Jeff Lebo needs to look at Tom Slater and see that having incredible facilities isn't a magical cure-all for your sucktacular program.First off, points awarded for "sucktacular." But more importantly, jd's point here is absolutely accurate: facilities help, but they're not going to make the coach. The coach makes the coach, and the coach makes the program. It's not like Nell Fortner has some different magic gym hidden away on campus somewhere. And, as I've said somewhere on this blog before, I refuse to believe that if Rick Stansbury can build a program in Starkville that occasionally challenges for SEC titles and earns NCAA Tournament bids, that it's impossible for a coach at Auburn to do the same no matter how horrible the facilities might be. Lebo's simply failed.
Which, while we're talking about him, gives me an opportunity to clarify exactly where the JCCW stands vis a vis Lebo's continued employment. At the start of 2008, I would have been downright appalled to learn that Lebo might get another season based on current results and the not-particularly-bright immediate future for Auburn. Remember: we lose Barber, Barrett, and Robertson, and there's all of one (rather confused-looking) scholarship freshman on the roster. If Lebo doesn't put together the Dennis Felton miracle run at the SEC tourney, every shred of basketball logic says he has to be dismissed. He'll have had five years in which even his two best teams won't have even gotten a sniff of the NCAA Tournament, and his sixth year will look even bleaker than this one. If you don't have victories in the present or hopes of improvement in the future, what do you have? An unemployed coach, that's what.
However: this isn't a decision that's being made in a financial vacuum. On one side of the ledger there's the fun of the current economy, and on the other there's an entire litany of various football coaching decisions sucking funds away like Michael Phelps at a giant money bong. (By the way, did you know that Phelps's incredible lung capacity means that he can take twice the hit of most mortal humans? Science is so much fun sometimes.) Absorbing the cost of replacing yet another coach in a revenue-producing sport may simply be beyond Auburn's financial means at the moment.
I'm not going to care if Lebo fails to make even the NIT or wraps up the SEC slate at 6-10 with a first-round tourney loss. At that point, Auburn will have to make a move just to maintain the appearance we give a crap about staying competitive in this sport. But if the Tigers make some noise in their remaining SEC games, make some noise at the SEC tournament, snag a bid to the the NIT ... well, I'll still wish Lebo was gone. But I won't raise hell about him staying, either. We all have to make sacrifices when our wallet gets lighter, and keeping a subpar coach at the helm of men's basketball for another season may the kind of sacrifice Auburn has to make.
There's an entire interesting thread of discussion regarding Burns available at the end of this post, with tiger7_88 regarding Burns's future skeptically and Grotus and myself arguing in his defense. tiger7's last word on the subject:
If you watched Tulsa, all that they want out of the QB in the running game is a "little bit". That's it. This offense does not DEMAND in it's QB a two-way player totally effective in the rushing and passing game.First off, I obviously make no claims as to the veracity of the "Kodi didn't work as hard Todd" accusation. It's out there, this is the Internet, you can make up your own minds as to how true it is.
What this offense DOES demand out of it's QB is what every other offense outside of the West Virginia spread and the Ga Tech option offense demands of it's QB... to throw the ball effectively.
If Kodi Burns doesn't show VAST improvement in his ability to actually read the field to make throws instead of (as they were obviously doing at the end of last year) ignoring one side of the field and letting Kodi concentrate on at most two receivers on the other side of the field, his talent to be able to run with the ball will just be a hindrance to this offense.
Unless you are in the triple-option of spread-option offense, if you are a QB then FIRST you must throw. It's just that simple. If Kodi doesn't show more dedication to studying the passing game than he did last year (my contact close to the team says that Todd constantly worked extra with the receivers and lived in the film room whereas Kodi... didn't), then he has no business being Auburn's starting QB just because you and Jerry and the rest of the Kodi Klub are enamored with his vast "talents". When you're playing in the SEC, it's almost guaranteed that almost every player on the other side of the ball is as "talented" as you are, so you dang well better be harder working and smarter than that guy or you will have NO edge.
