Gene Chizik: How Auburn Can Repair Damaged Program
The Gene Chizik era at Auburn seems destined to end shortly. The Tigers just endured a dreadful season that saw them go 3-9 overall, and 0-8 in the SEC.
It was the first time the Tigers have gone winless in the conference in 32 years. To top off all the futility, the Tigers were destroyed by Alabama 49-0 in the Iron Bowl. Something has to change, and those changes will take place at the top.
When the Tigers go looking for Chizik's replacement, there are a few qualities they must hold as prerequisites for the next head coach.
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs must target a man who has the charisma and recruiting plan to bring in top talent. Jacobs can't expect the Auburn name to do the work. The recruiters must continue to win some of the battles for the top talent in the country.
Chizik was never a poor recruiter, but he hasn't produced much with the talent he's acquired.
Getting the studs is one thing, but coaching them properly is obviously a different story.
Defensive Minded Coach
The pass-happy trends from the NFL have not made their way to college football. The path to supremacy on the college level is still primarily about defensive excellence. Take a look at the top of the BCS standings: Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. They all have good to great defenses.
If Auburn is going to compete with the best teams, they must rebuild a strong defensive philosophy. That needs to come from the top of the coaching staff, as it should be the team's primary identity.
Hire Offensive-Minded Assistants With A QB Development Specialist
While the head coach needs to be a defense guy, he should have a team of assistants that includes a coach with a proven offensive approach. In addition to that, a man with experience developing quarterbacks would be ideal.
It will help to improve the play of the signal-callers on the roster, but it could also help to make Auburn a more attractive spot for young quarterbacks.
Beating the best teams requires elite quarterback play. That's the reason Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M went into Tuscaloosa and knocked off Alabama. When Auburn won the national championship in 2010, they had a guy named Cam Newton under center.
They need to attract and develop that type of talent at quarterback.
Obviously, this won't be easy to find, but this is the formula to return Auburn to relevance.
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