The Book of Chizik

Chizik Looking Quite Bookish

by: jadennis

I was shocked when Chizik was hired.  It was the kind of thing that would ruin my day out of nowhere.  I would be going along through a day, doing fine, then remember we just hired Chizik, and I would get chest pains.

That lasted a few days.  Then I used my brain, and not my heart, because honestly, my heart had no business feeling at this point…it didn’t have anything to really go on.  I realized how many great hires had turned poopty over the years.  I remembered how many “who the hell is that” hires had turned golden.

Many have said how good of a hire Charlie Strong is for Louisville.  Many even wanted him to get a shot at Auburn.  Isn’t he Ron Zook?  I mean, Zook did a good job at Florida as an assistant coach.  Zook only looks like a failure of a head coach hire NOW that we know better.  We deem Strong a good head coach hire….thing is, as of NOW, we don’t know any better.

When Mike Bellotti named Chip Kelly offensive coordinator, and soon named him the head-coach-in-waiting….people thought, “who the hell is this guy?”.  He’d been at New Hampshire for the previous 13 years. Was he never good enough to get a better job than New Hampshire for 13 years?  And now he was worthy of being head coach in the Pac 10?  He must be in over his head right?  First year….10-3, #11 final AP ranking.

Anyway, I came to the conclusion that since I didn’t feel like I had enough information to just assume with any degree of certainty that Chizikhad a 90% or better chance of guaranteed failure, then I would take my ultimate decision about him step by step.  As he did and didn’t do certain things, I would begin shaping my opinion of his performance as the head coach of Auburn’s football program.

First off, I would not judge his ability based on Iowa State, as it was as different as Texas A&M and Alabama was for Gene Stallings (7 years at each school….27 wins at A&M, 70 wins at Alabama).   Secondly, I would not judge his ability based on what “coach speak” he shared with the media and how he looked in front of the camera….after all, it’s the media, and maybe he’s not an award winning orator (which is not what we hired him to be), or maybe he doesn’t like being candid with the media until they’ve earned his trust.  Who knows?  Who cares.

So to me, we are still just in the midst of the writing of the Chizik era at Auburn.  It hasn’t been concluded yet.  I assume this will be at least a 6 chapter book….two chapters per year, one is recruiting, one is on-field results. Chapter 1 was pretty good, as he added most of the top recruits that we had in our 2009 class (8 of the top 13).  Chapter 2 was encouraging, as we improved in a lot of areas over last year.  After all, it was the first year for all of these players and coaches to work together.  Chapter 3 is shaping up to be excellent, we can all see that on any recruiting service we choose to endorse.

However, it’s only chapter 3.  We can easily assume that we are no more than half way through, at best (assuming he’s here through the 2011 season).  The rest of the book on him is unwritten, and I will treat my opinion on him as such.  Does the book look pretty good so far?  I would say that it has gotten better by the chapter, and at this point, is an encouraging read.  Will it continue to get better?  I’ll just keep reading, and with every new page of information, I will continue to shape my opinion accordingly.  The final three chapters could be dreadful.  Or, it could turn out to be a 20 chapter novel that ends up being the best volume in the 25 volume set that is the Auburn Coaching library.

What kind of book reviewer, regardless of how much they dislike the cover design, stops and writes his entire review after only reading the first three chapters?




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