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There were some things that are undeniably true about the 2010 season.
It was a team that was led by veteran leadership. It was a team that was deep on high-mid-level, underrated talent (guys like Zach Clayton, Mike Blanc, Darvin, Byron Isom, Ryan Pugh, Mario Fannin, Josh Bynes, etc). I think it was 13 or 14 players gone from that 2010 were either drafted or at least got a shot at an NFL roster after the draft (not to mention future NFL talent like Dyer, Lemonier, etc).
It was also a team with a couple super stars, Cam and Nick Fairley. Some people like to think they are the SOLE reason for the title, as if we'd have won 6 games without them. Maybe, maybe not. But isn't that true of Texas without Vince Young....USC without Leinart and Bush.....Florida without Tebow....etc?
The team had a lot of talent, but because of Cam and Nick, and Gus Malzahn's offense, not much attention was paid to anything else in the program that led to the championship.
But for me, at the time, and even through last year and coming into this year, I always thought the job the coaching staff did was underrated and wrongly overlooked.
I saw a team from 2008 that was in complete disarray. The program was, internally, in the toilet. Things had fallen apart quickly from 2006 to 2007 to 2008. I had mild expectations going into 2009, and only slightly more going into 2010. I thought we might be pretty decent, probably a "ranked" team, but didn't expect much beyond that...certainly wasn't thinking national championship.
At the end of 2010, I had a few opinions of Chizik and his staff based on what I had seen to that point. I had seen a team that was in shambles in 2008 that seemed to have found a new leader to follow. I saw a team that had been picked up, and put back together. I saw a spirit of unity on the team and in the program in general. It seemed downright impossible based on what things had looked like in 2008.
Then came the report of Cecil and Kenny Rogers. And the turmoil from outside the program that ensued was nothing less than epically brutal. Yet it seemed that Chizik and staff were able to hold the team together. He seemed to "lead" them through the storm. He seemed to be able to keep them calm, confident, and united....throughout the season, and even throughout games that seemed to be getting away. He seemed like their rock, week to week, moment to moment.
Now that was my assessment from the outside as of January 2011. That's what I recall. That's what I saw happen....so I thought.
So what I'm wondering is....did I see what I thought I saw? Didn't I see this coach put the program back together after the 2008 debacle? Didn't I see him keep the team together during the tumultuous 2010 media firestorm?
So what's changed? Can he no longer lead now? Was he just helped because he was leading players that were leaders themselves and capable of being led? Is the difference that he was leading MEN like Kodi Burns, Josh Bynes, Mario Fannin, Bart Eddins, Aarion Savage, and Zac Etheridge back then? And now he's trying to lead a bunch of whining, pampered, selfish, me-first, "KIDS"?
I'm just at a loss here. Do I not remember 2010 correctly? Or do I remember correctly and the fact is Chizik is suited to GUIDING mature, leader-type young men, and not suited to DEVELOPING mature, leader-type young men? Because I thought I saw him solidify and lead this program at one point. But we're obviously not seeing that now.
I feel like a lot of coaches, both pro and college, don't cross over well because they are either good at leading "men" or they are good at leading "kids". Duke's Coach K is one of the rare exceptions that seems to garner respect from ALL levels, both kids and "men". But many, many coaches don't have the ability to lead both effectively.
Is that Chizik's problem maybe? He inherited a large group of mature, humble men who wanted to be led, wanted to be selfless, and wanted to win as a team....and he seemed to be the PERFECT leader for that group.
Now he has very young, very highly recruited "kids" that have been told they are NFL-bound since they were in the 9th grade. They've expected to come in and play a lot from day one. There doesn't seem to be a large contingent of humble, mature leadership in the group (hence, the player meeting led by the few seniors we have that might actually fit that description).
So do we assume Chizik can't grow this group and has lost his ability to be effective and taken seriously? Or do we assume that this group is simply overrun with immature, me-first "children", and we'll have to see what they become as they grow up?
Again, I'm at a loss.
This post was edited by jadennis 21 months ago
I tend to believe it is the later, I have been going back and looking at the recruitment of many of the players who seem to be more vocal through social media and there are several common points, mostly who their lead recruiter was. In other words I think it has to do with the type of kids certain recruiters have been recruiting.
Now before I get jumped all over, I know CGC has ultimate control and i think he has learned on the job that this is a problem, but at this point I don't know if he has anyway to save this team or his job.
I think at this point anything he does may be too little too late
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