Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Works, Dye Hard-style

Dude, photographer, I know you're trying to find an interesting angle to shoot from ... but this isn't working.

Pat Dye. I love him. Even if he hadn't accomplished what he accomplished as my football team's head coach, it's pretty much impossible for me to dislike anyone who loves Auburn with same kind of lifelong glee Dye has always shown. Sure, I wish he hadn't been so hard on Tubby at times, the same way I wish Barkley hadn't opened his large and thoroughly entertaining mouth this week, but both spoke out because they love Auburn, saw the Auburn they love hurting, and couldn't help but say something*. It's a problem--obviously--at times, but there are times when it helps, too. Like yesterday--I'd have rather Dye responded to Finebaum's comments by ignoring his show completely, but having him show up to call him out in person isn't a bad runner-up prize, either.

Still, as much as I like having Dye around ... I don't know how I feel about having him around around. If he's serving the football program as anything more than a kind of folksy, talkative media mascot, it's just not the best idea. For two handy examples, check out these takes from yesterday:
"I probably would have gone and hired Rodney Garner or Patrick Nix -- two of my former players."

"If you're going to coach at Auburn and everything is equal, I think it would be smart to have someone who loves Auburn on your staff. That would be a tremendous advantage. That's Gene Chizik's decision. I haven't recommended one person to him."
See, this is the sort of mentality Auburn's got the get away from--when you think that having been at Auburn before is a "tremendous advantage," you can't accurately judge when "everything is equal" in the first place. If everything is equal, would I prefer someone with close ties to Auburn? You betcha. But if we're so enamored by those ties or some '80s-esque vision of what Auburn ought to be that we're hiring Chizik just for the smashing of mouths and talking seriously about hiring Pat Nix in any capacity other than Designated Signal-Signaller (and even that might not be a good idea), then clearly the decision-makers aren't capable of detecting said equality. It's going to take more than Joe Whitt Sr. being sent on a recruiting errand for me to believe Dye is suddenly wielding some sort of sinister backroom influence, but if too many of these names get hired--Garner, Searels, and Rocker are welcome, but I'll acknowledge their service to Auburn and pass on the rest, thanks--I'll be more than a bit troubled. We'll see.

Davis? Your HOT RUMOR of the day, or, rather, yesterday, is Texas's Greg Davis coming to Auburn as the new offensive coordinator. It popped up at Wayne's Hobbes's place and appeared to be just random Internet rumor-milling ... until Goldberg mentioned Davis's name yesterday as well for no apparent reason whatsoever. I give this HOT RUMOR about a 1.2 percent chance of having legs, but obviously it would be a mindblowing coup for Chizik. And hey, if you were Davis, and you'd been quietly doing your job very, very well for years--as in "won a national championship and should maybe be playing for another one this year" well--and then some other hotshot waltzes in and gets handed the keys to the program before the end of his very first season in Austin, I think you might be a little on the cheesed-off side as well. Like I said, 1.2 percent. But it's fun to dream even when it's not Optimism Day.

It sure is nice when other people do my job for me. So when Dr. Saturday linked up this little bit of scurrilous Internet trash** yesterday, my first reaction was "Who's writing this? Because Bleacher Report is mostly*** a collection of random hacks you shouldn't trust further than you can spit that's gained some sort of weird credibility via a fancy site, their Foxsports affiliation, and nothing that really ought to give them credibility." But I was spared from having to turn that reaction into any kind of coherent rebuttal, because MGoBlog's Brian did exactly that, and probably did it better than I would have done anyway. So go read that. (Though I would add one other thing to Brian's response: this guy claims Tubby went in on Monday fully planning to resign. So why did he send his assistants out to recruit two days later? There's nothing to see here, folks.)

Hey, another random MGoBlog link. Auburn WR commit Travante Stallworth gave them an interview and frankly it's not easy reading: he says he's "highly interested" in Michigan, excited about the possibility of having a go at QB (I can't imagine he'd stick there, but it's not surprising to hear), committed in part because of the Franklin offense, and is apparently less-than-enthused about Chizik. Yay.

Non-sarcastic Yay! JUCO linebacker Eltoro Freeman--who you know is going to be good because is his name is "Eltoro"--is expected to re-sign with Auburn today, and though I think the quotes are still hidden behind the guru paywalls for the moment, he had some very nice things to say about his meeting with Chizik. If every recruit responds as positively to the Chiznick, we'll be getting somewhere.

And oh, one other weird thing from the link above, which is an OA-News notebook: does Dr. James Andrews, Noted Orthopedist to the Athletic Stars, always hang out on Auburn's sideline? Here's Tommy trott's tale of the injury that ended his season:
“I went out to block a cornerback on a stretch play and he cut me down trying to make a pile in the backfield. I took a helmet there,” Trott said. “I got off the field, Dr. (James) Andrews looked at it and said I might have sprained my MCL … but that I ought to be able to play.

“I went back out there someone bumped it and it gave a little bit more. After that, I was just blocking somebody and it blew out.

“When it blew out, that was bad.”
I guess this begs another question: should Dr. James Andrews, Noted Orthopedist to the Athletic Stars, be hanging out on Auburn's sideline? (Yes, yes he should. He should be our Snoop Dogg or Matthew McConaughey. You think recruits won't want to hang with the guy NFL stars come running to whenever their knee twinges up?)

