Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cam Newton is Auburn’s Godzilla

 

Yes, it’s a Godzilla Rip (and I’m a huge fan of the big lizard). Here’s the original, much smaller of course:

Much more on Newton, Caudle, and what I think this means for Tyrik Rollison, post bowl.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mr. Barkley, Kindly Zip It.

 

Do you ever get a War Eagle premonition? Do you ever hear one sports story in the news, and in the back of your mind think, "They are going to tie this back to Auburn somehow"? When Turner Gill was hired at Kansas, my first reaction should have been, "Good for him". Instead, I was thinking, "When is the Outside the Lines piece going to air that mentions Auburn". I should have known that the first person to speak up and tie Gill back to Auburn, would be none other than Charles Barkley.

Speaking with Kevin Scarbinsky, Barkley lobbed jabs left at right at Chizik and reiterated his appreciation and desire for Turner Gill:

“Turner would’ve been the right hire,” Barkley said. “I still think he would’ve been the better hire.”

“They have done a great job in recruiting, but the face of the school will always be the head coach,” Barkley said.

“Let’s not kid ourselves. As far as name recognition, Auburn is at a decided disadvantage. Not just in the state. In the SEC.”

Personally, I’ve had enough of this. After the great coach exodus of 2008, I will admit I was all for Turner Gill. He had some name recognition, he had Buffalo in the right direction, and of course, it would have been a Public Relations boom for the school.

Then something changed. I actually looked at Gill’s resume. I took off my Orange and Blue glasses and looked through more subjective eyes. Why was Gill now “the man”? I'll leave it to Jason Whitlock to explain:

As a black member of the media, I know what I’m expected to do today — shout that Gill’s hiring as Kansas’ new football coach is a bold step for college football mankind, a terrific hire by Lew Perkins and the culmination of Martin Luther King’s dream.

The problem is, unlike most of Gill’s prominent supporters in the media, I’ve actually watched his Buffalo Bulls play numerous times. Never once have I been impressed. Not even on the night when Gill’s Bulls ended my then-12th-ranked Ball State Cardinals’ Cinderella season with a shocking 42-24 victory in the 2008 MAC championship game.

In 2008, he won the MAC East with a 5-3 record in a year when the MAC’s four best teams all played in the West. It was the equivalent of winning the Big 12 North in 2009, the difference being Nebraska won the North with a Bo Pelini-crafted defense.

Looking at what Gene Chizik has done in his first year at Auburn something is very plain to me. When it came down between Gill and Chizik, Auburn made the right choice. Gill would not have been able to bring Gus Malzahn in. Ditto for Tracy Rocker and Jeff Grimes. Possibly Trooper Taylor, but that’s just conjecture. The fact is that Chizik was prepared. He sat down with a plan for Athletic Director Jay Jacobs; saying here’s what I want to accomplish and here’s who I’m bringing in to help. Gill did not and I’m not the only person who’s heard that Turner Gill lost the Auburn job in the interview. Let’s not forget, Gill did interview for the job and was given the time of day by the Auburn brass.

The biggest difference? Turner Gill, at his core, is still a Nebraska man. He will still bleed Husker Red and will continue to be until he dies. He had no previous ties to Auburn.

Chizik on the other hand, knew first hand what makes Auburn special. He knew the traditions and the legends. He knew the fan base and the community. That is what sets him apart. Auburn got as close to an Auburn man as they were going to get. I honestly feel Chizik regrets taking the Iowa State job. That he wasn’t ready at the time and jumped at the Head coaching chance to early. Watching him in interviews and seeing him during the Auburn Every Day program it just becomes more and more evident that Coach Gene Chizik gets “it”. “It” of course being the unnamable things that make Auburn special. If you’re an Auburn fan you get “it”. You understand “it”. “It” is that feeling you get in your chest whenever you watch Auburn play, that warm buzz that reverberates through your body whenever you hear the fight song, and that understanding that yes, Auburn is a special (but often overlooked) place.

My real issue however, isn’t with Gill or with Chizik. Auburn has made their decision and it has (for now) paid off in its first go-round.

No, my issue is with Barkley. For bringing up this dead-horse issue again and for being hypocritical. This quote in particular stands out:

“Let’s not kid ourselves. As far as name recognition, Auburn is at a decided disadvantage. Not just in the state. In the SEC.”

You know who could change that perception? How about you Charles Barkley? You’ve got a national television audience every night on TNT. You never refrain from giving an opinion (good or bad) or ANY subject. I’m sure there are contributions Barkley may have given behind the scenes to Auburn. However, there are two sides to that coin. Outside from some face time during Auburn’s 2004 Undefeated run, you’ve been noticeably silent about Auburn football. It should stay that way. I will gladly listen to Barkley when it comes to hiring a Basketball coach. However, when it comes to football? Never. Does North Carolina care what Michael Jordan think about Butch Davis? Nope.

Here’s the picture Barkley has painted to the media and to the public about what Auburn University is:

EJ: "Auburn is a pretty good school. To graduate from there I suppose you really need to work hard and put forth maximum effort." Sir Charles: "20 pts and 10 rebounds will get you through also!"

EJ: "Did you graduate from Auburn?" Charles: "No, but I have a couple people working for me who did."

"when I was recruited at Auburn [university], they took me to a strip joint. When I saw those titties on Buffy, I knew that Auburn met my academic requirements."

Those are all actual quotes from Barkley. Granted, most were used as humor and probably shouldn’t be taken seriously. However, if Barkley is so concerned with Auburn’s public perception, then he’s persona alpha who can start to change it.

I’m not asking him to sugar coat his speech. Not in the least. All I want, and all I’m asking is that he quit giving opinions about football and drop the Turner Gill subject (of which he’s blissfully ignorant). It’s done. It’s over. It’s time to move on.

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Last Night My Worlds Collided

Favorite Comedy? Check

Favorite Character on said Comedy? Check

Favorite School? Check

Combined in one glorious 5 minutes (yes I timed) of screen time? My head. Asplode:

That would be Jason Segal's Character on How I Met Your Mother, sporting a sweet Auburn T. Bravo and big War Eagle sir.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

10 Musts for the 2010 Auburn Football Team (Part 2)

 

6. RUN THE WILDCAT PROPERLY

The “Wildcat” was fun for a little bit during the 2009 Season. It even had sports writers running the requisite “Defenses Can’t Stop the Wildcat” articles. Fast forward to the end of the year and the wildcat was predictable, pedestrian, and just plain ineffective.

