Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A brief word on the search

I don't like putting myself in the position of defending the Auburn administration again, given that one of the members of said administration is Bobby Lowder and that their alleged refusal to speak to Mike Leach means that they are, in all likelihood, complete idiots.

But I'd like to say something to any Auburn fans out there hyperventilating from being told the coaching search is abject chaos, that Jacobs is either unprepared or a puppet or an unprepared puppet, that the slow crawl of the search is proof positive of poor-to-nonexistent planning, that we should grab Gill now while the grabbing is good:

The only thing that matters about this coaching search is who it hires.

That's it. Doesn't matter how long it takes. Doesn't matter that they're interviewing Patrick Nix, whether it's courtesy or not. Doesn't matter, in the end, whether they make a hire by following an step-by-step flowchart sprung from the minds of top NASA scientists or by pinning snapshots of the candidates to a dartboard and firing away.

A year from now, at the end of Auburn's 2009 season, all we'll really remember about this search is whether they hired a winner or a loser. A year from now, Jacobs isn't going to be a buffoon because he spent a long weekend in New York interviewing the junior varsity candidates*; he'll be a buffoon because the man he announces as Auburn's next head coach will either be the right choice or the wrong one. The touchdown Auburn scored because Tennessee fumbled the ball into their own end zone still counted for six points; the coach a flailing and failing Auburn may end up hiring in last-minute desperation by agreeing to gold-plate their house might still be Nick Saban**.

So to Auburn fans, I would say, not that I've been an especially good practitioner of what I'm about to preach thus far: Breathe. Withhold judgment. Remember that we're very likely getting only the tiniest glimpses into what's actually going on. There will be plenty of time for anger later if that's what's called for.***

To Auburn's administration, I would say: Take your time. Do your homework. Interview who you want to interview. Hire the right coach for Auburn, and all is forgiven. Nothing else matters.

Do I have faith that this coaching search will result in the right coach for Auburn? No, not especially. But we don't judge football teams on how they look in practice but on wins and losses. It's not fair to judge the coaching search by the search itself. In the end it, too, will only be judged on wins and losses.

UPDATE: Jay G. Tate echoes these comments. Or, given that his post went up while I was working on them, I guess I'm echoing his.

*Adapted from Andy Bitter. Clever, Andy.

**Not literally, of course. The point is that if poor benighted Mal Moore can find his salvation, so can Jacobs.

***And for God's sake, whatever you do, don't read Paul Finebaum.


bovinekid said...

I'll admit that I nearly read Paul Finebaum today, but then I thought of you and stayed strong!

Alex P in Smyrna G said...

That may be your best opening sentence/paragraph to date, Jerry.

Regardless of the outcome, perception is more important than reality. And the perception is that JJ is a pupet and an idiot.

He needs to go, and AU needs to hire a non-cronie AD who will hate Lowder as much as the rest of us do.

I nominate myself.

Anonymous said...

So recruiting isn't suffering at all while we have no coach? Hmmmmm....

Jerry Hinnen said...

Sooner's better than later, obviously, but no recruit--or even 15, 20, a class of them--is worth screwing up the coaching hire. The damage sucks, but it can be undone by the right hire.

I'm not suggesting Auburn stand around twiddling their thumbs while Rome burns--efficiency is of the essence, certainly. But accuracy is more important.