"Bob Petrino joined the groups "Abusing Defenses" and "Looking for Jobs." -- Jet, simulating a certain someone's Facebook feed
Hey everyone. A couple of our favorite associates, Johnny and Shea, have taken The Daughter this afternoon ... so me and Wifey are going to kick it around Montgomery solo for a while.
I'm not planning to accomplish much professionally today.
Tomorrow will be much different. I'm planning to talk with Auburn's official visitors in the morning and get some reaction. I'll also be covering the Florida @ Auburn women's game at 2 p.m. Auburn is really good. Florida is really good. Should be engaging.
Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Charles Barkley will take a leave of absence from Time Warner Inc.’s TNT network after the basketball analyst was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol last week.
“When I spoke with Charles, he was apologetic for the events that transpired and it was obvious he understood the significance of this situation,” David Levy, president of Turner Sports, said in an e-mail.
Hey everyone. Just spent a few minutes talking with Ted Roof, the Tigers' new defensive coordinator. Here are a few things I learned.
He is a 4-3 guy without question. All the shifting and movement he showed at Minnesota was done "because that's what we had to do." Expect Auburn to be more base as time moves on.
He has watched film from three Auburn games so far, and is just getting an overview of what the Tigers have from a staffing standpoint. ``They have some really good players here. It's just the kind of talent I'd expect at Auburn."
He hasn't yet worked much on recruiting. ``That's something we'll get working on today. My understanding is that the (former coaches) did a nice job getting a class together. Now we just have to add some players based on what we need."
Gene Chizik spent some time this morning talking with reporters about issues of the day.
This is a basic overview. I'll have a more thorough summary of his comments -- and video highlights -- within the hour.
He hasn't spoken with Raven Gray, Tray Blackmon, Ryan Williams or Chris Slaughter. Chizik said it was fair to say those players probably won't return for 2009, but clearly left the door open for at least some of those players to return if they choose.
Here is what Chizik said when asked about these guys leaving: "You know, the bottom line is, I want guys who want to be at Auburn. And again, I'll say that until I'm blue in the face. We want the right guys for this place. And don't have a whole lot of background knowledge on the people who aren't here, but as I've said before, I'm not spending time on guys that aren't here. I'm spending time on guys that are here. And that's how I'll be from here until they put me in my grave. The ones that aren't here, I don't have a whole lot of time to worry about that."
He said efforts to fill the final three coaching positions are on-going and will continue into next week.
He seemed to indicate this effort to recruit throughout Texas and Kansas is an anomaly. He said only pre-existing relationships are at play there. Recruiting Alabama and the surrounding area will remain the Tigers' top priority.
He said his top recruiting priorities are offensive line, wideout and "one really good quarterback."
On connecting with his current players: "They started school Wednesday, so we had Wednesday morning we had a team meeting, and that went real well, just kind of laid out there what our vision is for this semester. And been calling players in individually through the days and just talking to some of them about expectations and leadership and the things that I think are going to be important for us to be successful this year. So some of them I know. There's a small handful I know from when I left here, believe it or not. The Aairon Savages of the world. Guys like that. But just trying to call as many of them in as I can and know them. Put a face with a name. Haven't had a lot of time to do that. But met with quite a few of them.
On the importance of the next three weekends from a recruiting perspective: "We met last night with our hosts, with our players that are going to be helping us for the week. I told them this is like game day, you've got to treat this like game day. That's the importance of these weekends. We have three, and all three of those have to be home runs. It's got to be a home run weekend and we've got to treat it like a game day. At the end of the day you win or you lose. It's really that cut and dry."
So I mentioned this on the radio broadcast this afternoon, but it certainly deserves its own thread.
I'm intrigued by Gene Chizik's "new" approach to recruiting. Bryan Matthews and Jeffrey Lee, the brains behind AuburnSports.com, have been writing plenty lately about the Tigers' highly ambitious efforts on the recruiting trail.
Auburn assistant Curtis Luper met with Louisiana wideout Reuben Randle at his high school earlier this week. Randle is the nation's top prospect at his position. Luper has been working on Randle from an Oklahoma State perspective for months and simply transferred that progress to Auburn after switching employers last week.
No, Randle wasn't even a first thought for Tommy Tuberville and his staff.