Why? I’m not going to blame Kodi Burns, but that was a big part of it. The Wildcat runs back when it’s that element of surprise involved. When there is a natural running back at the helm. It gets to be extremely effective when said Running back also has a bit of an arm. I wonder if there is a running back on the Auburn team who played High School Quarterback? (*cough* Dontae Aycock *double cough* Mario Fannin).

Auburn did run some elements of the Wildcat properly in 2009. Those results were evident on the field. However, later in the season whenever Kodi Burns came in the game, Defenses knew what was coming. That Element of surprise was gone and they might as well have spun the wheel above.

If they insist on putting a QB in the Wildcat, then how about Tyrik Rollison? That all depends on if his case of the brain farts (and midweek Skybar scuffles) are behind him and if he’s ready to become a productive member of the team.

7. REPLACE BEN TATE

 

I think it will take a couple of years for Auburn fans to realize just what a tremendous asset Ben Tate was to Auburn football. Yes, there were his ill-timed and out of context comments about being the Best Back in Alabama, and the sad fact that he had some his worst games on the biggest stages. However, when I saw the emotion on his face after the Georgia game, it cemented for me one certain fact: Ben Tate was and is a special Auburn man.

Tate was an emotional leader for the team. That void can be replaced by Kodi Burns. However, his role as a compliment back to OMAC the Squirrel chaser will be a huge loss for the 2010 Auburn Tigers. Some have speculated that Dyer is already fit for that role. That role as a punishing and bruising back. A back who can be the Mr. Inside to McCallebb’s Mr. Outside. Personally, I don’t feel like Dyer is ready just yet (but that’s for the coaches to decide). I think Eric Smith is perfect for the role as Tate’s heir apparent. He’s physical, bruising, and has soft hands. Eric “Lil Rudi” Smith should be able to flourish in Tate’s stead.

8. BUILD DEFENSIVE DEPTH

Nowhere was this more evident than in the Iron Bowl. Auburn only played 3 Linebackers. No rotations. No Subs. Good Lord. The same three players at the most crucial position on Defense, against the #2 Ranked team, for every. single. snap.

Thankfully, Defense has been a priority for the Auburn coaching staff on the recruiting trail. Barring no injury setbacks, there are a few guys like Joel Bonomolo, Ladarius Owens, Kenneth Carter, and Jawara Wright who can already come in an play immediately, in addition to the players who were already sidelined in 2009.

9. HANDLE EXPECTATIONS

Auburn won’t be picked to win the SEC, much less the West. However, the expectations will remain high. Especially when you look at how much is coming back offensively. A near intact Offensive Line, a couple of proven RBs, A maturing WR corps, the loss of Tommy Trott, etc. Jerry over at The War Eagle Reader already gave a pretty in depth account.

So going in to the 2010 year, the expectations will be high. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Auburn (with the help of a bowl win) crack the Top 25 at the start of the year.

The real task comes at handling those expectations. In most of the games, Auburn will go from Hunter to Hunted fairly quickly. The schedule sets up nicely and on paper I can only see 3 games where Auburn wouldn’t be either favored or at least even with (Arkansas, Alabama, and Clemson). In addition, the only road games are Mississippi State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Kentucky. So, again, it looks good (on paper at least) for the Tigers.

So how do you handle those expectations? That will be the biggest test for Auburn.

10. PLAY IN A NEW YEAR’S BOWL

To put to plainly, the Iron Bowl should be Auburn’s final football game of the 2010 Calendar year. This, of course, barring an improbable birth into the SEC Championship game.

Auburn’s tasted that sweet sweet New Year’s Fruit already. They’ll want to taste it again. Anything less, to me, would be a set back. Cap One, Cotton, even Liberty would be another progressive step forward. I’ll even settle for Chik Fil A if need be. Anything else, however, wouldn’t make my Orange and Blue Heart flutter heading into 2011.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

10 Musts for the 2010 Auburn Football Team (Part 1)

 

The paint still hasn’t dried from the 2009 Auburn Tigers, and depending on who you ask, this past season was a success. The Tigers managed to rebound from a disastrous 2008 season, a questionable hire (3-19 Gene), and a completed rebooted offense to a winning record, a New Year’s Bowl and cautious optimism for the 2010 Season. These aren’t end all be-alls for the Tigers. They should be used and viewed as a good barometer and a measuring stick that this fan at least, can look back and say, “Yep. We’re on the the right track”.

1. WIN THE OUTBACK BOWL

When I originally thought about the ten things, I was still under the impression that Auburn would be going to the Independence Bowl or (worse) the Birmingham Bowl. When worked leaked out that Auburn was going to the Outback Bowl, I got excited. Then, when it looked like we would have AU-Wisconsin III, I was tempted to downgrade this from a must, to a hope. Now that its official that it will be AU vs Northwestern that was upgraded from a hope to a huge must.

Winning the bowl game ends the skid. Auburn fans shouldn’t forget that we ended the 2008 season losing our final two games (and 5 of our last 7). Winning the Bowl stops that and put a nice bow on the 2009 season. 8-5 looks a heck of a lot better than 7-6. It also creates positive buzz into 2010, sends the Senior class off with a much-needed reward, and definitively answers the question that (for now) Gene Chizik was the right man for the job.

Add to that the opponent. It’s one thing to play Wisconsin, a competitor year in and year out. It’s quite another to play Northwestern. Nothing against the Purple Wildcats, but losing to the boys from Evansville hurts a lot more than losing to Wisconsin. Losing to a school that lost to Minnesota, Syracuse, and had some nailbiters against mid-level MAC teams, doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the Auburn faithful. Than again, anything can and will happen on January 1st.

2. RETAIN ASSISTANTS

Auburn fans aren’t the only people who know we’ve got a great staff here at Auburn. A staff filled with (just off the top of my head) at least 4 potential future head coaches (Thigpen, Malzahn, Trooper Taylor and Jeff Grimes) and one who could sneak back into coaching, with a little help from a couple of strong defenses (Ted Roof).

Hopefully I’m not the only Auburn fan who looks at each new Head Coaching vacancy and gives them an eye-ball test to see who from the current staff might get talked about for that job. The Memphis vacancy in particular gave me a bit of a scare.

