Thursday, September 13, 2007

Two things

1. It's not often I find things to disagree with the near-incomparable SMQ about, but his take today that Auburn fans should place the blame for the lackluster 2004 recruting class on the Tigers' on-field failures rather than Jetgate/SACS hoo-ha is a wee bit off-base.

He's repsonding to this Charles Goldberg piece in which Goldberg points out that "Of the players who signed from 2003 (today's redshirt seniors) through last April (the true freshmen of 2007), the 2004 class has produced the fewest current starters other than this year's freshman class" and reasonably suggests--as surely every AU fan and writer has done when surveying that class's relative lack of impact--that the class suffered from, you know, everyone outside of Auburn realizing the program really was being run on puppet strings by an out-of-control, egomanaical banker. SMQ, however, turns up the sarcasm-meter to 11 and tells Auburn fans to...
Heap the scorn for your youthful indiscretions on Bobby Petrino! And SACS! Otherwise, top recruits would have been flocking to a program that lost 13 games over three years from 2001-03...
He's not completely wrong, mind you. It's probably not 100% coincidental that of the four classes Goldberg's looking at, the worst one followed Auburn's worst (and far-and-away most disappointing) year on the field.

But SMQ doesn't note that Tubby's generally been a successful recruiter no matter what kind of records his teams have posted. From 1998-2001 Auburn suffered 23 losses in a four-year span and Tubby still managed to bring in Campbell, Brown, Cadillac, McNeill, Rudi Johnson, Rogers, and basically the entire backbone of the greatest team the SEC has seen in the BCS era. The highlights of the 2004 class--Merrill Johnson, Jason Bosley, Pat Sims, Tyronne Green, and most notably Brad Lester, if he ever wears an Auburn uniform again--are quality players, no doubt. But for the first and possibly only time in Tubby's time at Auburn, there's no signature stud in that group, no NFL first-round dratt picks or even All-SEC-caliber players (unless Sims really turns it on). It seems awfully likely to me that Tubby's inability to find even one of those guys might have had something to do with the fact that players might not want to play for a coach whose administration hated him so much they were willing to secretly throw him down a well the very week he was busy beating the school's blood rival.

Not a big fan of this guy, no.

In short: Auburn fans (and, theoretically, certain trustees who occasionally have issues with the whole "trust" part of the job) who are starting to get that "Out with Tubby!" itch after the last two weeks should take one second to realize that it was scratching that itch in the first place that helped make the last two weeks the disappointment they've been.

2. Sorry, the time to write anything substantial about Mississippi St. just isn't there. But it was there over the summer, so if you were busy wakeboarding and listening to Surfin' Safari and working on your I *heart* John Smoltz scrapbook, please check out the JCCW's Cheese Puff Preview of State. And if you've already read it, fear not, new (if not Croom-related) material coming tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

well,I truely wish I had been wrong about Cox... I had hoped to bring on Burns, but I think you're right, save him for better days. I really believe a man who is on steroids for a serious illness maybe should not be playing college football.

will Ms ST give them a game? we shall see...


John Rogers said...

Jerry, whatever the reason for the lack of quality of the 2004 class, that is no reason to use it as a crutch as to the lack of performance for this year's team. Heck, in 2000, this coaching staff (with worse coaches at the OC and DC positions than we have now) took a team to the SECCG with only one class that they recruited and three classes of pathetic Tot Bowden recruits. So now we have one average class a few years ago and it's OK that this team underperforms? Nope... I ain't buyin' it, sir. Feel free to disagree.

Jerry Hinnen said...

"Jan," you may have a point about his MG ... not that it's necessarily keeping him from playing, in my view, but that he's so worried that it WILL that it's screwing his mental approach. And we may hev no choice with Burns if Field's as bad as I and the coaches (it loosk to me, anyway) think he is and Caudle's not healthy.

John, I maybe could have been clearer, but I only said it helped make this team what it is. I would totally agree that there are larger factors at work here, most notably the rank QB play, and that the team to this point should be playing better.

Also, I have to point out that the division was much, much weaker in 2000 ... 'Bama was in Dubose's wake, LSU in DiNardo's, Manning was just getting started at Ole Miss and we survived Arkansas. Miss. St was the other big contender at the time and the only West team to beat us, which should tell you something. Not to degrade the accomplishments of that team--I would love to have Leard and Rudi back--but I happen to think the 2005 team, for instance, was better.

john rogers said...

As weak as the SEC West was in 2000 though, Jerry, repeat after me: three classes of Tot Bowden recruits. Holy frijoles!

In addition, in 2000 we had Noel Mazzone (OC) and John Lovette (DC)... now we have Al Borges and Will Muschamp.