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Thinking Out Loud…

By on November 13th, 2012 in Football 43 Comments »

With the Auburn rumor mill going crazy on this Tuesday, here are some random thoughts on the football situation along with other observations about the SEC…

If I were a betting man, I’d say Jay Jacobs is going to retain his job as athletic director. It’s a move that will be highly unpopular with the Auburn faithful. I’ve been amazed at the number of people who want Jacobs gone as much or more than Gene Chizik.

Plain and simple, the majority of Auburn fans just don’t like Jay Jacobs. They don’t trust him to make the right decisions for Auburn Athletics. Fair or not, it’s the way people feel. If university president Jay Gogue decides to stick with him, it could put his own job in jeopardy sooner rather than later…

Despite the talk of evaluating his staff at year’s end, Gene Chizik knows the gig is up. David Housel has a saying that Auburn is at its best when it’s focused on Auburn. Chizik will likely lose his job because he was more focused on Alabama.

Moving away from the spread to a pro-style offense to better compete with Alabama was his Waterloo. Texas A&M proved Saturday that a hurry up, spread the field attack is the best way to beat a Nick Saban team. It’s also the best way to compete nationally…

All of these highly committed Auburn recruits saying they will look elsewhere should Chizik lose his job will have absolutely no effect on whether a change is made. Million dollar decisions are not made on the backs of high school kids…

Who’s in charge at Auburn? It’s a question you hear regularly and one nobody seems to be able to answer. With former trustee Bobby Lowder stepping back, there’s bound to be a struggle to fill his shoes. While we’re likely to never see another of Lowder’s type again, there’s always a point person among the boosters. That individual may surface in the coming days…

Gene Chizik hiring an outside security firm to monitor the actions of his players off the field was the dumbest coaching move I’ve seen in years and likely contributes to why the players have quit on him. Hey guys, I don’t trust you to do the right thing, but I want you to believe in me and play hard on Saturday’s. Yeah, right…

How’s this for a coaching long-shot? What about Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy? It’s never going to happen, but Auburn could do worse. Start the hate mail….now!

How’s this for going out on a limb? The winner of the Alabama-Georgia game on December 1st will play in the BCS National Championship game. Wait and see…

Johnny Manziel will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Outside of Cam Newton, I’ve never seen another one like him in my lifetime…

I’d never advocate hitting another coach, but I sure miss the enthusiasm of Tommy Tuberville on the sidelines. Just once before he leaves, I’d like to see Gene Chizik lose his mind on the field…

Alabama is still among the nation’s best and they’ll pick the score against Auburn. That said, I’m convinced they’d lose again to Texas A&M and wouldn’t be so lucky with LSU…

The only thing worse than watching the trees at Toomer’s Corner die, is watching them sit there dead. Sadly, it’s time to remove them and move on to the next chapter. Hopefully, we’ll have transplanted new trees in place by next season…

Speaking of the trees, how is it that a nut-case like Harvey Updyke can still be awaiting trial, while Jerry Sandusky was convicted and sentenced for molesting children in a fraction of the time? The Alabama judicial system should be ashamed. I wonder where most of them went to law school?


  1. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    I could live with Gundy.


  2. mokey says:

    Great column Jay and right on point. I’m afraid there’s some disappointment coming down but we’ll survive and work through it.
    My personal disappointment with all this is that JJ will most likely survive because he’s CPD’s guy…forget being qualified, forget doing what’s best for the department and the’s all about access and egos !!

    • auWDE says:

      Players win games. Look at the 2010 team as an example. Recruiting is the key. So we lose great recruits because of indecision and coaching uncertainty that is on us. No matter coach we have.


  3. mikeautiger says:

    Great article. I like Gundy’s enthusiasm and the way he fights for his team and takes responsibility, remember the Presher, “Pick on me!”

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      “I’m a man!!!!!!”

      • Todd92 Todd92 says:

        Who thinks that if T. Boone Pickens wants Gundy to stay at OSU we could afford him?

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:


        I don’t care who you are…

        But all kidding aside… the man has coached his team up to challenge in the big 12/10/whatever their name is today – aka texas’s conference.


  4. Todd92 Todd92 says:

    I will be extremely disappointed if Jacobs is left as AD and it will certainly show that the more things change the more they stay the same at AU. Tally up the hires he has made and make a case for him to keep his job… anyone? As to our next HC? Gundy would be ok but I’m still hoping for Charlie Strong, James Franklin, Sonny Dykes, or Mike London.

  5. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    This will not be popular here, or many AU sites for that matter, but here it is.

    Jay Jacobs led this athletic program through a 13 month long combing by the NCAA, and walked away completely unscathed. Name 5 programs in the country, that you could guarantee would be able to do that, meanwhile I will watch the grass grow….

    Mike Gundy would be a great choice.

    As far as recruiting goes, the right hire could enhance this recruiting class. What could Jimbo Fisher do with his top recruiters, and the facilities here at AU?

    Jay, I think you are right about Alabama naming the score. I can’t even hazard a guess at the teams that will play for the BCS. I know the media is just chomping at the bit for either Oregon or K State to lose. There is still way too much favoritism in college pollsters.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the read.


    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      Sure, approach an existential crisis with logic AND reason…..

      I still say that we need a head coach with more autonomy….but an AD that keeps us squeaky clean with the NCAA is probably worth his paycheck. Nevertheless that paycheck also goes towards good hiring decisions…..I’m still not convinced he’s done an outstanding or even mediocre job. (Where’s Sparkey to argue Barbee’s case??).

      War Eagle, Kool.

      • sparkey sparkey says:

        Barbee will be good this year. You had to give the man some time. But again with him, there are people meddling with the basketball program the same way people won’t get out of the football program it just gets less publicity. That’s why Lebo was kept as long as he was. Furthermore, though I like Barbee, his record does not deserve such a major contract that he has been given at Auburn. I really think it’s the same thing there: Barbee is willing to let people meddle if he’s taken well care of like he got with his contract. I’m not going to argue for any positive towards Jay Jacobs. He’s running my beloved school into the ground. I can’t stand him. If he were such a great person, he wouldn’t lobby so hard to keep his job.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      KB, I have been saying that all along. We get the right guy and AU can dominate the SEC for the next 10-15 years if we can keep him that long.

      AU is a great place. And we are competitive with our resources. Add to it the natural underdog role… and it can be explosive!

      The situation you offer with Jacobs is tough. But others have taken a very different approach with Jacobs. The article I referred to on AUSPORTS elaborates that Jacobs should have never gotten this job. And his lacky, Jackson? should have never been allowed to run the ticket office much less considered to be the general manager (or whatever his official title is) of the football team. They point out the reason AU didn’t get a whiff at Muschamp was because of these two dweebs. They said there were three other more qualified candidates.

      Even you got to admit that regardless what he did with the NCAA, his business acumen on Chizik’s contract alone makes his decision making capability suspect.


    • Todd92 Todd92 says:

      Ok KB, how much do you credit our compliance director with our not being on probation along with the fact that there was nothing of substance to find in the first place. If there had been we would be on probation regardless of who the AD was.

      • KoolBell KoolBell says:

        Name the CD off the top of your head. Who hired him? Who stands behind every determination he makes, and enforces those determinations?

        His name is Rich McGlynn, and the answer to those questions is Jay Jacobs.

        Rich McGlynn, Senior Associate Athletics Director
        Steve Lautz, Associate Athletics Director for Compliance
        Susan Canaan, Director of Compliance
        Justin Kume, Assistant Director of Compliance
        Beverly DeVane, Assistant Director of Compliance
        Compliance Office, Phone #: (334) 844-9584 Fax #: (334) 844-9562

        As to your question, I credit the entire compliance department working hand in hand with the following groups to insure that AU can stay NCAA Clean

        AU Athletic Department
        AU Quarterback Clubs
        AU Alumni Clubs
        Former AU players

        I am sure that many more are involved as well, but it takes great leadership to get all these people to row in the same direction.

        I’ll be the first to say that I don’t know enough about all of this to make a truly informed decision, but I am sure, with your management experience, you get an idea what all this entails.

        • Todd92 Todd92 says:

          Although I could have answered you only because we became extremely aware of his name, credentials, and position was constantly in the spotlight during the Cam Newton investigation (smear campaign). And while I can appreciate the sentiment that your post holds I cannot and will not give Jacobs more credit than is deserved for the Cam Newton investigation not imploding on our University…. I could just as easily apply that logic to Chizik and his staff: “golly gee guys Chizik didn’t cheat he’s awesome!”. I’m not on the band wagon calling for coaches heads, although it’s hard for me to see Chizik surviving this, but I can’t fathom the logic of keeping the man who not only hired him but also negotiated his contract extension which included the monstrous buyout. We are left looking to Barbee to see if he will be Jacobs first great hire if Chizik is fired and that is nothing if not questionable at this point. At some point the person who has done the hiring has to accept responsibility and Jay Jacobs, IMO, is at that crossroads now.

  6. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Whoa Jay, you may want to rethink comparing Updyke to Sandusky….I’ll leave it at that.

    Should have kept the spread? Effective against Alabama? No, Johnny Football beat Alabama, not the spread. You said it yourself, Manziel may be one of the greatest to ever play when its all said and done…..and he only won by 5 points…and would have lost had McCarron not thrown the int.
    Lets revisit why the spread as a system DOES NOT WORK AGAINST THE ELITES OF THE SEC. A) you HAVE TO HAVE a legitimate home run threat at QB who can score with his legs and/or arm on any play so that you effectively neutralize one LB who has to “stay home” and draw the safety from deep coverage to provide run support…its a must and extremely rare. B) without a HOMERUN QB, you must have MULTIPLE WR threats that are physical and can block for one another, otherwise the screens quick throws along the line don’t work. They also need to be able to give sweeps time to develop instead of being blown up by DB’s playing the run. C) Pace…Pace….Pace. Its great when you can throw the ball all over the field and run the hurry up offense, but you BETTER SCORE in the redzone when the field shortens on you. Otherwise you have burned 2 minutes of clock and your defense goes BACK onto the field to get beat on for 6-8 minutes. This is my biggest problem with the spread. Yeah, its fun to watch between the 20s but it bogs down in the red zone when the defenders can more effectively manage the field. AND when its crunch time in the fourth quarter and you need to burn the clock, you have to abandon the run and gun or risk looking like a complete idiot. Either way, in close games where you are protecting a lead, you aren;t doing what makes you successful. Even A&M with Manziel was ineffective when it came down to controlling the ball when it needed to and there defense wasn’t up to the task of defending the lead. Alabama LOST that game
    So if we go back to the spread the offense would likely improve but unless we get a REAL playmaker at QB I still don’t see us beating a top tier SEC defense. I think Chizik had the right idea to build the lines to control the line of scrimmage, the only problem is he doesn’t have a QB to run the offense or any LB’s to run the defense. Throw in the fact that 80% of the playres are dogging it on every play and you have blowout, after blowout.
    In my opinion Chiziks downfall was trying to treat these KIDS like men. Unfortunately most athletes have the emotioal development of a 12 year old, where their ID still drives most of their behavior. ( ie impulses that drive immediate gratifacation). If the kids don’t fear reprisal from an authority figure they will continue to try and raid the cookie jar until someone stops them and then when all the cookies are gone they will rebel against that authority figure until the cookies return. Well the cookies are gone and we are seeing the rebellion on the field in the form of quitting. Nice job all around I must say….Freud would be proud.

    • sparkey sparkey says:

      So, what pro-set has beaten UA this year? You just won’t stop living in the past. The spread works accept it sir.

      • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

        Sparkey….who in the heck has been kicking the crap ouf of college football for the past 4 years? Florida? Not without Tebow. Oregon? Not against an SEC team. Its Alabama….its LSU. Those teams play DEFENSE and smash mouth football based on a pro set. You certainly have a short memory because our offense was dreadful last year with your beloved spread and the “genius” of Malzahn. We even had an experianced QB and Michael Dyer to run it.
        If you want to play flag football with the PAC-10 go ahead, when we play LSU and Bama and Georgia we will lose, end of story. I don’t think Auburn aspires to compete for 3rd in the West every year. Even Manziel can’t will A&M to victories every week and if they had played another quarter, Bama would have won by 10. They simply got down too much too early, but realize the Manziel and A&M only scored 9 points the final 3 qtrs. Just because everybody else is playing flag football doesn’t mean its the way. Its just the easiest way for a program to get bowl eligible.
        Its far easier in the long run to build a program with dominant lineman and component parts to make up a winning pro style offense than it is to wait for a once in a generation player. So wake me up when we get another Cam Newton.

        • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

          Agree Col. but it seems like Chizik was thinking the same thing. Had he not committed to the wholesale change who knows if Auburn’s season would have tanked like it did this year.

        • wde1988 wde1988 says:

          While folks want to point to A&M’s spread offense… it was their defense that was able to keep McCarrion at bay on Saturday. I am not sure how they knew to disrupt bama’s offense… but for the first half – that is exactly what happened. Add to it Murphy hanging his head on TJ Yeldon’s….. pardon me… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…. em, em, uh, fumble and you have the recipe for disaster.

          I agree with the COL. Spread can score points for sure. But defense wins games and Championships.


      • TexasAUTiger TexasAUTiger says:

        I have to agree with Col. Angus on this. Manziel is a great qb and played a great game but even then, Alabama had a legitimate chance to win the game but threw an interception. Let’s not forget, A&M still has two losses this year against tough defensive teams (Florida and LSU) so obviously they can be beat and have been…twice. Having a great QB makes all the difference in college football and A&M got lucky with one that they should have for the next four years. I’m not saying we should adopt the pro-style or keep it, I actually think we HAVE to switch to a spread type offense in order to avoid competing for recruits with Georgia, LSU, and Bama. That’s not to say I wish we had a pro-style and could be as competitive as Bama.

  7. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    We would be lucky to get Gundy. Lucky.

  8. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    Good to great QB play makes all the difference for whatever type of offense you run. The fact is AU had good QB play in 09, great in 10, okay in 11, and poor in 12 (although Wallace would get a good in my book). In 09 AU wasn’t blown out by UGA and UAT, both games were a touchdown or less, Chris Todd was a good QB, conclusion: good QB’s don’t get blown out, they give you a chance to win. In 2010 Cam Newton was QB, he was great, we won every game, conclusion: great QB’s pull out wins (almost) all the time. In 2011 we had a mixture of Trotter and Mosely, they averaged okay, however, despite going bowling that year AU was blown out by all our rivals and only pulled one upset win (USC), conclusion: okay QB’s win the games they are supposed to with maybe one upset. 2012 has seen POOR QB play, the team has only beaten the cupcakes on the schedule, conclusion: poor QB’s LOSE.

    So after this analysis, I must conclude that AU needs to find someone who can find and develop a good to great QB. Ah, now some may say that that was the same methodology in selecting CSL, indeed it probably was, but the difference is this, I believe AU may need a HEAD coach with these skills, akin to Steve Spurrier who runs the offense and coaches the QB’s. With this type of move AU will guarantee that it will have the same offense for a number of years and that the most important position has the most stable position coach. Now we just need to find our Spurrier… Or we can just hire the OC from Louisville I’m SURE he is a home run (tongue-in-cheek).

    • Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

      Good opinions from all. A good QB will change the play of any football team. Just look at Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel. By the way, he was rated a 3 star recruit.

  9. Jonathon Jonathon says:

    I too was thinking about the winner of the SEC backing their way into the NC game.

    If it’s Bama – UGA, here’s my scenerio:
    Let’s assume that Oregon is a lock. Let’s also take into consideration that ND does not play a championship game thus hurting them down the stretch (IF they don’t lose). This leaves Kansas St. When was the last time they were #1? And how often do teams sit atop at #1 that haven’t been there in forever? Odds are not in K-State’s favor to win out. Baylor is not a completely dead horse and Texas has the talent. K-State has to not only prepare for these games, but they also have to accommodate the media’s attention while being #1. For argument’s sake let’s say they lose, leaving Oregon and ND the only two undefeated teams.

    While ND sits idol, ESPN’s favorite Pony plays a top 5 UGA team. Safe to say that Bama’s loss to #8 A&M is an easy loss to take on the chin, while UGA’s loss is the same by the hands of #9 SC. The winner of the Bama-UGA matchup could squeeze by ND and set themselves up for a spot vs. Oregon in the championship game.

    Just an outside option.

  10. WarEagleEngr says:

    Since it’s a foregone conclusion that Chizik is history, and since, as Pat Dye once said, hindsight is 50-50, why not indulge in some? Who should Auburn HAVE hired in ’08 in place of Chizik? If Chizik was not the right guy, who exactly in ’08 was?

    My list:

    Will Muschamp – Okay, it’s a long shot he would have come to Auburn due to his conflict with Jacobs. And the fact that he turned down Tennessee in ’09 indicates he still thought then he would soon be the next head coach at Texas. But consider where he has Florida after 2 seasons and imagine the possibilities had he come to the Plains.

    Gary Patterson – Interviewed for the job and apparently would have taken it if offered. Has continued to succeed at TCU, though granted, with some discipline problems along the way. Hard to believe he wouldn’t have gotten Auburn to a level of consistent competitiveness in the SEC West by now.

    Jimbo Fisher – He too apparently had interest in ’08, but FSU wouldn’t yield on his buyout. He now has FSU relevant again, is recruiting lights-out, and is already on the edge of BCS contention. I don’t doubt he could have done the same at Auburn. (And I happen to think Fisher is a viable candidate to replace Chizik now.)

    • TexasAUTiger TexasAUTiger says:

      I don’t understand why Jimbo’s name is being thrown out there. Why exactly would he want to leave a position he waited a while for on a national contender that is recruiting like crazy only to come to Auburn? I think it would be great if we could land him, I just don’t understand why people think he is a viable candidate. Gary Patterson on the other hand might actually be a possibility and one that I would gladly welcome (Has been my number one choice since this firing Chizik talk began) but even then, he seems pretty comfortable at TCU, especially now that they are in a real conference.

  11. J.M. says:

    “Speaking of the trees, how is it that a nut-case like Harvey Updyke can still be awaiting trial, while Jerry Sandusky was convicted and sentenced for molesting children in a fraction of the time? The Alabama judicial system should be ashamed. I wonder where most of them went to law school?”

    Also to compare the two … the case of Sandusky was much more serious in nature YET the case was tried in the same county as where the crimes occurred AND the jury had multiple employees of Penn State. And yet most would agree that a fair trial occurred. What is happening to the Updyke case is a slap in the face Auburn University and those who love her. It should have been tried in Lee County months ago!

  12. AUSpirit says:

    Somebody tell me what it would hurt to give Tony Dungy a call. Worst he could say is “No thanks”. In my opinion he’s a proven coach that fits the Creed.

    • KoolBell KoolBell says:

      It is my honest belief that Auburn has sent “feelers” out to any and all management agencies that would have provided feedback as to who would be interested in the AU job. If Dungy wants to coach at AU, he will be a viable candidate. We the fans will almost NEVER hear whether this happened or not.

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      As much as I would like to see something like this happen, he’s a very big fish to AU’s very small pond. Plus, I don’t understand why a proven NFL coach would want to leave that and come to college where there are so many added things to worry about (recruiting, eligibility, NCAA violations, etc.) that they don’t have to deal with in the pros. Dungy would be a HOT HOT HOT commodity in the league. I’m not so sure he’d be willing to drop down a level. Especially not for AU.

