Chizik makes all the right moves

Published 4:43 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Jay Jacobs may have known what he was doing after all.

The Auburn athletic director and the football coach he hired, Gene Chizik, were the cause of scorn from Tigers faithful and derision from rival fans back in December for Chizik’s largely unsuccessful stint at Iowa State.

But since he was handed the keys to program, Chizik has done everything right. He hired first class assistants, he utilized creative recruiting techniques, he did not say anything to turn fans against him or provide motivation for opponents, and, now, he has led Auburn to an impressive win in Week 1 of the season.

A 37-13 victory over Louisiana Tech will wrongly be dismissed along with the likes of Arkansas 48, Missouri State 10; Vanderbilt 45, Western Carolina 0; Ole Miss 45, Memphis 14; Kentucky 42, Miami (Ohio) 0; Mississippi State 45, Jackson State 7; Tennessee 63, Western Kentucky 7; and Florida 62, Charleston Southern 3.

There was much more to Auburn’s win because Louisiana Tech is a decent football team, one that won a bowl game last season. The reasons the Tigers were able to win the game all go back to Chizik, who has already outperformed his predecessor, Tommy Tuberville, in several crucial components of the job.

First, Chizik has displayed a commitment to recruiting. Auburn on Saturday relied heavily on several true freshmen, including running back Onterrio McCalebb, the kind of playmaker that Tuberville had failed to bring to the Plains in his last several seasons as coach.

Chizik also got a strong performance out of quarterback Chris Todd. Todd’s surgically repaired shoulder helped, without a doubt, but the senior also benefited from the lack of a controversy surrounding his status.

Unlike Tuberville, Chizik named his starter before fall camp ended and hasn’t meddled in the affairs of his offensive assistants.

We’re only one week into the season, but Auburn fans have to be pleased with their team and its coach. If Chizik keeps making the right decisions, Louisiana Tech will be only the first of many victories this season.