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November 10, 2012

Tigers take 9th SEC loss of 17-plus in 2 years; Chizik: “It’s very painful for everybody”

AUBURN, Ala. – There was Arkansas 38, Auburn 14. Then LSU 45, Auburn 10, and  Georgia 45, Auburn 7, and then Alabama 42, Auburn 14 to follow.

Four embarrassing blowouts against primary rivals and SEC West neighbors.

That was last year. In a year that concluded with eight wins, including an easy victory in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl over Virginia.

A year that included getting crushed by four division foes – including the Tigers’ axis of evil in Alabama, Georgia and LSU – was a pleasure cruise compared to what has become one of the most ignominious years in program history.

It started with Mississippi State 28, Auburn 10.

Then continued with Arkansas 24, Auburn 7.

Then compounded by Ole Miss 41, Auburn 20.

At least none of those games were in the national spotlight. It got worse.

Texas A&M 63, Auburn 21.

And now, on Saturday, Georgia 38, Auburn 0.

“It’s very painful,” head coach Gene Chizik said. “It’s painful for coaches and players, certainly the fans and alumni. It’s very painful for everybody.”

It might be a new low, from an emotional standpoint. This was the Tigers’ most lopsided loss to Georgia in the series’ 116-game history.

“We didn’t play very well tonight in any phase of the game. I think the score pretty much indicated that,” Chizik said. “It’s what you see. It’s been frustrating. It’s one of those years where it’s kind of snowballed in momentum, and we haven’t been able to really catch any.

“This league is what it is every year, it’s not going to change. We haven’t played very well.”

The final count – at least for another two weeks, before a certain ticked-off in-state rival plays host to the Tigers (2-8, 0-7 SEC) – is nine abject calamities against SEC West foes, all losses of 17 points or more.

Nine disasters in the past 401 days. Nine disasters since the Tigers raised the crystal football in the Arizona desert and brought home their second national championship.

Nine disasters since – and this is critical – the NFL lockout of 2011, when Auburn alum and 10-year NFL veteran Heath Evans worked out with the Tigers. Evans went on ESPN Radio in Birmingham Friday morning and shared a multitude of shocking revelations from “a scary offseason”, poisoning his perception of the Auburn football program’s structure, accountability and overall trust between coaches and players.

Draw your own conclusions from that. While Chizik has not wavered from praising practices on a daily basis, those have not rolled over to the football field Saturday after Saturday.

“During the week, it’s energy, it’s passion,” junior defensive end Dee Ford said. “It’s embarrassing for the Auburn people, especially in these types of rivalries.

“Practices are great. I know practices are closed, but I wish people could see what I see. Practices are tough, rugged, every day, we’re working. Even on Thursdays, it’s not a walk-through – we’re flying around. That’s why it hurts so bad to walk off the field with a deficit like this in a rivalry game.”

Chizik says he hasn’t lost the team’s focus. Nor has he pondered much about his job security, which has been a popular subject with fans and the media in recent weeks.

“I don’t entertain those thoughts,” Chizik said. “We talk about the things we can control, and we’ve been like that since day one. So we can’t control what’s being said or thought, everybody’s opinion. We can’t live our lives that way. We’ve tried to keep them focused and directed, continuing to do their job.”

However, Chizik made no bones about where the responsibility lies.

“Coaches and players. Accountability’s always on me. This is my football team,” Chizik said. “We’re all in this game together. This is a team game. We all take this very personal. This is our livelihood. The accountability goes on everybody, but it certainly starts with me.

On Thursday, AuburnUndercover.com reported university president Jay Gogue was making plans to potentially form a search committee for a new head coach, suggesting Chizik’s days were numbered. The report added athletic director Jay Jacobs would be retained and football executive Tim Jackson would be reassigned within the department.

“I talk to Jay Jacobs on a daily basis. I typically don’t have a lot of contact with Dr. Gogue day in and day out until the end of the year anyway,” Chizik said. “I’m not going to go into the details of any of that. I’ve got one goal, and that is come back to work tomorrow.”

3 Comments

  1. Every week I hope not for a win…..but for a team that looks competitive on the field. My frustation has hit a new low in that my friends that are Georgia fans here in Atlanta are empathetic to me…..they can’t even razz me because the game was a forgone conclusion before it started. The only question was how many stats would Georgia pile up. My only hope…..would Auburn fight like the LSU game and show resolve. As a fan and a former football coach I am so confused in the cloud of all this if it is the coaches or the players…..maybe both. My gut feel tells me the players have never bought into the “scheme” and the coaches are trying to put square pegs in round holes where the rest of the football world is actually playing motivated, innovative, inspired FOOTBALL….not a game of blocks.

    My only last hope…..get Chizik and this staff out the door with their last check and non-fan-fair goodbye. Get on the stick and hire a coach that will keep the top 10 recruiting class like a Charlie Strong. My fear….they hire some “up an comer” because of all the variables they think are important other than a coach being able to produce and win football games. What does this season remind me of…..ironically the stat that has come up about Doug Barfield says it all…..my fresham year was his last…Auburn football was a place to go for a few hours before the FRAT parties….something no one took serious….this teat/this year/these coaches parallel those days not just in stats.

    WDE….but stop the madness Auburn Board…………please !!!!

    Comment by Eric — November 11, 2012 @ 10:08 am

  2. Maybe practices look great because we suck equally bad on both sides of the ball. Then when our players face a team with competent coaches and toughness in it’s players, we see the results we’ve seen all season.

    Comment by mark — November 11, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  3. In two years we have scored 7 points aginst UGA. 7 POINTS!!! UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!

    Comment by Scooter — November 11, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

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