Sorry for the Weed, Bro

In case you didn’t know it, Auburn’s Nick Marshall is sorry:

“He was very regretful,” [chief] Holder said. “He was very respectful. He was very apologetic. He seemed like he was disappointed in himself. He did get a little teary eyed as we had the conversation. I think sometimes what those kids need, they need somebody to talk to them and say, hey, you made a mistake, don’t let it happen anymore.”

Right, chief.  He just needs a shoulder to cry on.  That’s it.

Nowadays, you better know that most of the players on your favorite football team smoke weed.  One study says that about 22% of college players smoke doobies, but I’m guessing that number is short – by a lot.  Marijuana, like it or not, is part of the culture of college athletics.  I don’t know why and it makes no sense to me, but it is.  It figures that athletes that spend so much time training and preparing their bodies would stay away from pot, but they don’t.

Therefore, it’s not appropriate to cast stones at your rival, but your guys are doing it as well.  Players at all schools are going to smoke dope and it doesn’t matter what you say or do primarily because, well, there aren’t any consequences.  Oh, Gus Malzahn will tell us that there are, but there won’t be anything significant – and by significant I mean any significant playing time.  Why?  There are a couple of reasons, I think.

One, our culture as a whole condones the use of illegal drugs.  Who are we, the medicated masses, to prevent one of our favorite athletes from having a little fun?  After all, these guys work so hard to play the game we enjoy so much.

Two, there’s two much money involved.  Do you honestly think a little bit of pot found in a car will get in the way of a college playoff run?  Do you think a little weed will be a roadblock for college coaches with millions of dollars in salaries and benefits on the line? Not hardly.

College athletics has become accepting of drug use – just review your favorite team’s drug testing policy – and that is a reflection of how our culture now view drug use, regardless of what local, state or federal drug laws may say.  If our culture truly has a problem with drug use – even less than an ounce – there would be a reaction that would force our favorite teams and conferences to act.  Instead, our favorite teams and conferences are treading water on the issue until drug laws are relaxed.

Nick Marshall is nothing special or new related to marijuana use.  I won’t think one way or the other regarding whatever consequences Malzahn doles out to him.

But I will be a little doubtful about his apology.  We’ve seen this act before.

Usually, when we are sorry for something it’s because of one of two reasons.  One, we are sorry that we got caught, because getting caught means we have to deal with a hassle.  We won’t really want to change our behavior, because we probably don’t think we did anything wrong.

On the other hand, there is recognizing that what we did is wrong, and we are truly sorry for making a mistake, harming others, causing trouble, etc.  We realize we hurt ourselves, broke the trust of others and sinned against God.  And we don’t want to do it again.  We are sorry.

It’s really not my place to judge the sincerity of Nick Marshall’s apology.  That’s really between Marshall and Auburn and Marshall and God.  But because this plays out in the public eye, and because this is a reflection of how our culture deals with things, it is interesting to see how things will play out.

For Nick Marshall’s sake, I really do hope he is sorry.

 

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More Auburn Cheerleading from Scarbinsky

Don’t Mess with Texas

This time, Kevin Scarbinsky tries to convince us that Auburn is just as good of a job as Texas:

That might baffle some people, but only if they haven’t been paying attention or they’re intentionally twisting the truth. The truth is, if you know what you’re doing, you can do anything and everything at Auburn you can do at Texas.

He even uses numbers and stuff:

You want to recruit really good players? From 2010 through 2013, the average Texas recruiting class finished No. 8 in the nation in the Rivals.com rankings. The average Auburn recruiting class finished No. 7.

Go back and add 2009, and the average Texas class finished No. 7. The average Auburn class finished No. 9.

Auburn’s current class is ranked No. 8. The Texas class is No. 11.

What’s that, you say? Texas has been forced to recruit through the turmoil of Mack Brown’s declining years? See the Gene Chizik era at Auburn. That was unsurpassed turmoil with a capital UT.

And bling:

You want to win conference championships? Brown was the Texas coach for 16 years. At a program with more resources than anyone else in a relatively weak league, Brown won two Big 12 titles.

In contrast, Auburn has won three SEC titles in the last 10 years, more than any other program in the league, during the greatest period of collective success the league has ever experienced. Auburn has won those titles under three different head coaches.

Conference championships not good enough for you? You want to win national championships?

Texas has won exactly one of those since 1970. More recently, the Longhorns are 1-1 in the BCS Championship Game since 2005. By comparison, in 20 days Auburn will play for its second national championship since 2010.

I think he’s serious, too.

Is Malzahn a serious candidate for the Texas job?  I have no idea.  Would some serious Texas cash turn his head west?  Maybe, or maybe not.  Remember back in 2010 when he supposedly turned down huge cash from Vanderbilt to stay at Auburn?  (Yeah, I’m not sure if ole Gus’ calculator works.)

I think there are certain arguments to make for Gus staying at Auburn vs. taking the Texas job.  But Auburn being a better job than Texas isn’t a valid point.

You know why?  Because it isn’t.

Auburn may win a conference or national championship every now and again, but the school will always be “little brother” to the University of Alabama.  The perpetual second fiddle, if you will.

Texas, meanwhile, is the biggest fish in a very big pond.  Win or lose, they command the state of Texas and they rule their conference no matter their on-field record.