Hmmm. Why is someone who's allegedly willing to do whatever he can to help Auburn and promised to stay out of the media appearing in a New York Times article that details his vacation plans to Aspen? Oh well, it's not like I ever really expected Tubby to do either of those things anyway. Enjoy your vacay, Tubby.

blAUgosphere. TWER brings you another awesome Thom Gossom guest post, and it is awesome. Money grafs, emphasis added:
Most Auburn people are upset. They should be. We are all stained by the alleged racism. Our university is stained. We are being dragged through the mud because a few good ole boys, a few gatekeepers, feel they know what’s best for us all. And what they think is best is to go backwards, to the good old days, a time gone by.

They are counting on the Auburn Nation being good Auburn people and falling in line and supporting the new coach and team. We will. That’s what Auburn people do. We support our team in good times and bad.
Yes, we will. Also recommended: J.M.'s Poe parody, which is funny and grim and ultimately clear-eyed about where Auburn stands at the moment, I think.

Also, via the Auburner, this:

I can't say I'm really that fired up about Utah's chances, but the wild mood swings are awfully accurate.

Once in a blue Moon. Forgive the pun, but that's about how often I agree with the columns written by a certain Josh at the Advertiser. Nonetheless, this one--while not a good for Optimism Day--is a cracker:
(T)hat sentiment -- that everyone was more comfortable with Chizik -- is exactly the problem with this hire.

Forget their coaching records, where Gill clearly has an edge. Forget fan sentiment, where Gill clearly has an edge. And forget recruiting prowess, where Gill clearly has an edge.

The higher-ups at AU disregarded all of that and picked Chizik for one simple reason: That's the guy they felt comfortable with.

And that's a problem. A big one.
Word. (I do disagree with Moon that race had anything to do with said comfort, but the point stands.)

Etc. Third-string punter Patrick Tatum has moved on ... Mr. SEC has an interesting statistical breakdown of the national title game.

*For an opposing viewpoint, you can check this out.

**Positive rumor = HOT RUMOR, negative rumor = "scurrilous Internet trash." Just so we're clear.

***There's also some very good bloggers who double-post their stuff there in an effort to broaden their readership, but of course those posts are almost universally ignored while the likes of Lisa Horne's garbage float to the top. Bleccch.


Ben said...

Bleacher Report is a pool of old man Alabama slime. And I agree, Lisa Horne sucks and her photo is taken from the angle the obese use to hide their fatness.

JAU'92 said...

Pat Dye needs to keep a very healthy distance from the AU football program. Offering the "because I loved them and AU" excuse for prohibitted conduct is no solace, since it can be used to justify anything (including a repeat of the Ramsey episode).

Dye's comments yesterday (below) about recent events inspire no confidence that he is maintaining that distance (or being kept away any longer). To the contrary, they reflect an unhealthy connection to the Chizik hire, a connection he generally wants to keep quiet (insert infamous "cuz" phrase here), but one he simply can't help himself from revealing (for reasons having entirely to do with his ego). I hope and fervently pray (a) I am wrong and/or (b) this is not a sign of things to come. His day is past and nothing good can come from his continued involvement in AU football.

"Nobody had any part in this hiring except Jay (Jacobs)."
On Jimbo Fisher and Will Muschamp: "We ain't talked to them. That's Sexton."

NOTE: "WE ain't talked to them?" Does that collective reference include PD and, if not, how does he know who the Dye-less "we" has excluded from consideration????

Watson Brown as OC?: "That ain't happening."

NOTE: Again, "how does he know, since it's supposedly entirely up to Jacobs."

Either he's delusional and desperately WANTS to be included (for old times sake) or these comments are very revealing and have ominous implications for AU.

jrsuicide said...

i'm also in the Pat Dye Stay The Hell Away camp. i love him for my childhood, but it's not the 80s anymore.

Joe Blow said...

re: JAU

Dye always uses "we" when talking anything Auburn. The same could probably be said for this situation. The "we" represents Auburn, not the Jays and Dye.

Again, "how does he know, since it's supposedly entirely up to Jacobs."

Dye can still be in the know without being involved in the hiring. How would he know if Watson isn't going to be the OC? I'm sure he's at least seen a list of potential candidates. And I'm even more sure that Jay's been giving him updates on the happenings.

War Eagle Atlanta said...

In an effort to stave off the poaching of Davis, I'm thinking that Texas may soon come up with a position of 'assistant coach-in-waiting'...

Anonymous said...

Pat Dye is starting to sound like a senile old coot.

1. For starters, while Sexton certainly had a vested interest in getting Nutt a raise, there are also reports that Jimmy Rayne made the first contact with Nutt. That would certainly shoot down Dye's shooter-from-the-white-picket-fence-on-the grassy-knoll in Tuscaloosa conspiracy theory.

2. There are also reports that Gill had already contacted Rodney Garner. Any coach who comes to work for an administration that will not give him free reign over hiring his own assistants isn't worth his salt. Dye defended the notion of insisting the incoming coach mire someone within "the family". Be careful...starting to sound like Bama people.

3. Tuberville for Gill was already going to probably be a downgrade. Tuberville for Chizik? Are you kidding me? And Dye wants to paint a lot of the bad press as a Saban-led conspiracy initiated in Tuscaloosa? Alabama staff and fans have absolutely no need to comment on the Auburn coaching-search debacle because Auburn people are eating each other alive.

And for what it's worth, Saban very publicly and pointedly defended Tuberville by asking whether or not he himself was 5-7 away from getting fired.

Best for Bama fans just to sit back and watch. What happens to Pat Dye's credibility if Chizik falls flat on his face?