With the college football season openers set to go this weekend, an interesting take to the world of recruiting came flashing by me during a taping the other night on Fox6. Former Auburn center Cole Cubelic along with former Alabama linebacker Cory Reamer were in studio- they join me each and every Saturday at 10 am on our "Tide and Tigers Today" program. No doubt the Auburn Tigers have been in the news as Gene Chizik has now suspended and/or dismissed a number of players, from DeAngelo Benton to Michael Dyer to Reese Dismukes to Zeke Pike.
I asked Cubelic, the former center who played for Terry Bowden and Tommy Tuberville about discipline issues, upon which Cubelic replied, "Chizik is like most coaches in America- the simple fact is that coaches recruit talent, not character. They will tell you they want character guys on their team, but what they do is recruit the most talented person they can get and then try to mold their players' character into their value system."
The problem with that, as you know, is that it doesn't always work. While there have been many cases of rotten apples being turned around by coaches and made into better people, many times a rotten apple is a rotten apple: Regardless of how hard a coach tries to mold the player into a character guy, it's just not going to happen.
Cory Reamer agreed with Cubelic, saying that while Nick Saban, his former coach, tries to sign young men of character, those young guys have no hope of playing for the Tide if they don't have talent. Talent indeed trumps character when it comes to college recruiting.
On Tuesday, Gene Chizik defended his recruiting practices, saying that while any bad news reflects negatively on his program, his staff does backround checks and plenty of homework before signing a recuit. Let's face it- overseeing 100 testorone-filled young men can't be easy, heck- I have my hands full looking after my two kids. But the fact remains that despite all the best speeches, warnings, guest speakers, youth pastors, and disciplinary notebooks provided young men today, problems do pop up. Don't forget, Chizik, Saban and all of the SEC coaches aren't the only ones who often side with talent over character- witness coaches like Jack Crowe, Reggie Barlow, Terry Bowden, Waton Brown and others who have gobbled up the bad boys of the SEC.
Cubelic and Reamer will talk about this subject Saturday, September 1st on our "Tide and Tigers Today" program. Their message? That while talent can win a coach some games, lack of character can cost a coach his job. And while both are duly impressed with the job coaches everywhere do of keeping most players in shape, it might be time for them to do as much homework on their recruits as they insist their signees do in class.