Would the real Gene Chizik please stand up? Is the guy who won five games in two years at Iowa State? Is he the man who’s led Auburn to two 8-5 campaigns in three years? Or is he multi-millionaire, top o’ the line coach who led the Tigers to their first national crown in decades?
That’s what many Auburn and SEC fans would like to know following last year’s post-Cam Newton season. But Auburn AD Jay Jacobs isn’t reading too much into last season because he says he and Chizik knew early on what was coming:
“2010 was a magical year for us. Back when I interviewed Gene in December ’08, we knew that 2011, as far as the number of players, was going to be challenging. I couldn’t be more proud of how the guys played. There was only one institution that played more freshmen than we did this past season. I’m proud of how hard they worked and how they stayed to the task at hand and continued to build this foundation that’s going to take us back to an SEC championship.”
Sounds good. And we believe it’s too soon for anyone to start writing Chizik off as a one-year wonder. But…
For Jacobs to have known back in 2008 that the roster would be so full of holes in 2011, he would have to have foreseen some real problems coming with Chizik’s first two signing classes. After all, 43% of the players from Auburn’s ’09 and ’10 classes aren’t at Auburn or never arrived.
For that reason — while we say it’s way too soon to panic on the Plains — we also aren’t buying Jacobs’ “we knew it was coming” message.