From Amazin to Tragic

By Posted on: October 8th, 2012 in Football 11 Comments »
bell ark

How ironic that Saturday afternoon started by honoring a group of men who 40 years ago, accomplished more with less than any team in Auburn history. In a span of three hours, Auburn went from Amazin to plain tragic.

With a week off to rest and prepare for arguably the worst team in the SEC, Auburn was expected to embark on the road to redemption. It was a fresh opportunity to run the table in October and get itself back into the bowl discussion.

Fast forward 48 hours and now all the talk surrounds whether the 2010 National Coach of the Year should be given another season to right the ship. Not since a dreary day in New York back in 1929 have we seen fortunes drop so fast.

It’s impossible to put into words the systematic failure of this program over the past two years. Perhaps these numbers from Stat Tiger over at AuFamily.com sum it up best:

  • Auburn has scored a total of 15 offensive touchdowns during their last 10 conference games and 5 of those came against Ole Miss last season.
  • Auburn’s opponent has averaged more yards on first down plays (than AU) in 17 of the last 22 games, which includes 10 of the last 11 games.
  • In only two of Auburn’s last 16 games, have they registered more tackles for loss than their opponent. Their opponent has consistently won the line of scrimmage.

  • During the 28 conference games under Gene Chizik, Auburn has recorded more tackles for loss than their opponent only 5 times.
  • In 9 of their last 16 games, Auburn has been shutout during the 4th quarter.
  • During the past two seasons, Auburn has been outscored in the second quarter, 146 to 67 and 100 to 54 during the 4th quarter.

Auburn is on the cusp of hitting numbers not seen in East Alabama since the 1950’s. Only four other Auburn teams have started the year 1-4; and none of them went on to win more than four games in those seasons.

How can a program sink so fast?

It’s a question being asked in every corner of the state today. There are no easy answers. Simply crediting Cam Newton and Nick Fairley for 2010 is neither fair nor accurate. This staff deserves to be judged for their entire tenure at Auburn.

Gene Chizik deserves credit for 2010 more than anyone else. He also deserves the blame for 2012, which brings us back to now.

While the words “Auburn Defense” and “great” will never be used in the same sentence, Brian VanGorder’s unit is not the reason Auburn sits at the bottom of the SEC.

Chizik’s choice of Scott Loeffler as offensive coordinator may end up being his Waterloo.

It was a bold risk. Loeffler brought a reputation of developing quarterbacks, including Tom Brady and Tim Tebow. What he lacked was significant coaching experience at the highest level.

Six weeks in, Loeffler has proven to be a failure at getting any quarterback ready and his management skills are now being called into question. To say he’s likely one-and-done at Auburn is an understatement.

The bigger question about Chizik’s future remains.

Speaking to David Housel in this week’s Auburn Football Illustrated column, former Auburn great and member of the 1972 Amazin’s team, Terry Henley, talked about Coach Jordan and their desire to be more than most thought they could be a year after Pat Sullivan and Terry Beasley departed.

“Looking back at the roster, reading over those names brings back laughter and chills,” said Henley.

“Stepping into the huddle in Jackson, Mississippi, on a hot September night with seven players that had never been in an SEC game and a quarterback with his jersey on backwards, it was truly amazing that Coach Jordan could get us all there by game time.

“But one thing about it, when that ball was snapped we were going to knock the hell out of somebody.”

Such a simple concept. But these days, it seems so hard to do.

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  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..”One and done.” Oh, how I wish that would happen…

  2. theboogins says:

    I’m no OC but isn’t the antidote to a strong rush to run screen passes or roll the QB out?

    Now we know how Brodie Croyle musta felt.

  3. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    There is still a whole season left. Someone mentioned bringing in an in-house mentor for Loeffler ( I vote for Acid to be the mentor…..moving on), but something NEEDS to be done to start getting us back on track NOW. If Chiz can’t start making these adjustments now, without throwing anyone under the bus (he did think Loeffler was ready), then he doesn’t deserve another year. We are entirely too talented of a team to be in this kind of tailspin.

  4. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    It was because of injuries.

    ??

    It was because kids didn’t make grades.

