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And So the Search Begins……

By on November 25th, 2012 in Member Post 11 Comments »

Well, it’s official.  Auburn is now coachless once again.  Most know that I have been very vocal on here all of last year and this year of my extreme dislike of Gene Chizik.  Make no mistake about it, his firing is a good thing.  The program had been sliding backwards ever since he showed up, with the exception of 2010, despite all the highly touted recruiting classes.  Once Malzhan and Cam Newton left, it was indeed proven that the guy at the airport was right, as was his 5-19 head coaching record at Iowa State.   Chizik is just a straight up bad football coach. 

That being said, that does not mean he does not deserve some praise.  First and foremost, despite the fact that Chizik is a lousy football coach, he is a good man.  There is no doubt about this.  There was a reason that so many highly touted kids came to Auburn.  It was Chizik’s ability to make them and their parents feel like they could trust him.  He was good at that.  I also honestly believe that, despite the results on the field and the numerous discipline problems in the offseason, Chizik never stopped trying to do the right thing.  Of course, he had some really bad ideas, (such as the no-matter-what-4-year-scholarship thing), and was very wrong in not giving these kids a bit more structure and discipline, but he honestly believed he was doing the right thing and was honestly trying to do well for the kids.  For that I commend him. 

It is pretty much a consensus among the Auburn faithful that Gene Chizik is a good man, and in that respect he did the university proud.  For that, I thank him, and wish him the very best in the future.  

But, as most everyone agreed, it was time for him to go.  Despite the fact that he was a man of the highest character, he really sucked at his job as a football coach and was absolutely not suited to head a major college football program.  So, he’s been sacked, and now the questions of who is going to replace him begin.  There are quite a few names out there, some far more likely than others.  I’ve got them divided up and will give my opinion on each, as well as what I’ve been hearing from my sources both in real life and in the blogosphere. 

Likely Candidates:

1.  BOBBY PETRINO  

In my opinion, this is the guy we are most likely going to get, for a multitude of reasons.  First, he’s the biggest name we’re going to be able to get right now.  Auburn needs a proven, tested winner to compete with Satan and the turds, and Petrino would definitely fit that bill.  It’s also been rumored that the Auburn job is the job that Petrino covets most, and there has been a contingent of bigwig boo$ters that have wanted Petrino ever since Jetgate.  There will never be a better chance to get him.  Also, despite whatever questions there are about his character, there is no doubt whatsoever that he is not only the best playcaller in college football, he is quite simply one of the best offensive minds out there.  Auburn needs a good offensive coach, in my opinion.  Our greatest success offensively was with Gus Malzhan running the show, and Petrino is arguably even a better mind than Malzhan.  Petrino’s lack of character and troubles in the past give rise to the final reason that I think he’ll most likely be our next coach:  we can get him cheap.  His contract will have a modest salary compared to what he had been making, little to no buyout, and will be rife with good behavior clauses.  We’ll be getting a top tier coach for a relatively low salary, thanks to his past troubles.  That’ll help absorb the $11 million plus it is costing the university to fire the current staff.  For all these reasons, Petrino makes the most sense.  I know a lot of people won’t like it, but I’d bet he’s going to be it. 

2.  GUS MALZHAN

Malzhan is number 2 behind Petrino simply because of money.  He’s going to cost more to get, can demand more in salary, and will cost more to get rid of.  Coaching wise, though, I would be quite happy with Gus.  He has SEC experience, ties to Auburn, and we all know his offensive coaching prowess, (when he doesn’t have a head coach like Chizik all up in his business).  He’s winning and looking good at Arkansas State right now, and has proven that he can, in fact, be a successful head coach.  It remains to be seen how well he would do in the SEC, but he’s been there before, and his offensive coaching and playcalling led Auburn to the highest numbers in its history.  The only potential problems with Malzhan are financial, as I said earlier.  We can get Petrino cheaper, and sign him to a contract that is much more favorable to the university, whereas Malzhan will not only cost more, we might have to compete with Arkansas for his services.  All that being said, though, I would be quite happy with him as a hire.

