Sports 56 WHBlog Q

December 14, 2008

Sunday Funday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Will Askew @ 11:55 am

So, Gene Chizik is your new head football coach at Auburn. Some people hate to say I told you so. I am not one of those people. I told you so.

You fire a guy who beat Alabama six times in a row and hire a guy who has gone 3-9 and 2-10 in his only two seasons as a head coach. You fire a guy because his recruiting was slipping and hire a guy whose last three recruiting classes have been ranked by at 60th, 62nd, and 76th. You fire a guy who has lived at the top of the SEC West standings for much of the last 10 years and hire a guy who didn’t win a game in the Big 12 last year and whose only wins were over South Dakota State and a 4-8 Kent State team. You fire a guy whose defense was ranked 27th and hire a defensive coach whose defense was ranked 111th this year.

Yeah, that makes sense.

The worst thing about this hire, though, is not that Auburn let one of the top 20 coaches in America go and got one of the bottom 20, but that they had a real opportunity here. An opportunity to hire a qualified black coach in one of the highest-profile jobs in the SEC. Kudos to Mississippi State for hiring Sylvester Croom a few years ago, but Mississippi State is not Auburn. They don’t have the history, and they don’t have the potential. In Turner Gill, here was a guy who completely turned around a program that was dead–DEAD–and led it to a MAC Championship this year and a win over Ball State. This is a guy who, along with Skip Holtz, was easily the most qualified candidate left on Auburn’s board. But you chose a guy who went 5-19 over the last two years.

The bottom line is, Auburn missed a great opportunity to hire a black coach who was more than qualified to lead this program and tell the rest of college football that yes, we will hire a black coach to a high profile school in Alabama. With all of the hubbub recently about the lack of black coaches in Division 1, or FBS, or whatever the hell they’re calling it these days, here was a real chance for a breakthrough hire–and Auburn blew it. I can only hope that in two or three years when Auburn is looking for a head coach again, Turner Gill is not a candidate. They don’t deserve him.

–The Memphis Tigers lost at Georgetown yesterday 79-70. In and of itself, a loss at Georgetown is not a thing to be too upset about. Georgetown has a 26 game home winning streak. It’s not easy to go in there and win.
The bottom line is, though, if this team is going to get anywhere in the tournament, Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier have got to be better. I had concerns coming into the season about the ability of Robert Dozier to be the guy on a team, and so far those concerns have not been answered. Antonio Anderson’s defense has been indispensable to this team for his entire tenure here, but he simply cannot be counted on as an offensive threat–that’s not his game–but he has to better than 0-8 from the field.
A lot of people will say that Tyreke Evans’ shot selection was one of the main reasons they lost this game, and I would tend to agree. But seemingly every offensive set at the end of the game was a clearout with Evans at the top of the key. To a guy like that, that’s a greenlight to shoot. He has to make better decisions and look for the open man in those situations, but Tyreke is not the only one to blame here. The coaching staff can’t expect this guy to be Chris Douglas-Roberts right now.
Taggart was very good yesterday though, and he will be a key for the Tigers the rest of the season. If Dozier, Evans, and Anderson come around and Taggart keeps playing well, I would not want to play the Tigers in March.

–The Grizzlies got a very important win on Friday night. Any time a bad team begging for fans gets a win when there are 17,000 (announced) in attendance, it’s huge. A great atmosphere the other night at the Forum. The Grizz have now won three straight, and it’s nice to see them coming around and playing well–now if they can just continue to do it, that would be nice.
The signing of Darius Miles is a good one to me. A minimum contract means that you’re not hurt very much in the pocketbook, and you would think the guy would be hungry to prove that he still belongs in the NBA. Even if he doesn’t play a minute, it’s not a bad signing. There are guys on minimum contracts that are on benches everywhere.

–Yes, it truly is Christmas season. Zing!


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