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Everyone needs to be in the same place for this to work
Tow the Line Edition
Every now and then, there are young men who let their egos get ahead of their good judgement and potential. Given an opportunity of a lifetime, they squander it in short-sighted incidents that trash any chance of achieving it. This is the challenge for coaches as they try to help 100 or so individuals in their charge navigate their young lives through the challenges in front of them. It’s a great responsibility, but in the end it is up to the individual himself to make the final decision on which path to choose.
And so it is for not only Duke Williams and Auburn, but three young defensive players at Alabama, suspended this week for “undisclosed team rule violations” the common euphemism usually given to immature judgement or plain old willful disobedience.
The key is how the coaching staff handles this, and not just for the benefit of the player in question. Every interaction and standard set for one individual is a message to the rest of the team on what the repercussions will be for them if they do similarly. If you set one standard for one player, that needs to be balanced by what you will do for ANY player who acts in the same manner. If there is the slightest perception of leniency in lieu of discipline based upon performance or importance to the lineup, the confidence in the coaching staff is at risk. If that risk is revisited often enough over time, catastrophic failure and loss of confidence is the usual result.
I’m pretty sure both Gus Malzahn and Nick Saban are well aware of this and have taken the right steps to alleviate the problems. Second and even third chances are a proven method of helping young men learn to manage their lives, but at a certain point as one of the Auburn Team Captains Jonathan Wallace pointed out during a press interview – “You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.”
Throughout the regular season Auburn will play twelve teams. I will track each of these teams throughout the season to help gauge how their seasons are progressing and how Auburn will/did do against them. If I see a trend or common thread, I’ll illustrate it in my analysis, noting what is working or not working for them, and how that may impact us in our upcoming games.
For those teams we’ve already played, I’ll do the same in relation to how well or poorly they played us.
As an overall grade of how interesting the game was, I’ll use the following scale:
!!! – Best game of the week
!! – Surprisingly good
! – Average to good
? – Why am I watching this?
?? – Who would watch this?
??? – WTH am I watching?
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