https://www.secrant.com/rant/auburn-spo ... /79323287/
I was going to save some of this for 3 things I know, 3 things I think on Wednesday, but why wait?
Below are a few items I'm hearing from inside the locker room and others close to the program. If you don't want to hear some bad news, look away. I'm not hearing a lot of positive things inside the locker room, so click away if you'd rather go along your day without hearing what players are thinking in private.
- There is animosity in the locker room. Some defensive players have not been fans of Jarrett Stidham for nearly a year, and while that's not affecting play, obviously, the locker room features a lot of quiet corners, if that makes sense. Some players are playing for themselves, though the defense has managed to come together unit by unit, and are held together by Deshaun Davis and Marlon Davidson. The offense isn't the only unit with issues with chemistry, so I want to make that clear, and so did one of my sources.
- Chip Lindsey calls the plays and they're filtered through Gus Malzahn. Simple. Players know it and they think it's strange, leading to some unfavorable opinions of the head coach among players on both sides of the ball.
- Right or wrong, some players don't like Jarrett Stidham's happy, go-lucky attitude. He was smiling wide and skipping around outside the locker room after the game, prompting some parents and players to shake their head and grumble. Stidham is disconnected from the team, save for a few close friends, and a lot of the defensive players are not happy with him, his performances and his attitude. He shows leadership on game days, but the players don't see a killer instinct and his words ring hollow to several offensive players, and it's bothering the defensive players from afar.
- Several players are discussing departures after this season. Malzahn is being criticized privately by a handful of players inside the locker room, which isn't uncommon for any program, but the whispers are audible grumbles this season -- and have been for most of the year.
- Several receivers are frustrated with Stidham. Several offensive linemen want to leave if they believe they can be drafted in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft, but inserting my own opinion here, who exactly is going to be drafted from that offensive line?
- Simply put, there's dissension, albeit quiet, but it's growing and it's clouding the thoughts and actions of players at practice and on game days. There's not a player on offense everyone turns to for guidance, and while the offensive line has been an absolute mess, Stidham has done himself no favors in the eyes of the players.
- Malzahn is unaware of these opinions in his own locker room.
Again, that's what's happening in the locker room. I'm just sharing what I've been told by several people. I'm not taking sides and I'm certainly not altering what is being told to me.
- I'll be surprised if Chip Lindsey doesn't look for a way out after this season.
- Several players will leave the program if something drastic doesn't change with the atmosphere of the program.
- Accountability is an issue. There needs to be more action rather than talk, in the locker room and in the coaches' offices. If anything, there probably actually needs to be an airing of grievances among coaches and players in a team meeting. What's happening now is not constructive and is bordering on cancerous.