As you all know the past few weeks have been tough for Auburn fans, the players and the coaches. Four (former) Auburn players Antonio Goodwin, Shaun Kitchens, Dakota Mosley and Mike McNeil all committed a robbery that will most likely have them serving prison sentences for quite a while. They were immediately booted off the team by Coach Chizik and rightly so, because what they did was not a mistake (in my book), and it was totally inexcusable.
I'm still trying to figure out what went through their minds when they thought about doing what they did. Did they need money? That seems to be the common theory on it all, and if they did need money then why don't they do what every other sane human being does and get a part time job? I understand they have full time education, and workouts etc. but since we are in the offseason they must have some time to spare?
Ok, I just digressed there. The last paragraph may have come across as arrogant on my part and I don't mean to come across like that. The point I am trying to make is that this was not a mistake, this was a real instinctive decision made by all four and they are paying for it big time. But that is all in the past now, the team needs to look at itself from a realistic standpoint and think who will stand up and lead this football team next season. Mike McNeil was a senior who was supposed to set examples for the younger players. He was supposed to support and make the right decisions for the sake of the players, and evidently he failed in doing that. You would think that a person his age would know better, but sometimes it just doesn't fall the way it should.
As for the rest of them, they are true freshman who all had a chance to start next fall. The future definitely looked bright for them all and I honestly had high hopes for a few of them. I'm not one of those who thinks its ok to blame Coach Chizik for all of this. Some have blamed his character judgement of these four, and to me that doesn't make any sense. Chizik didn't make the decision for these four to do the serious crime they committed. To my knowledge none of them had any past run ins with the law, and all he can do now is move on and focus on his next task.
Going back to my earlier point, last season we had 24 seniors and had several leaders on the team such as Zac Etheridge, Aairon Savage, Josh Bynes, Antoine Carter, Lee Ziemba, Kodi Burns and Terrell Zachery. They are all gone now, and the current Auburn team has few very seniors. Who will step up next season and lead this team through the good and bad times? Who will make the decisions that others are unwilling to make and who will make the plays that will put us on the best position possible?
Michael Dyer? Dyer had an incredible freshman season in 2010 and I expect his numbers to get even better throughout his career. He has shown a real maturity through his time at Auburn so far and he is someone who I can see stepping up and leading the offense through thick and thin.
Another intriguing name is Eltoro Freeman. At this point, it is hard to currently name any veterans on Auburn's defense that will step up and lead, but his name is an interesting one. In the past he has shown some immaturity with his actions, however if he can put all of that behind him and focus on setting a good example and playing at a higher level then why can't it be him? Eltoro is a real headhunter at linebacker and he has potential to be an NFL prospect.
Those are just a few names I will throw out there, however you can never predict what will happen in 6 months time and I am anxious, but at the same time excited to see how this team will develop.
I am usually a glass half full kind of person, and staying positive is not always a bad thing since I want to think we are in a good position, I believe we are and I think the cause for concern is low at this point. What the four did was stupid, but we will not dwell on it any longer and I hope that the team will put all of this off-field drama behind them.
Buckle up people, drivel season has arrived.