Wednesday, December 17, 2008

5 More Reasons Gene Chizik Will Win at Auburn, No. 3: Rock-bottom

Optimism Day!'s third of five reasons that Gene Chizik will win at Auburn:

That's a screencap (click for big) of the bottom rungs of this year's total offense rankings at cfbstats. Now, consider the myriad circumstances that led to this putrid point:

1. A dire lack of recruiting when it comes to playmakers, particularly at wide receiver, stretching back years

2. The hiring of an offensive coordinator whose schemes and techniques were completely unfamiliar to the position coaches drafted to coach beneath him, resulting in an offense horribly lacking in cohesion and unified vision

3. Said offensive coordinator following in his predecessor's footsteps in one significant way: neglecting to encourage or develop Auburn's most talented quarterback prospect, leading to a quarterback controversy that only enhanced the offensive divisions

4. The firing of said coordinator midseason, resulting in yet another coordinator philosophy shift, the third in less than 12 months

5. Said firing resulting in Steve Ensminger becoming Auburn's acting offensive coordinator for the final six games of the season.

Now, how many of those circumstances will apply to Auburn's offense next season? No. 1 will, certainly, but the rest will not. Sure, the transition to yet another new coordinator's not going to be seamless, but it'll be light-years better than 2008's exercise in creating an offensive version of a rat king.

And the new guy's cupboard won't be entirely bare. Certainly, the same lack of explosiveness at wide receiver will be a problem unless the sudden absence of Greg Knox does even more for the likes of Hawthorne and Billings than we'd expect it to. Certainly, Burns isn't going to change into a world-beater overnight and certainly, getting the remaining linemen's heads screwed on straight again will be a challenge.

Still: seven returning starters including the quarterback and best running back is seven returning starters including the quarterback and best running back is seven returning starters including the quarterback and best running back. Add in the benefit of having one guy running the show, and it should be very, very difficult for Auburn's offense to suck quite as sucktastically as they did in 2008.

Meaning: to stop the bleeding and start building some kind of forward momentum, all Chizik really has to do in 2009 is a) hire someone who isn't the world's worst offensive coordinator* and then b) keep a defense that should also return the majority of its starters from any kind of serious regression.

That latter part is easier said than done, based on Chizik's ISU experience. But surely our defense-first, smash-mouth head coach can find a way.

*i.e., he should not hire Pat Nix.


easyedwin said...

Well, your reasons and a bloody mary and a harbor light with my coffee have gotten me up off the deck and cleaning my brass monkeys. As soon as this fog lifts we will chart a course for warm clear climes. I might be able to get an upgrade in TUF for better seats. Now that's optimism!

jrsuicide said...

if Nix does become the OC then i think Kodi should just himself a favor and transer to Georgia Tech where his talents would be more useful.