Category Archives: Gene Chizik Is The Chiznit

Tales from the recruiting trail: just because it’s funny doesn’t mean it ain’t true.

Jordan Jenkins tells a story that shows Gene Chizik to be pretty adept at negative recruiting in a lighthearted way:

“… When coach Gene Chizik was comparing Auburn and Alabama, he put up a slide that showed they had more wins, more this and that … then he started talking about Florida and how Will Muschamp follows in his shoes. I started busting out laughing. He said ‘When I was at Auburn the first time [as an assistant] and after I left, Muschamp came here. Then I was at Texas and after I left, Muschamp came there.’ He went on and on. He said ‘Muschamp just follows in my footsteps’ and it was hilarious the way he said it.”

Boom!  Jenkins qualified it by saying “This wasn’t meant to be as insulting as it sounds”, but I thought it came out just right.  In fact, he could have made an even stronger point by noting which of the two were on staffs which won national titles during that period.

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What a difference a year makes

No, I’m not talking about Mark Richt and Georgia.  I’m talking about the hand that Gene Chizik now finds himself playing.  He’s gone from the man hoisting the crystal football to the man who’s overall record is being questioned again.

… All due respect to a guy only a year removed from a national title, but why should anyone believe that Chizik will experience long term, sustained success as a major college head coach?

I ask because as of now, he hasn’t proven anything. Remove that 14-0, Cam Newton-produced season last year and Chizik is an unremarkable 20-29 as a head coach.

It’s not just that this season was disappointing.  It’s that the offseason is proving even more difficult.

… Florida State’s Mark Stoops “is not planning to leave for Auburn or any other university,”according to a story by the Tallahassee Democrat today.

That leaves Auburn coach Gene Chizik still in need of replacements for former defensive coordinator Ted Roof and soon-to-be-departed offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.

Auburn, or a representative, had discussed the job with Stoops, at least at some level. It’s not clear if he had an offer.

Chizik, who’s been juggling duties as head coach, defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and recruiter, can concentrate more on the hiring process after this weekend. Coaches can’t recruit on the road after midnight tonight, and can’t contact recruits after midnight Sunday.

Saturday’s coaching search update?

“I feel like we’re in the right direction. There is no timetable,” Chizik said. “After tonight, after I won’t be able to go out on the road recruiting, obviously I’ll be able to put more time towards getting our team ready and doing all my homework on my coordinators.”

So it’s been recruiting prioritized over getting the staffing settled. You can probably guess the punchline coming here.

Yep – the top recruit in Auburn’s class, running back T.J. Yeldon, switched his commitment yesterday to Alabama.  And since the down period has hit, Auburn can’t even contact Yeldon to discuss it.  Yeldon’s planning on being an early enrollee, which means he signs in two weeks.  He’s a lost cause at a position of need, given the rumors surrounding Dyer and McCalebb.

Track ‘em Tigers speculates that Yeldon’s change of heart doesn’t pass the smell test, but as someone who’s followed a program that’s recently received the benefit of Alabama’s, um… special attention in recruiting, I would suggest that badly misses the mark.  Auburn’s an easy target for negative recruiting right now, with a season that ended with several lopsided defeats, a coaching staff in flux (along with rumors that Chizik interfered with Malzahn’s gameplanning), top players leaving the program and questions about whether Cam made the program or the program made Cam.

Chizik’s got to land two solid replacements for Roof and Malzahn and to coach his team to a competent victory in the bowl game to recover some traction to close out Auburn’s recruiting class decently and to build some momentum for next season.  The West won’t be getting any easier in 2012 and if Auburn doesn’t appear to be heading in the right direction soon, it’s not going to be pretty on the Plains.

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Sometimes coaching genius isn’t enough.

Kevin Scarbinsky notes Auburn’s remarkable statistical decline this season from 2010:

This team has given up 52 more points than it’s scored this season. This team is on pace to give up more points than the 2009 defense, the worst in school history. This team has scored an astounding 335 fewer points than last year when the offense set the school scoring record.

Unless I’m missing something there, that means Chizik and Roof are in the process of presiding over the two worst defensive scoring seasons in Auburn’s history.  (And it’s not like 2010 was any great shakes either.)  Ouch.

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That win looks a lot better now.

Granted, Ole Miss does have a helluva punt team.  But how bad are things for the Nuttster to be getting patronized by a guy who used to coach Iowa State for a living?

