AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn departed from its traditional Sunday routine and gave players a day off from practice, using the time for meetings and review of game film from Saturday’s 31-10 loss to LSU.
“We’ve been going a long time,” Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. “I think the change of pace is always good and coach (Gene Chizik) knows what he’s doing and made a good decision. I think we got a lot of good work done today.”
Auburn (5-3, 2-3 SEC) has played eight straight weeks since the start of the season with three more games — Saturday vs. Ole Miss, Nov. 7 vs. Furman and Nov. 14 at Georgia — on the schedule before its one and only bye week.
The extra rest was welcomed by the players.
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“We’ve been practicing three straight months, not no days off,” linebacker Craig Stevens said. “We felt like we needed a little break to get ready for the game.”
Chizik tread carefully when the subject of penalties came up Sunday, not wanting to get himself in trouble with the league for criticizing the officials.
He was perplexed by the defensive delay of game penalty Auburn was flagged for in the first quarter, a sideline infraction Chizik had never gotten before as a coach.
“Me personally, no,” he said. “But they’re doing the best they can do. Officials do a good job and they do the best they can do.”
Safety Zac Etheridge received a personal foul penalty in the first quarter, a 15-yard infraction after Auburn had stopped LSU on third down.
“To the best of my knowledge, it was basically illegal contact, meaning some sort of helmet to helmet call,” Chizik said.
When asked if he thought that was the case, he said, “It was an aggressive hit, there’s no question about that. It was an aggressive hit.”
Auburn was penalized seven times for 64 yards Saturday, all in the first half.
Wide receiver Kodi Burns got hit in the mouth hard enough to knock out a couple of his teeth early in the game Saturday. The junior had to have his lip tended to before going back in the game.
“Just one of those tough guys,” Chizik said. “I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. He had to have his lip sowed up and the whole deal, and he went out there and continued to play for the whole three quarters.
Burns had six carries out of the Wildcat formation and finished with 20 rushing yards.
While Auburn has had its share of problems recently, Chizik’s old team, Iowa State, is having great success.
The Cyclones, led by former Auburn defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, improved to 5-3 with a 9-7 upset at Nebraska. That’s already the most victories Iowa State has had since the 2005 season, when it won seven times and made the Houston Bowl.
“I’m really happy for them,” said Chizik, who coached in Ames, Iowa, for two years. “They had a huge win yesterday and that’s great. Those are great kids and they deserve some good things to happen to them for sure.”
Chizik said he and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn discussed getting H-back Mario Fannin more carries as a tailback. The junior had six carries for 56 yards against LSU, a 9.3-yard average. ... Chizik said LB Adam Herring did not play Saturday because he was “a little banged up.” Eltoro Freeman started in his place and finished with a team-high 12 tackles. ... DE Antonio Coleman said the injury he suffered Saturday was simply a knee strain. The senior had to be helped off the field but returned to make six tackles, with a sack and a tackle for a loss. “They say it’s fine,” Coleman said. “Just sore. Real sore.”