Serious questions on Auburn’s futurePublished 9:13am Tuesday, September 11, 2012
All glory is fleeting in the world of SEC football. Just take a look at Auburn right now. Two years removed from a national championship, the Gene Chizik bandwagon is now emptier than Trooper Taylor’s towel rack.
After a dismal performance in Starkvegas this past weekend, Chizik and his staff are sitting squarely on the hot seat. The trouble isn’t necessarily that Auburn lost, but how ugly the Tigers looked while doing it. Watching Auburn play these first two games is like watching ‘Old Yeller’ at a funeral. You don’t know why you are doing it you just know you are crying a lot. The Tiger team was so lifeless Saturday I wondered if Harvey Updyke had mixed the team Gatorade.
It is year four with Chizik at the helm and the Auburn faithful (along with the rest of college football) are wondering why there is no quarterback on the roster who can complete a pass to a teammate. They are curious as to why recruiting classes loaded with more stars than the Milky Way have not developed into SEC caliber players. It’s puzzling to them as to why their two shiny new coordinators more closely resemble their less than average old ones.
After seeing a particularly disturbing scene caught by ESPN cameras during the Miss State game, I have a question or two myself. It seems that after AU linebacker Darren Bates received an unwarranted penalty, Chizik (who was unaware the penalty was undeserved)went to scold the player. In the middle of Chizik’s rant to Bates, assistant coach Trooper Taylor interrupted and pulled Bates away from Chizik’s verbal firing line even as Chizik kept barking.
So, my questions are as follows: Would head coaches like (Oregon’s) Chip Kelly, Urban Meyer or Nick Saban allow an assistant to usurp their authority?( I believe you know that answer.) Who is REALLY in charge of the football team on the Plains? (I believe we are finding that out).
The stark reality is that Auburn has a Mike Shula situation on its hands. They have a coach that people like as a person, but who is not going to breed long term success. Chizik is in over his head and even the most staunch AU fan now knows what the rest of the college football world knew a year ago: 2010 was the Year of the Cam. That championship season bought Chizik some undeserved time.
The question for the Auburn powers that be is how much time, exactly? How soon is too soon when you are a program that has fancied itself as the epitome of family?
Alabama A.D. Mal Moore made the tough (but correct) decision to move on from the Shula era even though 50% of the fan base disagreed. With the inevitability of Chizik’s demise and Bobby Petrino available, how long will Auburn wait to pull the trigger?
I can’t believe I am typing this statement, but the Louisiana-Monroe game this weekend will tell us all a lot about the mental state of this Auburn team. The Warhawks upset Arkansas this past weekend so we know they are capable of winning at Auburn, too. If that upset were to occur, I would not plant any rose bushes if I were Chizik, that is for sure.
Robinson is a columnist for Sportz Blitz.