Striking similarity between Gene Chizik and Tommy Tuberville by Andy Graham
July 27, 2012Sportz Blitz
In 1999 Tommy Tuberville was hired to replace Terry Bowden who resigned at midseason in 1998.
His mission was to rebuild an Auburn program coming off a disastrous 3-8 season and significantly lacking in talent.
In Tuberville’s first year, the Tigers struggled to a 5-6 mark, but made noticeable progress from the previous season.
Desperately needing talent, Tommy brought in a junior college transfer running back named Rudi Johnson who completely changed the dynamic of the team. Auburn rode the powerful legs of Johnson all the way to the SEC Championship game.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, Johnson went on to the NFL after the 2000 season and Auburn endured a very erratic 2001 which included a win over No. 1 Florida and blowout losses to Georgia, LSU and Alabama.
While the play on the field during Tubby’s first three years was inconsistent at best, his recruiting during that time was very consistent.
The talent from those early recruiting classes really began to be evident during the 2002 season.
From ’02 to ’06, the Tigers won 50 games, had one undefeated season and one SEC title. It was one of the most prosperous five year runs in Auburn history.
In 2009 Gene Chizik was hired to replace Tommy Tuberville who fired his offensive coordinator at midseason in 2008.
His mission was to rebuild an Auburn program coming off a disastrous 5-7 season and severely lacking in talent.
In Chizik’s first year, the Tigers over achieved and won eight games making significant progress from the previous year.
Desperately needing talent, Chizik brought in a junior college quarterback named Cam Newton who totally changed the dynamic of the team. Auburn rode the broad shoulders of Newton all the way to the BCS national championship.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, Newton went on to the NFL after only one season and Auburn endured an erratic 2011 which included a win over highly ranked South Carolina and blowout losses to Georgia, LSU and Alabama.
While the play on the field during Chizik’s first three years has been inconsistent, his recruiting has been very consistent. The talent from his first three highly ranked classes should begin to become very evident in 2012.
As good as Tuberville’s Tigers were beginning in ’02 averaging ten wins a year for five years, they could have been so much better.
Last second losses to Florida and Georgia prevented an opportunity to play for the SEC championship in 2002.
In 2003 a bad decision on the hiring of an offensive coordinator cost the Tigers an entire season with one of the most talented teams in its history.
In 2006 the Tigers only two losses were to a mediocre Georgia team and an Arkansas squad with a true freshmen quarterback. Auburn could very easily have won three or four SEC titles in five years, but wound up with only one.
The similarities are undeniable.
Chizik and the Auburn Tigers in 2012 are practically in the same position that Tuberville and his Tigers were in a decade earlier.
What do the next five years hold for the Auburn Tigers? I’m sure most fans would take 50 wins in a heartbeat, but I’m hoping the Chizik era ends up with more than just one SEC championship to show for all its hard work.
Chizik and company are already ahead of schedule with an SEC title and a crystal football securely in hand.