Auburn Tigers – Gene Chizik Hopes Jonathan Wallace Saves Him

It’s all quiet, for now, from the Auburn chiefs after the 2012 season hit another low point. Gene Chizik is going to try and throw probably the last thing he has in his bag of tricks, starting freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace in what looks like a hopeless attempt to somehow change the momentum of a horrendous season.

Suddenly, all that criticism about hiring Chizik and his 5-19 (Iowa State) record before the 2009 season seems legitimate  After all, he’s had two 8-5 seasons, which is something that doesn’t satisfy too many people at Auburn and had one super season, but that was probably mostly because of one Cam Newton. Without him, and the Tigers and Chizik seem to be nothing less than special, and even horrendous this season.

The 63-21 loss to Texas A&M was another big shake up in a season filled with bitter blows coming one after the other without any kind of break. If the losses early on were somewhat respectable (Clemson, Mississippi State and LSU), things really took a turn for the worst in October and a loss to a similarly troubled Arkansas. Maybe Chizik lost his team at that moment, it’s hard to say. He didn’t have the most talented group going into the season, but no expected this.

The 63 points they gave up was the most by Auburn since 1917. The 671 yards was the most ever allowed by the Tigers. And their defense isn’t the worst thing about this team. Their offense is ranked 120th in the nation, scoring over 28 points only once this season, in the overtime win against Louisiana-Monroe. This is the kind of season that doesn’t only cost a head coach his job, but it can demote him to a coordinator on the next one he takes.

For now, it looks like Chizik will go with Wallace as his next quarterback. The freshman was the third to step into the game against A&M and actually played really well (against bench players), finishing with 7-10, 133 yards and two touchdowns scored. Playing New Mexico State next week might be a good chance to get a nice performance on his first start, although there’s Georgia waiting right around the corner and the worst of all, Alabama, on November 24.

There’s a fine line in there because the most important thing with a young guy, when you bring him in, is you give him a chance to succeed. Everything you saw him run last night is stuff we’ve worked a lot on that he gets and understands. There is a fine line, because you can’t do everything but he’s smart enough to handle more than probably the average young guy. You have to be very judicious as you choose what to give him.

Chizik won’t talk about his job security, although he knows that waving that national title he won in 2010 won’t come in very handy if this season ends catastrophically, which looks very much the case, in a humiliating defeat against ‘Bama in the Iron Bowl. Whatever effort they put into the LSU game seems to have long gone out the window. All that’s left is tinkering with whatever Chizik has left to throw, hopefully getting luck with one of these changes.

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