3.  JIMBO FISHER (outside chance)

I don’t think Fisher is going to leave FSU, even though there is a vocal group in the good ol’ boys club that wants him.  Fisher is not a bad coach, but I think he’d be Tuberville 2.o.  The biggest problem I had with Tubs is that his teams would come out some weeks looking like world beaters, and then come out some weeks looking like Troy.  Jimbo is the same way.  Just like Tubs, it seems like there are always 1 or 2 games a year where his teams just look like complete crap, no matter how good they are.  Tubs always seemed to lose 1 or 2 games he never should have lost every year, despite getting some big wins against teams that were clearly better than Auburn, and Jimbo looks the same way.  FSU was a much better team than Florida this weekend, but for some reason, FSU’s offense decided not to show up.  That is purely the fault of the coaches, namely Jimbo.  He’d be an upgrade from Chizik, no doubt, but I’d much rather have Petrino or Malzhan than him.

UNLIKELY CANDIDATES AND LONGSHOTS

1.  CHARLIE STRONG

He wouldn’t be that bad, but we won’t get him.  His name is popping up in our search lists, and Louisville has already publicly stated that they are going to do whatever it takes to keep him.  They have the money to do it, too.  I don’t think we are going to get into a bidding war with anybody after spending $11 million bucks firing the last guys.  Of the unlikely guys, Strong would be my first choice.  I’d rather have him than Jimbo Fisher, but I wouldn’t take him over Malzhan or Petrino.  

2.  KIRBY SMART

The fact that this is Pat Dye’s choice is reason enough to say hell no, but there are more.  Kirby Smart is unproven as a head coach, and even with all the turds’ talent, I question his ability.  I’d also say this to you:  Name ONE Nick Saban assistant that has gone on to be a successful head coach.  Jimbo Fisher comes to mind, but his career success remains to be seen, plus Jimbo was an assistant at Auburn before he went to LSU to be with Satan.  Once again, Pat Dye needs to shut the hell up and go away.  His idiocy has cost this program so much since his retirement.  I sure hope history doesn’t repeat itself yet again. 

3.  JEFF FISHER

Keep dreaming kids, this ain’t gonna happen.  There is no way in hell that he would leave an NFL job to become the head coach of the embattled Auburn program.  He’s cost upwards of 8 to 9 million a year, with a super favorable to him contract, and I’d imagine the good ol’ boys club knows they would have ZERO control over him, and they won’t like that.  This rumor is surfacing because his son is a sophomore on the team, and his daughter also attends the university, and he spends a lot of time around Auburn when it’s not football season, but I’m telling you, this ain’t gonna happen.  I’d give it a 1 in 1000 chance. 

I’m sure there are other names that people have been throwing around, but these are the main ones.  However, judging from Chizik’s demeanor, I think he’s known he was getting the boot for weeks now.  If that is the case, I’m also willing to bet that the university already knows exactly who they want.  Oh sure, they’ll put on the dog and pony show of interviewing, searching, and saying the right things, but I think they already have their guy picked out, and I’d bet my next paycheck it’s Bobby Petrino, for all the reasons I listed above. 

From what I’m reading and hearing, this is gonna happen fast, possibly within the week.  I’m also hearing that Jay Jacobs’ days are numbered as well, and that he will have very little say on the hire.  Gogue is making the ultimate decision, with input from both the ‘committee’ they are putting together, as well as various other bigwigs behind the scenes.  The only reason Jacobs still has a job is the fact that they are not going to fire a state employee  just a few months before he is eligible for his 25 year retirement.  I hope that is true, because he needs to go even more than Chizik did. 

It’s refreshing also that Tim Jackson has been ‘reassigned’ in his duties, and will no longer have ANYTHING to do with the football program.  Depending on how much of this is rumor and how much is fact, so far things are looking good. 

It’s going to be an interesting week or two coming up.  I’m on the edge of my seat, and am hopeful that the right decisions will be made.  Chzik’s firing was a good start, but we still have a long way to go.  Let the house cleaning begin, and let’s hope that we don’t find any roaches. 

War Eagle!

11 Comments

  1. mikeautiger says:

    It maybe true, but what I have found is it rarely is the guy the pendants think will get the job, gets the job. I hope for AUs sake this is true in this case and Patrino can go to some left coast school where his low morals will be tolerated.

    • CapnVegetto says:

      This is true, but I think this time the bigwigs know that their asses are on the line with this hire. They can’t afford to take a chance on another no-name hoping for a diamond in the rough. If they blow this, they are as good as fired. I think they’ll be going for a name and trying to keep the pundits happy.

  2. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Okay. I read the list.

