Monday, December 15, 2008

The Works, the Chiznick-style

I know this is going to surprise you, but it wasn't too hard finding items for this edition of The Works. Pretty big weekend for Auburn-related news, I'd say. (If you've just arrived at the blog, welcome! Immediate gut reaction to the Chizik hire is available here, the more tempered-but-still-gut-based reaction from this morning here.)

The blAUgophere pwns you. Seriously, the quality of reaction to the Chizik hire from Auburn's little corner of Blogfrica has been off the hook, yo. Even from the blogs you didn't know existed, like Fields of Donahue, who went to Chizik's impromptu "War Eagle Has Landed" airport meet-and-greet and came away with this X-Files quality picture:



So, that weird smoke-like wisp that seems to be entering or leaving Chizik's mouth ... what is that? It could just be something off with the photo, but I'm going to take this as photographic evidence of the moment the Auburn Spirit entered Chizik. War Eagle, coach. Mulder and Scully will be along shortly. (FWIW, Fields of Donahue said Chizik was gracious and accommodating, so he does have that going for him.)

I'm sure you've read them already, but Jay Coulter's searing comments are worth repeating:
Like it or not, Auburn is not your university and it's not your football team. You can be a fan and a proud alumnus; and you can give money to Tigers Unlimited. But just understand this: Auburn is not your school. It's not mine. We love it and we care deeply about it, but right now it belongs to someone else.

It belongs to a handful of people who don't care what you think or how you feel. To them, the Auburn Spirit is nothing more than a slogan for a television commercial. Real Auburn people don't mistreat a coach who gave back as much as he received. They don't drag good families through a week of hell at Christmastime. Real Auburn people don't board planes in the cover of darkness to stab good people in the back. This is not the Auburn we grew up loving.
Man, I don't want to totally co-sign on a statement this deep in an outrage I can't quite work myself up to, but it's hard to find anything I'd actually disagree with Jay over here. I want to say "We should reserve some of that anger for mistakes that harm the actual University," but the SACS accreditation near-miss came about because the trustees had their fingerprints smeared all over the football program ... and five years later, our trustees' fingerprints are still smeared all over the football program. Maybe I should be angrier.

You knew TWER was going to bring it; J.M. does here and then follows up with a nice summation of where I would say the silent majority of Auburn fans (yours truly included) currently lie:
We’re going to give him a chance, because that’s the only thing we can do. And it’s going to be a real chance.
Yep, pretty much. Of course, not that I'd condemn Auburn fans who want to press the panic button, particularly when they do it with this kind of LOLflair:



Also not ready to see the bright side: Will, who calls Chizik "Mike Dubose, although hopefully without the cheating." Slightly more optimistic is Grotus Acorn, who points out that Auburn has a track record of "discovering and developing talent" when it comes to coaches, but adds that
I'm trying really, really hard to find the reasons why our hire of a 5-19* coach isn't a complete and total misjudge of ability.
That asterisk/footnote?
* Speaking medically: baaaaaaaaarrrff
That's about the way I feel about it.

Lastly, not that there haven't been plenty of places to have Chizik's apparent delight at coming back to Auburn contrasted with his November declaration of delight at being in Ames and his implied delight at leaving Auburn for Texas several years ago, but you might as well go to the Pigskin Pathos for it, since you'll also get a good argument that Chizik shouldn't be given the key to the city just yet.

Elsewhere? Honestly, it's almost all been just some variation of Holly's refreshingly forthright take at Snarkastic, though I did enjoy Doug's addition of Chizik to the OED at Hey Jenny Slater. Not surprisingly there was also a thoughtful, worthwhile take over at Get the Picture, where Blutarsky makes note of the fact that the hire was essentially announced by the ISU AD before it was announced by Jacobs. He writes:
When you’re an AD at a place like Auburn where the hiring of a head football coach is easily the most significant thing that happens during your tenure, not being willing to acknowledge in public at the first opportunity you get that you’ve made the hire isn’t good. And somewhat contrary to what (SI.com writer Andy) Staples writes, it doesn’t make Jacobs look incompetent; it makes him look weak.
Word, unfortunately.

