I won’t beat a dead horse with how awful things are. I’ve done my share of that to-date and it’s getting repetitive. Instead I’d like to look at what Chizik has recently said about Wallace and some coaching avenues to be explored.
Chizik on Wallace after the A&M game – “you can’t throw everything at a young guy and expect him to be able to execute at all.” My issue with this is that they took Wallace’s redshirt away and haven’t invested much in him. He ran a few ‘wildcat’ plays for all that? We have a good handful of running backs that could have done the same, leaving Wallace out of harms way. Outside of A&M I don’t think the guy even had a chance at setting up any sort of a passing game. I do understand that the other QB options have been so terrible that practice time is needed on the starter week to week for better preparations, leaving Wallace mostly out of the mix learning ‘the system’ in full. But, maybe NOW the coaches can focus on getting Wallace more practice time in the passing game each week and maybe even let him play the majority of New Mexico St. and Alabama A&M, while plugging him into the UGA and Bama games. I surely don’t want to have him killed by the wolves of UGA and Bama, but he needs all the experience he can get heading into the offseason. Let’s face it, our QB options for next year are terrible as things stand. Wallace will have to take the reigns as a Sophomore unless we pick up a JUCO guy or transfer we can plug in right away.
Now, onto coaching.
Chizik: The case for Chizik is that a new AD hire would likely need a bit of time to really evaluate the situation and time to pick out a splash hire if Chizik is to be fired after one more year. Making rushed choices all at once could be bad too: a new AD, a new Coach, a new philosophy, etc… That’s a lot to digest for anyone. This also looks like a Greg Schiano situation: meaning a good coach really needs time to come in, develop players and a system in place beyond one or two years. Chizik, believe it or not, is in that type of situation. He’s been able to bring in some players over the past couple years but still has a brand new coaching staff trying to implement their systems with the players on hand. Let’s be honest – yes, the National Championship was great and was won with great players, but they weren’t players that Chizik brought in, developed over time and matured into a new system. Cam and Fairley were special players, transfers that blossomed quickly. Greg Schiano had four losing seasons before he turned the corner. Outside of a great 2006 campaign, Rutgers were just above average. YES, it was Rutgers, but Schiano needed that time to develop his system with players he brought in. Schiano had good recruiting too but still underachieved early on. He did well and took those talents to the NFL. I’m not patient with ‘our’ situation, I’m merely making some parallel observations to ease some pain.
Greg Schiano: Might as well parlay that talk into Auburn’s coaching options. Saban and Spurrier can both tell you how brutal the NFL can be, but they can also tell you that the SEC is a place with great recruits and great tradition that it’s the pinnacle of all college football right now and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that success? Schiano may very well be the next College>NFL>College coach to come on back. This year might be too soon for this hire to be made, but if Chizik stays on one more year, the options in replacements change too. Schiano proved he can take a slumping program and turn it around. If he can do it at Rutgers, then why not Auburn?
Chris Petersen: C’mon Man! Give this guy some SEC talent and he might just reach new heights. Boise St. has been on the map and they’ll never get over that hump outside of the SEC. Petersen would be a great Offensive minded coach, with a fantastic resume to right the ship at Auburn. This is Petersen’s chance for titles.
Josh McDaniels: It might be tough to sway a full time NFL guy out of the league, but he’s dabbled in head coaching and is part of a very impressive coaching tree that involves Saban and Belichick. An offensive minded guy that might be able to break back into an NFL head coach position if he can come in and win at Auburn. Success breeds success – Josh may be the guy to help us out.
Mark Helfrich: Oregon’s offensive coordinator has been a hot commodity in the shadows. With He’s part of the year in, year out success story at Oregon but remains a tad under the radar due to Chip Kelly’s reign over the media as an offensive guru. Again, Mark is part of something great and he cannot be overlooked as an offensive success story that can do battle with the tools of the SEC.
Jason Garrett: Thinking outside of the box here. He’s an offensive guy atop America’s Team. His days may be numbered, but his talents might be overshadowed by the plethora of ‘average’ surrounding the Cowboys depth chart.
This really brings up the notion of what other NFL offensive guys might be splash hires for an SEC contender? I’m not sold on any of these coaches, but rather am drumming up as much speculation as to who might be available, willing or in need of a high-profile SEC head coach position. I’m no insider expert on these matters.