In some ways, I feel like we’re getting to observe a controlled experiment with the hires of Junior and Chizik. Both are taking over programs that have slid recently. Both have followed a similar model of hiring head coaches with less than impressive resumes from a won/loss standpoint. Both have blown tons of money assembling staffs. Both have coordinators on those staffs that the fan bases are pinning most of their hopes on.
So what’s different, you ask? Well, whereas the Laner is brash and even reckless on occasion, Chizik couldn’t be more bland and uncontroversial in his public behavior.
Take for example this exchange.
… Anyway, I asked him about his thoughts about Alabama getting placed on NCAA probation last week as a result of the textbook fiasco.
Chizik approached it with a stiff-arm reminiscent of the Heisman Trophy.
“I’ve got my own issues at Auburn,” Chizik said deftly. “I just worry about Auburn.”
Still, any time something negative happens to your rival can usually be a positive, right? Especially in the Alabama-Auburn rivalry (or Auburn-Alabama)?
Chizik wasn’t biting.
“I just worry about Auburn,” he said. “I’ve got issues every day.”
Borrrring. Junior would have been all over that fastball down the middle, to the delight of Vol fans (and bloggers) everywhere.
In the end, will their approaches make any difference? Over time, not nearly as much as the wins will, but with all the current talk in Knoxville about exciting the fan base, it’s worth watching in the short run, anyway.