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Gene Chizik Hopes Auburn Can Continue The SEC’s Dominance in College Football

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Gene Chizik Hopes Auburn Can Continue the SEC’s Dominance in College Football

For the latter part of this decade, the SEC has dominated college football with the last four BCS National Champions and three out of the last four Heisman Trophy winners, including Cam Newton, coming from SEC schools.  This year is no different as the SEC will be well represented once again on January 10th for the BCS National Championship Game, with the No. 1 Auburn Tigers taking on the No. 2 Oregon Ducks of the PAC-10.   This game will feature two of the nation’s best players in Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and Heisman finalist LaMichael James.  If the game comes down to defense, Oregon ranks 14th in the nation in scoring and Auburn is 54th.  But as teams like South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss and Georgia found out this season, Newton often saves his best for the fourth quarter.  This should be quite a game and one that lives up to its hype.  Look for the Tigers to flex their muscle and deliver the SEC its fifth straight national title.Gene Chizik on ESPN Radio with Ryen Russillo to talk about at what point he realized Cam Newton and the team were going to be good this season, how he thinks Oregon would do in the SEC, and what the first thing is that comes to mind about what to prepare for against Oregon.

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At what point he realized Cam Newton and the team were going to be good this season:

“I think it was probably a little bit later than that.  That was a little bit early in the journey, us really trying to figure out who we were as a football team and we knew that we had a lot of young players on this team and we knew he had a new quarterback, and we didn’t really know what direction that would go.  We knew they were talented, we knew Cam was talented but until you know, as you know until you play in this league week-in and week-out in front of 90,000 you never know what you are going to get.  But from that Mississippi State game on, I think that his contributions to our team obviously grew, and our ideas about how he could contribute to us offensively grew and I think we just kept getting better week by week.”

How different playing in the SEC is from other conferences:

“Everybody has got an allegiance to their conference, and who is the best conference, and the whole deal.  I was in the Big XII for four years, so I was there really at the height of all of the offenses and all of the scoring.  It was unbelievable week-in and week-out, you were facing a different type of spread offense that was able to score anywhere from probably 40 to 60 points in a game and that was crazy, but was also privileged to be in the SEC a long time before that, so comparing the conferences is hard.  They are two great conferences, but I just think arguably, I think most people would agree the SEC is so challenging, it is so talented, the coaching is off the chart every week with a different coaching staff that you have to match wits with.  It is obviously one of the best in the country.”

How he thinks Oregon would do in the SEC:

“I think Oregon would be great in our league.  I don’t think there is any question about it.  Let me tell you something, this is an extremely-well coached team.  They have got speed to match anybody in our conference, they are very physical, they have got a great scheme.  I think Oregon is one of those teams and do well.  I don’t think there is any question, this is a championship-caliber football team.”

What the first thing is that comes to mind about what to prepare for against Oregon:

“I don’t think there is any question.  Everybody is going to focus on the offense obviously and rightly so.  It’s a great offense, it is very potent, it scores a lot of points, runs for a lot of yards, throw for a lot of yards I think they have done it all well, but let’s not get lost of the fact that they play really good defense.  They play a lot of people on defense.  They are very sound in what they do.  They play hard and fast.  Their special teams, let’s not forget they returned five punt returns for touchdowns this year. Their coverage units, all the way around this is a very athletic, very talented football team.  The more you dissect it, the more you look at them, you understand why they are 13-0, they did that for a reason and, again, schematically on offense and defense they give you issues and you got to spend a lot of time working on them.”

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