    ??

    It was because Alabama stole our recruits.

    ??

    It was because of how Tuberville left Auburn.

    ??

    It was because Auburn went after the high caliber players instead of players with character.

    ??

    We have a lot of season left – they can STILL turn this around.

    ??

    AU can’t afford to fire Chizik… not with his buy out.

    ??

    AU can’t afford to keep Chizik…. not if it wants to stop repeating what its currently experiencing.
    ??

    I come to one terrible answer. I’m so glad I don’t run an atheletic department. Can you imagine the issues that Jacobs is facing right now. His own job is in jeapordy… somehow by hiring Gene Chizik and the fact that AU installed the spread we somehow lost our way in how to play football. Poor Jacobos, that’s not even the worst…. we just built a gazillion dollar basket ball stadium and STILL can’t compete in the SEC. Good thing we got…. baseb……swimming.

    I think AU has some soul searching to do. We are at the BOTTOM tier of the SEC for a reason. And probably have been sliding there since 2008. I don’t see us coming back ANYTIME soon. I have resigned myself to that fate. In fact, I figured that I am responsible because I placed AU sports so high in my life. Well, I am working to correct myself first and I figure AU sports will take care of itself.

    Why?

    You ask questions or talk about the coach or the program and suddenly folks question your fandome. Even if AU had the money and fired Chizik today – who are we going to get? Turner Gill? Chizik stays or goes Who cares! Maybe the thing we are all being taught is humility?

    I don’t think AU football will change until we all do some soul searching and re-commit to what got us here. If you are looking for fairness with Alabama – you might as well ask for world peace because it just isn’t going to happen. What are they being taught? Perhaps the same thing – humility. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor.

    WDE

  5. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Unfortunately, the title of this article says it all.

  6. spanky says:

    As much as I hate to say this because this staff has brought in a tremendous amount of talent to Auburn, but if you have top notch talent and can’t win…..it’s probably not the players fault and it may be time for major changes not just coordinators. Thank you for the National Championship, but it looks like Newton, Fairley and Dyer did it without the coaches. The coaches just brought them here. On a side note it seems that we switch offenses way too much to get any consistensy going…which is also on the coaches. When you recriut players for certain schemes and then switch, you’re playing behind the eight ball. War Eagle. Lets turn this around.

    • Bren Dekura Bren Dekura says:

      Jay Jacobs is who needs to go. Our ‘Big Three’ sports are atrocious.

    • Bren Dekura Bren Dekura says:

      Think Dan Mullen would switch jobs? lol Miss State is doing well, but Auburn definitely has a higher ceiling.

  7. DothanTiger DothanTiger says:

    Ironic indeed, If this group could only get some of the passion of the Amazins.

  8. JCforAU says:

    Don’t you guys see that there are but a few simple causes to this problem.

    1. Recruit talent for spread offense, change to pro style which players don’t fit or can’t perform. I have not doubt Frazier would do just fine in a spread offense. He just can’t see the field quickly enough under the current scheme. He spent his entire football life playing from the shotgun….
    This is a coaching problem.

    2. Recruit talent for talent regardless of morality of character. We lost site of insulating our program from cancerous pre madonna talent whose selfish actions continuously undermine the success of the team.
    This is a coaching problem.

    3. No passion. There is no visual passion by anyone on the field. We saw a hint of it during the LSU game, despite our abysmal offensive performance. But Chizik never shows any emotion. I watched a video this weekend of Muschamp after Florida’s win over LSU in the locker room. He huddled his guys around and the did a stage dive into them. Now that’s passion. And I don’t only mean to the positive. You should be as passionate about a defensive stop or offensive production as you are the failures to create either of those. Saban looks like he is going to have a heart attack when someone fails him. I’m not saying that I like his environment, but I certainly appreciate his passion. Chizik just looks like he’s resigned to the fact that we are terrible. I know it’s not possible….but it sure comes off that way.
    This of course is a coaching problem.

    • Bren Dekura Bren Dekura says:

      I’ve always been offput by Chizik’s lack of emotion. It seems that the team has absorbed some of this into their overall demeanor.