Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chizik in Anniston

Gene Chizik made his way to Anniston on Monday to meet with fans and the VIPs of the Auburn fanbase in and around Anniston.
While I couldn't make it, my colleague Joe Medley made his way to the event and addressed a few key issues with Chizik.
As you read yesterday, Auburn released Chizik's letter of agreement more than five months after it had been signed. The university revealed the letter of agreement because a contract has not yet been finalized. As I noted in my story yesterday, it is common for coaches to work with such agreements in place for upward of a year.
Chizik was asked about the contract situation and he assured the suspicion that this is nothing out of the ordinary.
"There's no holdup at all. I've been so busy and just been trying to run a thousand miles an hour, but we're getting all that worked through. There's no glitches. It's just finishing everything and finalizing everything, so it will be done soon."
Chizik also addressed some lingering player issues. For one, he talked -- in non-specific terms albeit -- about receiver Montez Billings' status.
Reporters were told for much of the spring that Billings was being held out with an unspecified injury. That was until April 14, when Chizik revealed this potential bombshell: "Montez right now, we’re trying to clear up an academic situation. We’re still working on that as we go."
That seemed very plausible until May 9, when Billings officially graduated from Auburn.
Also, receivers coach Trooper Taylor said in an exclusive interview two weeks ago that he doesn't currently expect Billings to be available in the fall.
“If he can’t do it or if he’s not going to be able to do it, I don’t need to count on him," Taylor sad. "I like the kid, but when you look at the guy and you watch him on tape and you sit in your room but you can’t use him, for me, I focus on the ones who can be out there.
“Right now, I don’t picture me counting on him. I have to keep explaining to him: ‘It ain’t that I don’t like you, son, but it’s not fair to the team for me to keep spending time with you if I don’t know if you’re going to be out there.’”
Chizik didn't necessarily shed light on the situation on Monday, but did, for the first time, sound optimistic the situation might be resolved with Billings able to play in 2009.
"We're still kind of reviewing that, and there's some things we have to do NCAA-wise right now to make sure that everything is going to work out, but we feel very confident at this point that it's going to happen," Chizik said.

That's all for now.

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