He's not the only top-tier guy the Tigers are working. They have spoken with Kansas tailback Bryce Brown (a 5-star guy) and Texas quarterback Tyrik Rollison (a 5-star guy) and Gadsden wideout Kendall Kelly, who is a big regional name.
Is this going to work?
I think it will to a degree. Tuberville seemed to recruit around his biggest rivals -- often conceding players because they were considered unattainable. It's obvious that Chizik doesn't play that game. He's standing up to all programs and trying to win his fair share of the top prospects.
He's going to get a few of these kids. It's just basic math. Sell your program to 100 kids and at least a quarter of them will be highly intrigued. The promise of a new, hipper coaching staff and a new, hipper offense is going to give Auburn an advantage it didn't have before.
I find this pretty fascinating. Even if Auburn fails miserably, it'll still get the smattering of 3- and 4-star guys Tuberville was going to land anyway.
Chizik's approach is a low-risk, high-reward enterprise.
It'll make for a great story during the first week in February -- regardless of outcome.
"I'm excited about the opportunity Coach Chizik has afforded me."
Which position will you coach?: "(Chizik) has not made a decision about that."
Philosophy: "You've still got to stop the run to win football games. What you got to do is try to get people off kilter with going after folks and being aggressive and try to make teams one-dimensional so you can get creative on defense. It's not the schemes that win and lose for you; it's the players that you recruit and that you develop. At the same time, you're only going to be as good as your base defense and your fundamentals allow you to be. Because when you get in that thunderstorm, you've got to have a place you call home. Your base defense and playing fundamental football, just throwing blocks and getting off blocks and tackling and pursuit angles, all the things that seem so elementary to some people but are really the differences between winning and losing."
Any coaches in particular shape your ideas?: ``I've been around a lot of good football coaches. I've learned from everybody I've been around. To say it's one person, that would not be accurate. It's a culmination of being around a bunch of people."
"It was huge for our defense that Antonio Coleman is coming back. He has a national reputation."
"I don't know Paul (Rhoads)."
Timetable of hire: Chizik called Minnesota coach Tim Brewster for permission to speak. Flew into Atlanta on Sunday. Drove to Auburn on Monday. Finalized it then."
Minnesota improvements: "We knew we had to do a good job with creating takeaways. We did that. I saw a lot of good things happening."
Recruiting: "I'm detailed and thorough. It's built on relationships. In the end, the relationships get you over the hump. I love it -- and I love having a great product to sell like Auburn University."
What do you remember about Auburn?: "I made this comment to Coach Dye, when you got done playing Auburn it felt like somebody had taken a rubber hose and just beat you with. Back when they ran the bone and kept pounding you. As a football player you always respect the physical teams, the teams that hit you in the mouth."
(Roof played at Georgia Tech from 82-85.)
He doesn't know the other Auburn coaches.
Other defensive coaches: "Coach Chizik is the head coach and those will be his decisions."
He'll start work on Thursday.
"Coach Chizik is the head coach and he has the right to involve himself and be involved in every aspect of the program, which most head coaches do and I'm sure he will as well. I look at it as a real plus to have a guy with a defensive background that Gene has and all his expertise that he brings to his staff and to the table."
Hey everyone. Quite a night for Tulsa on Wednesday ... waxing Ball State on a breezy night at Ladd-Peebles. Winter on the gulf, I tell ya.
So what do we have today?
UPDATE @ 2:40 p.m.: Gene Chizik stopped by for a minute or two before heading to his next engagement. He said he doesn't know Roof personally, but said he is "highly thought of" by coaching colleagues he trusts.
(Blogger.com won't allow picture uploads right now. No art for YOU.)
Hey everyone. More news breaking at this hour. Minnesota has confirmed that defensive coordinator Ted Roof has been hired by Auburn coach Gene Chizik.
``Our defense improved a great deal under Coach Roof this past season," Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. ``Good coaches are always going to be in demand and I wish Ted the best of luck in the future."
Roof was highly unsuccessful as a head coach at Duke from 2002-07 -- the Blue Devils won six games during that stretch -- and the Gophers' defense hasn't been that great. They finished in the bottom half of the Big Ten in rushing defense, passing defense, points allowed.
Hey everyone. Junior cornerback Jerraud Powers will seek early entry into the NFL Draft.