Staff infection. Blutarsky also has an interesting take on the possibility of Dawg assistants Rodney Garner and Stacy Searels bolting for their alma mater on the Plains, though I think he undersells the possibility of Garner coming aboard as a defensive coordinator; no matter how big of a wreck AU appears to be at the moment, being Auburn's DC is better for the ol' resume than remaining Georgia's defensive line coach.

But rest assured positions will be open if Garner and Searels want them, since Chizik's first move as head man was to sweep the house clean of Auburn's former staff. Offensively, this makes sense; defensively, guys like James Willis and Don Dunn have not only proven themselves to be competent position coaches and high-character, popular guys, they were the only chance in hell Chizik had at salvaging the recruiting class Tubby had put together or maintaining any sense of continuity from the previous regime to this one. So far, the scorecard (for what it's worth, which is zero) reads: JCCW-Approved Decisions 0. JCCW-Questionable Decisions 1. Nabbing Searels or Garner (who with Chizik over his shoulder becomes an even more-appealing choice for DC, if you ask me) will even things up with a quickness, though. Apparently he's looking in that direction, at least.

Wrong. Tommy Hicks introduces a meme already in play elsewhere and sure to be repeated in the coming days:
What did you expect?

Did you honestly believe there was a big-name hire out there to be had? Did you think Auburn officials had a coach that would create a blockbuster announcement waiting in the wings once Tuberville was no longer the coach? Did you really believe all the names of potential candidates mentioned in the non-stop reporting of the search were simply bait for the big catch that awaited the Auburn program in the end?

To be honest, there weren't any true big-name candidates to be had.
Look, the reason Auburn hired Gene Chizik was not because there were no other worthy candidates or because Auburn is suddenly a horrible job fit only for lepers. The reason they hired Gene Chizik is because they didn't know what the hell they were doing. They could have hired Mike Leach; they could have hired Turner Gill; I maintain they could have had Brian Kelly if they'd even tried. The "big catch" was out there. Fair Jacobs and the Powers That Be threw their fishing line into the kiddie pool instead.

The other reasons Chizik got hired. Let's be frank here: despite Jacobs' BS about "no constraints," when you pay your new coach almost a million less than you were paying the last guy, I'm guessing the fact that he came cheap didn't hurt him. Also, there's this very telling question from Wire Road and Shug:
Guess who is Gene Chizik's agent?
Can you guess? Can you?

Unbelievable, man. I'm about to swear, which I only very rarely do on this blog, and I apologize for that in advance and ask anyone under the age of 16 to click here and come back in a day or so, but this is where I get really, really angry. Because one of the things that should have been at the top of Auburn's checklist was getting this fucking bloodsucker as far away from our program as possible. That Jimmy Sexton continues to have--and will continue to have--this much influence over Auburn's coaching decisions infuriates me to the point of nausea.

Rant of similar sentiment and even greater strength coming from Will in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Reax. Former and current Auburn players supported the hire; that's good. But I think the off-the-record reaction of "a former Auburn assistant who worked alongside Chizik" in K-Scar's column is probably about as telling, unfortunately.

And finally, a couple of personal notes: One, would you like to know how very strange it is to see one's website quoted alongside the namesake of said website? It's very, very strange.

Two, between the last post here and this mostly negative one, I know I'm not painting a very rosy portrait of our new hire. This is because I do not believe he will succeed and because I believe Auburn could have hired a head football coach who would have. But this doesn't mean I think Chizik doesn't have a chance or that we should already be preparing the firing squad for him (or even Jacobs, whose fate is, quite obviously, hitched to Chizik's). He's our coach and I'm pulling for him like hell. And he certainly does have a chance.

How much of one? Next post.

1 comment:

Bosphorus said...

Here's what frustrates me most. AU fans complain constantly, and rightly even if often too boorishly, that the state media is slanted toward UA. But then, when they lose the first game in seven years to that rival, and the media chants Saban-song deep into the night, and tries to re-write recent history on the strength of one dominating win, AU fans *believe* the media. The same media they know is biased. The same media. And so they behave as if they had a coach who'd lost six of the last seven to UA instead of won them. If the state media is biased--guess what?--don't believe what they say? Once again AU has allowed a con game they know to be a con game to sucker them.