You have to keep these guys around. At least for 2 years. Especially Malzahn, not because of his offense but because we can’t go back to square one again with offense. I’m personally tired of playing musical chairs with offense. In a perfect world, Auburn would add one more coach to the staff and name him Quarterbacks coach. Have him essentially be Malzahn’s Apprentice, learning the O and all the schemes and in the event of Malzhan’s departure, promote him to Coordinator. However, that is more of a 5 year plan. This thinking behind it isn’t unheard of. Just look at Troy. Neal Brown is the youngest coordinator in D-1. Partly by default. He spent 4 years under Franklin’s tutelage at Troy and when the snake oil salesman left, Troy already a guy on staff who knew of O, could run it, and could run it well (some might say better).

More than that, it hurts recruiting. The assistants have preached about the family atmosphere and the love at Auburn. What kind of message does it send if the person recruiting them, extolling the virtues of Auburn, isn’t even there to help them move into Sewell Hall?

The same goes for these recruits who fell in love with the Malzahn O and the unsightly numbers it can put up.

My biggest hope on the recruiting front is that the lead recruiters have sold Auburn first and the staff second. At the end of the day, the staff may leave, but the Plains remain.

3. MAKE A SPLASH ON SIGNING DAY

This one has been coming for a long time. We’ve already seen what the staff can do on the recruiting trail. However, for now, those are just verbal commitments, and verbal commitments can change (as seen today with Antonio Goodwin).

I’m not saying Auburn needs a Top 5 Class. However, with the commitments already on board, there is nothing that says Auburn can’t at least have a Top 10 class. 

More than that, making a Splash on signing day distances the current staff from the current staff. It shows that recruits are buying into the rebuild and brings more national attention to Auburn.

This will be the first time, well, ever that I will watch the Army All American game. Ditto for the Under Armour All- American game. Why? Because finally, Auburn will be represented in the game.

The main thing, however, is not to look at the stars. Auburn needs immediate playmakers and contributors (especially on defense). These needs have to be met and addressed on signing day.

4. SETTLE ON A QB

This needs to be done sooner rather than later. Auburn doesn’t need to go in and out of Spring practices without officially handing the reigns over to a QB. Whether that QB is Barrett Trotter, Neil Caudle, or Tyrik Rollison, or the ultimate dark horse Clint Moseley, remains to be seen. I’ll save my personal pick for a later blog post.

No matter who the choice is, Auburn should be in good shape. To me, choosing a QB does numerous things, and each of them are positive.

  1. Gives the QB a complete year to learn, train, and hone the offense.
  2. Develops a rhythm with the WRs NOW, instead of in August.
  3. Let’s the other QBs decide whether or not its worth it to stay at Auburn or to transfer
  4. Defines Kodi Burns’s role in the offense.

That brings us to our fifth and final must for this post:

5. DEFINE KODI’S ROLE

We already know that Kodi is a leader on the team. After his, now legendary speach and selfless attitude, he will remain an Auburn legend.

One thing all Auburn fans should know by now, also, is that Kodi Burns is not the QB for the 2010 Auburn Team. Personally, I don’t even think he should be the wildcat QB. What throws we did see from him were wild and erratic most of the time. If the Auburn coaching staff wants to make Kodi a WR, then make him a WR full-time. Don’t let him just flirt with the idea of being a WR and still let him practice with the QBs. Keep and develop him at WR.

I still think Kodi could make a quite effective possession receiver. He doesn’t have the speed to burn anyone. However, he still possesses the raw talent and toughness to be effective between the hashes as an outlet valve.

Numbers 6-10 are coming Tuesday.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Regardless of Your Beliefs

 

I found this pretty cool:

Tonight at church we were SO BLESSED with the opportunity to watch the following four men be BAPTIZED by their team chaplain:
Walter McFadden
Antonio Coleman
Eltoro Freeman
T'Sharvan Bell
Recognize those names? Yeah. It was awesome. He had a hard time lifting some of them out of the water, they weigh three times as much as he does! Yet with tears in their eyes and soft hearts as big as the room, they stood in front of hundreds and confessed their faith in Christ.

You can read the rest over here. As well as this tidbit:

Antonio Coleman finished out the service by telling us his story and had the whole place in tears. He finished by saying, "Auburn is a special place, it is such a special place", and I couldn't agree more. Auburn IS a special place. God is moving here. Next time you see them on TV, just smile and know that they are living for so much more than football.

This isn’t the place to discuss religion (nor do I want it to be) but I do know this. One of the things recruits parents look at it is what type of activities their children are going to be involved in. I don’t have kids, but I’d rather seem them get baptized on a Sunday night then participate in a dorm room brawl that suspends 8 players.

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Some Auburn Baseball Tidbits

 

The news post World Series is slow in the baseball world. The Offseason heats up slightly, teams get ready for Winter Meetings, and it basically moves at a snail’s pace until March. Still, there are a couple of news and notes Auburn related on the baseball front:

CLETE THOMAS:

You’re going to hear it hear first. If you play Fantasy baseball (especially if you are in a head to head league) draft Clete Thomas. No, don’t draft him early, but draft him and at least keep him stashed. He showed a lot of his potential last year and should (hopefully) get his first full year in the pros coming up. Personally, I’m going to draft him with the 3rd to last pick.

Here’s an old (July) article about Thomas and his second stint in the bigs with Tigers, showing Clete has a solid mindset:

"I figured out a few things (since his last time up with the Tigers)," the wide-eyed Thomas said with a blank expression. "Figured out how to keep me consistent up here and that I've got to stick to my key points, and that way I'll succeed."

If the Tigers do the right thing and dump Miggy Cabrera then Thomas should see ample playing time in 2010.

Thomas has become a bit of a fan favorite for the Tigers. Even inspring “Clete’s Cult” and Navy Blue T-Shirts (sidenote: WANT) But Detroit fans seem to split on him and his new found status. One blogger compares him snidely to Brandon Inge and tries to bullet point Clete’s popularity:

From what I can gather, here’s why people like Clete:

  • He’s a lefty.
  • He’s young.
  • He’s not paid all that much.
  • He’s got that blue-collar image going, people like that.
  • He has country music playing when he comes up to bat.
  • They think he’s “clutch”.
  • His name is Clete.

That’s all I can piece together.  Some of those points are the same points the Brandon Inge people have been making for years (just replace country music with lousy alternative rock).

To me the bottom line is this. Clete represents something unwritten about Baseball; fans make the superstars, not the stats. If he’s popular then he’s a star, it’s as simple as that. Also, there are worse players to be compared to than Brandon Inge.

Another thing adding to “Clete’s Cult”? Opportune hitting:

…of Clete Thomas' seven homers, five got the Tigers even or got them the lead.

And if you need more proof of “Clete’s Cult”. I give you one messageboard fans take:

"Clete Thomas always has a crazy look on his face. His eyes are just huge. He looks like at any minute he could snap and kill a guy..... or hit a baseball 422 feet"

Going in to 2010 he will competing with Ryan Raburn and Casper Wells for that third OF spot.

OTHER PLAYERS:

  • Former Tiger and Troy Trojan Mike Felix had a case of the brain farts:
    • The Pirates have indefinitely suspended pitcher Mike Felix, their second-round draft pick in 2006, after he was charged with a DUI early Friday morning and benched by short-season State College over the weekend. The Daily Collegian reported yesterday that Felix had a .19 percent blood alcohol level. Felix, a 24-year-old left-hander, has struggled immensely with control as a professional, though his 3.33 ERA in 10 appearances this season has been an upgrade.
  • Chris Bootcheck might be taking his game to Japan Soon:
    • Seems the Yokohama Bay Stars are now looking into Chris Bootcheck to be their closer for the 2010 season (and yet another indication that the team is ready to move forward with Shun Yamgauchi in the rotation next year). Bootcheck is a 30-year-old righty in the Pirates organization.  He has tossed a total 147.1 innings in the Majors over his career and has a 6.54 ERA (1.64 WHIP) to go along with a 3-7 record with 1 save. A Bay Stars rep said, "In another step forward in rebuilding our team, filling our closer position with a foreign player is a big goal of ours."
  • Brett Butts was named on of the Atlanta Braves Top Minor League Relievers:
    • Butts doesn't have overpowering stuff, working with an average fastball, slider, and changeup, but he's an advanced college player who knows how to pitch and, more importantly, how to pitch out of the bullpen. Like Valdez, Gunderson, and Hyde, he'll likely be invited to Atlanta's Major League Spring Training, and though he's apt to spend the majority of the season with AAA Gwinnett, there's a good chance that he could find himself as an option out of Atlanta's bullpen at some point in 2010
  • Levale Speigner is honing his game in Puerto Rico:
    • Major League veteran Levale Speigner struck out three over 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for the win as the Lobos sent the Leones to their fifth loss in six games.
  • Tug Hulett is now a Red Sox, after toiling with the Royals:
    • Perhaps the most encouraging part of Hulett’s minor league record is his ability to work counts and take walks. With about a 4:5 minor league walk to strikeout ratio, Hulett brings a great approach to the plate, though he has had trouble translating those skills to the majors, striking out 23 times in 67 at-bats. Still, with the limited sample size involved, the verdict is out as to Hulett’s ability at the major league level. Plugged into a utility role in the major leagues, Tugs could develop into a pleasant surprise for the big club. Entering his age-27 season, he still has the chance to turn his AAA successes into major league ones, so there’s reason to be optimistic about the Sox acquisition.

Finally, be sure to catch Hillary Gibbs article on Current Auburn Tiger Austin Hubbard:

"Three or four weeks before [my junior] season started last year, I started pitching better," said Hubbard. "At the team meeting before the season [the coaches] told me I was going to be closing games. That's what I like to be doing. I was more of the closer last year and that was a lot more fun than starting."

Through his trials and tribulations on the field, Hubbard, who throws a two-seam fastball, a cutter and is working on his changeup, has learned valuable lessons that will help him once he graduates and enters the career world.

"Baseball is a game of failure. It makes you mentally stronger," said Hubbard. "It also helps you work through adversity better than others. If you want something, you can do it. I was struggling my first two years here and now I've figured it out. I didn't transfer. I didn't quit on myself."

 

That’s it for now.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Break Time is Over

 

Football Season is winding down; Baseball season is gearing up; and we’ve still got a season of this “basketball” sport that some people talk about on campus.

Here’s a quick refresher before AUPPL starts churning out posts again:

Follow on Twitter and get such gems as this:

No offense fits its school better Georgia Tech. A Cold Methodical Robot Offense for a school that would probably make Cold Methodical Robots

Follow on Tumblr and get short snappy fun like this:

 

or just follow the feed over here.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Catching Up and a Few Changes

 

Well summer is pretty much over so here's your final Auburn baseball related post until probably January:

THE DRAFT AND AUBURN RECRUITS:

Here's a list (not including late signees like Drew Madrigal) of Auburn's incoming recruiting class.

NAME                     POS    B/T    PREVIOUSLY    HOMETOWN
Luke Bailey              C    R/R    Troup County HS    LaGrange, GA
Justin Bryant           RHP/IF    R/R    Itawamba CC    Oneonta, AL
Garrett Bush           RHP/C    R/R    Stanton Prep HS    Jacksonville, FL
Nick Franklin           IF    S/R    Lake Brantley HS    Longwood, FL
Cody Martin            IF    L/R    Stephens County HS    Toccoa, GA
Patrick Merkling    LHP    L/L    Etowah HS    Woodstock, GA
Cole Nelson    LHP    L/L    Des Moines Area CC    Edina, MN
Patrick Savage    IF/OF    R/R    Greater Atlanta Christian    Suwanee, GA
Creede Simpson    OF/IF    R/R    Northwest Florida State College    Auburn, AL
Slade Smith    RHP    R/R    Fort Payne HS    Fort Payne, AL
Ryan Welke    C    R/R    Rickards HS    Tallahassee, FL

After the MLB draft and signees, it looks like Bailey and Franklin are the only two casualties of the draft. It looks like the Tigers managed to make a steal with Drew Madrigal and Garrett Bush. I do have a slight problem with College Baseball Blog assessment of Franklin:

Auburn University signee Nick Franklin signed with the Seattle Mariners today according to a report on MLB.com. Franklin was going to be a key infielder for the John Palowski led Auburn Tigers in the 2010 Season

We are kind of set on the infield for next year and the only real need will be replacing Joseph Sanders at 3B. Hargett, Mcelroy and Hunter Morris will more than likely retain their spots. Franklin projects as a SS and Mighty Casey pretty much has that position locked up.

