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Warp Speed: In 16 Months AU Has Gone From The Best To A Mess

Gene Chizik is overseeing a team that’s just an overtime win over Louisiana-Monroe away from being 0-8 at the moment.  Last week, Auburn president Jay Gogue said a thorough examination of the football program would come at season’s end.  That was followed by a longtime Alabama-based columnist suggesting it might be time for Auburn to find a new coach and a new athletic director.  This week, oddsmaker Danny Sheridan piled on by telling an Alabama booster group that Auburn’s football program was again under NCAA investigation.

Amazingly, things are getting more negative still.

Now the aforementioned columnist is flat-out calling for heads and suggesting that a search for a new AD is already in motion.  And Chizik is having to “no comment” his way past questions regarding the NCAA.

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As AU Struggles, Nothing But Rain Continues To Fall Mainly On The Plains

“Skyfall.”

That’s the name of the latest James Bond flick opening in November (that will hopefully be more “Casino Royale” than “Quantum of Solace”).

But “Skyfall” could also be used to describe the state of things at Auburn this week.  War Eagle?  Try Chicken Little.  The sky seems to be falling on the Tigers and no one seems to have much positive to say about their 1-4 start or the situation in which they currently find themselves.

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Chizik Goes Up-Tempo With His Defense

Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal can tell a big difference in practice since head coach Gene Chizik — a former D-coordinator his own self — has taken over for Ted Roof’s old unit during bowl practice:


“It has been so much up-tempo with him.  You can see the big difference between him and Coach Roof.  Roof was kind of calm and tried to set things down.  Coach Chizik comes in the meeting room and everybody just stops.  I can tell a big difference now from the linebackers from when Roof was here.”


Chizik is running the defense as AU prepares for Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.  He’s also searching for two new coordinators… one of whom apparently won’t be Florida State’s Mark Stoops.


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Geno Smith Ready To Announce Decision

Cornerback Geno Smith from St. Pius X Catholic High School will announce his college decision today.

Smith, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 2 cornerback and No. 31 prospect overall by ESPN.com, will choose between Alabama and Auburn.

Smith gave his thoughts on both schools to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Alabama: “Both schools are very similar with good head coaches, and lots of coaching experience with the defensive backs. I love the environment down there, with both Alabama and Auburn in general. They love football down there in Alabama. It’s important. I wouldn’t mind playing football at a place where they take football so seriously. Not that other schools don’t, but down there it’s kind of like heaven.”

Auburn: “It’s the same and everything with Auburn, with Coach Chizik and his defensive backs. Trooper Taylor was my recruiter and he has had a big impact. He’s one of the best at what he does. Like Alabama, Auburn has a great environment down there. I took an unofficial visit down there and had the chance to hang out with some of the players and talk with them. It was a good experience.”

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Chizik Goes Easy On The Tigers In Practice

Last Saturday, Auburn won a physical 24-17 game over previously-unbeaten LSU.  Next Saturday, they’ll go back on the road for the first time in three weeks to visit Ole Miss in Oxford.  In between, Gene Chizik chose to give his team a bit of a break this week.

Instead of the usual tough Tuesday practice, Auburn’s coach allowed his team to go in shorts and shells.

“I think Coach Chizik knew we needed a little bit of a break,” Philip Lutzenkirchen told The Birmingham News.  “It didn’t hurt our intensity.”

Good coaches know when to loosen the reins and when to tighten them.  Facing a potential trap game in Mississippi, Chizik chose to loosen them… for a day.  If the Tigers continue to mow over their SEC foes he’ll be hailed as a genius.  If the Tigers stub their toes, then you can be certain his decision to relax on Tuesday will be greatly over-analyzed.

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