The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

October 16, 2012

Auburn makes rapid tumble from Newton's title team

— AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Two years ago, Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers were unstoppable.

Newton and fellow star Nick Fairley have long since headed to the NFL after spearheading the 2010 national title run — and the Tigers' fall has been as dramatic as that sudden rise.

Now, after one of the program's worst starts in six decades, even a bowl game seems out of reach and Gene Chizik's job security has become a hot topic around the state.

Even former Auburn coach Pat Dye, who has been a big Chizik supporter, said on a syndicated radio show that he doesn't think the Tigers will win a Southeastern Conference game. Dye said the offensive problems, starting at quarterback, are unsolvable.

The Tigers play at favored Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Chizik said he wasn't aware of those comments and insists he's tuning out the criticism and urging his players to do the same, just like he wanted them to ignore the praise during that title run.

"My day when I walk through the door consists of my coaches and my players and the direction that we're headed," Chizik said Monday. "What makes college football great is that, you know what, there's going to be people on the radio, there's going to be people on the TV, there's going to be people outside now that can say and do whatever they want and it can be public as it can be. And hey that's great. That's great.

"But if I concerned myself with all of that, then that would suck the energy and the life out of me trying to do a job that I know I've got to stay concentrating on one thing, trying to keep my coaches and my players on the path of improvement."

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