The will he/won’t he when it comes to Gene Chizik‘s return as Auburn’s head coach in 2013 took a decidedly downward turn this week with a report that AU’s president has already began “making plans for possibly replacing” Chizik.
If the speculation is correct, and Chizik is indeed out as the Tigers’ coach at season’s end, the football program could also be out a highly-rated recruit as well.
Back in May, Montgomery (Ala.) Carver High School Jeremy Johnson, a four-star recruit rated as the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2013, verbally committed to Auburn over the likes of, among others, LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. On his Twitter account Friday afternoon, Johnson reaffirmed his commitment to the Tigers… provided “coach chiz” returns as head coach at AU in 2013.
“I’m committed to auburn and coach chiz if he get fired then I’m gone he has no reason to get fired he not out there playing,” Johnson firmly if not-so-eloquently stated in the tweet.
“[E]verybody goes through a building stage and that’s what it is next year,” Johnson added in a subsequent tweet, referencing a coach who won a BcS title in 2010 and shouldn’t be in any type of building stage — rebuilding or otherwise — two years later. Especially one whose grabbed recruiting classes rated 10th (2012), seventh (2011) and fourth (2010) the past three years, with 2013’s class rated ninth.
Procuring talent is not Chizik’s problem, though. Getting that talent to perform at acceptable levels when Cam Newton is unavailable, however, has proven elusive and will likely be his downfall on The Plains.
(Tip O’ the Cap: Opelika-Auburn News)
(Photo credit: Carver High)
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury