Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Works sees coaches everywhere it looks

First things first. Tyrik Rollison's getting the Google treatment later today, but for now, you can read Mike Herndon's story on Rollison's arrival at Auburn--how awesome is it that he and Moseley are freaking roommates? it could be like Brian's Song, but just the friendship and not the dying--and take a moment to watch the saddest YouTube video in the world:

Many of you have probably seen that one already, but the aching, sincere desperation of the K-St. logo at the end and the comments of "KSUPoetWarrior"--holy hell, this video is actually named "Bryce Brown - We Genuinely Care About You"--just kill me. So, so sad. It almost makes me feel bad Auburn had to beat them a couple years ago. (Almost. Not quite.) And hey, while we're on the topic of Kansas St., you see the neck-deep vat of excrement their ex-athletic directors have landed them in? Fair to say that if sometimes I think Auburn could do better than Jay Jacobs, this is one time I know we could do one hell of a lot worse, too.

Coaches, coaches, coaches. Tons o' links recently profiling, interviewing, or otherwise discussing Auburn's new staff. First up: Jay Tate's continuing series of profiles, starting with Jeff Grimes. Sample:
Grimes is about as new-school as it gets. Though he spent a significant portion of his career around Dirk Koetter, one of the most gruff coaches around, Grimes doesn't consider scolding a powerful instructional tool. Much like Curtis Luper, Grimes corrects mistakes by explaining how each mistake affected everything else that occurred during a given play.

It's a cerebral approach. There is almost no yelling involved.
Like every other post in the series, it's chock-a-block with neat little details like those, like Grimes listening to reggae in his office or that he appears to be comfortable coaching a two- or three-point stance. More of the same from Tate's post on Phillip Lolley:
He lives by what I'd call an armed-forces code. He gets to work early and works through his list of tasks. When those tasks are completed, he works ahead. That's a big reason why Gene Chizik likes Lolley so much. Lolley's hard-edged approach provides an ideal complement to many of the new-school guys Chizik has assembled.

Lolley is respected by high-school coaches throughout the state, which makes him a valuable commodity to the Tigers' recruiting enterprise.
Unlike guys like Lolley, you would think everything Trooper Taylor could have possibly said to the press he'd have already said, but it turns out that's not the case; Andrew Gribble still managed to find some new choice bits a two-part interview you can read here and here. As with all of Taylor's interviews, the juicy, repeatable stuff somehow ends up vastly outnumbering the forgettable stuff, but I think this is my favorite nugget (from Part 2):
OAN: What did it take to bring Benton here?
TT: It was tough because in that state everyone is an LSU Tiger fan. Nobody wanted him to leave out of there. The relationship that we had, at the end of the day, helped. He didn’t want to let me down. We built that relationship over the phone talking, going to see him.

I was the only coach that went into his neighborhood. Everyone else who met him wouldn’t go into his house because the neighborhood was bad. I did and I met everybody in his family. And it wasn’t even that bad to me. I told him that if I can’t come into your neighborhood, it’s going to be a hard fit here. I need to at least sit face to face with your mother and grandmother and sisters and relatives. I know Coach (Gene) Chizik was the only coach that went to his house.
Uh ... really? The only head coach to go see DeAngelo Benton at his house? Wow. I'm still not convinced Benton's not at LSU right now if Miles doesn't make that "hard, fast decision" on him, but this goes a long way towards explaining why Auburn was Plan B. (Do also make sure you read Taylor's barber's chair analogy at the end of Part 2. He tries to keep it civil, but he's not any happier about the way Auburn's wide receiving corps has been coached or performed than we are.)

Still more from Auburn's coaches, as Chizik weighs in on the spread's spread and its impact on quarterback development:
First-year Auburn coach Gene Chizik said to some extent this season he will adapt to his quarterback's abilities.

"You can't always try to fit a round peg into a square hole, so you've got to adapt and adjust on the run, which we're constantly trying to do," Chizik said. "I think what the offense calls for, we've got guys (quarterbacks) that come close to fitting what we want. But again, that's why we're out recruiting."
Please contrast "adapt and adjust on the run" with the approach from last year's offensive staff, which on the part of Franklin meant running Omar Haugabrook's zone reads with Chris Todd, and on the part of everyone else meant ignoring Franklin and coaching the same way they'd always done. Easier for Chizik to say than do it, but this is the kind of thoughtful, open-minded approach that should may much greater dividends than last year's.

