Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik can't feel good about the statement Auburn president Jay Gogue issued Thursday, and it's not because a bunch of Auburn students are going to invade the practice field that he guards like it hides buried treasure.
Gogue called on Auburn fans to join a planned show of support by going to the practice field Thursday to cheer and show support for the Auburn football team. The idea came originally from the Student Government Association.
"Later today, Auburn students and the local community will gather to cheer on the football team as they practice," Gogue's statement read. "I encourage others to follow their example by coming together and getting behind the young men who wear the orange and blue each fall Saturday."
That's a noble thought and a good idea. Players who pay a fearsome price to play college football deserve support, regardless of the record and regardless of what is going on around them.
And Gogue continued.
"In the past few weeks, many of you have contacted me, and I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to share your thoughts about the football program. I know your concerns are sincere and heartfelt, and I share many of them. As we do every year, the football program will be evaluated in an objective, thorough and professional process.
"For everything there is a time, and now is the time to support. The young men and women – our students – who make up Auburn University are grateful for the dedication of their extended Auburn Family. So am I."
Here are the parts of that statement that matter most:
He said he shared many of the concerns expressed by people who had contacted him. He said the football program would be evaluated.
More important is what he did not say.
He asked for support for the players, but he said nothing about Chizik or about supporting or believing in Chizik or any other coaches. He said nothing to offer encouragement to those who are concerned about losing their jobs and uprooting their families.
He said nothing about optimism for the future. All in all, it was about as far away from a vote of confidence as you could get.
And the ill wind that has struck Auburn football with a vengeance in 2012 continues to blow.