    First, you can say you want Bobby Petrino till the cows come home… he will not be at AU no matter what. What he did will not fly with AU in the bible belt. PERIOD. He is a liar and he is an adulterer. That is the kiss of death. You can’t do what he did and expect another SEC team to pick him up. Besides, he hasn’t been able to coach and win at the top level. And say what you want… the team that went 4-7 was his team.

    Gus Malzahn? Nope. Why? His wife. It’s that simple. She is wierd. And it reflects on him directly. The viral video happened while he was at AU. He won’t be back.

    While you have outside chance with Jimbo Fisher and then list others as even longer shots, I think you are looking at this all wrong. I think the rest of the people you list including Fisher are legitimate contenders. I also happen to agree with some that the list will include the likes of:

    1) Larry Fedora (UNC)
    2) James Franklin (Vandy)
    3) Gary Patterson (TCU)
    4) Willie Taggert (Western Kentucky)

    I would also say that the list will be slightly bigger than this. There is probably a candidate or two that AU will look at that isn’t on this list. Ultimately I suspect AU will pick a no-name person along the likes of Terry Bowden simply because history has a way of repeating at Auburn. The only way that doesn’t happen is with the likes of Jackson and Sullivan being on the committee.

    We will see what happens.

    Jacobs indicated that there wasn’t a time table involved but I respectfully disagree. I think there is. It will be a race to get a coach picked and announced. Recruiting is key to AU’s survival. As I have stated repeatedly AU will be rebuilding for the next five years (if we are lucky). It takes time to change the mindset that Chizik enabled at Auburn.

    I think we lose 5-10 players from our roster. And I also think we lose 5 or 6 top recruits from this years stable that was developed by Chizik. But that is a cost that must be endured. No matter who coaches at AU will have to redefine AU football. And part of that comes in discipline.

    That said, depending on how the NCAA investigation goes… I think AU will probably land on its feet. Firing Chizik (and subsequently Taylor and Luper) was probably part of the deal to limit any kind of sanctions on AU. When Jacobs said that these coaches would get their money regardless… I think it has already been worked out. But that is a guess on my part.

    I don’t have a favorite. Who ever is picked has a daunting task. They must recruit well and compete with the likes of Nick Saban. Pardon the pun, but it will take a lot of luck and hard work to turn the tide.

    There is someone out there that is capable in doing it. I firmly believe that…

    If I didn’t – why would I be an AU fan?

    WDE

    • CapnVegetto says:

      Much disagreement here.

      Petrino: Who cares if he screwed an intern? Would he be the first coach to do so? Would he be the first bible belt coach to do so? Maybe he just got caught. I don’t think people will care. If he wins, nobody cares. Look at the money aspect of it and argue that. You can’t. Everybody is bringing up character questions. I’m not arguing that he has low morals……no doubt he does. I just don’t think anybody will care if he wins. Any PR firm can come up with some BS statements about “personal growth” and “I’m not perfect”, and “I made a mistake.” All the usual BS talking points. He wins a few games, people will forget faster than you can say ‘big boobed blonde harley”.

      Malzhan: His wife is weird? No she’s not. She was the victim of a HEAVILY edited video put together by some piece of crap Bammer that was and is a waste of life. Watch the whole, unedited thing. It’s NOT that bad. On top of that, most of the Auburn faithful at the time were saying the same thing about that video I am saying now, i.e. they were defending her. And rightfully so. This is a non-issue.

      Other guys:

      Larry Fedora: don’t know anything about him. has he coached in the SEC? What’s his record? I haven’t seen his name anywhere.

      James Franklin: He’s a proven winner, and I forgot him on the list. I’ve seen his name, too. He’d be a good catch. Done REALLY well at Vandy this year.

      Gary Patterson: Not leaving TCU for us. No way.

      Willie Taggert: Oh GOD no. Another no-name. 6-5 this year, TOTALLY unproven coach. Never been to the bigtime. There is a chance he will be good in the future, but he is NOT READY to coach a bigtime college football program. I don’t want Auburn taking a chance on a no-name. I want someone with history, a proven winning record, experience in the SEC, and head coaching experience. We don’t need to take another chance on Chizik 2.0.

      That’s my ideas.

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        Then we will just have to disagree.

        Sorry.

