FYI: Weekend thoughts

A few rambling thoughts here that never quite made it to the keyboard.

1. What about the Auburn coaching search? The Auburn coaching search was a source of great humor over the last couple of weeks, right down to athletics director Jay Jacobs being booed coming off the plane after hiring Iowa State coach Gene Chizik, the former Auburn offensive coordinator.

It wouldn’t have been so funny if Auburn’s cash has lured Houston Nutt and left me with a Christmas coaching search, but once that search mowed through its first tier of candidates, it seemed like Turner Gill would have been a better fit. He’s obviously a hot name right now, but he’s had big success with a non-existent program, and he would bring offensive know-how.

So Auburn fires a guy who won 85 games in 10 years to hire a coach who won five games in two years.

Maybe Chizik will prove his doubters wrong. He’ll certainly have more resources at Auburn than he did at Iowa State. He’ll have more resources than Tuberville had at Auburn, because he’ll have to succeed so the administration and the football money can say they had the right guy from the start.

2. How about State’s hire? He’s a guy the MSU folks certainly can rally around. Everyone in Starkville wants better offense, and Dan Mullen brings excellent offensive credentials.

MSU athletics director Greg Byrne said he was the first guy he offered the job. Well, I don’t know that’s necessarily a good thing. Nutt’s success this season underscores what experience means in that position.

Maybe Mullen was the first candidate offered the job, but there sure seemed to be a lot of smoke around Chris Petersen. It all reminds me of those elementary school discussions where you passed a note to your sweetheart that read, “Will you by my girlfriend if I ask you?”

The MSU folks I’ve spoken with don’t think Mullen’s age is an issue, and frankly I don’t think it will be a huge obstacle. I think you can be young and skilled at the same time. Obviously there will be a learning curve, and he can improve as he goes along.

Experience is a really good thing if you can get it, but the two assistant coaches hired at Ole Miss before Ed Orgeron — Tommy Tuberville and David Cutcliffe — turned out to be successful hires.

3. What about Ole Miss basketball? After a 103-70 thumping against a vulnerable New Mexico team it’s no longer only about injuries. Obviously this team is missing Eniel Polynice for his defense and his scoring potential, but these talented freshman haven’t acclimated all that well.

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy recruited long and lean post players who could get out run. So far they haven’t been able to stay in and rebound, and sophomore Malcolm White appears to have digressed instead of making standard year one to year two improvement.

I thought from the beginning for Ole Miss to reach some of the expectations bubbling around the program that at least one of these freshmen — possibly more — were going to have to jump into the fire the way Chris Warren did last year. That hasn’t happened.

The loss at New Mexico was ugly, but it’s too soon to hit the panic button. The West Virginia loss at home was a good test, one the Rebels could have won, and that’s a good indication of much of the SEC talent that they will face.

What is most troubling about the New Mexico loss is the way the new Rebels handled — or failed to handle — a hostile environment. It won’t be the last time they’ll see that, and right now they’re not a team that can take home games for given.

— PA


30 Responses to “FYI: Weekend thoughts”

  1. ColoradoReb Says:

    PA, seems to me you hit the nail on the head with the weekend FYI. Its hard to believe that State’s first choice was Mullen. I was told Petterson by a very reliable source and I still think they wanted Ellis back on the D. Pat Dye the Auburn mesiah, got involved in the Auburn hire as usual. Turner Gill was the number one choice but the old guard was against hiring a black coach so at the last minute a change was made. I think the Black Coaches Assoc. and Gill have a ligit beef with them. To interview a coach with the reputation of Gill and then choose a white guy that is known for loosing. 2+2=4. Anyway, did you hear anything else on Cranston? Will he play tonight? I hope the coaches weren’t too hard on him. I really don’t think he was making an attempt to hit the other player. Also, I blame about 75% of the loss at NM on the coaches. It was evident that no one had prepared the team for this environment. I would have had the sounds of the Pit piped into the Tad pad during practice and had everyone ready to play. The whole team looked scared and out of place. I love Coach Kennedy as much as anybody but they were looking ahead to Christmas before finishing their work. It be interesting to watch tonight and see if they’re still on Christmas vacation.

