On the afternoon of October 6, after Auburn had been dominated at home by a then-awful Arkansas team, the talk started and Gene Chizik’s seat got uncomfortably warm. By the time the clock read 00:00 in the 63-12 shellacking (again at home) by SEC newcomer Texas A&M, the talk of change was more than just idle whisper. It was a full-throated roar.
So yesterday, Auburn’s 247Sports.com’s affiliate posted a story that wasn’t news and wasn’t really a story at all. In fact, it did nothing to advance either the notion that Chizik would return or that he would be dismissed. There was no there, there.
It's completely hedged. If Gogue might possibly fire Chizik, it also means that he might possibly retain Chizik. That adds no value to the story. While a conditional statement probably reflects reality—I doubt a final decision has been made—it's also not news. Once the decision is made, then there will be news.
The report continues, saying that Gogue will form a committee to help make the decision on whether to keep Chizik. I guess it's nice to know the president won't act as the sole judge and jury on the matter, but it just reinforces the fact that no decision has been made yet. Continuing, that committee would, in the case of Chizik's dismissal, be called upon to assist in the process of finding a replacement "within days after the end of the season". Well, I'd hope so. Programs don't typically wait until after the bowl to fire a coach, and protracted coaching searches are never in anyone's plans.
David’s right. What do we know differently today from what we knew after the A&M game? Absolutely nothing. There’s a strong possibility that a coaching change is in the offing and there’s also a possibility that Chizik gets another year to show progress.
Actually, he has a fair case to argue for another year. He’s hired two new coordinators who have installed completely new offensive and defensive schemes. He’s still only two years removed from winning Auburn’s first national championship in more that five decades and its only outright undisputed title. The last several recruiting classes—and the still forming 2013 class—have enough talent to pick things up a bit going forward.
Despite the acutely disappointing 2012 season, the defense is playing more physically and more enthusiastically. The stats may not show it, but the defense has improved its play under VanGorder. It’s the offense that hasn’t produced, and that’s leading to a thin, young and gassed defense getting hammered by deeper, more experienced SEC squads. Chizik could offer Gogue a plan for improvement in 2013 and ask for one more year.
On the other hand, there is the abysmal record on the field and the inability to retain and develop the talent they’ve recruited. Prized recruits with elite potential have either failed to develop or have failed to stay on campus.
None of these issues have changed, so why bother with a pot-stirring story explaining that Chizik may or may not be back next year?