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Dr. Saturday

Gene Chizik’s Auburn program was reportedly ‘coming apart at the seams’ well before season

(US Presswire)When a coach is fired, in any sport, there's often many details which get leaked and explain exactly why the move was made. After Gene Chizik was fired by Auburn, it didn't take long for many unflattering details about his program to be unearthed.

Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News wrote a comprehensive piece on Chizik and the problems his program was having. The full story can be found here.

The problems weren't just on the field, although those were plentiful and were discussed in the column. Off the field, Auburn was apparently a mess too.

[Related: Auburn fires Gene Chizik as coach after four up-and-down years]

The column outlines how players weren't going to class and quit coming to mandatory workouts. Chizik tried to implement an 11 p.m. weekday curfew, hiring a private security firm to check on players, even those who lived off campus, and the players grew to resent that in a hurry.

The column said the problems started to surface shortly after the 2010 national championship season, when four players were arrested and charged with armed robbery.

When Chizik didn't get much credit for the title, with a lot of that credit going to Cam Newton and then-offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn, Chizik "seemed to change," in particular taking more control over game plans.

[Related: For more on Auburn, visit AuburnSports.com]

About that time, discipline in the program started to slip, and there were problems with academics. Here's one particularly damning passage from Scarbinsky's column:

One example: During the second week of the regular season, before the cracks in the foundation began to show up on the field in a lifeless 28-10 loss at Mississippi State, an academic adviser told Chizik there was a problem with one of his Auburn starters.

The adviser said the player wasn't going to class, wasn't doing his classwork, wasn't making much of an effort at all in the classroom.

Chizik's response: He told the adviser he didn't believe him. That player started the Mississippi State game and struggled terribly, never showed much development on the field and eventually lost his starting job.

There are more examples in the column, which serves as a epitaph to the Chizik era that will go down as one of the more unique runs for any coach in college football history. Whatever Chizik wants to do next, future employers will have questions for him about what happened near the end of his time at Auburn.

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