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"Alabama fans love Alabama football, Auburn fans love Auburn" -- Patrick Fain Dye
Superior coaching is always the most critical component in winning MNCs or, really, in any team sport for that matter. The first and most important thing I'll be looking for when watching our games this year is that CGC improved his staff when the opportunity arose at the end of last season. Specifically:
- Will our defense be improved in the fundamentals and be able to get off the field by stopping the other team on 3rd down and also get more turnovers than last year and even score some defensive points? Ultimately, will they be able to keep us close and competitive in every game and give the offense opportunities to win?
- Will the offense be able take advantage of the talents of all the offensive players, move the ball, convert 3rd downs and score the points necessary to win games?
- The two previous points will be accomplished by the coaching staff:
- Recruiting the players who will be able to compete successfully against our opponents
- Putting players at the best position that will give them the best chance to contribute to the team effort
- Developing and coaching players so they contribute the maximum of their potential
- Developing and executing game plans against each opponent that gives the team the best chance to win
- Making adjustments at halftime and throughout the game that make critical differences in the outcome
- Taking an interest in every player, making sure they take full advantage of the educational opportunity of attending Auburn University as well as the athletic opportunity, stay out of trouble and find opportunities to give back to the school and community
Bottom line - if Auburn is to become a consistently elite national program we have to start with a superior coaching staff and CGC must improve his staff whenever the opportunity arises. All of us think that CGC "traded up" with our two new coordinators. The "proof is in the pudding" i.e. the results will be apparent on the field over the next few years. The truth is 9 or 10 regular season wins a year is a minimum to be an elite program and significantly more once every few years when we play in the SECCG.
The truth also is that if we continue to have mostly 7 win regular seasons and, more often than not, lose to most or all of our core competitors (al, ar, lsu, ga) our coaches are not going to be able to continue to successfully recruit enough top players to stay competitive against those core competitors. And, going forward, tamu will also be shooting to win the west and become a top program in the SEC.
We are at a crossroads.
We've been at this crossroads since 1992. Why do you think some diehard al supporters went to such lengths to discredit and neutralize Coach Pat Dye? Because for the first time since the fifties Coach Dye and his staff were able to propel AU to the national stage by recruiting enough great players, melding them into a formidable tough team and win consistently. They should have won the MNC in '83 and finished in the top 10 in '86, '87, '88 and '89. Coach Dye changed the pecking order in the SEC and AU was being recognized as an elite program by the end of the '80s. Coach Dye learned everything from and modeled himself after Coach Bryant so they knew exactly where to look to bring him down. Since then:
- Coach Bowden - great motivator, very close to his players at first, great offensive production, could not recruit effectively, program became mediocre over time due coaching staff turmoil which led to poor recruiting therefore not having the players to compete successfully against our core rivals and poor player development and poor game planning loss of program vision and strategy.
- Coach Tuberville - better overall staff, very cohesive but, because of inability to view his staff objectively, did not upgrade until forced to - was able to upgrade successfully several times when forced to, although most key assistants left soon after when offered by other programs. Recruited some key players during his first few years but not able to recruit enough top talent consistently especially after 2004. Recruiting deteriorated significantly in the last couple of years. Best performance obviously was '04. '03 was a huge disappointment since AU had actually a better team in place that year but not taking decisive action during the off-season to upgrade offense coaching led to an embarrassing year. Bringing Rudi in led to a breakout year in '00; obvious weaknesses in his staff led to an under-performing team in '01 but forced him to make changes in both coordinators and team improved significantly in '02. Losing coaches after that season and loyalty to others on staff led to the debacle in '03, again forced to make coordinator changes which led to perfect and arguably a MNC in '04. After that season they lost players they were never able to replace but produced teams for the next 3 years that performed at a high level. A hasty, high risk change of the OC led to '08 which was his waterloo. The team was better than their record indicated that year but awful offensively. The '08 record coupled with the 36-0 drubbing by al sealed his fate especially when he was still inflexible toward making significant staff changes. During his tenure he won many big games against highly ranked teams where we were decided underdogs. Also seemed to lose at least one game a year we should have won.