In 2008, Powers started in 10 games and finished with 47 total tackles. He also intercepted two passes and was ninth in the SEC in passes defended.
``I want to thank the Auburn nation for their support during my career,” Powers said. ``It was a very tough decision, but I did what God wanted me to do and what was best for my family and me. I’m thankful for my time at Auburn and will have nothing but fond memories."
CAN JERRAUD EVEN GET DRAFTED? Anything is possible. I don't see how he's going to emerge as a first-day guy. He's not remarkably fast for a cornerback. He's shorter than NFL average. On the plus side, he's quick and he has shown remarkable aptitude during his three years with the varsity.
WHY WOULD HE DO THIS? I don't know. I can't imagine this being an academic thing. This draft isn't teeming with top cornerback prospects. Switching defenses again at Auburn -- Powers was recruited by Gibbs, played for Muschamp and Rhoads -- may be a deal-breaker.
WHEN WILL WE HEAR MORE? This afternoon ... if things unfold as expected.
Hey everyone. I just received 100% firm confirmation that Trooper Taylor has been added to the Auburn staff.
Morning reports indicated that Taylor had taken the job, though speculation grew during the afternoon when Auburn didn't confirm the hire. The delay wasn't really a delay -- Taylor was discussing his plans with OSU brass.
Taylor's primary function will be to coach receivers. He also is an assistant head coach.
Rivals.com assessed Taylor as one of the nation's top 10 recruiters in both 2005 and 2007. He was at University of Tennessee during those years.
``This is a great opportunity to join Coach Chizik at Auburn and be a part of a dynamic offensive staff that he has put together,” Taylor said. ``I’m excited to be coaching at a program like Auburn and return to the Southeastern Conference."
TROOPER TAYLOR CURRICULUM VITAE Oklahoma State, 2008 (co-coordinator of offense, WRs) Tennessee, 2004-07 (WRs, RBs, dir. of player development) -- in separate stints Tulane, 1999-2003 (WRs) New Mexico, 1998 (RBs) Baylor, 1992-97 (WRs, DBs, grad. assistant) -- in separate stints
Playing career: Baylor '92 (defensive back)
ALSO: Jay Boulware, hired yesterday, has added TEs as part of his coaching responsibilities.
Hey everyone. It looks as though Trooper Taylor, the popular Oklahoma State assistant, has agreed to terms with Auburn coach Gene Chizik. I don't have an official confirmation just yet -- official sources haven't confirmed anything -- but here is a story from the (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman about the situation.
UPDATE: Auburn's jet that was stationed in Stillwater, Okla., has returned without Taylor ... or anyone of significance.
I'll have more as this develops during the next few hours.
Hey everyone. I'm going to add little datelines above each entry as you see above. It helps our more casual readers see what's new and what isn't. The dates at the end of each post don't provide a date, which is odd.
To Auburn issues ...
The Tigers currently have four of their nine assistant slots filled:
Gus Malzahn, offensive coordinator (Tulsa)
James Willis, linebackers (Auburn)
Curtis Luper, running backs (Okla. State)
Jay Boulware, special teams (Iowa State)
Jobs still open:
Defensive coordinator (and secondary coach)
Defensive line coach
Offensive line coach
Wild card (might DEs and DTs be separated?, might TEs get their own coach?)
SO WHO IS NEXT?: One of Auburn's jets is sitting in Stillwater, Okla., at this hour. Gene Chizik interviewed OSU assistant Trooper Taylor yesterday. Taylor met with Malzahn as well. It's unclear what's happening right now. The fact that Auburn's plane is there mean (to me) that Auburn believes Taylor could sign at any minute.
Hey everyone. Jay Boulware, who coached with Gene Chizik at Iowa State, has been hired as the Tigers' special teams coordinator.
He handled the Cyclones' tailbacks and special teams. He'll concentrate on kicking at Auburn.
JAY BOULWARE CURRICULUM VITAE Iowa State, 2006-07 (RBs, special teams) Utah, 2005-06 (TEs, co-cordinator for special teams) Stanford, 2004 (RBs) Arizona, 2001-03 (TEs, RBs, special teams) -- in separate stints Northern Illinois, 1997-2000 (OL, TEs) -- in separate stints Texas, 1994-96 (student/off. grad assistant)
Playing career: Texas '96 (two-year letterman at OL)