Found November 20, 2012 on
Jeff Whitaker understands Auburn's situation going into the Iron Bowl. He's aware of the criticism that has been heaped on coach Gene Chizik and that the Tigers are huge underdogs going into the game with No. 2 Alabama.
The Auburn defensive tackle just doesn't need the extra motivation.
''It's Alabama-Auburn. We're not afraid because of your record or because they're Alabama,'' Whitaker said on Tuesday. ''If there's one place that's not intimidated and afraid, it's going to be Auburn, no matter how the country looks at them. If there's one place and one team and look at them and say, `They're just guys,' it's Auburn.
''They're doing a good job over there. We show respect for that. This rivalry was going way before me, you, coach (Nick) Saban, coach Chiz. We'll just keep this thing rolling.''
The Tigers (3-8, 0-7 Southeastern Conference) are 31.5-point underdogs for Saturday's game in Tuscaloosa. The Tide (10-1, 6-1) is playing for a shot at SEC and national titles.
Auburn's preseason ambitions have been crushed under a barrage of defeats and troubles on both sides of the ball. The tough season has left uncertainty about Chizik's job status after the game two years after a national title season that included the biggest comeback in Iron Bowl history - from down 24-0 to winning 28-27.
Chizik, who wore an orange BCS championship pullover to his news conference, is making $3.58 million annually and would be owed $7.5 million via monthly installments as of Dec. 1 if he's fired.
Auburn President Jay Gogue has said he will evaluate the program after the season. Athletic director Jay Jacobs has declined requests for comment.
The Tide's Saban said it's the nature of the profession that coaches can go from a national title to the hot seat so swiftly, but praised Chizik.
''All I know is playing against him, it's always a tough game,'' Saban said. ''They're always well coached and they're always well prepared, and that's all I can really comment about. I think that sometimes that the standard that everybody wants all of us to play to is not something that is a continuum.
''It's a process that's constantly evolving and sometimes you get a few things that happen maybe that don't go in your favor, it can affect the kind of results that you get. And some of them you can control and some of them you can't. Whether I like it or not, it is the world that we live in. I fully understand that two years from now if we don't continue to have a good team, then I'll be in the same seat that other people are in now. It's the nature of the beast in our profession.''
Auburn hasn't fared well in games against highly ranked competition the past two seasons, other than a 12-10 loss to No. 8 LSU early this season. Counting last year's 42-14 Iron Bowl defeat, the Tigers have lost five SEC games by four or more touchdowns the past two season.
The last two SEC contests have been huge routes at home - 63-21 to No. 9 Texas A&M and 38-0 to No. 3 Georgia.
A win in this year-round rivalry certainly would improve the Tigers' mood going into the offseason.
Chizik said he expects his team's best game - and needs it to win.
''We certainly know that anything can happen in a rivalry game, but for us to be able to go and win the game we're going to have to play by far the best football game we've played all year and play it with a lot of energy and emotion and passion and play great in terms of execution as well,'' he said.
''We'll be ready to play, and they'll be excited about playing. They already are, and our team understands what this game means to so many people other than themselves. They understand that.''
Whitaker said the Tigers are also aware of the speculation that ''coach Chiz'' could be fired after the season. It's not clear how much the outcome of this game will factor into Gogue's decision.
''We're not even looking at it like that,'' Whitaker said. ''We're not going to too much harp on that. The way coach Chiz has been about all this, it's been about the rivalry.
''We've got much love for coach Chiz.''
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Auburn Tigers are less than two years removed from winning the BCS Championship against the Oregon Ducks. Gene Chizik led the Tigers back to NCAA Football glory that season and, within two short years, the Auburn faithful are calling for his job. As it now turns out, they may not be the only ones upset with Auburn football.
Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the NCAA...
Auburn coach Gene Chizik has declined to ''comment on speculation'' that the NCAA is investigating alleged improprieties involving the football program.
The Birmingham News reported Wednesday that NCAA investigators have interviewed at least one assistant coach and several players this week ahead of the Tigers' game against No. 2 Alabama.
The newspaper, citing...
The hits just keep on coming for Gene Chizik and his program.
As if it wasnt enough that the 2010 BCS national champions are just 3-8 heading into this weekends Iron Bowl against No. 2 Alabama, a Yahoo! Sports report released Wednesday documented an ongoing investigation into the Auburn Tigers football program.
According to the report, NCAA investigators have combed the program...
The Big 12 outpaced the SEC in average salary pay per coach according to a USA Today report. The SEC still has the top paid coach, Alabama's Nick Saban, and they have eight coaches in the top 25 of the highest paid. The Big Ten has five of the top 25 salaries for coaches and the Big 12 has four. The SEC actually saw a decrease in average salary since last season, but that is...
What better way to make fun of your rival than to make a t-shirt and beg them to keep their current coach employed?
Alabama fans beg Auburn to keep Gene Chizik as coach
[via @ClayTravis | h/t @Aaron_Torres]
Auburn coach Gene Chizik talks about the Iron Bowl this weekend, previews Alabama, and talks about why this is one of the top rivalries in sports.
Comments from Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik are featured from his weekly press conference as the Tigers prepare to Alabama.
Comments from Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik are featured in this report.
As if it wasnt enough that Auburn is just 3-8 heading into this weekends Iron Bowl against No. 2 Alabama, a Yahoo! Sports report released Wednesday documented an ongoing NCAA investigation into the Tigers football program.
According to the report, NCAA investigators have combed the program over the past weeks looking for violations involving Auburn coaches, players, recruits and...
The NCAA is reportedly investigating Auburn in regards to possible recruiting violations. So says Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports. And before you ask, this has nothing to do with Cam Newton. Two of head football coach Gene Chizik's assistants are prominent in the investigation.
"According to multiple sources, NCAA investigators have spent weeks
looking into potential...
Auburn's switch to a more traditional offense in 2012 has been proven to be the wrong move for Gene Chizik and his program.
QUICK HITS: On Wednesday's SEC Coaches Teleconference, Alabama coach Nick Saban explained that despite the heat that comes with the Iron Bowl rivalry, there's no bitterness between him and Auburn's Gene Chizik
We were all getting ready to start off our Thanksgiving weekend when Pat Forde decided to drop a pretty juicy story on us all. According to Forde's report for Yahoo! Sports, the NCAA is investigating Auburn for potential recruiting violations.
I know, you're shocked. Right?
The repost says the NCAA is focusing their investigation on a pair of Auburn assistant coaches...