SUMMERBALL

Couple of minor notes here: Auburn had some guys do great things this summer. Kevin Patterson led his team to the championship game; and Brian Fletcher was named a Cape Cod All Star. Hunter Morris dazzled in his limited time, Tony Caldwell was pretty much the MVP of his Waynesboro Generals Summer team, and over all everyone had a solid summer.

A COUPLE OF CHANGES:

I've been asked to write some bloggings for AL.Com and their Tigers Corner. It will be mainly football related and no, this doesn't mean the end to the AUPPL.

WHAT YOU'LL GET AT AUPPL:

-Snarky attempts at humor; My Photoshops; Football odds and end that don't fit on AL.Com; Baseball news, any other miscelannia, rants, etc

WHAT YOU'LL GET AT TIGERS CORNER:

-More in-depth football writing, longer pieces, more opinion/editorial pieces, the rest I'm not sure about.

Still you can go ahead and your feet wet with my first AL.com post: The 9 Reasons (or excuses) to Get Behind the Chris Todd Decision.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

So Now Time to Debrief

 

What follows is purely spit-balling, off the cuff, and completely editorializing. It’s not news content in the least, it’s just my, as a writer, personal feelings and attitudes to this upcoming season. No links, no backing up facts, just pure speculation, emotion, and love for Auburn:

-Chris Todd is the starter. Good. This is probably best for Auburn. Not because he’s the best QB on the field but because now, three weeks out, we have a starter named and we aren’t playing QB carousel going into game one.

-Fans can bitch and moan about Todd’s arm, about how Tyrik is the future, or how Burns and Caudle got shafted. Time to move on.

-Here’s what we DON’T need. Whining and complaining about why Kodi/Caudle/Tyrik isn’t on the field. Students chanting KO-DI, CAU-DLE, etc etc. We’ve played that game one many times (Campbell/Cobb, Burns/Cox) We have a QB. Time to support him.

-This might sound like blind faith and complete ignorance but, personally, I’m just going to trust the coaches.

-We Auburn fans really expecting to win a National Championship? No.

-Is a “successful” season just making it a bowl game? Yes.

-Can Chris Todd do that? Probably.

/end rant

P.S. Does this add any validity to Tony Franklin and his coaching abilities? Absolutely not. Not an any way shape of form. Also, I overheard a co-worker try to jab Auburn by saying “Chris Todd couldn’t cut it at Troy”. I’m sure my fellow Plainsman will hear that as well. Chris Todd never went to Troy. He was going too, yes. However, when the Snake Oil Shaman left for Auburn, Todd followed. Now we have a starting QB who has over two weeks to get his timing and rhythm down and try to bring Auburn back from a horrible 2008.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

There Can Be Only One

 

Chris Todd has been named Auburn’s starting QB. He was also Auburn’s starter last year (we know how that turned out). Still, War Eagle.

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Welcome back and then Boom.

 

Firstly.

Apologies in advance for the huge delay in posts. Combination of batteries recharging, lull in actual news, and a possible move to AL.com.

But now that we are back, we have this:

That would be Kodi Burns, catching passes in a non-contact Orange jersey. Apparently, he’s lined up at Wide Receiver.  Leaving many to speculate that he has been permanently moved to WR. From Jay Tate (where the above picture is from):

Kodi Burns practiced at wideout today.
The other four quarterbacks were going through the usual drills. Burns was catching passes from the JUGS machine and learning some new techniques from Trooper Taylor.
I can't imagine this will last. Surely Burns will transfer. Right?

Ok two seperate thought bubbles on this:

BUBBLE A)

1) Personally, I highly doubt Kodi is transferring ANYWHERE. It would essentially end his college career. 2) I also highly doubt this is a permanent move nor does it mean Burns is out of the QB race. (Yes, I know I’m a Kodi apologist). 3) In the above picture he looks awfully happy for a guy who just lost his dream job and course.

BUBBLE B) So what is happening?

We’ll leave it to Rivals.com posters including “mabwriter” who wrote this:

(The Meltdown will happen if) Kodi is named the starter, and it turns out he was only catching passes because in the WC the QB sometimes lines up as a wide-out. Could explain why he was so happy, and would explain the no contact jersey. But I guess we'll find out after practice.

That, honestly is an entirely plausible and entirely possible solution. Especially when you have this from a Auburnsports.com moderator:

(Everybody is welcome to their opinion...)But I'd be surprised if Kodi could run under a 4.8 40. I don't think he has much of chance of playing WR or Wildcat QB in this offense.

So that seems like a waste doesn’t it? If he’s not fast enough or doesn’t have a chance at WR then why is he there? It probably leads back to the first opinion.

We’ll see how this plays out.

Read more...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The O-Line, Jeff Grimes, Recruiting, and Hogmollies

 

It's no secret that the biggest need to Auburn this recruiting class is at the offensive line position. The depth chart across the front 5 is very junior heavy and while Auburn is "ok" for now, and for some part still "ok" for the 2010 season; looking down the road at 2011 and the Panic Button is ready to be pressed.

Here's the depth chart as it currently sits (according to Rivals):

 

OT OG OC OG OT
L. Ziemba (JR) Byron Isom (JR) Ryan Pugh (JR) Mike Berry (JR) Andrew McCain (SR)
AJ Greene (So) Bart Eddins (JR) Mike Berry (JR) Jarred Cooper (So) Vance Smith (So)
    Bart Eddins (JR) Rudy Odom (SR)  
         

 

That's not very deep at all especially considering that Eddins is essentially "first sub" whenever a lineman would need to spell for a series. Then factor in that fact that there are only 6 other lineman (excluding longsnappers) on the roster, and five of which are freshman (Charles Bates, Andre Harris, Blake Burgess, John Sullen, Andrew Parmer, with Darrell Roseman being the lone JR).

To his credit, Grimes knows he has depth issues, but that isn't going to stop him from trying to redshirt his three lone true freshman (Sullen, Harris, and Burgess):

"You're not going to have guys coming in and playing a lot as true freshmen," Grimes said. "That's not the way you'd like for it to be. We'd like for those guys to come in and redshirt and have a year or two and get ready to go. But that's fixing not to be the situation for us.

"Most of the guys we have on scholarship are juniors. We're re ally heavily stacked in the junior class, which will be great for this year and next year, but not great after that."

But according to that same article:

To that end, AU will probably pursue roughly a half-dozen offensive linemen in the 2010 class, including perhaps a couple of junior college players.

