Gone are Tommy Tuberville and his six fingers, in is new head coach Gene Chizik.
When Auburn University began their search to replace former head coach Tommy Tuberville, not many were looking in the direction of Iowa State University, but Auburn AD Jay Jacobs was.
Chizik accepted the position of head coach at Iowa State in 2006 after a successful career as a defensive coordinator; his stops included coordinator duties at Auburn and Texas. The success Chizik enjoyed as a Defensive Coordinator had yet to be seen at Iowa State. Chizik's teams were often out-manned and out-coached on game day leading to a disappointing 5-19 record in his short tenure there.
Chizik was attempting to rebuild the Iowa State program through recruiting, although according to recruiting services, his classes were ranked lower than the previous three under former head coach Dan McCarney. Still, talent undoubtedly played a roll in the lack of success on the field for the Cyclones.
As the 2009 season is set to get underway, Chizik looks to the support of a strong staff to help start the rebuilding process on the plains. He comes in with better talent than he enjoyed previously and with better coaches surrounding him; the question is, does he have the ability to be a successful head coach at a major college in the best conference in football?
Chizik, who struggled in his ability to lure recruits to Iowa State, has to face two of the best recruiters in the nation in Florida head coach Urban Meyer and Alabama head coach Nick Saban. If Chizik found Iowa difficult to recruit against, what happens when he's contending with Florida, Alabama & Georgia?
Coaching in the SEC against some of the top coaches in the country is no easy task; recruiting against traditional powers can be a tall order; is Chizik up to the challenge?
That question remains unanswered, and while a failed stop at Iowa State doesn't guarantee failure at Auburn, it certainly makes one wonder why such a gamble was taken at a University that could have gotten more.
If the game of football is like a banquet where the strongest teams feast, Jacobs may have just given Nick Saban a toothpick.
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