Who’s to blame?? Looks like everybody.
Well its day one in the post Chizik era and the storys are coming from all angles about lack of discipline, preferential treatment, refusal to acknowledge problems, failure to require workout attendance, failure of athletes to attend to school work, failure by players to prepare menatally and physically for the season and each game, failure to have clear communication about what was expected from each of the assistants in preparing a game plan each week, meddling and changing the assistants plans……yadda, yadda, yadda, etc, etc, it goes on, and on, and on.
I’ll get this off my chest right off the bat. Does anybody have ANY journalistic standards anymore? Why do reporters sit on this information until after the coach gets fired? I thought the whole point of being a journalist was to report the truth….not to make sure that they had access to the scintilating coach speak conferences that were a Chizik staple. In that respect, is there a journalist that covers Auburn who did their job? I would say, obviously not. Anyone with eyes in their head can see that the players could care less about doing their job on the field. Its obvious that they didn’t prepare or listen to the coaches. Nobody in the reporter ranks cared to get behind the BS of “well we played as hard as we could. We’re just to have to put this behind us and work on getting ready for INSERT TEAM NAME HERE.” We all knew something had gone HORRIBLY wrong with the team, but it was explained away as youth, inexperience, new OC, new DC, team grief, Israeli settlements in the West bank…..everything other than the fact that these guys obviously showed no desire to compete against their SEC counterparts. Van Gorder about said as much after the UGA game…..about 11 weeks too late. The question is why? And the answers were all listed above and yet nobody said a word. Its pathetic. All the players talked about how they “love Coach Chizik”, and yet they take advantage of his leniancy in discipline, and then quit on him when they perceive that he is either cracking down on them or treating someone else “special”. Sounds like the majority of the players and coaches couldn’t stand Chizik, and yet they kept their mouth shut and just went out an embarassed themselves and the fans that support them in every game that mattered this year. How do you look at yourself in the mirror when you do that? I can understand a coach wanting to protect his family and thereby do what they are told and don’t rock the boat, but the players have NO EXCUSE for letting things get THIS bad. They obviously don’t realize how bad this makes them look. Quitting on your coach is one thing… especially if he was as oblivious as Chizik was…. but to quit on your teammates and become a joke is just something I can’t fathom. I can’t imagine letting myself become a walking punchline, regardless of how much they disliked what was going on. These guys will always be remembered as the worst Auburn team ever….and thats not an exageration…its not even close. Barfields teams were bad but they weren’t whipping mule bad. They competed. And at least Chizik can say he won a title. All the players can say is they embarassed the university enough that they had to fire the only coach that has won a Championship for Auburn in the modern era… within two years of doing so. Its so bad, that the average fan just thinks that we don’t have any talent….like we are Div. II bad….as in no talent at all. Now we all know that isn’t the case. They didn’t arrive at Auburn with no talent. Most were highly sought after recruits……they just haven’t developed their talent or are WILLFULLY suppressing it. But Joe fan sees every one of these players as being talentless and unable to compete against Div I competition. Good job guys!! You showed Chizik didn’t you!
Chizik and the coaches? Damn. Really? This is how you respond to Saban and his process? Doing the EXACT opposite? Is that the only way Trooper and Luper could get recruits?
“At Tucaloosa, Coach Saban will work you hard and make you earn a spot and DEMAND Championships!!! Hey Man, at Auburn we won’t even make you work out!!! You just get to do your thing!! Hows that sound??? Great!!, sign here.”
Chizik had it MADE, he could have gone 8-4 for ten years after winning us a championship, as long as he got the team to compete and kept the program out of the newspaper for the wrong reasons. If all is to be believed….and at this point, how can you doubt it….. Chizik makes Nero look like Fire Fighting Hero with Super Freeze breath, in comparison to how he dealt with the blazing inferno that had engulfed his program. I don’t see how he got to be a coach above little league, much less high school or college, when you have a philosophy of giving certain players preferential treatment and undermine your assistants ability to establish discipline. He has got to know that is inviting incurable cancer to your team. I’m sure there are “reasons” why that happened, but there are also “ways” to correct that behavior. Ignoring it is the worst possible course of action….which was apparently Chiziks preferred way to handle major issues. Sometimes I wonder if Chizik was the guy handing out the synthetic marijuana to Dyer and others, because he appears so far removed from reality he might as well be doing Cheech and Chong skits in his pressers. Just amazing.
Why the assistants and other coaches put up with it is also beyond belief. They have to know it is bigger career suicide to preside over program implosion, where the players quit on you, than it is to speak up and sound the klaxons that urgent action is needed to fix what is wrong with the team. Sure, you would be in the dog house, and looking for work at seasons end, but……how is that different than what is currently happening? Loyalty is a great character trait,….blind self serving obedience to what you know is wrong, is what enables bad men to do VERY bad things.
Is Gene Chizik a bad man? In his heart I would say no, but he allowed himself to be corrupted by the seedy underbelly of what is wrong with college athletics, and in that, he did very bad things to Auburn and to the people that love it. Auburn and the people that love Auburn want a winner and expect a winner to challenge the young men that matriculate there, but we want it done right, with integrity and hard work. Chizik somehow forgot that winning a Championship was more than hoisting a crystal tryophy and collecting a big payday, but sadly that was all he did for Auburn, and for that, Auburn will pay the price for many years to come. And for that…..and everything else that preceded in this post is why Jacobs and probably Gouge need to go to. They may not be the reason we are sitting where we are now but they are sitting in a position where they should have had known what was going on, and should have done something about it. Not knowing is a worse excuse. Letting a football program like Auburn’s fall into disarray, especially after winning a Championship, is like letting your kid go off roading in your Bentley….repeatedly. If you are dumb enough not to take MAJOR CORRECTIVE ACTION after thats happened, you don’t deserve to have it. Well Jacobs and Gouge are wiping the mud off the rims and hoping nobody sees the damage to the frame.