Many Auburn fans tend to have different expectations of what this upcoming season will bring to the plains. Some are measured in wins and losses and some are measured in how this team grows and matures during the season. It is always fun this time of year to throw a number of how many wins are acceptable and then look back on it after the season is finished and see if that really stacks up to what you thought before the season began. Take for instance the 2006 Season. I would be willing to bet that most people would have taken 11 victories including the bowl game and felt pretty good about it in June, but I wonder how most fans felt after the Nebraska game and about where the program was heading in January of 2007? While it is fun to do this exercise in any month that doesn’t involve any form of football being played, I don’t believe it tells the truth about what we will feel about our team come January or the end of November for some or most.
What should Auburn fans expect with Gene Chizik as the new head coach and all the changes that have taken place in the football program since late November? I believe we should expect this team to play hard and show improvement from week to week. Showing improvement doesn’t always result in wins, but it sets a solid foundation for what is to come in the future. I measure improvement in how the team plays together and how it responds to similar situations that it has faced earlier in the season, such as correcting the missed assignments & silly penalties, being able to make plays and preventing one team from writing the book on how to stop you and broadcasting it to anyone watching that has a pulse. Coach Chizik is a more hands on coach and I believe that style of coaching is needed these days. If you look at the coaches that are currently winning championships, they are all hands on coaches in some way or another whether it is offense, defense or special teams, but they also have the ability to surround themselves with good assistant coaches, especially ones that are not in their line of “expertise”.
In the Spring of 2006 I had dinner with a coach that, at the time, had coached with or for Coach Chizik at Auburn and Texas. Texas had just won the National Title game and I was catching up with this friend and enjoying his stories about their just completed BCS Championship run. This coach made it a point to tell me that Coach Chizik loved Auburn and that he considered it Coach Chizik’s dream job based on what Coach Chizik had shared with him, even after winning the BCS Championship at Texas. That surprised me and I never forgot it. I wanted to share this with you because I do believe us Auburn Fans have someone at Auburn that cares as deeply about our football program as we fans do. Does that translate into wins and championships? Absolutely not, but I do believe that it is easier to sell something you are passionate about than to sell something you are forced to, and selling the program is half the battle with coaching being the rest.
I believe we Auburn Fans need to look past the win / loss record this year to judge how our team has truly fared. I believe that we have the talent and ability to compete with most teams in the SEC, especially at the starting positions, but I believe that we do not have the depth at several areas and that will require us Auburn Fans to be patient (something most SEC Football Fans have trouble with) and allow Coach Chizik the time to develop our younger players and acquire more talent in future recruiting classes in order to make us competitive for titles once again. I will admit that I was not very pleased when I learned that Coach Chizik was our Head Coach, but after seeing the staff he has put together and his immediate impact in recruiting, I am looking forward to seeing what kind of brand of football he will be bringing to the field in future Saturday’s this Fall.
I’m interested to hear your expectations and how you will evaluate this Season as a success, so please drop a line the comment section. Thanks for stopping by and War Eagle!