Auburn prez to evaluate Chizik, Tigers football at end of season

AUBURN, Ala. -- President Jay Gogue has not changed his stance on Auburn football since issuing an Oct. 25 statement, university spokesman Mike Clardy said Friday.

Gogue has notified some members of the Auburn Board of Trustees that he's "making preparations to possibly replace head football coach Gene Chizik," reports, according to multiple sources.

Gogue even has a candidate picked out in Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, according to the report. Gogue is not responding to the report, per Clardy.

Chizik is taking the unlikely path from national champion to point of no return in 22 months. The Tigers are 2-7 with little sign of improvement, the offense is one of the country's worst, and keeping fans in Jordan-Hare Stadium engaged for four quarters is a major challenge.

While the Auburn football offices are laced with celebratory pictures of Chizik after the national title win over Oregon -- Chizik hoisting the Waterford crystal trophy; Chizik giving fans two thumbs up; Chizik taking a Gatorade bath -- all is quiet on campus Friday. Have spotted exactly one "Beat Georgia" T-shirt after spending three hours here.

Considering the rivalry in state, Alabama has reason to enjoy Auburn's freefall as the Tide approaches a third title in four years. A prominent booster told me there are three prevailing beliefs out of Tuscaloosa: Fire Chizik and keep AD Jay Jacobs, fire Jacobs and keep Chizik, or fire both.

If Auburn's president isn't talking, the former one is. Ed Richardson, who hired Jacobs before leaving his post in 2007, said Chizik's job is on the line in the final three weeks and he worries about a lynch-mob mentality among fans.

"I think if cooler heads prevail, if passions don't overcome reason, then I think Chizik and Jacobs can survive, but I do think it comes down to how the team performs against Georgia, and assuming they beat (Alabama) A&M next week, how it performs against Alabama," Richardson told News.

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