Gene Chizik speaks
I spent a few minutes with Gene Chizik and asked him some stuff.
I didn't have enough time to get a flow going -- he was a very popular guy at the country club -- but you're the HOTTIES and I don't want to default on my promises.
So here are my questions and his answers.
Q: Do you worry about the pressure on Cam Newton, considering he's a five-star guy whom some people see as a savior?
"I don't worry about the pressure on Cam because he's been there and done that. He knows that winning the job requires a mixture of hard work and studying -- a lot of it on his own. He's a guy who is older. He understands all that. I don't worry about him. The guys who come along at that position understand that it's all part of the deal. I don't think he's an exception to that at all. It comes with the territory."
Q: Does it give him an advantage by being kind of forgotten or overlooked in the past? He's had to fight his way back, right?
"To some extent, yes, and he's hungry. He's focused. I don't think that gives him an advantage over the guys who were on campus because they're the same way. None of them started a game last year. Some of them have age and experience under their belt; some more than others. It doesn't hurt him that he's been there and done that."
Q: Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper were rated among the nation's top 20 recruiters by Rivals.com on Monday. Is that an odd thing to see as a coach considering how important recruiting is to your entire staff?
"That's great for them. It's a recognition they deserve. They're very good at what they do. With that said, we recruit as a team. We recruit as a village. That's how we do it. If some guys get isolated for what they do, they get some awards, that's great. At the end of the day, everybody on your staff knows it's a team deal. They all carry their weight in different ways."
Q: Is there a different feel at these club meetings now? Can you sense a different level of anticipation or enthusiasm from the supporters?
"I think they're excited. I want them to be excited. I want them to be realistic about where the program is versus where we're headed. They need to understand that this is a work in progress. I want them to be excited about the future. That's good because I think the future is very bright."
Q: Auburn landed a commitment the day after Signing Day and again this weekend. Is the landscape and timetable of recruiting changing as dramatically as it seems?
"There's no off time anymore. It's a 24-7 deal, 365 days per year and it never stops. If we're not communicating with a recruit and building that relationship, someone else is. Across the country, there's a little bit of this early-commitment thing going on everywhere and it was certainly that way when we were at Texas. We were kind of out in front of everybody at that point. They haven't slowed down in that regard. I think a lot of people have caught up to that or at least closed the gap."
Q: Was that something Mack Brown was pushing on you all?
``I don't know that he was pushing it. We just wanted to get commitments when the commitment was ready to pull the trigger. Some of those kids know early. If they're ready, let's get it finished. That was the thought. It's got to be the right time. It's not something that should be rushed."