BlAUgosphere. PPL weighs in The Future of Kodi Burns by looking at the past of Kodi Burns, specifically the past that related to Burns's treatment at the hands of Tony Franklin. PPL digs up a bushel of old confusing, contradictory, and downright weird Franklin quotes to arrive at the following conclusion:
It could be completely baseless, but, I feel, Tony Franklin never wanted Kodi Burns to be the QB. He wanted Chris Todd. Todd was his guy, a player he knew, that was originally going to be at Troy to play for Franklin, and was given the shot to play at Auburn.
Given that Burns never saw the field under any circumstances against Miss. St. or LSU and only appeared against Tennessee because Tubby demanded it ... I'm inclined to agree. There's no denying that Burns wasn't good (or really, all that close to it) last year, but I also think there's a metric ton of damning evidence aimed at the coaching Burns has received to date. Maybe he's beyond reclamation, but even with his inability to pull away from Caudle in the spring and Rollison on board, the guess here--as it has been since the end of last season--is that Burns will start against Lousiana Tech this fall. And then we'll see if the light bulb can come on.

Elsewhere, hot off the Scarbinsky Terry Bowden stories, War Eagle Atlanta looks at the five best early-tenure Auburn coaching performances.

Volswatch. Somehow, I've ended up with a preponderance of Tennessee links to pass on. We'll start with the continuing eye on Tennessee's potentially hilarious quarterback situation, which Dr. Saturday touched on this week. Basically, the Vols have all of their eggs in Jesse Scroggins's basket, and after pulling out all the stops for him this past weekend, Scroggins' reaction was ...
"My top three is Florida, Tennessee and USC," the 6-3, 195 pound Scroggins said. "At this point I don't have a leader. I am camping at SC on Wednesday and Thursday then I will start sorting some things out."
A resounding endorsement if ever I've heard one. (To be fair, Scroggins was a little more enthusiastic immediately following the trip.) He could get an offer from USC this week, and if he does, well, if you lived 20 miles from USC would you pass on the Trojans to go to Tennessee? (Well, given that USC's top two quarterbacks are underclassmen, maybe, but when in doubt always go with geography.)

Tennessee could be the latest team to try a blackout. Predictable gnashing of teeth ensues.

Blutarsky takes Rocky Top Talk to task--as he's taken the JCCW to task in the past--for viewing the much smaller ratio of head coach salary to assistant coaches' salary at UT as a new model for doing business in the SEC. Although Blutarsky may be right that that ratio might not actually be voluntary on the part of Kiffykins and the Chiznick and that they're simply being paid the going rate for first-time coaches in the SEC (I would disagree with the second part--however fresh-faced the pair of them may be, they're still coaching at Auburn and Tennessee and earning far, far less for that than their predecessors), I still think that misses the point a bit. Whether it's part of a carefully orchestrated plan to try and get the most bang for the program's coaching salary buck or simply a natural, inevitable outcome of not having to break the bank for the man in charge, the ratio--both in terms of salary and perceived importance of the staff-at-large to the team's success--is still pretty well unprecedented, no? I think it's fair to say both Kiffin and Chizik were hired not for the coaches they are but for the staff they planned to create, and what other head coaches in the history of the SEC's major programs can we say that about?

Lastly, newly-relocated Hog blog (and friend of the JCCW) Arkansas Expats reminds us that Auburn isn't the only team to have trouble with sudden, inexplicable upsets at the hands of the Razorbacks:

Soccer. The U.S. takes on Spain this afternoon, and for those of you who care, I'd recommend this wonderful Rossi jerkface-related headline from Ives Galarcep, this post on the ascension of Landon Donovan (which I'd almost completely agree with, except that Michael Bradley has been the U.S.'s best player in the tourney-to-date), this preview from Braves and Birds, and most of all, this response to the U.S.'s Great Escape from Dan Loney, the best soccer blogger in America. The one-act play that opens that post is nothing less than Orsonesque.


Wallacewade04 said...

And here it comes. I liked the idea of getting to play Spain more than actually having to play spain. Keep Beasley off the field put Clint in position to threaten and please dear god don't make this easy for them. Dominate Anyewu dominate

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