Yesterday we wondered aloud if freshman Zeke Pike’s weekend arrest for pubic intoxication might cost him a shot — albeit a long shot — at winning Auburn’s quarterback derby this fall. It seems we have our answer as his departure from the Plains for the rest of summer signals bigger issues.
The 19-year-old prospect will return home to Fort Mitchell, Kentucky and miss the usual informal summer practices and workouts with his Tiger teammates. That’s no way to come from behind to win a quarterback race.
A source told Charles Goldberg of al.com that this “was not Pike’s first off-the-field issue,” either. We assume he means while at AU.
But before even arriving on campus, Pike made news when he was tossed from a camp last April for allegedly throwing a football at an official. (Pike said the issue was overblown and that he and the official apologized to one another afterward.) He was also suspended from his high school’s first and last games during his senior year. And his Twitter usage last summer — including several barbs lobbed at Alabama fans — drew attention as well.
In other words, this young man may just have an attitude that needs a bit of an adjustment.
That’s why Kevin Scarbinsky — also of al.com — believes it might be good in the long run for Pike to get out of Auburn ASAP. “You already needed a scorecard to keep track of the strikes against the freshman quarterback,” he writes.
While Scarbinsky wonders why Gene Chizik and his staff chose to ignore some warning signs about Pike — an in-game fight led to one of his high-school suspensions and it’s believed that synthetic marijuana might have played a role in the other — he also touches on the fact that Auburn doesn’t need any more bad press with one player from the 2010 BCS title squad having recently been handed a 15-year jail sentence for armed robbery and three more of his teammates awaiting their own trials over the same incident. Good point.
We’ll toss in another.
Considering it was less than two weeks ago that a pair of ex-Tiger football players and another man were shot and killed at an Auburn apartment complex, that community as a whole has no need right now for someone else who seems to have a habit of making poor decisions. There’s been enough worry, heartache, trials and tribulations at AU the past few months without a freshman QB adding to the mess.
If Pike can get his act together this summer, there still might be a day when he’s trusted to make good decisions on the field as Auburn’s starting quarterback. Someday. For now, however, it appears that someone needs to reel Pike in. (Rimshot.)