No Doubt Changes Must be Made…..But How to Go About It?
Most of you are well aware that I have an unlimited ride pass on the ‘Fire Chizik’ bandwagon. But a lot of recent things I have read both on here and on the rest of the blogosphere have got me thinking. Is firing Chizik at the end of the year the right thing to do? As the title reads, there is no doubt that the program is in shambles, and some serious changes have to be made. But what changes? How do we go about it?
I agree with most on here that firing Chizik mid-season would be a mistake. It would kill recruiting and cause even more chaos among a program that is already at DefCon 1. Chizik can and should finish out the season, no matter how bad it gets. However, once the clock ticks down to zero after our yearly meeting with the turds, all bets are off.
Chizik is on thin ice, most media outlets agree. But a few of the writers on here have made very good points. If we fire this coach 2 years after a MNC, it would set a dangerous precedent. Our situation could be reminiscent of the revolving coordinators situation in the waning years of Tuberville’s tenure. Another example would be the whole Tony Franklin mess, which has been mentioned more than once, although I STILL don’t necessarily blame Franklin for the problems any more than I blame Gus Malzhan for the poor offensive showing last year. Both situations had one common denomonator: A defensive background head coach sticking his nose where it didn’t belong. But I digress….
Back on point. To me, the one thing that HAS to happen at the end of this year is the firing of Jay Jacobs. As long as JJ is the athletic director, we will continue to have the same problems. We can fire Chizik, but if we don’t fire Jacobs, he’ll just make another Chizik-esque hire, and we’ll be right back in the same boat we’re in now. Jacobs’ tenure as Auburn AD has seen multiple sports programs at Auburn go downhill, from football to swimming to pretty much every program at the University. His foolish mistakes have caused problems for pretty much every coach on campus, and he has alienated many past university associations that might have been good hires. (ahem…..Will Muschamp). It’s not just football, folks. Jay Jacobs was the guy that screwed up the pool length at the new aquatic center for what was at the time the best swimming program in the country, which resulted in running off the best swimming coach in the country. The idiotic blunders that this toolbag of an AD has made over his tenure warrented his firing a long time ago, but for some reason he has managed to hold on. This football season is just the latest example of his monumental ineptness.
Coach Loeffler is another problem. It is painfully obvious that he is in completely over his head. His playcalling is among the worst I have ever seen, (and most agree), and this supposed ‘Quarterback Guru’ has failed to produce anything even remotely resembling results in our QB recruits. Kiehl Frazier is riding the pine right now, due to his ineffectiveness this year, (although some claim he is injured), but I STILL don’t blame him. Kiehl Frazier is a kid that is caught in a bad situation. The coaches, namely Gene Chizik, have failed miserably to put him in a position to be successful with their short-sighted foolishness last year.
Almost every kid that plays QB in the SEC has to go through some growing pains. They get into the game, screw up, and learn from it. You can practice and scrimmage until you are blue in the face, but nothing prepares you for the pressures of a game like experience. I equate it to golf. I carry a +1 handicap and play in USGA qualifiers all the time. You can go out, practice y0ur tail off, play with your buddies and shoot 65 all day long, but until you actually tee it up in competition with other elite level players, you can’t understand what it feels like. But I can tell you this: the more you do it, the better you get. You begin to relax. You begin to enjoy it more. Each time the pressure gets to be a little bit less. Eventually you become hardened to the point to where you can play your best game in those circumstances. There’s a reason that the top level amateurs go to PGA events and shoot 84, when they are perfectly capable of shooting 68. It’s the same thing in football. Nothing could have prepared Kiehl Frazier more for this year than being the man last year. Because of Chizik’s short-sighted foolishness, he never got that chance, and his play this year is the result.
Kiehl isn’t done. He just needs time. I would bet every nickel I have that he’d be a leader right now had Chizik done what he should have done last year, though.
I’m agreeing with some of the people on here. Fire Jacobs ASAP. The rest of this year is written off as development. Fire or demote Loeffler now, because his failure is apparent. Hire a new, professional, hard-nosed AD. Have a meeting with Chizik and set goals. At the end of next year, either those goals are met, or he’s gone. Period.
Do what you can to keep Brian VanGorder. He is one of the few coaches that has done a good job. Perhaps even firing Chizik and promoting BVG is an option. But one thing should be completely clear: next year there had better be results, or he’s going to be looking on CraigsList for a coaching job.