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AUBURN, AL (WBRC) -
Auburn's head football coach Gene Chizik opened up his press conference Tuesday by speaking about the recent death of his mother, Rita Chizik.
"It's been a tough 24 hours for me personally and my family, over the passing of my mother, and that's never easy no matter how old you get," Coach Chizik said.
Rita Chizik passed away early Monday morning. The university did not release any other details about her death, but said in a statement that the Chizik family "appreciate[s] the prayers and support that have been sent from the Auburn family."
Coach Chizik said the same in his Tuesday news conference.
"It's been quite challenging. I do want to say on an encouraging note, it was really good to hear from so many great Auburn people who were very supportive, people outside the Auburn family as well," Chizik said.
The Tigers coach thanked the media for respecting the family's wishes for privacy. He then turned the conversation toward his team's upcoming game against Texas A&M.
Chizik says the game will be a great challenge for his team and said the Tigers will have their work cut out for them when they face the Aggies this Saturday. Chizik said A&M was "explosive offensively" and very aggressive on defense, with an elaborate defensive scheme that allows them to be very productive. He said the Auburn Tigers will have challenges containing the Aggies' quarterback and going against their running game.
The head of the Auburn football program said he's looking forward to being at home for the next four games of the season.
"It's great to be home at Jordan-Hare for the next month, and this will be a great start to that month," he said.
Chizik said the game against Texas A&M will be "another great opportunity for us to get out there and try to improve Saturday."
In light of Auburn's 1-6 record and the worst start since 1952, Chizik spoke about the importance of taking it one day at a time and moving forward despite the difficulties.
"As the leader of Auburn football, I love my job. I love being a part of Auburn. It's all my responsibility. Have there been difficult times? Of course there have. But have there been some great times? Absolutely too," he said.
"I've got a lot of faith in these young guys, I've got a lot of faith in Auburn, I've got a lot of faith in our coaches, we gotta keep plugging along, we can't look back," Chizik said.
Kickoff time for the Auburn-Texas A&M game is set for 6 p.m. CT Saturday, Oct. 27.