Tuberville's Recruiting Legacy and a Realistic Look at '09

By: Harvey Birdman


Will Coach Chizik impersonate Old Mother Hubbard?

In evaluating Gene Chizik after this upcoming season, regardless of what happens, I think we’re going to have to take a lot of other factors into account besides wins and losses.  CTT came in and lead a rag tag bunch to a 5-6 record and was just a few plays and a bone headed coaching decision from 8 wins and a bowl.  In my mind, it was one of the top coaching jobs of his entire tenure at Auburn.  That team was literally void of any real talent and experience.  One thing about his final few years that concerned me though, was a perceived change in his recruiting tactics.  I know it’s been hashed out time and time again; however, what I saw was a coach and staff that had become complacent, comfortable if you will.  There were few if any battles for the top rated talent.  Sunshine pumpers defended Tuberville’s knack for “Finding diamonds in the rough”.  The two star, 190 lb. linebacker who “Camped well” that will come in, redshirt and Yoxercise for a year had become the norm.

As last year grinded to a close, I argued several times that the problem could stem back to the failed Franklin experiment, but probably lay more at the feet of poor recruiting.  Other than Mario Fannin stepping up in a couple of games late, name ONE true playmaker on that squad.  Name one receiver that could beat anyone deep, much less catch the ball if he did.  Name any back besides Mario that gave you anything to make you believe he could take it to the house…ever.  Name one QB that could start for Troy.  The same guys are back and realistically, our hope rests on a new staff, a new system and possibly a new attitude.  Several signees coming in look to have potential to be studs but you don’t really have much if you’re counting on kids who haven’t even enrolled, much less played a down of SEC ball.

In looking at the roster, the departure of Kyle Coulahan, who never played a down, leaves Auburn with about 7-8 scholarship offensive linemen.  (That doesn’t include incoming freshmen). In typical Tuberville fashion, several defensive guys are now listed as O-linemen, including AJ Green.  Defensively, I’d go to war against anyone in the country with our starters.  After that….it’s a little scary!  Our defensive ends are solid and 2 deep with Coleman, Carter, Goggans Gabe McKenzie (If he’s on the team…and back playing defense) Once heralded Raven Gray is no longer listed on the roster.  Our guys in the middle are big, physical and experienced with Jake Ricks, Mike Blanc and Zach Clayton.  Name anyone besides a handful of redshirt freshmen behind them.

Linebackers…Josh Bynes, Craig Stevens and Eltoro Freeman look to be one hell of a unit but keep in mind, Freeman hasn’t played a down of SEC ball either and behind them….Spencer Pybus, Adam Herring and Dashaun Barnes?  Who else?  Only one of them has even part time playing experience.  Fortunately, our numbers are strong throughout the secondary.  But, the point of all this is, we’ve got to hope this staff finds some playmakers or implements a system that truly catches the league off guard.  We’ve got to have an injury free year for the most part because the numbers in the trenches and at linebacker just aren’t there.

Any way you slice it, Tuberville’s recruting has put this program in a very precarious situation.  I know this is a glass half empty analysis but facts are facts.  I’m as bad as anyone in breaking down an Auburn team going into any given year and drinking the kool-ade to the point that I’m wondering how an NFL team could beat them.  But, while this team has talent, they don’t have a lot of it and you have to have numbers to compete for titles in this league.  I also tend to think the SEC will be stronger overall this year with LSU, UT and Georgia  (All on our schedule) being improved..and let’s not forget Ole Miss, who suddenly is a legit playa in the West.  Of course, we can’t leave out the mighty CrimpsumTahd, who will most certainly secure the 279th Nayshunal Champeenship for the Crapstone…but I digress.

What we saw out of Chizik’s staff when they came in late, was what Tommy Tuberville and his guys should have been doing all along.  Instead, they quit going in the living rooms of top rated, high profile kids and held camps to find a good many of the players on our roster.  It told on him last season.  I was just as WTF as anyone when Gene Chizik was hired.  But, regardless of whether Chizik or Pete Carroll or Nick Saban or Bob Stoops was our coach, my expectations still would not be that high going in to 09′.  Let this new staff continue their ways for a year or two more on the recruting trail, then I’m talking BCS.  Right now, I want to get to a bowl.

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