The Auburn Tigers sent Gene Chizik packing after he produced the worst season in Auburn history since 1980. A winless run in the SEC sealed his fate, and now the Tigers are looking for a new leader to guide the Auburn program back into the national elite.
The elephant in the room in the Auburn coaching search has become the jobless Bobby Petrino, and there is no reason that he shouldn’t be the Tigers No. 1 target during this coaching search.
Petrino has more baggage than most intra-continental flights, but the guy wins ballgames.
Through eight years as a college football head coach, he has put together a 75-26 overall record and two conference titles. He has only one losing season to his credit in the college ranks, coming in his first season with Arkansas.
In 2008, Petrino took over the Razorbacks job when it was in a downward spiral. In two seasons, he was able to make Arkansas a 10-win program, taking it to the BCS in 2010.
Auburn has a talented roster to pull from; the Tigers just need direction and firm discipline to get the program back on track. Petrino is the man for the job.
There are a number of coaches who have been named as possible candidates for the Auburn position, but every current coach has a contract and pending buyout that has to be paid.
Auburn will already be dumping a truckload of cash on Chizik, so a coach with no buyout is sure to be appealing.
Forget the money, let’s talk offense.
This Auburn team has been very inconsistent on offense in the past two seasons, and quarterback development has played a major role in the offensive woes. In the past two years, Auburn has played four different quarterbacks with virtually no success.
Some of the quarterback issues have been injuries, but the majority of the problem has been dreadful play. There was promise in freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace’s performance this fall, but he was lost against the top defenses in the SEC.
Is Petrino the right hire for Auburn?
Auburn finished 2011 with the No. 112 passing offense, No. 113 scoring offense and the No. 115 total offense in the country. Those are absolutely inexcusable numbers, but they can be fixed.
Bringing in one of the hottest offensive names in the coaching business would be a smart move for this program.
It will surely bring a wave of controversy to the program when Auburn makes this hire, but the Tigers don’t have time to worry about outside influence. Putting more notches in the win column is more important than bad press.
Add in an endorsement from Charles Barkley and the Tigers have their man.