is huge."

LB Daren Bates

On Saturday's game...

"I thought we had a great game today. The offense, defense and special teams all played well. We played with a lot of energy and we had fun."

On the defense's performance...

"We played well tonight and did what the coaches wanted us to do. We played with a lot of energy."

On playing his last game in Jordan-Hare Stadium...

"I don't think it has really set in yet. It is always good to play at home. It will probably be a little tougher down the road."

DB T'Sharvan Bell

On Saturday's game...

"It was a good team win. We definitely needed a victory. We improved in a lot of areas, but there are still some areas we need to improve on before we roll into next weekend."

On holding Alabama A&M to 208 yards of offense...

"I thought the guys were more focused. We had a good game plan coming in."

On playing his last game in Jordan-Hare Stadium...

"I had a lot of emotions coming into this game. It is my last game here. I just wanted to go out and have fun. I had a good four years here. It is bittersweet. I am going to miss it. Anybody would be lying if they said they weren't. It hasn't sunk in yet. It might next week or after I graduate."

QB Jonathan Wallace

On today's game...

"Great win, especially for the seniors. It was just great just being able to go out and play hard for those guys."

On what helped the offense...

"Preparation throughout the week. We have to treat every week the same. You have to go out there and practice hard and execute on Saturday."

On preparation for next week...

"We need to pay attention to detail. That's what it's going to come down to. Small details are really what it's going to come down to. We have to pay attention to those specific things. Alabama has a very good defense and we have to go out there and just play ball."

RB Tre Mason

On the game...

"We came out and played really hard. We had to make up for last week. My O-line did what they were supposed to and we executed our plays very well."

On the running game success...

"The offensive line of course. Everyone did what they were supposed to do, and with them doing that we were able to execute plays."

On the seniors...

"It was big. We wanted to send them out with a great win and let them know that we appreciate them and that we all dedicated this game to them. We played hard."

On preparations for next week...

"We need to stay focused and not let this win get to us. We just need to move and on and get focused on next week, and continue to practice hard."

RB Onterio McCalebb

On the game...

"The offensive coordinator said we were going to go out and run the ball and that's what we did. We ran the ball.

On the offense's success...

"The offensive line did a tremendous job today. The quarterback, Jonathan Wallace, is a freshman and he goes out there and battles for Auburn every week. He's a great player and he's a leader. With him calling the plays in the huddle, setting the tone, everybody respects him. The offensive line and receivers did their job, so when the running backs got the ball we had to do our job as well.

On being the second player in SEC history with 2000+ rushing, 1000+ return, and 500+ receiving yards...

"It's all a blessing. I give all my thanks to God. If it wasn't for my teammates and coaches I would not have been able to do what I have done, so I gave thanks to them."

Last home game...

"It really didn't hit me until Tiger Walk. Nosa (Eguae) told me it was my last Tiger Walk and it really hit me hard, because I am going to miss playing here."

WR Emory Blake

On the game...

"We came out and were clicking. We ended up having a really good game."

On the offensive performance...

"We were clicking on all cylinders. Everyone was making their blocks and making plays."

On last home game...

"Time flies, it seems like yesterday that I was a freshman trying to figure what everything was all about. It's been an amazing experience here for me and I hope I did the Auburn coaches and fans proud."

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