Full transcript of Gene Chizik's news conference for Iron Bowl week
Below is the complete transcript of Gene Chizik's news conference on Tuesday. The Auburn head coach discussed his respect for Nick Saban, the 2010 Iron Bowl, readiness of quarterback Jonathan Wallace and his players' mindset as they prepare for No. 2 Alabama.
Video of the full conference can be seen above. Trouble viewing? Click here.
"This is a very special week as we all know. It's a very important week for so many people in this state and so many people that are both Auburn and Alabama fans. This is a great game. It's a game it's a privilege for me to be now part of what would be my seventh one, and it's very unique. I think there is just a difference in this game.
"I've been in a lot of great rivalries and there is a difference in this game - just the importance that it has with the fans on both sides, former players, alumni, so many people that hold this game in very high regard - and so it is very important for our players and our coaches and certainly our fans.
"We've got a great football team that we are getting ready to play in Tuscaloosa, and we know that. For us to be able to have a chance to be successful, we are going to have to, obviously, play the best game we've played all year and be very sound in everything that we do in all three phases of our game. Obviously, they're very well coached, and they've got some great players, so our work is cut out for us.
"But we feel great about being able to play in a game like this because it's a privilege and all of our players know that. It's something that they will always remember the rest of their lives. We started preparing yesterday. We're preparing well and we've got to continue to do that the rest of this week in order to give ourselves a chance to win."
Has he noticed anything different about the players' mindset this week?
"I think so. I just think that is what comes with this game. Certainly, we have a lot of guys on our football team that are from this state, so they grew up from birth hearing about this game, and quite frankly, the ones that we have on our roster from other places understand the magnitude of how big this rivalry game is. I think even if you weren't born in this state, you at some point watched it on TV or have heard about it through the years. It's a very unique game, so I think that there's an extra focus and an extra intent in terms of just being ready to prepare. Our team looks at this game differently."
What are his memories of the 2010 Iron Bowl? Has he talked to this year's team about that game:
"We talk to them about the history of the game in general. This will be the fourth time that I've been up there and played a football game in that stadium in this game. We don't necessarily focus on just one game. Obviously, the 2010 game was a very special year and very special game, but we really we talk about the history and tradition of the game and the passion of the people and what it means.
"That is part of the conversation, but this is a new year. It's a different year. It's a whole different set of circumstances for everybody playing in the game and for everybody involved, so we're really trying to focus on the here and now. But we certainly educate them about the importance of the game and the history of the game in the past."
About a video that was shown to the Auburn football team:
"I think it just reiterates the importance of the game and really trying to get everybody's attention on the impact that it has on so many people, not just the ones playing in the game. We don't take that lightly. We feel a great sense of responsibility because of so many people that will be affected by this game come Sunday morning. There will be daily reminders."
What has the staff done to get Jonathan Wallace ready for his first road start?
"The sound factor, the noise factor is something that we started working on yesterday. It will be definitely a different venue for him. With him being a young man that's grown up around this game his whole life and heard about it and seen it and understands it, it's going to be different for him. But he's a young guy that really embraces these types of moments, and I think that he is a young guy that will prepare as a professional like he usually does, but it will be different for him. He knows that.
"We've talked to all of our quarterbacks, and really all of our team, about the poise that you have to have when you go up there. There will be ebbs and flows in the game that you have to live through and get to the other side of those valleys that can happen in the game. I think he is a young guy that you can tell him everything that you want to tell him about it, but he is going to have to go up there and get a feel for it and experience it. Early in the game it is going to be very unique for him, but I think as the game goes on, like he's really done in all the other games, he'll adapt and adjust."
What is his relationship with Alabama coach Nick Saban?
"Coach Saban is a great football coach; his body of work wherever he has been really tells the story. I don't think that there is anything that I can say that can inform anybody any differently. On a professional level, he's always been very professional, very respectful with all of his opponents and all of his peer coaches, likewise, everybody with him as well. That's my dealing with him. He's very successful for a reason, and I think I don't need to tell people all the reasons. I think it's very obvious."