Gene Chizik runs the most vanilla spring practice this side of the Mississippi. A-Day should be sponsored by Ambien. Those looking to glean anything about the team better have an insider. Somebody was venting the other day about ESPN not carrying the spring game. My response: Why would they?
That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Limited information and a snoozer of a spring game is part of Chizik’s process. Remember, he gave Cam Newton one series during his only A-Day appearance.
However, this year Chizik may have tipped his hat. Look closely and you begin to understand why he brought in Scot Loeffler as offensive coordinator.
Clearly, Chizik questioned the viability of the spread offense in the SEC. Sure it works when the talent level is deep on both sides of the ball. When it’s not, you lose to LSU by 35; Georgia by 38 and Alabama by 24 points.
A few more seasons like that and you’re back at Iowa State.
While that may be the long-term reason for Loeffler’s arrival, there’s a more pressing need for Loeffler’s talents now. It starts and ends at the quarterback position.
Contrary to Chizik and Loeffler saying the quarterback race is wide-open, both know there’s only one viable option at the position and that’s Kiehl Frazier.
Clint Moseley can get you some wins, but he’s not taking you to the top of the SEC West. Zeke Pike may be the answer two years from now, but you’ve got to get there first.
While Gus Malzahn is a brilliant X’s and O’s guy, Loeffler is known for his one-on-one work with quarterbacks. It’s the reason Tommy, as Loeffler calls him, returns to workout with him during the off-season.
I’m of course talking about Tom Brady.
Loeffler made headlines this week by saying that he’d wait on naming a starting quarterback.
“I don’t see any relevance in that (naming a starter) unless we have an established guy that has started for two or three years,” he said. “Then there’s some value to it, but that’s not our situation right now.”
Coach, with all due respect, we know coach-speak when we see it.
While Chizik may be a defensive genius, he’s smart enough to know that beating Arkansas, LSU and Georgia at home will depend on a mobile quarterback who can throw the football.
Frazier has the first part down. Loeffler is being paid a lot of money to make sure the second part comes along quickly. There’s no denying Chizik had Frazier in mind when he chose to pluck Loeffler away from Temple.
He knows he must compete consistently with Alabama and LSU. But most importantly, it starts with this season.
He’s putting all his offensive chips on these two individuals. This will be the storyline of the 2012 season. It likely will be the storyline for the next three years and ultimately define Chizik at Auburn going forward.
I like his chances.