Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thoughts on Big Cat Weekend: For Reals

About the other day's post. When I read the quote about "Extreme Recruiting" I immediately thought of that Powerthirst thing, and I got this mental image in my head of Gene Chizik screaming at recruits in order to be more "extreme". So my apology for leaning on the all caps button and the exclamation points, but it was amusing, at least for myself.

But I digresserize. You all know my thoughts on recruiting hype, especially at this time of the year. However, much like the Tiger Prowl, the story got too big on these internets to ignore, especially at this time of the year. So I'm going to try and comment on it focusing on the staff side of things. I don't really care which recruit said what (although the little "tell Nick Saban he SOL" thing was awesome). It's a long long loooong way to February, and at the moment, we don't have any of these guys coming out with a strong verbal. And even if we did, these are 17 year olds we're talking about here. Indecisiveness comes with the territory, not to mention the million other factors that can influence these guys from here 'till February.

As far as the staff goes, I am excited. This staff is taking the recruiting gap very seriously, and that is certainly step one for any new coaching staff. Not to mention the fact that they are looking at it from a different angle. The Tiger Prowl and Big Cat Weekend are two things the likes of which have never happened here on the plains. Without a doubt it's more flashy and in-your-face (EXTREME!!) than anything else we've done here during the off-season. And so far* it seems to be working. There is more talk about Auburn recruiting since.... well since as long as I can remember.

I know that at least one time this year you've pictured Tubs & Co. getting in a piAUmped out limo and cruising the state and laughed. Possibly out loud. I have. In the middle of class. It was embarrassing.

Tubs & Co. were set on going out and getting guys who they said fit the Auburn mold which is, in theory, perfectly ok. However, as Jerry points out their best players were all big name recruits, and Auburn played its best football when we had a number of experienced big name recruits (i.e. Carnell, Campbell, Aromashadu, Obamanu). I feel like this staff is dedicated to getting their man just as much as the last one. This staff's vision of the Auburn mold just includes the types of guys that are high up on the rankings.

The point I'm getting at here is, Chizik and his staff of super recruiters are not going about the off-season the way Tubs' staff did, they're trying to make as much noise in the recruiting world as possible. And that's everything we've asked of them. That's what they were hired for. Chizik didn't hire this staff to go out and recruit a bunch of three-stars and hope to turn them into great players. You put together this group of coaches to go out and get the cream of the talent crop, which is something we haven't made an important goal in a while--perhaps too long.

And that's what this whole post boils down to. This is an off-season mid-term grade for Chizik and his staff. In my eyes they get an A++++ (a-la "A Christmas Story"). They salvaged a great class after the post-season coaching/bad publicity debacle. They were quiet when they needed to be quiet, and they've made noise in a great way. However, coaches, as I'm sure you all read SIS25 regularly, be careful! We still have three months before the off-season ends, and nearly nine months until signing day, which leaves you with plenty of time to screw it up if you don't stay on top of things. Now I've heard some good things about plans for the rest of the summer (see end of post) and you need to capitalize on that to keep this momentum going.

More importantly, coaches, please note that this off-season grade only accounts for 5% of your grade. The other 95% comes this fall, with a good portion of that consisting of the final exams in November. Don't ever forget it.

*I cannot stress the importance of the phrase "so far" enough.

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