Torches and Pitchforks
The hay is in the barn?
The long knives are out for Gene Chizik this week. Last week it was limited to the head of OC Scott Loeffler on a platter. It just bumped a paygrade up. I understand the frustration. I see both sides of the argument. When something hurts so bad you just want to make it go away as quick as possible, but amputation isn’t necessarily the first step in most surgeries these days. I know the pain. This ain’t my first suck ass season rodeo. Back in the good old days, fan melt downs were done in private because you only got to commiserate with your close friends. In the internet age, you’ve got everybody joining in. It would be great if we could only talk about Auburn family matters amongst ourselves, but this site is wide open. I hate that rivals might use our misery against us but such is the reality in today’s information age.
I’m relieved that most of the criticism for this team and head coach have been constructive, even if being constructive does conclude with a host of people losing their very lucrative jobs. Loeffler, Chizik, and Jacobs are on the hit list, and likely the whole lot of coaches if Chizik is sacked. Does it need to be that way for all of them? Clean house? Or are we being too quick on the trigger? Maybe that’s the end result in today’s video game world–hit the reset button. In college football, you’re either reloading or rebuilding with the players. Reset or ressurect must be what you do with the coaches.
I think Loeffler’s job should be yanked, but at season’s end. I don’t want to see another Tony Franklin episode. What did firing Franklin mid season actually accomplish? It certainly did nothing to preserve Tubs’ job. It only embarassed the university and filled the player’s minds with more doubt. Loeffler’s offense should be tweaked by a second set of hands–or two–or force him to make wholesale changes. I really don’t think we can get worse so it’s only upside or the status quo. At the end of the year he should be let go with regrets. It simply didn’t click or work, but we don’t have to hate him for it. Maybe he wasn’t quite ready for prime time, maybe we didn’t have the personnel that he needed. We’ll probably never know. We just need to stay classy and respectful when the time comes.
Jay Jacobs is a tough one, but the favorite of those of us who prefer the wrecking ball to knock it all down. Jacobs hired Chizik, so he must be held accountable, or so the logic goes. I have absolutely NO idea what sort of executive Jay Jacobs is, and I doubt most fans do either. Most of his work never makes the headlines. But even at a football factory his work doesn’t stop and end within the confines of Jordan-Hare. Jacobs works for a very small, selective contigent of people–the president of the university and the trustees. They are the ones who must give him a vote of confidence or not. The whims of fans like us shouldn’t be strong enough to blow down the chief executive of the athletic department barring something catastrophic. We do hire professionals now, rather than letting the head football coach also wear that hat. Progress has been made. We may have 87,451 coaches in the stands but we don’t have that many executives there. I’m not going to pretend I can make a case for Jay Jacobs to be fired. That decision is simply way above my pay grade.
Gene Chizik is a good man and I believe a good coach. He’s bought into the Auburn family and done everything we’ve asked him to do and we have accepted him as one of our own. He’s brought us to the pinnacle of college football success and done it with class and style. Now he needs something from us in return. He needs our patience and understanding. I do think it’s good that he sees the ramblins from the naysayers. I believe a little fear is healthy in every relationship and he must know that the product he’s produced this year is ABSOLUTELY unacceptable for a program of this caliber. The blow-out losses to the big rivals from last year were unacceptable. Compound it with the wheels coming off this year and you get a perfect storm that ends in a contract getting terminated in a lot of cases.
Firing a coach two years removed from a national championship would be unheard of and would certainly make us the laughing stock of college football. I’d be ashamed of my school if they did that. I think Gene Chizik deserves our support during this hour of need and should be allowed to right this ship through next year. We accepted him as part of our family and we cannot turn our back on him. Give him whatever tools he needs in his efforts. He already knows the clock is ticking. Pressure works wonders in this business of coaching college football. It generally does one of two things: produces results or opens up another spot on your coaching roster.
But if the decision has been made, let’s let him know when the time comes and not give conflicting signals. For pete’s sake, I don’t want to repeat the dysfunction of the on again, off again firings of Tommy Tuberville. We Auburn folk should be above jerking someone around like that. And we certainly don’t want to get the reputation of treating coaches like that because we’ll never get an established winner in here again.
Stay calm and War Eagle.