  2. djrebel Says:

    Colorado, I haven’t heard anything on Cranston. From what I’ve seen of him this season he does not come across as a thug or a kid who is easily provoked.

    As far as being prepared at the Pit, I know they pumped in crowd noise in practice last week. I don’t know how else you prepare those guys for it. I think you have to experience it. The disappointing thing was how poorly they handled it and how quickly it got away from them in their first experience.

    When you’re already intimidated that bad call against you is magnified, you pile bad on top of bad, and it gets out of control fast.

    What would you do different than pumping in crowd noise to have them better prepared?

    — PA

  3. bigdraws Says:

    Have them practice in the Hump and admit all state fans for free.

  4. djrebel Says:

    I like it. Couldn’t get more genuine preparation than that.

    — PA

  5. L2 Says:

    Draws –
    Thanks for the laugh.

  6. bc Says:

    Maybe we could have them get off of a plane with Jay Jacobs while throngs of Auburn fans await them.

  7. RebinNAL Says:

    PA, I live in N Alabma and heard over the weekend that UNA’s head coach Mark Hudspeth is joining Mullen at State to help with the offense. If so, he’s a GREAT pickup for their staff. I realize UNA is Div II, but look at their offensive stats AND Hudspeth was the head coach at Navy before UNA.

  8. ripleyreb Says:

    Good morning PA. Have you come across the Rebs 09 tentative football schedule yet? Don’t go out of your way, just a reminder. Also, have you heard how the young man from MSU that broke his leg in the Egg Bowl is doing?? hope he is OK. See you at THE PAD tonight.

  9. VA Reb Says:

    PA, just read an article on Lane Kiffin…it mentioned that Coach Ed O. may be coming to his staff at UT. Have you heard anything about that? Thanks, Larry

  10. ColoradoReb Says:

    PA, I really don’t know what I would have done differently, as I am not really a BB man. I like FB and Baseball. I just try to support the Rebs when I can. I think I would have been on the look out for the two big white boys shooting from the outside. Most of the time they weren’t guarded at all. Something else I was wondering about; Abq. is 5,000 ft or so high. I wonder if the thin air had and any effect on the players. Maybe Kennedy could have them run wind sprints while wearing gas masks or something. My point being, I don’t get paid the big bucks to coach, and if I did I would do whatever it took to win. I think people get a job, they work real hard to impress at first, and then they get complacent. The key is to figure a way to keep the new excitement throughout a career. Kind of like a successful marriage, you have to constantly work at it to keep it strong. If one person works at it and the other get complacent then it usually fails. The same goes for coaching. You’re players react to your mood. If you go into every game like its the super bowl then the player will usually will grab that momentum you feel. Unless of course its one of those failed marriages. In that case its time for a coaching change or a new husband/wife. I think we have talent but the attitude is not creating a successful marriage. And finally, at this juncture shouldn’t we have some depth?

  11. bigdraws Says:

    Withering Heights
    Chapter 1

    I have just returned from a visit to my landlord–the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist’s heaven: and Mr Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still farther in his waistcoat, as I announced my name.

    `Mr Heathcliff!’ I said.

    A nod was the answer.

    `Mr Lockwood, your new tenant, sir. I do myself the honour of calling as soon as possible after my arrival, to express the hope that I have not inconvenienced you by my perseverance in soliciting the occupation of Thrushcross Grange: I heard yesterday you had had some thoughts–‘

    `Thrushcross Grange is my own, sir,’ he interrupted, wincing. `I should not allow anyone to inconvenience me, if I could hinder it–walk in!’

    The `walk in’ was uttered with closed teeth, and expressed the sentiment, `Go to the deuce’: even the gate over which he leant manifested no sympathizing movement to the words; and I think that circumstance determined me to accept the invitation: I felt interested in a man who seemed more exaggeratedly reserved than myself.

    When he saw my horse’s breast fairly pushing the barrier, he did put out his hand to unchain it, and then sullenly preceded me up the causeway, calling, as we entered the court: `Joseph, take Mr Lockwood’s horse; and bring up some wine.’

