Daily Archives: February 18, 2009

At Auburn, that’s how they roll these days.

Kevin Scarbinsky thinks he’s found a clue as to what makes Auburn’s new coaching staff special:  sartorial correctness.

… Chizik is 47, which makes him a puppy in Bobby Bowden years. With the exception of the 54-year-old Lolley, Chizik went for energy and enthusiasm over age and experience in hiring his assistants.

Consider the ages of the other Auburn football staffers:

Ted Roof: 45. Gus Malzahn and Curtis Luper: 43. Tracy Rocker: 42. Jeff Grimes: 40. Trooper Taylor and Tommy Thigpen: 38. Jay Boulware: 36.

That means the average age of the Auburn assistants is 42.

That means they’re less likely to get offended if a player wears his cap backwards and more likely to wear their own caps that way.

Because everybody knows that cap wear is the key to greatness. True dat.

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Filed under Gene Chizik Is The Chiznit, Media Punditry/Foibles

“Coach we want to come to Georgia.”

Sort of continuing on from the final point of my last post, I don’t think it behooves an organization to force loyalty through pressure tactics, whether by contract, or by hard salesmanship.  Along those lines, take a look at what Mark Richt has to say about how he recruits and handles commitments.

“When I talk to a young man, I’m not one to press a kid really really hard to commit. Because if he does, and I pushed him into it, then they usually walk out the door saying ‘Man, I don’t know if I should’ve done that or not.’ Automatically, they walk out the door with some kind of doubt. Our style is more to lay it out there, and say ‘If you want to [commit], that’s fantastic. We want your heart, we want you to be serious about it…”

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Lubbock showdown: start of a trend?

By now, you’re probably aware that Mike Leach let the deadline for signing his new contract with Texas Tech expire.  The powers that be at TTU are teleconferencing on Friday to discuss the situation.  Dennis Dodd thinks they will choose to fire Leach.

(As an aside – Craig Littlepage, ignore what Dodd says about Virginia not being a good match for Leach.  If he’s available and you let Al Groh go after this season, please grab Leach as fast as you can.)

There’s little doubt that Leach is, ahem, a bit quirky.  That’s OK by me, but then again, I’m not the athletic director.  But it’s kind of weird to be gearing up to can a guy who’s on pace to become your all time winningest coach, someone who’s made your football program nationally relevant and who graduates his players at an impressive rate.  On the other hand, Tech has invested an increasing amount of money in the football program since Leach became the head coach, so in terms of giving him support, it’s not like Texas Tech’s management hasn’t stepped up to the plate.

It’s always fascinating to me to watch dysfunctional situations like this fester for no logical reason.  A rational observer would conclude that there would seem to be plenty of room for both sides to compromise on the contract terms.  Then again, note Kirkendall’s point about it not being unreasonable for Tech to insist on a big buyout of Leach’s contract if he leaves so that it will have some resources available to it to attract a worthy replacement.  That sounds great, but keep in mind that TTU is on a course to fire Leach in the next week, which would mean that it would be on the hook for the balance of the current contract.  All of which leads me to think that there’s a certain amount of ego and animosity at work here – on both sides – that’s made this situation a lot worse than it ever should have been.

On the other hand, this columnist is ready to welcome our new athletic director overlords.  He thinks TTU is throwing down the gauntlet in an attempt to establish a new paradigm in how programs like Tech contract with their head coaches.

… At places such as Texas, Michigan and Alabama, where money is no object and the jobs are considered the plums of the coaching world, such contracts aren’t necessary. Coaches seldom leave such high-profile jobs on their own volition.

But athletic directors in the rest of the college world are starting to believe they should have a little more control over where their money is going. They also believe that at least some of the money their coaches make as a result of their connection to the university should go to the university, and they’re starting to think they deserve at least some notice — and a say in the matter — if their coaches plan on using their schools as springboards.

It’s a sticky subject. If Myers gets his way at Tech, you can bet plenty of other athletic directors around the nation will pay close attention, and do their best to work similar clauses into future contracts.

Coaches seldom leave such jobs on their own volition?  Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban might disagree with that.  And this guy’s being more than a little disingenuous when he discusses what happened at Boston College earlier this year.  It’s not like Jagodzinski wound up on a corner somewhere selling pencils – he’s now the offensive coordinator at Jacksonville, a job that pays quite handsomely, thank you very much.  Leach isn’t likely to starve to death if TTU severs their relationship.

So pardon me if I’m a bit skeptical about this being the start of a new trend.   In the end, it’s counterproductive.  If a coach wants to go, it doesn’t seem to be the best strategy to force him to stay.  How well are things going to turn out for a football program run by a coach who resents being there?

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UPDATE: This blogger thinks the deadline is a farce.  If that’s the case, management ought to concede right now.  As a negotiating tactic, setting a deadline and then backing down from it is pretty much an admission of weakness in bargaining position.

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UPDATE #2: SI.com’s Andy Staples has a good summary of where things stand.

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UPDATE #3: And ESPN’s Tim Griffin makes an interesting point regarding the dispute over the marketing clause TTU wants in Leach’s new contract.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Mike Leach. Yar!