A Season In The Drink

Auburn coach Gene Chizik talks job security and the disastrous 2012 season.

Auburn, Ala.—When your offense is the best part of your game in a 38-0 shutout loss at home it shows just how far things have fallen for the Auburn Tigers in 2012. From a season that started off with so much promise in a close loss to Clemson in the Georgia Dome, coach Gene Chizik's team and program finds itself in a total free fall with just two games remaining in the season.

From an offense that can't seem to get out of its way to make a play, to a defense incapable of stopping just about anyone at the moment, Auburn is on the way to the first winless conference season since Doug Barfield's final year in 1980 barring a miraculous win against Alabama. When asked where the buck stops for the problems this season Chizik said it's on the coaches and players, but ultimately it falls at his feet.

"Accountability is always on me," Chizik said. "This is my football team. So, it always starts with me and then the coaches have to coach better and the players have to play better because we are all in this game together. This is a team game starting with the head coach and going down to whoever the last man standing is. We all take this very personal. This is our livelihood. So, accountability goes on everybody, but it certainly starts with me."

With that in mind and the continued struggles on the field, the questions will only grow louder and stronger in the coming weeks about job security. It's something that Chizik said he doesn't focus on and he tries to pass that along to his team as well.

"I don't entertain those thoughts," Chizik said. "Again, like I said earlier, I have really one quest. We have two games left, and our seniors have done a lot for this University. They have a lot for this place, and I hurt for them. Certainly, they never envisioned going out with this type of season nor did anybody else coaching-wise either, but it is their last go around. So, I have one focus for them, and that is this week in them playing their last game at home and trying to get a win."

For the second consecutive SEC game the Auburn crowd and even the student section emptied early at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Trying to get a win is obviously something Chizik and the Tigers were hoping to do against Georgia, even until the bitter end. Trailing with no hope of winning the game Chizik still had starters in on both sides of the ball in the waning minutes. That included guys like Daren Bates, who played every defensive snap for Auburn against Georgia. Asked why young players such as Kris Frost didn't at least get in for some meaningful experience, Chizik had this response.

"Well again, we are just trying to put a defense out there that is going to stop them," Chizik said. "There are some guys because of your substitution packages, some nickel guys and some dime guys that don't get to play much anyway simply because it depends on how much personnel-wise one group is in there over another. So a guy like Kris Frost and there are some other young guys that definitely need to get in there, there's no question about it but there are others that have not really played much on the day either that need the work as well. So, again we have to just get some different guys into the game at different times."

Saying that he has daily contact with athletic director Jay Jacobs and that he doesn't normally talk much with university president Jay Gogue until after the season, Chizik said his focus is on the team and trying to get a win against Alabama A&M on Senior Day next Saturday. At this point that would do little to keep the hounds at bay and the shouting will likely only get louder two weeks from now following the Iron Bowl.

A first-year player for the Tigers and already one of the most respected guys on the roster, fullback Jay Prosch said the loss to Georgia was another disappointing part of what has been a painful season, but the team is focused on finishing strong because they're sticking together and not focusing on playing for their coaches.

"We don't think about that," Prosch said of Chizik's job security. "It's not what we do. We play to win and we play for each other. We play for our coaches too because they are part of our family. We don't think about that at all.

"We're not lost," he added. "We're having a rough season, but we need to pull together and we will. We're just going to keep fighting and not give up."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories