I don’t know Zeke Pike, but I know the freshman football player must have a lot of ability or he wouldn’t have been rated a four-star prospect in high school and Auburn wouldn’t have recruited him if he didn’t have the physical tools to be successful as a quarterback in the Southeastern Conference.
What I do know is a message needs to be sent to him, loud and clear.
If wants to be the quarterback at Auburn, it doesn’t make any difference how much ability he has got and how many colleges recruited him.
If he wants to be the quarterback at Auburn, he has to earn the respect of his teammates and coaches and become the type of player who makes the other 10 guys in the huddle better when he steps on the field.
In a previous column I mentioned that this time of year can be a troublesome one for a college head football coach. With staffs having limited contact with their players between the end of spring practice and the start of preseason practice in August the players aren’t living as disciplined and structured a lifestyle as they do at other times of the year. When you have a roster of around 120 players sometimes there are going to be guys who get into trouble. In Pike’s case he was arrested for public drunkenness and I am going to assume the police didn’t lock him up without cause.
I don’t believe that being out in public and being disruptive and irresponsible to the point that you get arrested is showing the type of character that Auburn’s coaches, players and fans want from someone trying to be the leader of their football team. If you don’t have the respect of those folks you are just living in a fantasy world if you think you are going to be the next quarterback at Auburn.
Zeke Pike is shown during spring practice at Auburn.
My message to Zeke Pike is he has a lot of ground to make up. I’m not talking about how fast he can run or how well he can throw the football. If your teammates don’t want you to be their leader you have got a major problem.
I have coached some players with great talent who couldn’t handle their off-the-field business and that certainly contributed to them being failures as college football players. The list of players with the talent to be stars who never made it goes on and on and on. Young Mr. Pike needs to do everything in his power to make sure he isn’t the next can’t-miss prospect who did.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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