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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Walk-on Wisner leaves team for personal reasons

Walk-on wide receiver Jay Wisner decided to leave the Auburn football team early last week for personal reasons, head coach Gene Chizik told reporters Sunday.

Wisner didn't have a reception this year but established himself as an effective blocking receiver, usually playing in the slot. He threw a block on the perimeter that cleared the way for Emory Blake to score on a screen pass against South Carolina two weeks ago.

The parting of ways sounded amicable.

"He is a great young man and he has done everything we've asked him to do," Chizik said. "And we're going to try to help him in any way, and we wish him well. But last week he decided to leave the team."

Wisner, a senior from Bozeman, Mont., informed the coaches of his decision early last week. He's no longer enrolled in school.

He appeared in 17 games in his career for Auburn and made three catches for 56 yards.

Chizik said a variety of young receivers will step into his role. He named DeAngelo Benton, Antonio Goodwin, Travante Stallworth and Shaun Kitchens specifically.

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Here are some more early notes and quotes:
  • No word on backup quarterback Barrett Trotter's injury. The sophomore hurt his knee on an 18-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and did not return. Chizik called it a "nick and bruise" thing but wouldn't give more specifics.
  • He did not know who would be the backup QB if Trotter can't play. Either Neil Caudle or Clint Moseley would be next in line. Moseley replaced Trotter in garbage time yesterday against Louisiana-Monroe. "We've got two great options there," Chizik said. "I don't know yet. I don't know what we would do. We've got two great ones in Neil and Clint. We'd have to play that one by ear and see what direction we would go."
  • Chizik was predictably unconcerned with Auburn's No. 8 ranking in both polls: "We haven't talked about it. I don't really know what it means to them. And I think they've got a really good grip on the fact that that really doesn't affect anything one way or the other. Obviously it's nice wherever they have you, but I don't think that has any bearing on the way anybody thinks or prepares. We simply don't talk about it. One day at a time, one game at a time, that's really how we are."
  • Kentucky beat Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium 21-14 last year, a stunning upset that snapped the Wildcats' 15-game losing streak in the series. "Last year's result and last year's team really have no bearing on this year at all," Chizik said. "That was a different team with different people in a different year. We don't use that as any type of motivation at all. We're trying to get better every day within our own team. That's really not part of the equation."
  • Do-it-all WR/RB/QB Randall Cobb was a big reason for last year's upset. Chizik remains impressed. "He is all over the place," Chizik said. "But he's a dynamic player. He's one of the best players in the league. And he's got a great future for himself in my opinion after it's over. So they're using him the way they need to. He's a return guy. He's a wideout. He's a Wildcat guy. They do it all with him and rightly so. That's smart on their part."
  • Chizik liked the way Mario Fannin ran the ball yesterday. The senior had 10 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown, getting some confidence back after early season shoulder and fumbling problems. "With Mario, it’s really a confidence thing in we’ve got to make sure he feels confident, with just feeling nicked and bruised and beat up a little bit," Chizik said. "The plan was to get him some perimeter stuff, which is what we did. I thought he handled it great. I thought he had a quick twitch in his step, that he ran with confidence. His circumstances have been dictated more by injury than anything. But I think he ran with confidence yesterday."
  • Chizik didn't think Fannin's fumbling problems were all injury related. He does think Fannin can be a contributor for this offense, though. "We have confidence that Mario’s going to hold on to the ball," Chizik said. "He made a mistake, he’s very conscious of it, and he’s going to fix it."
  • T'Sharvan Bell continues to impress. He started for the first time Saturday (albeit in place of Neiko Thorpe, who got his bell run on Auburn's first kickoff), but he finished with five tackles and one pass breakup. "I though he played well," Chizik said. "He’s a former quarterback in high school, so he’s got a great feel for the game. He made some things happen. He’s trying to play more physical, which is part of what we’re trying to impart defensively to all our guys. But he’s starting to show up as a more physical player. He’s starting to becoming a better secondary player, and he hasn’t been back there very long. His best days are ahead of him."
  • DT Nick Fairley added to his SEC lead in sacks (5) and tackles for a loss (11.5). His problem had been inconsistency, but he's working on eliminating that. "I think Nick's really tried to take that part of his game and really take it to another level," Chizik said. "I won't say that he has arrived in terms of every day, every play, but I can tell you he's light years ahead of where he was last year. We are consistently reminding him of that message and he gets it and he understands it. And I've been pleased with the direction he's trying to move out at practice, because he's going to do in a game what he does in practice."


Tar Heel Tiger said...

I loved Wisner. Rats, rats, rats. I wish him the very best and appreciate his contribution. I never did learn how he ended up in Auburn all the way from MT

Roman said...

Thanks for the information on Jay Wisner. The walk-on from Bozeman was something of a favorite of mine. It wasn't that he was the greatest athlete on the field, or that he was a star. It was that he was a walk-on from tiny Bozeman, and that he made the team, and saw the field, and played hard. I thought he was part of what makes Auburn a great university and a great team. I wish him the very best. He'll be a Tiger forever.

War Eagle, Jay Wisner!

Clint Richardson said...

I hate that Wisner left the team. I'm friends with him on Facebook and he hasn't said a word about it. I just went and looked at his page, and under his religious views he put Budhist. I don't know what that means to this situation, but it might why he left. Roman said it well, He'll always be a Tiger!

Nancy said...

Wisner did a nice job blocking on those little short passes that turned into big gains. I thought he deserved one of the schollys but guess you only get a certain amount of credit for blocking.

MikeP said...

Wisener and lineman Jorrell Bostrom both came to Auburn from California Jr, Colleges as "invited walkons".

It's not that bad of a deal, they are eligible for some grants and loans that players on scholarship can't have.
I doubt if Wisener left for religious reasons. This is his second year here. If something like that bothered him he'd have left long before now.
I hope he's already graduated, or plans to do so. That degree would help him get along in the future.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info AB! Really sad to hear about Wisner. Seems like a great kid and a hard worker. He will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Most of us in the west are Buddhist.

Tar Heel Tiger said...

I don't do FB, but if I did, I'd put fake info on there. Not saying Wisner isn't Buddhist, just sayin' I might be if I was on FB.

MikeP - thanks for the update re: the Bostrom/Wisner connection.