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UM’s Freeze Tries To Be Nice, VU’s Franklin Says There’s No Need To Be

Somehow this isn’t surprising given the public personas of Hugh Freeze and James Franklin.  One reached out to the other this week in an effort to be an over-the-top nice guy.  The other responded coolly, like a boxer before at a pre-bought weigh-in.

Ole Miss’ Freeze made the unusual-for-everybody-else gesture of calling Vandy’s Franklin earlier this week to make sure the Commodores’ coach had everything he needed for his first trip to Oxford this weekend.  For any Commodore fans wondering if Freeze was trying some sort of reverse-jinx, mind trick on their coach… he wasn’t.  He says he’s made such calls before.  And in the case of Franklin, Vandy’s coach was very kind in reaching out to him when Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace’s sister was having surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center a month ago.

According to Freeze:

 

“I think it’s possible to be very competitive and still be courteous.  If I have a relationship with visiting coaches that are coming to our place, that’s not uncommon for me to do that.  I’ve done it this year with Clint Conque (Central Arkansas), Mack Brown (Texas), and Gene Chizik.  I didn’t talk with (Chizik) on the phone, I texted him.

James was very kind early in the year when we had an incident with Bo Wallace’s sister.  We’re going to want to beat them extremely bad Saturday night and he’ll feel the same, but I still think it’s possible to do it and still be very courteous to each other.”

 

Franklin’s response when asked about the call: “It was a very nice gesture, but… there’s really no reason for people to make those calls.”  Well, aside from just being nice.

Wallace’s sister underwent surgery at VU last month after suffering a broken neck in a car wreck.

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Report: Auburn President Preparing For Possible Change

Auburn president Jay Gogue is preparing to possibly replace football coach Gene Chizik, according to a report from AuburnUndercover.com.

The website reports Gogue has informed some members of Auburn’s Board of Trustees of his plan. Here’s more from the report:

“Gogue also told the trustees to whom he talked that he plans to retain athletics director Jay Jacobs and reassign executive associate athletics director Tim Jackson, who oversees football.

“In telephone calls with some members of the Board of Trustees last week and early this week, Gogue said he intends to form a committee to help with the decision and plans to move quickly, ideally naming a new head coach within days after the end of the season should the decision be made that Chizik will not be retained.”

Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson is a potential candidate to replace Chizik, according to AuburnUndercover.

To be clear, the report doesn’t state that Gogue has decided to fire Chizik. Gogue is preparing for the possibility, according to AuburnUndercover.

That’s with the expectation that things are about to get worse for Auburn. The Tigers (2-7, 0-6 SEC) will host Georgia on Saturday before playing Alabama A&M at home and Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

At that point, the possibility of Chizik being out might turn into a reality.

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Former Vandy Commit Favors Auburn

Safety Malik Greaves from Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, Fla., is focusing his recruitment on Auburn now that he’s no longer committed to Vanderbilt.

Greaves told 247Sports that he decommitted from Vanderbilt last week and plans to take an official visit to Auburn in the near future.

“Vanderbilt is a good program,” Greaves said. “From the staff to the players. I just feel that it would be a better situation for me at Auburn. They are a great academic school as well as Vandy, just with a more pro-style defensive system. Yeah, they fell off this season but that happens.”

Of course, as the season for Auburn (1-7, 0-6 SEC) continues to get worse, the future of Auburn coach Gene Chizik and his staff becomes more in doubt. And that could cause prospects like Greaves to question their interest in playing for the Tigers.

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AU’s Chizik Takes Responsibility For 1-6 Start

On the bright side, he’s not pointing fingers at those around him.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik says he isn’t going to start judging his coaches before season’s end.  Sure the team’s 1-6 start is miserable, but there are still five more games to play according to Auburn’s head coach:

 

“At the end of every year we go back and we evaluate everything that everybody does, just like we’ve done every year that I’ve been here.  We’ve got five games left.  Our one focus for the next five weeks is nothing but trying to win a game, that’s it.  At the end of the year, just like we do, we go out and evaluate everybody as I get evaluated.”

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Mother Of AU Coach Chizik Passes Away

It’s been a terrible year at Auburn for head coach Gene Chizik.  But what he’s dealing with today probably puts the rest of his woes/issues in perspective.

Auburn University has confirmed that Rita Chizik — the 86-year-old mother of the coach — passed away this morning:

 

“The Chiziks appreciate the prayers and support that have been sent from the Auburn family.  We ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

 

Our condolences go out to Chizik and his family today.  Sad story.

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AU To Start Moseley At QB Versus Ole Miss

After a 1-4 start and continued struggles at the quarterback position, Auburn is making a change.  Gene Chizik announced this afternoon that Clint Moseley will start tomorrow’s game at Ole Miss, not Kiehl Frazier.