        WDE

        • wde1988 wde1988 says:

          You get Petrino around the Auburn creed and I guess you win. I just don’t see how that can be done. You think Gouge is going to ok him? Besides… for all the talk about how he can coach… has he EVER won anything of any consequence? Hmm. Uh no… so why are you getting worked up over him??

          Add to that… what did he do to the ATL Falcoons?

          To review:

          1) Adulterer
          2) Liar
          3) Undependable
          4) Hasn’t won anything of consequence

          John L Smith took the wrap… but again that 4-7 team belonged to Bobby Petrino. Don’t forget that…

          And Gus… well. Let’s just say the highschool coach isn’t coming back. It doesn’t have to be about his wife… I can use some of the same argument above. What has he done as a headcoach? Uh… nothing. And while you say you know folks defending her about the tape…. I know just as many that said she was a whack job and it was time for Gus to be let go… I just do not see him coming back. I would say we would have more likelihood to go after Hugh Freeze before we went after Malzahn.

          Fedora coached at Southern Miss before he got the UNC job. Has he done anything? Well, he won and went to a bowl game at Southern Miss… that has to count for something.

          As for Gary Patterson… again, you can say he won’t leave TCU for AU… but when is TCU EVER going to be a part of the national conversation in the conference they are in? Uh…. never. I’d say if he is wanting to make a dent in the sport… and leave his mark…. he is just as apt to come to AU or UT or ARK or Kentucky as anyone else.

          And as for Willie Taggart… you might as well get used to no named coaches. You have had several at AU in the last 30+ years. Doug Barfield…. Terry Bowden…. Gene Chizik to name a few.

          Looking at NFL prospects… Jeff Fischer and Tony Dungee aren’t coming. But the guy at Tampa Bay might.

          I have heard Rich Rod’s name thrown around a few times. I guess you could add to that the guy at Ok State. But AU would have to compete with a billionares money to lure him away from the cowboys. I just don’t see it happening. But he is someone to consider. The point is that anything is possible.

          Truth of the matter is that regardless of who is selected… they will have to compete against the likes of Nick Saban, Les Miles, Mark Richt, Steve Spurrier, and Will Muschamp. That is a tall order. They better be able to stand up and be counted… or they too will be escorted out of AU on a rail.

          WDE

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  4. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Seriously, everyone put the bourbon or whatever down!

    1. The problem with Petrino is NOT that he’s an adulterer…that’s besides the point. This is not a puritanical issue. The problem IS that he HIRED HIS MISTRESS WITH STATE FUNDS. This opens up the state to numerous EXPENSIVE liabilities. That’s why Petrino is a nonstarter. Also, JetGate was the darkest hour in recent Auburn History. Anything associated with that is poisonous fruit-second reason why Petrino is a nonstarter. Also do you really see Bo and Pat signing off on Petrino? You think that the AU fanbase is angry now??? Petrino goes to Kentucky, if he goes anywhere in the SEC. Seriously, Capn. Petrino would be on a short leash–and who do you think would be holding the end of that leash??? Gogue? Nope the same jackloons that you have been ballyhooing for weeks now.

    2. Kristy Malzahn was a victim of a heavily edited video. Get over it.

    3. Jeff Fisher might want to coach a team that can actually win……the Rams? not so much.

    4. Let’s add Rich Rodriguez to the list….he coached with the Bowden family, and frankly knows how to take a program and build it. Our cheerleaders are attractive, so that’s an added bonus for him.

    5. My favorite long shot, pie in the sky coach is David Shaw. We don’t have a chance in hell, but a girl can dream, and dream big.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      While both of you may be right about the extremely heavily edited video…. let me just say I heard that is why he didn’t get the KSU and NCState jobs.

      Get over it. LOL.

      Jeff Fisher, Rich Rod, and David Shaw are all worthy hires. As far as I am concerned we would be blessed to get any of the three. Again, you might as well add Hugh Freeze or Dan Mullen to the list. I don’t need to say that going back to the well at Ole Miss would really piss off our friends in Oxford… and spiking the punch in Starkville…. well, it wouldn’t sit well there either. I just don’t know if I could ever get over his involvement in the Cam Newton scandal.

      WDE

  5. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Well reasoned stuff, Capt. Count me among those who think Gus is probably the most likely candidate. Petrino might be a better coach in terms of winning now, but then again… It’s going to take a while to get the guys coming back into shape. And hiring Petrino is going to hurt support and unity, even if he keeps his nose clean. And with his track record…