If Kodi can't throw more TD's than INT's and he struggles to break the 50% barrier in completion percentage, then we need to see if somebody else can do the job.
I'll respond to the rest of tiger7's comments in two ways, though:
1) It's true that Tulsa never relied particularly heavily on their quarterbacks to run the ball. David Johnson averaged just over 13 yards an outing on less than seven carries a game, seventh on the team. tiger7 is certainly right that Burns's success as Auburn's quarterback will be determined by how well he can throw the ball rather than how well he can run with it. I happen to think that Burns's live arm, success throwing the ball at the high school level and on the curl and slant routes late in the Season of DEATH, ability to improvise, and dramatically better coaching all indicate he'll be the best option from a passing standpoint as well as a mobility standpoint. But reasonable minds can differ on that point.
2) If Malzahn goes in a direction at QB that isn't Burns, there will be not a word of dissension on this end. When Franklin bailed on Burns after his injury against UL-Monroe, it felt more like the opportunity he'd simply been waiting for to thrust his hand-picked guy into the starting role--despite the fact that Auburn was having tremendous difficulty running the ball and that the only way Franklin's offense had ever done that was with a mobile QB. That's not an issue (or shouldn't be) with Malzahn's Spread Eagle. If Malzahn decides Trotter or Todd or Caudle or Rollison or even Moseley is the better option, I'll be willing to take his word for it in a way I just wasn't with Franklin.
Speaking of Moseley, commenter "sw-al guy" passed along some info on two of Auburn's new small-school recruits from--take a guess--southwest Alabama:
Figuring out who's really a stud or not at the 1A level and be very difficult. We might be able to glean a little bit about Gulley and Moseley from their respective performances against 1A Colossus Sweet Water:As mentioned before, I've had a couple of people whose opinion I trust tell me Moseley's poise and precision make him a much better prospect than his recruiting ratings would suggest. I won't be surprised at all if we see him taking meaningful snaps at Auburn before he leaves the Plains.
Gulley was the lone bright spot for Brantley this year in Sweet Water's 47-7 thrashing with a long punt return and a 60-yard touchdown catch. Also seemed to play well on D against the run.
Moseley was as cool as a mason jar of ice water in the shade while under heavy heavy pressure from Sweet Water during their tilt this year. I'm told he actually completed the pass he was attempting in the photo of the linked story. Moseley also looked very good against three 4A schools, two of which made the playoffs this year. Nothing to sneeze at.
Lastly, Sullivn013 responds to my use of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" as some Signing Day theme music with this suggestion:
I'm sure it's just a matter of personal taste. No offense to ELO, but for me the Allman Brother's "Blue Sky" is a better fit for moment:Consider this your invitation, if you'd like, though I'll have to sit out as my knowledge in this particular genre is sadly, sorely lacking. For instance, I wasn't familiar with "Blue Sky." Fortunately, that's why we have the Internet:
"Walk along the river, sweet lullaby, it just keeps on flowing,
It don't worry bout where its going, no, no.
Dont fly, mister blue bird, I'm just walking down the road,
Early morning sunshine tell me all I need to know
You're my blue sky, youre my sunny day.
Lord, you know it makes me high when you turn your love my way,
Turn your love my way, yeah."
Side note: If there is better 'road trip' music for driving through the South than the Allman Brothers, I haven't heard it. "Eat a Peach" can take me from Carolina to Florida in a such a way that I begin to regret reaching my destination.
Lynyrd Skynyrd's Second Helping is a close second. Maybe we can talk about Southern Rock bands of the 70's?
OK, unfortunately, that's all the content we're going to have today--I've got a ticket to the U.S.-Mexico qualifier in Columbus (suck it, Todd and Nico and Phillip) and my ride leaves soon. See you tomorrow.