- Coach Chizik - the jury is still out. Won MNC in '10 which was huge - first awarded by major opinion polls in more than 50 years. Put together a very good staff and decided to recruit elite athletes nationally. So far, he has been able to sign several very good classes on paper. In the next three years AU must show they have become again an elite national program with those players and coaching staff. If AU is able to assert itself as an elite program, they will be able to continue to attract the numbers of top players and top assistants when openings arise. If not we will be fighting ark, om, ms and tamu for also-ran status in the west division.
Unfortunately, for CGC his tenure coincides with what may be an unprecedented run going on at al and lsu. The only road to the top is taking it away from them in the living rooms of top recruits and beating them on the field. We'll see how the next 3 years unfold.
You have to give al credit. They were at their crossroads five years ago. They focused and got to work. They identified who they thought would be the guy who would get them back to the top, got out their checkbooks, paid handsomely for him and his staff. Converted their stadium into one of the best in the country; went out and recruited some of the best players in the country, won big on the field and took full advantage of their success by continuing to recruit better than anyone else in the country year after year. And, even though they enlarged their stadium significantly, every game is sold out and fans are fighting over tickets. Hard to believe but their program may be in the best shape of their entire history and the future looks just as bright. It's hard to see them out of the top 5 for the next 4 or 5 years. Hard to swallow for us.
Can CGC and staff surpass this al juggernaut? Or will AU bide their time, hoping saban will retire sometime in the next 5-10 years and al will make a mistake in their next hire? Time will tell.
This post was edited by Weve Won 9 on 5/23/2012 at 9:35 AM
"Brick by brick, my citizens. Brick by brick"
Under CGC we won seven regular season games in 09 and last year, and went undefeated in 10. We have put together "on paper" three highly rated recruiting classes, which I would hope that means we are catching up with teams like UGA, LSU, and UAT. We have most of our difficult games at home this year; therefore, based on the above, I think if we win nine REGULAR season games this year, I would consider that to be a step forward. I am not counting post season. CGC is perfect by the way in post season.
A benchmark is a changing scale and it is different than setting goals. One of your goals is to at least meat your benchmark. Your ultimate goal is for championships. If you set your benchmark at going perfect every year and winning championships then most of the time you wil under achieve. We wen 11-2 in 2006...we didn't play for a championship, but you will be a fool if you didn't think that we over achieved that season. How would you like to be evaluated on being perfect at your work? You would probably get a bad performance appraisal almost every time. What I'm trying to say is, you don't set benchmarks that high...AU's goals should be set that high.
Tubs had us at eight wins most seasons...I would say that was our benchmark under him. I think we are ready to step that up a little bit now that CGC has had a few good recruiting classes and put together a good coaching staff. I will be happy with nine regular season wins this year. In 2013, the benchmark may chancge again.
This post was edited by LosTigres1 on 5/21/2012 at 10:36 AM
I'm an Auburn man and I'm darn proud of it!
I agree Los with most of what you said, however, if we win 9 regular season with a loss to turds, AND lose a bowl game, it will be hard to swallow. If the Arkansas Razorbacks can avg almost 11 wins for the last 3 brutal seasons in the SEC West with their avg recruiting ranking probably in the high twenties, then I know it can and should be done here these next three years. Chiziks plan is right on schedule, This was the year to start winning big. Undefeated? Hardly, 10 plus wins overall? Is a must in my eyes to be considered moving forward!
Scot by blood, Southerner by Birth, Auburn Tiger by choice - War Eagle!
I don't agree. To be the elite team that were trying to be and wanting to be, 10 wins should be the benchmark, especially for us fans. If the players are already talking about SEC and NC championship, then us as fans should want that and require that. I bet if the fans push that then that would give our players more confidence and a boost in there moral. Our team is not that young anymore, as a lot of them are juniors and sophomores. I think we resemble LSU from last year with the matured young talent, and anything less than ten wins would be a major disappointment. And I'm being a realist because I truly believe in it
WAR F. EAGLE
2010 BCS National Champs
WE COMING . WAR EAGLE !
Nine wins are about right. I'd be happy with 10 wins this year which is certainly feasible if we should happen to lose any 2 of LSU, Bama, and/or Georgia. It is also possible with some good luck we win 2 of 3 from that group for a 10 win season, or better. Clemson at the beginning may be a trap and if we lose to Dabo it may mean 9 wins, or less. So 9-10 wins probably; maybe 9 this year, 10 next as benchmarks. I see an SEC championship in the next 2-3 years. Big unknowns are QB play and linebackers.
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