Moseley — who many feel lost out on the starter’s job due to a sore shoulder in preseason camp — saw his first action of the year last week against Arkansas.  Unfortunately, he continued a trend started by Frazier and tossed two interceptions in a half of work.  Auburn’s new Scot Loeffler-led offense has struggled with turnovers since the season’s beginning.

Now Moseley will get the first shot at staying pick-free tomorrow in Oxford.

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Ex-AU Coach Dye Removes Foot From Mouth, Apologizes For Chizik Vs. Saban Remarks

Last week at the Montgomery, Alabama Quarterback Club, ex-Auburn coach Pat Dye gave some praise to Gene Chizik.  In doing so he ticked off a bunch of Alabama fans who felt his compliment towards Chizik was a backhand to Nick Saban.  His remarks from a week ago:

 

“Don’t question the guy we got leading the (Auburn) program.  I wouldn’t swap him for 10 Sabans.

Saban is the best coach in the country — I’ll grant him that.  But he ain’t a better man than Gene Chizik.”

 

Well, first, being a better man doesn’t count for a thing if you’re not winning (and we all know it).  It should, but it doesn’t.  If being a good guy had anything to do with keeping one’s job, Mike Shula would still be coaching in Tuscaloosa.

Second, in a society where 90% of the people go through their day looking for something to be upset or to feel slighted about, you can see how some Tide fans took offense.  Yesterday, Dye apologized on the Paul Finebaum radio show:

 

“I said what I wanted to say wrong.  I really don’t know Coach Saban.  What I do know is I know he and Ms. Saban have done and are doing wonderful things in the community in Tuscaloosa.  I have no authority or reason to compare his character with Gene Chizik’s, and if it came out that way, I was wrong.  I didn’t mean for it to come out that way, and I apologize deeply.”

 

Much ado about nothing.  (Which I believe is what Shakespeare once wrote regarding the many slights — perceived or otherwise — that soooo tick folks off when it comes to the Iron Bowl rivalry.  Ol’ Bill knew not to take things too seriously.)

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AU’s Chizik Won’t Address Whether NCAA Is Investigating Robinson Case

Jovon Robinson was an Auburn signee in February and a Tiger player until August.  But last month, he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA after a guidance counselor at his Memphis high school admitted to having changed his transcript.  The NCAA is targeting the Memphis area hard right now and fellow SEC school Mississippi State is also dealing with potential issues tying back to the Bluff City.

Asked today if the NCAA is looking further into Auburn’s recruitment of Robinson, Gene Chizik chose to stay mum:

 

“I have one thing on my mind, and that’s winning a football game this week.  I’m not getting into that.”

 

That answer could mean one of two things.  First, it could be that Chizik doesn’t know what the NCAA is doing.  Second, it could mean that Chizik knows the NCAA is still looking into Robinson’s case — to find out who asked the guidance counselor to change the player’s grades, for example — but the coach doesn’t want to say a peep about it.

It’s highly unlikely that Chizik would pass on a chance to snuff out the rumor of an investigation if he knew for a fact that no investigation was underway.  So again, two options — he doesn’t know if the NCAA is snooping around or he knows the NCAA is definitely investigating but he doesn’t want to admit it.

It should also be noted that the NCAA instructs schools and their representatives not to say much about ongoing investigations.

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SEC Headlines 7/24/12

1. Georgia coach Mark Richt said the Bulldogs are interested in Penn State’s players.

2. Georgia AD Greg McGarity hopes lessons are learned from the Penn State story.

3. Some schools have already begun aggressively pursuing some of Penn State’s players.

4. One SEC school started its pursuit Monday morning, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

5. If a school wants to land Penn State running back Silas Redd, it will likely have to battle Southern Cal.

6. Ole Miss tight end Jamal Mosley has been suspended after another arrest.

7. Here’s a sneak peek of Mississippi State’s new football uniforms.

8. Will Mississippi State pursue Penn State players? Here’s an early look.

9. Michigan – Alabama’s opening opponent – has suspended its starting running back.

10. Will Auburn see Clemson’s star wide receiver Sammy Watkins in the opener?

11. Here’s a podcast with SEC coaches Gene Chizik, Gary Pinkel and Kevin Sumlin.

12. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley knows why people speculate about his job.

13. LSU coach Les Miles is showing confidence in quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

14. South Carolina basketball forward Carlton Geathers will have right knee surgery.

15. Florida coach Will Muschamp will go through the “Car Wash” at ESPN on Tuesday.

16. Some Penn State players will decide to leave. Here are some possibilities.

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