First, with all due respect, the only fans mourning this week should be those at the University of Connecticut.
My heart goes out to the family and loved ones after such a tragic loss. Sometimes we just need to keep things in perspective.
I’d like fans to realize that a loss to LSU is nothing to be ashamed of. They are a very good football team. We have a young team and are still learning new systems on both sides of the ball.
Secondly, our guys never quit, even though they were dog tired and beat up. They even scored on their last possession. I realize this was the second team, but it was still AU players.
Has anyone noticed the number of freshmen and underclassmen we are playing? This will pay huge dividends in a year or two.
Some fans want to criticize Gene Chizik and are pointing to the early success of Iowa State now that he has left. But the truth of the matter is that Coach Chizik did the same thing there. He played a huge number of underclassmen trying to build for the future, and it’s now beginning to pay off.
I don’t think for one moment that the success of Iowa State is directly the result of him leaving. Rather, it is likely the result of what he did while at ISU.
Thirdly, Chizik has continued to recruit well. For the first time in recent memory AU had a player switch his commitment from Bama to Auburn. That may not sound like much to some of you, but that is potentially huge.
He is also having more success in recruiting the state of Alabama than Tommy Tuberville did since the arrival of Nick Saban. He will likely sign three or four of the top 11 recruits.
I’m not sure if many are really aware of the recruiting problems inherited by Chizik. As an example, Tuberville's final signing class has already lost 13 recruits. I could go on, but the bottom line is that AU cannot compete late in the season with these kinds of recruiting numbers.
Auburn fans need to take a page from the Bama fans this time. They realized from the beginning that Saban would have to build a team and it could take a few years. They finished 6-6 his first year.
Give Coach Chizik and our beloved young men the support they need and the time to develop.
Next, fans must realize the power they have as fans. That power can come in the way of motivating your team. Just remember the 2006 AU vs. Florida game. The fan support helped win that game. I was there, and I’m speaking from experience.
Also, fans can negatively influence a recruit by showing no support for their team. Every home game should be viewed as a recruiting opportunity for fans. Several potential recruits will be visiting AU every game. These young men will be influenced by the support of the fans. Boo birds need to stay home.
Finally, try to remember that these are just kids. Most are 19-, 20-, and 21-year-olds. That’s the same age as the young people that stood in a driving storm before the West Virginia game. Support them in their efforts, even when those efforts fall short.
Life is too short to lose our perspective.