"It all comes down to signing the best players you can get," Grimes said. "If we can get two or three high school players next year that are just as good -- and we feel like are physically and mentally capable playing as a true freshman -- then we would sign a guy who has four years of eligibility rather than a guy with two."

The main problem is that the recruiting results aren't there yet. So far Auburn has only signed 2 Lineman for the 2010 class. Shon Coleman (6'7 275) from Olive Branch, MS; who Rivals rates as a 3 Star and Moody (AL) Lineman Chad Slade (6'6 316) who is Unranked by Rivals. The addition of former FSU Seminole and Rivals 4 Star Aubrey Phillips could help. However, Phillips at best is a work in progress and should probably redshirt too. His weight has become and issue and now his eligibility will be in doubt due to his transferring.

Philips has become an interesting story, but that's for another day. Here's an FSU blog really laying into Philips about leaving. All you really need to read is their lead:

Yesterday on the Jeff Cameron show, the topic of now departed FSU signee Aubrey Phillips came up.  Phillips was a four-star recruit by rivals.com, and signed with the 'Noles in February.  Many had concerns about Phillips ability to play for legendary Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett.  Trickett is widely regarded as the premier offensive line coach in college football and he prefers his linemen to be athletes and in impeccable shape.  When he signed, Phillips weighed about 320lbs (he is 6'5").  He assured FSU that he wanted to play for Rick Trickett and that he would be willing to put in the work to get down to his assigned goal weight (about 300lbs) by the time he reported for summer camp.  Phillips was essentially tasked with losing 15-20lbs over the course of 22 weeks, which is not that difficult for a person of his age and size.  Instead of working to lose the weight and come into camp in even a modest approximation of physical fitness, Phillips ballooned to more than 340lbs.  That's right, instead of dropping 20, he added 20 (or as much as 30, depending on who you ask). 

If you're an Auburn fan, or just a fan of common sense, then I recommend just ending your reading right there. The rest of the article takes the Pro-FSU approach to Phillips. For an Auburn perspective here's E-Wood's Mobile Press take.

SO WHAT NOW?

Well it's not looking that good. Lineman recruiting is quick and painless. You normally want to snatch guys up as fast as you can since good Lineman are a prized commodity. Taking a look at Rivals.com Top Offensive Lineman, that are uncommitted, have interest in Auburn and have Auburn offers, there are a couple of guys to keep an eye and ear out for:

 

NAME SCHOOL RIVALS RANK RECRUITED BY
Damien Robinson Olive Branch (MS) Olive Branch 4 Star Trooper Taylor

 

Robinson has been diplomatic with his recruiting and hasn't listed any clear favorites. However, the fact that both Darren Bates and Aubrey Phillips are both from Olive Branch, and in doing a little research on Robinson, there are a couple of Auburn connections:

"Damien's a blue-collar guy who doesn't talk a whole lot but leads by example. He's always going to do the right thing. He's a really good player and an excellent person."
That approach helped Robinson make a smooth adjustment after he moved to Olive Branch from nearby Memphis before his freshman season in 2006. So did the daily battles in practice against future Division I signees at defensive end like K.J. Wright (MSU), Chris Zinn (Auburn) and Marlon Walls (Tennessee).
Robinson also matched up from time to time last fall with Aubrey Phillips, a Florida State signee who was arguably the state's No. 1 offensive line recruit.
"Damien is a couple inches taller, but their weight is similar," Samsel said. "Aubrey's feet were a little better, but Damien has better upper-body strength than Aubrey had at the same point. Damien's been in the weight room more."
His bulk and power is a big reason Robinson may not have to wait for playing time when he gets to college in 2010, according to OB assistant Marcus Autry.
"Damien's got great balance and big hands recruiters look for," said Autry, a Pontotoc native who played offensive guard for Auburn a decade ago. "He can cover up the average defensive lineman. He's been exposed to a lot of coaching in college camps. I think he'll be ahead of everyone else with his fundamentals and technique."
While Robinson - who will be joined by Division I prospects in Auburn commit Shon Coleman (6-7, 275) and Eric Lawson (6-7, 325) on what once again figures to be the state's biggest offensive line - is enjoying his time in the spotlight, football doesn't monopolize his attention.

So a former teammate, a current teammate, and position coach, all with connections to Auburn. Fingers crossed on that one.

 

NAME SCHOOL RIVALS RANK RECRUITED BY
James Stone Nashville (TN) Maplewood 4 Star Phillip Lolley

Not much on Stone, many feel he's a UT Lock, however he did has this to say about Auburn:

Auburn: "They're focused on family and core values. That always makes for a good team."

NAME SCHOOL RIVALS RANK RECRUITED BY
Eric Lawson Olive Branch (MS) 3 Star Curtis Luper

Yet another OBHS Lineman. He currently doesn't have an Auburn offer, but was rumored to be a part of the Big Cat Weekend.

NAME SCHOOL RIVALS RANK RECRUITED BY
Aleon Calhoun Navasota (TX) Navasota 3 Star Curtis Luper

Auburn is hoping for a visit here. He does have the Tigers listed in his "Top 5" but it looks more and more that he wants to stay in state.

NAME SCHOOL RIVALS RANK RECRUITED BY
Chase Hughes Springville (AL) 3 Star Trooper Taylor

Many people still think Auburn is the team to beat for Hughes. Especially considering that Jeremy Richardson (his Springville Teammate) was one of Auburn's first comittments

Read more...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Catching Up With Former (and Current) Tigers

 

CAPE COD ALL-STARS

-Brian Fletcher was named a starter and Kevin Patterson and Hunter Morris participated in the HR contest for the Cape Cod League. Pretty big honors for 3 current Tigers to be, essentially, called the best of the best, in the Summer League.

JOSH DONALDSON

- Part of the deal that sent Rich Harden to the Cubs, The A's aren't sure what to do with Donaldson. They are so hard up for 3B Help (Nomar is not the Answer) that even Donaldson (a catcher) has seen some platoon roles:

The A's continue experimenting with some of their top hitting prospects at third base. Adrian Cardenas, hitting .353 with Double-A Midland entering Sunday, is splitting time between second and third. Catcher Josh Donaldson is also playing some third for Midland. He played third at Auburn before switching to catcher during his junior season.

Speaking of that trade. The New York Daily News recently reexamined it. Jesse Spector called it a bad deal for the Cubs (saying Harden wasn't exactly needed) but mentions this about JD:

As for Donaldson, he's hitting .266 with five homers for Double-A Midland, but has a .393 on-base percentage thanks to a ridiculous 61 walks in 362 plate appearances. The Cubs' first-round pick in 2007, Donaldson needs to show a little more power, but at 23 could have a future.