(h/t Jason Kirk)

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NCAA to Chizik: it’s not over until we say it’s over.

It’s hard to say whether this exchange was born from innocence or arrogance, but it probably wasn’t the brightest move on the part of the Auburn head coach:

… Julie Roe Lach, the N.C.A.A.’s vice president for enforcement, made a presentation to the group, which included every men’s basketball coach, football coach and athletic director in the conference. When she opened up the room for discussion, Auburn’s football coach, Gene Chizik, raised his hand first.

He peppered Roe Lach with a flurry of questions about the N.C.A.A.’s investigation into Cam Newton and why the N.C.A.A. had not publicly announced that the investigation was over. Chizik complained that the inquiry’s open-ended nature had hurt Auburn’s recruiting and he followed up at least three times, leading to a testy exchange.

“You’ll know when we’re finished,” Roe Lach told Chizik, according to several coaches who were at the meeting. “And we’re not finished.”

As amazed as I am that Chizik would try to show her up in front of other coaches like that, you know what really amazes me?  How a story like that – again, in front of witnesses – doesn’t get reported until a month later by the New York Times.  What were all the southern fried reporters doing then, getting suntans?  Or, worse, did some of them sit on this?

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Tuesday morning buffet

Tasty morsels from the world of college football:

  • This can’t be good“UT now has just eight scholarship seniors, and more than 70 percent of the roster is freshmen and sophomores.”
  • Gene Chizik blames his higher-ups at Iowa State for the unpleasantness surrounding his departure.  Nice.
  • Paul Westerdawg returns to a subject I’ve harped on here:  accountability.
  • There sure are a lot of factors complicating Big East football expansion.  And the conference turned down a $1 billion TV package from ESPN?  Dayum.
  • Speaking of TV packages, it’s probably a good thing Georgia Tech isn’t in the Big East right now.  The Jackets need every penny of that ACC broadcast revenue.
  • Leather Helmet Blog scouts the South Carolina defense.
  • Is Chip Kelly really this stupid?  Or does he just think the NCAA is?

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Chizik: no worries, mon.

Since I know nobody reading here is going to rush out and buy Gene Chizik’s memoirs, let me just end the suspense for you right now:  he was never worried about losing Cam Newton to suspension.

“If we’d had any level of concern regarding Cameron’s eligibility, we would not have put him on the field and risked forfeiting games for playing an ineligible player,” he wrote.

Hurp… durp… wait a minute… wasn’t… oh, yeah.

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is eligible to play in the SEC title game this weekend, though the NCAA says his father broke rules by shopping his son to another school.

The NCAA released its finding in a statement Wednesday. The college sports governing body had concluded Monday that a violation of Newton’s amateur status had occurred. Auburn declared Newton ineligible Tuesday and requested his eligibility be reinstated.

I’ve given up trying to parse this.  Besides, Chizik only devotes two pages out of the entire 282-page magnum opus to the Newton story.  If he doesn’t think it’s a big deal, why should we?

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There ain’t enough room in the state for both of ‘em.

Shorter Kevin Scarbinsky:  if Jay Jacobs were a neutral observer like I am, he’d kiss Nick Saban’s arse, too.

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“Being great is what?”

Auburn, the next thing on your shopping list should be an editor for Gene Chizik.

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The morning after on the Plains

With Friday’s dismissal of the four players arrested on armed robbery charges, Gene Chizik’s got a helluva job ahead of him.  And, no, it’s not making people like Scarbinsky happy.  It’s this:

The arrests and quick dismissal of four Auburn football players won’t dramatically change the Tigers’ 2011 opening day lineup, but it has created more holes on a roster that will be radically different than the one that won the national championship eight weeks ago.

The Tigers have lost at least 32 players since they beat Oregon for the BCS title, including five players who have been dismissed following arrests in the last two weeks. [Emphasis added.]

The good news there is that the dismissed kids didn’t make the situation much worse.  The bad news is that the roster was already thinned out before the arrests.

… Auburn returns only three starters on offense and three on defense, and neither of its kickers.

The Tigers must replace their top passer and rusher, in quarterback Cam Newton; three of their four top receivers; and seven of their top nine tacklers.

The high-profile work will come when the Tigers seek to replace their three juniors who have left for the NFL draft. Gone are Newton, defensive tackle Nick Fairley and wide receiver Darvin Adams and their considerable statistics. Auburn is also losing 24 seniors, 20 of whom either started or played a significant role last season.

Piece of cake.

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