Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik Sees Game Against Clemson as First Test: A Fan's Take

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Auburn football coach Gene Chizik.

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik agrees that Saturday's game against Clemson will serve as a measuring stick for his team. As reported by Charles Goldberg at AL.com, Chizik stated that his players are extremely hyped up about the start of the new season and sees the September 1 opener as a means of qualifying the team's progress.

Recently, there has been a great deal of focus on the disciplinary issues that seem to plague Auburn's 2012 pre-season. The attention has not been unwarranted, of course, given the impact that events like the indefinite suspension of Reese Dismukes have on the team.

The effects of such disciplinary action go well beyond what happens to the roster. It stands to reason that player morale takes an equally substantial hit. Given these negative effects, I as an Auburn fan am happy to hear Gene Chizik report that his guys remain excited about the upcoming game.

They and the staff have all worked hard this year and, just as importantly, have endured the aforementioned setbacks with class. Despite those speed bumps, I think it's important to note that the team continues to believe in their many changes.

Chizik himself summed up the excitement very well during an interview: "There are a lot of dynamics going on in terms of a new offensive coordinator. We really haven't played this caliber of a football team in an opening game since we've been here. We have a starting quarterback who is new. We have two tackles who have never played a game. We're curious to see how the offense molds and gels, even during the game."

It's reasonable to worry about the team's 2012 prospects. Add their recent setbacks to the innumerable changes that have yet to be quantified during an actual game, and you get the sort of tension that makes fans a bit jittery while waiting for kickoff.

But along with those few reasons to worry come plenty of reasons for excitement. The same untested changes that make fans worry should also make them excited. Although I can't claim to be an expert, I firmly believe that Auburn could come out of the gate with the sort of intensity and coordination that wins football games.

Yes, we may watch Auburn endure a hard lesson when they face Clemson. But there's also a good chance that we fans will witness something akin to vindication.

Christopher Brown is an avid, almost rabid college football fan. More importantly, he is a fan of the Auburn Tigers, a team that always seems to provide its fans with an unpredictable and even frustrating roller-coaster ride.
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