Finally Glen Dickey, for the San Francisco Examiner, wrote about the Struggling A's and why they need to turn their attention to the youth in their organization. One of those youthful guys is Donaldson. However, just where he will be continues to be a mystery. However, the Catcher Experiment may be over, at least according to Keith Lieppman, the A's longtime director for player development:

Lieppman likes outfielders Travis Buck and Aaron Cunningham, both of whom have been up with the A’s but are in Sacramento now. He thinks Josh Donaldson, now at Midlands, has a shot in the near future. “We signed him as a third baseman and converted him to catcher, but with Kurt Suzuki playing so well, we’ll probably shift him back to third.”

TIM HUDSON

-Looks like we might see Huddy pitch this year after all. However, what that does to the Braves rotation for the second half of the season is still a mystery (my call, as a Braves Fan, is move Kawakami to the bullpen, send Kris Medlen back down to Gwinett to get more starts, and trade Vasquez in the off-season for the Power OF). In Hudson's first start back with High A Myrtle Beach:

Sunday's stats: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
As with so many teams in the National League, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head funny, the Braves are kind of in it, so who couldn't use Tim Hudson? Making his way back from last year's Tommy John surgery, Hudson's 2009 debut was a rousing success, as he threw strikes, sat at average velocity while touching 93 mph and, most importantly, reported no discomfort afterward.

BRETT BUTTS

Speaking of the Braves. Former Tiger Brett Butts is a part of the Mississippi Braves "closer by committee system":

The M-Braves had a closer earlier this season, but since Rafael Cruz (12-for-15 on save opportunities) was promoted to Triple-A Gwinett on May 28, it has been bullpen-by-committee.

Four current members of the pen had at least two saves through Friday, and another was 1-for-1. Brett Butts (2-for-3) had a 3.14 ERA through 36 appearances, and Cory Gearrin (2-for-3 here; 9 saves at Myrtle Beach) had 3.32 through 17.

"We'll go with whoever's available that night and make it work," Wellman said.

CHEZZ MCCANN

Gave back the River Region by participating in the Montgomery Metro Baseball League All Star Game.

CLETE THOMAS

For now, he looks like he's in Detroit for good. Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press is pretty convinced that Clete is a microcosm of the Tiger's Season as a whole.

Clete Thomas is not the most important Tiger, not by a longshot. But he is, to me, a microcosm of this team as it enters the second half of the season.

Thomas is young and athletic. He has shown flashes of major league ability, but we don't know if he is ready yet. He has a chance to play in the postseason, but he could also fade by September.

BRENT SCHOENING

From WLTZ in Columbus come the struggle of former Auburn Pitcher Brent Schoening

 

In a pushpinned post from Rivals and poster "Goods":

If you are in the Houston area please consider donating white cells, or if you know someone in the area, please pass this message along as it could help save a friend's life. He desperately needs help. If you have any questions, or would like more details, please let me know.
Our friend Brent Schoening has been battling Leukemia in Houston at MD Anderson Cancer Center for the past 10 months. The details about his battle and story can be read from the news story and his sister's update below. For the past 10 months, he's endured a bone marrow transplant, heavy chemo, extreme pain, and currently has been fighting a fungus that has attacked his face, because his immune system has been eviscerated. I spoke to his mother a little bit ago. I'm not sure how he's still alive but he's fighting.
For those that don't know Brent, was a pitcher at Auburn in the late 90's. Off the field he was one of the nicest and most mild-mannered friends you could ever have....once on the mound, he was a fierce competitor that didn't like to lose....as shown by his record.
Here is the process for finding out if you can donate, per his sister's message:
If you are in the Houston area, or If you know anyone in the Houston area that can give white cells for Brent please tell them to call (713) 792-7777, Extension 5, and to tell them you are calling to find out about donating white blood cells to Brent Schoening. This is the number for the MD Anderson's blood bank and they will prescreen them to see if they qualify to give. Not everyone will be able to give - that's why we need as many people as possible to call and try and give. Please tell your family, friends, co-workers, etc, to pass this along if they know anyone in the Houston area- or anyone who can be in the Houston area, to help continue saving my brother's life. Once they are prescreened they can let us know and Mom will put them on a schedule to give for Brent.
To sign up for updates and read past updates: http://www.carepages.com/carepages/WeloveyouBrent

Read more...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baseball Quick Hitters

 

A couple of quick baseball news and notes.

MIKE BIANUCCI:

Monster Mike” had a tremendous start at Low-A Hickory earlier this year (.331/15 HR) and earned a call up. He’s struggle a bit since, only hitting .167 for Bakersfield. Here’s a quick youtube clip from Mike before his call up.

GARRETT BUSH: While techinally not a Tiger yet, the high drafted SS might still be coming to Auburn. At least that’s what one blog thinks:

I thought he might be signable in the top ten rounds, but it’s more difficult this far down. Great pick for talent and draft position, but I fear he may end up at Auburn without $250K heading in his direction.

TONY CALDWELL- TC has had a nice summer with the Waynesboro Generals. So good that he made that league’s All-Star game, which he had to miss because of injury:

Tony Caldwell of the Generals was scheduled to participate in the derby and 60 yard dash, but had to scratch from both contests as well as the game due to an injury.

“He took a foul ball off his foot last night in the game,” Waynesboro coach and South Division assistant Andy Chalot said. “It is nothing serious, but it was hurting him today so that he couldn’t play.”

HUNTER MORRIS- Talk about a tremendous summer. Hunter Morris is tearing it up at the Cape Cod league and his exploits are starting to become the stuff of legends:

Trundy said it didn’t quite compare with the shot that Falmouth first baseman Hunter Morris hit at Cotuit last Sunday. We heard reports last week that Morris’ shot cleared the second line of trees behind the fence at Cotuit and ranked among the longest home runs in years on the Cape. Trundy backed up that account.

"It was ridiculous," Trundy said. "I’ve coached in the league now for 15 years—11 years as a head coach—and it certainly was one of the longest balls I’ve seen hit. It was one that when you see it hit, you know you’re not going ot see many like that. That was jaw-dropping—everybody just kind of went, ‘Oh my gosh!’ the minute he hit it. It almost went kind of quiet, because you had that long to watch it, to be honest with you. He’s a strong kid, and he’ll continue to develop as a hitter. But the power is obviously there."

