Auburn Battling Distractions as Texas A&M Game Approaches

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Auburn coach Gene Chizik is dealing with another blow during a miserable season.

Chizik said Tuesday it has been a significant challenge coping with the death of his mother, Rita, a day earlier. He says the outpouring of support from Auburn fans was encouraging, and there will be a private ceremony at some point though not necessarily this week.

It has been a trying four-plus months for Chizik and the Tigers since two former players were killed at a pool party near campus in June.

On the field, Auburn is 1-6 for its worst start in 60 years. The Tigers host No. 22 Texas A&M Saturday night.

Chizik deflects questions about the personal toll. He says he loves his job and refuses to take a "woe is me" outlook.

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