    `Here we have the whole establishment of domestics, I suppose,’ was the reflection suggested by this compound order.

    `No wonder the grass grows up between the flags, and cattle are the only hedge-cutters.

    Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man: very old, perhaps, though hale and sinewy. `The Lord help us!’ he soliloquized in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my horse: looking, meantime, in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he must have need of divine aid to digest his dinner, and his pious ejaculation had no reference to my unexpected advent.

    Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr Heathcliff’s dwelling. `Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed; one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun. Happily, the architect had foresight to build it strong: the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones.

    Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quantity of grotesque carving lavished over the front, and especially about the principal door; above which, among a wilderness of crumbling griffins and shameless little boys, I detected the date `1500′, and the name `Hareton Earnshaw’. I would have made a few comments, and requested a short history of the place from the surly owner; but his attitude at the door appeared to demand my speedy entrance, or complete departure, and I had no desire to aggravate his impatience previous to inspecting the penetralium.

  12. ripleyreb Says:

    Bigdraws, Could you send the rest of the book in Audio version. Print takes away too much space away from CR.

  13. Mike Says:

    Hey Big, WTH?!?!?!?

  14. Mike Says:

    Never Mind. I get it. Shorten up CR.

  15. ColoradoReb Says:

    Head on over to the State blog biglots. You done hit the wrong button again.

  16. bigdraws Says:

    Nah, I know where I’m at. Didn’t know you owned the blog.

  17. ripleyreb Says:

    Hey Draws, Thursday night–GO DAWGS, GO REBS, GO SEC!! You still with me on that one? Not too confident about a W for us though.

  18. bigdraws Says:

    Was that you that I made that pact with so long ago? I tried to remember the other day who that was. Who do yall have? I don’t usually do this but I’m a man of my word. I hope yall mop the floor with em.

  19. ripleyreb Says:

    Yep that was me and I knew that you were a man of your word. We get No. 9 ranked Louisville, Petino and company. Y’all get Cincinnati Bearcats.. Maybe SEC gets one W.

  20. bigdraws Says:


  21. JB Says:

    “Withering Heights
    Chapter 1”

    Draws, I love it, but you must remember I am an old Tula boy with not much education.

    I figured that you would be still frozen to one of the greens on Saturday.

  22. colreb420 Says:

    colo i am with you why talk about msux here.

  23. david Says:

    any word on palmer?

  24. bigdraws Says:

    I got a better question. Who’s talking about them, other than my solution for the rebel bb team woes?

  25. djrebel Says:

    Haven’t heard a final word. We’re thinking he’s done.

    — PA

  26. bigdraws Says:

    Other than you guys.

  27. colreb420 Says:

    actually looks like fein and palmer are going to play. fyi

  28. bspeck Says:

    If anyone should have hired Turner Gill, it was Syracuse. Right down the road, already knows the recruiting trail. Syracuse screwed that one up.

    How can anyone blame Auburn for hiring an old friend, especially a guy who proved he knows what he’s doing in the SEC? That undefeated season wasn’t that long ago people.

  29. doubletripper Says:

    gill may have been smarter than anyone is giving him credit for. he may have turned the auburn job down. anyone going in there is going to have a hard time recruiting against saban. don’t look for auburn to make a big time hire until saban is gone. by the way, given his track record, that shouldn’t take very long.

  30. djrebel Says:

    Bspeck I’d take Gill over Chizik for a couple of reasons, one being his success as a head coach, two I figure he’s going to hit it off with recruits better than Chizik.

    Neither Buffalo nor Iowa State are great places to coach, but Gill’s success was much more measurable and his time span not much longer.

    That’s just an outsider’s observation.

    From what I can tell about Auburn, one of the problems they had with Tuberville was his relationship with some of his longtime assistant coaches and his handling of the Tony Franklin deal this fall.

    Either that was just smoke, or they’re setting themselves up for the same scenario if Chizik is going to fill his staff with ‘ol boys from Auburn.

    — PA

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