But could the shine be coming off? Malzahn is dealing with rumors of interest in the Arkansas job, and Dyer's testimony Wednesday at the trial of accused former Tiger Antonio Goodwin helped illustrate why Dyer and Auburn head coach Gene Chizik went their separate ways.
Goodwin is the first of four former Tigers to stand trial for their infamous (alleged) armed robbery in March 2011, and during his time on the witness stand Wednesday Dyer revealed that it was his handgun which Goodwin had borrowed to use during the robbery.
"I tried to advise him that he shouldn't go," Dyer said of the former teammates' meeting at Dyer's residence, when Goodwin picked up the gun. "He wasn't like that."
Dyer also revealed that he had smoked a previously legal synthetic marijuana substitute called "spice" "consistently" throughout his Auburn career, finding the intensity of its high "way stronger" than actual marijuana. The former five-star recruit said that he and the four robbery defendants had all smoked spice and drank heavily at a party at current Auburn wide receiver Deangelo Benton's residence the night of the robbery.
As the party broke up, Dyer said he was asked by former Auburn and high school teammate Dakota Mosley if he was interested in "hitting a lick," i.e. take part in the robbery, but declined.
Despite that particular display of good judgment, Dyer's portrayal of himself as regular user of synthetic drugs, owner of a handgun, and close associate of the players involved in the (alleged) robbery -- not to mention his reported prickly attitude towards the prosecution attorney for whom he was testifying -- will do nothing to help the character concerns that have bubbled up ever since his suspension by Chizik ahead of the 2011 Chick-Fil-A Bowl. (And speaking of Chizik, he declined comment Wednesday on the events of the trial "out of respect for the judicial process.")
If Dyer toes the line at Arkansas State and continues to flash the same blend of balance and burst that made him a first-team All-SEC tailback in 2011, he can still preserve a lucrative long-term future in football. But if not, those same character concerns are going to put him squarely behind the proverbial 8-ball when it comes to move on to the pros--to say nothing of their hampering his ability to make himself and Malzahn something more than those guys who left Auburn for Jonesboro.
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