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.