As the 2011 season drew to a close, the suggestion that a year later Gene Chizik would be facing a less certain future than Ted Roof would have drawn chuckles, if not stares of outright disbelief. Yet, here we are.
AuburnUndercover.com, a subscription-based website operated by 247Sports, reported Thursday that school President Jay Gogue has informed some individuals on the Auburn board of trustees he “plans to possibly” replace Chizik, who coached the Tigers to the BCS national championship just two seasons ago. Auburn has gone 10-12 since the 2011 title game.
Nothing is official as of Thursday. Chizik made his regular weekly appearance on the Auburn Sports Network “Tiger Talk” radio show Thursday evening.
Gogue told some trustees he is considering forming a search committee for a new head coach “within days after the end of the season should the decision be made that Chizik will not be retained,” according to AuburnUndercover.com.
What Gogue does or doesn’t do isn’t of immediate interest. How the noise affects Auburn’s preparation for and play on Saturday is, though. If there’s a burning desire to save Chizik’s skin, then tomorrow’s game represents Auburn’s last and best hope: nobody’s gonna care about a win over Alabama A&M and this flawed Tigers team stands little chance on the road against the Crimson Borg. So it’s Georgia, which admittedly has had a propensity over the last couple of seasons to play down to the level of its opponent, or bust.
The problem for the Tigers is that they don’t match up well with what Georgia does well. And Georgia’s got something to play for tomorrow, too.
I’ve never been much of a believer in stand taking for an embattled coach – if that stuff really worked on a consistent basis, would Auburn be entering this game 2-7 in the first place? – but there’s a real easy way to make sure it’s not an issue. The Dawgs need to come out ready to play tomorrow night and take the crowd and the emotion out of the Auburn side early. It doesn’t really matter if the game is a rout. Simple control would be fine. It’ll be enough if ol’ Trooper has to keep his towel holstered. And have thoughts about needing to polish his resume before the third quarter is finished.