Auburn football coach Gene Chizik would not comment on remarks made by national sports analyst Danny Sheridan alleging Auburn has pulled two assistant coaches off the road from recruiting due to possible NCAA rules violations.
“I don’t have time for all of that,” Chizik said. “I’ve got one direct focus: that is my team and my players. That has nothing to do with us winning. Whoever said what has nothing to do with anything, so I am not getting into any of that stuff. I’ve got one track, and that is our players and our coaches and trying to get us to the next win, so, all of that stuff, I have no comment on that.”
AL.com reported on Sheridan’s comments which came during and after a speech Monday night to the Tuscaloosa Quarterback Club.
“Based on what I’ve heard, the NCAA is looking at their program,” Sheridan said in the report. “I’ll say that on the record. I will quickly say, I hope they are exonerated.”
But if it’s true that they’ve taken two of their coaches off the road, that generally speaking is not a good sign. Usually when you take a coach off the road, it’s an effort to placate the NCAA.”
Sheridan’s accusations come less than a week after Auburn University President Jay Gogue issued a statement saying he shared many of the same concerns regarding performance of the football program as those he has heard from members of the “Auburn Family” and the program would be evaluated in an “objective, thorough and professional process.”
Chizik has not commented on Gogue’s statement, which made no mention of him or Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs, but after Saturday’s loss said he had did not “hear or see” the statement.
Chizik is under contract through 2015 with an annual salary of $3.5 million. He has a buyout which will depreciate to $7.5 million on Dec. 1 of this year which, if exercised, would be paid out over the remaining term of the contract and offset by any compensation he earns elsewhere during that time.
Ashton Richardson named Rhodes finalist: Auburn senior linebacker Ashton Richardson was named a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship on Tuesday. Richardson is an Honors College student major in Animal Sciences (pre-veterinary medicine) with a cumulative GPA of 3.94.
“I was definitely overjoyed about it,” said Richardson, a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll honoree. “Going into this whole process, I didn’t really understand how big of a deal it was. But as I learned more about it, I realized this really is a life-changing thing. So when I got the news about it, first thing I wanted to do of course was thank God for it, and then notify my parents about it. And they were also overjoyed.”
Richardson is the fifth Auburn student-athlete to be named a Rhodes finalist in the past four years, joining former diver Dan Mazzaferro, swimming and diving athletes Erica Meissner and Jordan Anderson and former gymnast Krissy Voss.
Richardson said Anderson, who won the Rhodes Scholarship in 2009, has been very helpful through the process so far. The New Orleans native will have his interview in Birmingham the weekend of the Alabama A&M game.
Richardson said he chose to interview in Birmingham in an effort to stay closer to Auburn and possibly get back in time. The kickoff time has not yet been announced.
If selected, Richardson plans to pursue two Master’s degrees in biodiversity conservation management and in environment and climate change.
“I would like to pursue those two degrees mainly because right now I’m an animal science major, a pre-veterinarian major, and it’s my aspiration to be a large-animal vet,” he said.
Chizik says Davis had concussion: Chizik said starting cornerback Chris Davis, who did not play against Texas A&M, suffered a concussion during the Arkansas game. He did not say if Davis, who has made 34 tackles, will be able to play this week.
“He had a concussion a couple of weeks ago,” Chizik said. “Those types of things are very touch and go. He tried to come back in the Vanderbilt game and kind of had some recurring issues with that.”
McCalebb still in mix: Running back Onterio McCalebb had just one carry for minus-eight yards against Texas A&M. It was by far the fewest carries for McCalebb this season, whose previous low was eight.
Chizik said there was not a health or production concerns about the senior tailback.
“A lot of times with his carries, a lot of them are read plays, so if we are reading a guy and that read gives us the opportunity to give him the ball, he’s going to get it,” Chizik said. “We felt like we wanted him to touch the ball anywhere from 10 to 12 times depending on the circumstances and the game became something that was completely different from a score standpoint, so we had to get away from a little bit of some of that stuff, but I wouldn’t read into that at all.”