And they are a major player in the college football world.  If the ‘Horns wanted to hook up with the Pac-12 or ACC, the commissioners of those conferences would make it happen in a snap.

Auburn isn’t any of those things.

Scarbinksy laments:

Unless Malzahn wants to replace Nick Saban circa 2006 as the ultimate coaching Pinocchio, he’s already chosen what he has at Auburn over what he might have at Texas.

Uh, wrong.

If Malzahn – even with signed extension in hand – jumped to Texas, every reasonable college football fan in the world would totally understand.

 

Revisiting Gus’ Departure From Auburn

Kevin Scarbinsky is asking the same question I asked earlier:

That explains why Arkansas State wanted Malzahn. But why would he leave the SEC for the Sun Belt?

Based on his article, Scarbinsky thinks there are two main reasons:

This one:

He appeared close to landing each job, but the Jayhawks did a quick about-face last week to hire Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. The Tar Heels earlier turned to Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora.

People close to Malzahn say he believes one factor played a role in each of those schools going in a different direction: the Kristi Malzahn video.

And this one:

Malzahn had inside help to get the job. The ASU coach who left for Ole Miss to create the opening, Hugh Freeze, is a confidant. Freeze helped bring the two sides together. The ASU AD, Dr. Dean Lee, taught Malzahn in class at Henderson (Ark.) State.

Did Malzahn wind up at Arkansas State because Mrs. Malzahn’s video and because he had contacts in Jonesboro?

Maybe so, but I don’t think that’s the full story.  I think he wound up in Jonesboro because Cam Newton is no longer playing for him.  I think it’s more likely that folks are more skeptical of his offense than they are of his wife.

Believe me, if Nick Saban had been married to the drunk airport kissing woman, Bama fans would not have cared one iota.

From all accounts, Malzahn is a quality guy.  I hope he does well.

“Coach, you’re my Cam Newton”

For some reason, this quote from Arkansas State athletic director Dean Lee gave me a chuckle:
“I said, ‘Coach, you’re my Cam Newton.’ I said ‘Coach, we’ve got to get this deal done,'” Lee said.
The Arkansas State Red Wolves have hired Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to be their new head coach.  I was kind of hoping he would stay around for a while.
Another quote, this one from Auburn coach Gene Chizik, didn’t cause me to chuckle, but it did get me to thinking for a moment:
“I’m very happy for Gus and the opportunity that awaits him at Arkansas State,” Chizik said. “Gus has always had the strong desire to become a head coach and the chance for him to return to his home state that he is so familiar with, will be very beneficial.
So Gus has always “had the strong desire to become a head coach.”  Wow, that’s news.  Just last year it appeared that he had a strong desire to return to Auburn as offensive coordinator after turning down a rumored $3 million per year to coach the Vanderbilt Commodores.  After turning down Vandy, Malzahn also received a modest salary bump to $1.3 million per year.
I’m from Alabama and probably not that good with math and figurin’, but something about this just smells funny.  Either that or Malzahn’s not that good with math.
I’m making a bunch of assumptions, but take a look at the math here:  The Vandy deal was probably five years at $3 million per.  That’s a $15 million dollar deal.  The Auburn gig probably had two more years to go at $1.3 million each for a total of $2.6 million remaining.  The ASU gig reportedly is paying $750,000 per year for five years for a total compensation of $3,750,000.  I know all this is just speculation on my part, but if these numbers are close to accurate, Malzahn left over $11 million on the table by not taking the Vanderbilt job.  Assuming he could have coached at Auburn for five more years, he’s leaving $2,750,000 on the table by heading to Jonesboro.
I know coaching football is not all about the money, and there must be some sense of relieve and satisfaction to return to his home state as a head coach, but the numbers above just don’t make sense.  They just leave me with questions:  Was Arkansas State the best he could do?  Was he forced out at Auburn?  Can he not add and subtract?
Like I said, this just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Has Anyone Seen Gus this Morning?

To understand this, you need to take a look at this.

And if you haven’t watched that, you will probably want to.  That may be the nuttiest piece of work I’ve ever seen.

Under the Bus, Gus

Apparently some folks think Gus’ bloom has fallen off:

Gus Malzahn is overrated. Someone had to say it. So far this season through 10 games, Auburn is ranked 84th in total offense. With the talent Malzahn has to work with, the production has been unacceptable.

Granted, Auburn is a youthful team. But with talent like running backs Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb, wide receiver Emory Blake and tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, there is no way Auburn should be behind Bowling Green, Middle Tennessee State and Ball State in total offense.

Malzahn is not living up to his $1.3 million yearly salary. Is he a capable offensive coordinator? Yes. Is he the “genius” he has been labeled after only a few seasons at the collegiate level? No.

Kinda stinks, though, when that’s a sports writer for the local paper:

So far in 2011, this has been Gus Malzahn’s offense only for the second time in the SEC without an all-world talent at his disposal. And it’s been pathetic.

What seemed like genius earlier has now turned dunce.

Actually, I don’t think it was ever genius.  In fact, Auburn has been pretty lucky that Malzahn’s offense has been somewhat tempered this year.  Malzahn prefers the fast-paced, 90 play a game offense, but the Tigers have definitely slowed things down.  If not, the beatings would most likely have been worse.

This offense can work, but, in my opinion, it’s the Jimmys and Joes that make it work, not the Xs and Os.

[HT: Blutarsky]