Recruits’ parents, who have read scary off-field headlines about Auburn lately, awoke to news that Auburn’s football program apparently needs curfews nightly, not just nights before games.
Coaches who recruit against Auburn awoke to a juicy tidbit for negative recruiting, and fans?
They awoke to the latest news that indicates that head coach Gene Chizik, already facing calls for his ouster over Auburn’s worst start since 1952, is in over his head.
Those who didn’t read Chizik’s acknowledgement of the news on Twitter on Wednesday night surely read it in state media. Those outside the state could read it in USA Today.
Reuben Foster, how do you feel about that tattoo now?
How does it feel, Dee Liner? If you live off-campus, security guards could show up are your place at 11 p.m. to make sure all’s going according to policy?
Mom and dad, how about those little questions that come to mind about the apparent level of trust between the coaches and players. There must be a reason, right?
And doesn’t a strong head coach usually have this covered without outsourcing?
Those are the troubling questions surrounding what’s believed to be an unprecedented measure Auburn has taken by contracting the Event Operations Group to work with Auburn’s football player development department in this way.
That Auburn has done it since center Reese Dismukes’ preseason arrest for public intoxication is troubling enough, but it comes after other off-field headlines planted doubts about the house Chizik oversees.
There was former Auburn quarterback Zeke Pike’s arrest for public intoxication.
There was the armed robbery involving four now-former players and subsequent revelations in court about the gun belonging to former Auburn running back Michael Dyer.
Though the man accused of June’s fatal off-campus shooting of former Tigers Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian is not known to be associated with the school or football program, the scary picture of alcohol and outside elements with guns at late-night pool parties plays into all of this.
One could argue that such a confluence of embarrassing and even tragic events makes every-night curfews and the hiring of outside enforcement reasoned responses, but troubling questions follow.
Like how did things get to the point where this was necessary?
That rounds the issue back to ongoing questions about the evaluation skills/priorities of Chizik and his recruiting staff.
It also raises questions about Chizik’s strength as a program leader. One just doesn’t hear about other coaches making extraordinary use of curfews and hiring outside help to enforce them.
That’s not to say problems don’t exist elsewhere. The bet here is they exist nearly everywhere and don’t always find their way into headlines.
The constant drip onto Auburn’s canvas, however, paints an increasingly disturbing picture of a chaotic program. Fairly or not, the hiring of outside help for security frames it.
Any recruit’s parent would have to worry.
Chizik can answer that he’ll take extraordinary measures to enforce discipline, and that might reassure some parents, but recruits won’t like it. Auburn’s current players tweeted their displeasure, and the tweets have been deleted.
What do those players say when recruits visit?
Though recent on-field results don’t agree, ratings say recruiting is the one thing Chizik has consistently done well as Auburn’s head coach. Indeed, recruiting is the life blood of any college program.
Negative off-field headlines can act as blood-thinners, and the hiring of an outside firm for security comes off as a white-flag measure by a coach who already looks to be shrinking next to the job.
Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.