  13. sparkey sparkey says:

    Jay Jacobs is being kept and I’m very close to boycotting the football games next year. I’m just that fed up with Jay Jacobs and Pat Dye’s regime being in power still. I’m sick of it and it has to change.

  14. chuck says:

    Sometimes it pains me to read this website. Dr. Gogue is the president of the entire university, he has much bigger things on his plate than just football. You know why schools like Notre Dame and UNC demand academic respect? Because they don’t go around suggesting that we fire the leader of the entire university just because the football team had a bad year , especially one that has boosted our academic profile and raised millions for new buildings like has in the past few years. Secondly, I know plenty of the current and former players (I used to tutor them) and, trust me, they still love Chizik. This team hasn’t quit on him, it’s just bad at football. I’m not making the case Chizik should be retained (he probably shouldn’t), but it’s dishonest to articles about about “I told you so” when many of the rs on this site consistently praised both Chizik and Jacobs before this year happened. You went with what’s popular and you think you’re doing the same now. Lastly, you know what it’s okay for Sandusky to be convicted quicker? Because child molestation is much, much more series that our beloved trees. I’d never roll Toomers again if I could see every monster who has done a crime that horrible in prison. When you have local newspapers writing front-page articles saying a defendant confessed and the defendant openly denying it, it doesn’t take a rocket science to understand that this case should not have had a Lee County trial venue. No matter how awful Updyke is (and he is awful), that would not have been justice or a fair trial by peers. Lastly, War Damn Eagle, forever.

    • chuck says:

      serious* not series

    • Todd92 Todd92 says:

      Chuck, what you fail to understand is the article is saying that Gogue is tying his tenure to the Atheletic Department by failing to stay above it…. That if he would stick to his famous quote “I don’t hire and fire coaches, I hire and fire Atheletic Directors” he wouldn’t be affixing his future to the quality of the football program. But by not only keeping Jacobs but bypassing him as the mechanism to hire and fire coaches, committee or no, he is putting himself into the fray of a huge financial decision for the university. If the president of any other university, be it Notre Dame or another who depended on Football for a large source of revenue, did the same then that president would be doing the same.

      • chuck says:

        I’m not going to get into how football doesn’t contribute to finances of a university nearly as much as you think it does, but one decision on a football coach should not surpass all of the great things he has done for our university. As much as we, as fans, want football to be the top priority at Auburn, it should never be. That’s the mark of an institution that sees academia as an afterthought.

        • Todd92 Todd92 says:

          I agree to some extent but my point is still valid and the Athletic Department is not only a part of the university but a part that takes an amazingly large amount of money to operate and this is before the costs involved in the income generating sports are accounted for…… Take a wild guess where that money comes from and then you can factor in the 6 million or so that the Athletic Department pits into the University that goes to purely non AD university needs. Don’t act like the AD isn’t an integral part of the University and minimize what effect it’s loss would be to the University…. The term “throwing the baby out with the bath water” comes to mind whenever I hear some academic claim that Collegiate sports are not important and shouldn’t warrant such fervor.

          • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

            While I would agree with Chuck that management of the athletic department and the decision to hire/fire coaches is not the most important of things for a university president to do, it is pretty friggin high up there. There is a HUGE difference between programs that generate the most revenue and say the 20th biggest program. Auburn was 3rd in revenue generation last year at about $73 million and Kentuck was 20th at $34million. Thats almost $40 million dollars difference!! Any president that doesn’t respect the difference $40 million dollars can make with the university doesn’t deserve the job because he clearly isn’t considering the impact on academics.
            Its a fact of life….you have to make sure you keep the cash cow producing, otherwise you aren’t doing right by the university.

  15. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Any recruit who honestly thinks that the decision to retain Gene Chizik will be made on the basis on whether they will come to AU is a recruit that is better off somewhere else. IHMO, these kids don’t fit into big boy pants for a reason, while their heads have a hell of a time fitting through door jams.

    Dear Recruits,
    You are really not *that* important. There will always be someone more than willing to play in your entitled place in Jordan Hare…..