And he follows that up with Big game after big game. Including one where he was a triple short of the cycle.

CLETE THOMAS- Speaking about just missing the cycle. Clete Thomas did just that (missing out by a double) on the Tigers final game before the All-Star Break. Since being recalled from AAA Toledo, Thomas has been scorching, hitting at an above .500 clip. He’s gotten people taking notice as well:

"Seems like every getaway day or every day game he always comes up and performs," [Detroit Tigers All-Star CF Curtis} Granderson said. "He's a well-rounded player. He can play defense, he can throw, hits for average and hits for power.

"He's a very balanced player and has a lot of potential going forward."

Including his skipper:

"He's staying in the strike zone better," said manager Jim Leyland. "I think the main thing is he's staying on the ball. He's shortened up (his swing) a little bit, but the main thing is he's swinging at strikes."

TRENT MUMMEY- Finally, here’s a nice little article on Trent Mummey’s Summerball experience.

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The 2009 Preview (In Haiku)

 

Ah. The Haiku. You remember that in High School English. The simple 5 syllable-7 syllable-5 syllable poems that made every student feel like a weird combination of Yeats and Confucius. If you are any type of Auburn fans you’ve already read at least eight different “previews” of the upcoming season. Until now. The AUPPL is proud to present. The 2009 Season. In Haiku.

LA Tech (Sept. 5)

Dooley Led Bulldogs

versus Auburn. Déjà vu.

outcome stays the same

*for those not in the now. LA Tech is the Bulldogs and are coached by Derek Dooley. Son of the Legendary Georgia coach who was only 11-13-1 against Auburn

Mississippi State

Mississippi State

Name too long for a haiku

‘least we won’t wet “Croom’d”   

West Virginia

Mountaineers on the Plains

Pat White Gone. Noel Devine?

Still there. Still fast. Yikes.

Ball State

Ball State comes in next.

Bowl team last year. NOT again.

Mid Major Snack Cake.

Tennessee

On to Rocky Top.

First year coaches. Squaring off.

Kiffin. Chizik. Boom.

Arkansas

Bobby Petrino.

Jet Gate. Lowder. Old Story.

New Chapter Starts here.

Kentucky

Kentucky fans wish

this was January and

basketball season.

LSU

Bourbon. Vomit. Chaw.

Cussing Kids Welcome You to

Lovely Baton Rouge

Ole Miss

Ole Miss now dark horse

but at day’s end we’re Auburn

and they’re still Ole Miss

Furman

Furman. Good breather.

Amen Corner Begins next.

Better rest and pray.

Georgia

Deep South’s Oldest Now.

No Knowshon. No Matt Stafford.

Battle ‘tween hedges.

Alabama

Simple Advice Now.

Need to salvage a season?

You just Beat Bama.

Read more...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Open Letter to Auburn Girlfriends and Wives

 

First of all, did I tell you how cute you looked today? Do something different with your hair? Is that a new dress? No. Oh well. I guess you just looked extra nice today, but really that’s everyday isn’t it?

As you probably heard NCAA 10 for Playstation3 and Xbox and Wii and everything else came out today. For that, I’m sorry. You have to know I had no control over that. It really just snuck up on me. So I won’t be able to make it to your cousin’s wedding this weekend. I know you are sad, but we both know that you didn’t really like her anyway and you were just going to to wedding to see how drunk your Uncle Jake was going to get and how many bridesmaids he was going to hit on.

Oh and your parents’ anniversary party next weekend? The one at the lake? Yeah, that’s not going to happen either. Look on the bright side, at least now you don’t have to watch your dad give me a scowl and mutter how I “ruined his little girl”. Tell them Happy Anniversary and whatnot.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s just a video game. I’m not sure how many times I have to remind you, it’s not. It’s more than a game. Remember last Christmas? When I asked for a New Mexico State Aggies shirt? You couldn’t understand why. Well, this is why. This is why it’s more than a game. I built that team up. From the ground up. I recruited and strategized and tweaked my playbook until finally, we got a shot at a BCS game. It took 3 seasons but when we got that Fiesta Bowl invitation I could tell good things were on their way. They certainly were. A season later we were back in the Fiesta Bowl, and we won it this time. Little NMSU. In the Big Show. Taking on Texas and winning that trophy. Then the hard work paid off, we got an invitation into the Big XII (bye bye Baylor) and by year nine we had two BCS championships and a Heisman Winner. I just wanted something special to commemorate that. Did I get that shirt? No. I didn’t. You got me a pair of Croakies and some Columbia Fishing shirts (which I love). When I asked about my beloved Aggies you just rolled your eyes and said something about “that stupid game”. Still, I’ve moved on. It still stings a bit, though.

I’d like to also take the time to apologize for that fight last year. The one where I called your sister a not so nice word (See You Next Tuesday) because her kid jammed a copy of Air Bud: Golden Receiver into my PS3. Yet it still had my copy of NCAA 09 in it. I know she’s six and didn’t know any better (still that’s not really an excuse).

I’m also like to go ahead and apologize in advance for whatever fight is going to occur over the next two months. I’ll just go ahead and say it now, “It’s my fault. Totally my fault. I’m sorry honey”. I went ahead and bought some apology cards from Hallmark in advance just to be safe (I think 12 should do).

I know you don’t “get it”. You don’t understand why I continually slam my controller down and yell things at a tv screen. Or that time when I took little pixelated Kodi Burns into the promised land of the BCS and I shed a tear when he was at the Heisman Ceremony. He earned that trophy. So did I.

You keep saying it’s just a game. Again, you’re wrong. Still I love you. I think it’s cute when you want to play against me. However, we’ve learned that lesson didn’t we? I hope you’ve improved your game from last year. Just because you are learning the game is no excuse for the drubbing I laid on you last year. 210 to 7. Seriously, honey, if you can’t run with the Big Dogs, then stay on the porch. It was cute you wanted to try though.

So, I just decided to write you this letter, as sort of a preemptive strike. I won’t be seeing much of you this week or next or really that much for the next two months. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. Hardly. It’s just that right now the focus should be on my Dynasty. That’s what’s important. I hope you understand.

If you don’t agree, then let me call to mind the past two months. Remember how I was super helpful? How I babysat your cousin. How I took out the trash without being asked? How I bought you those new shoes? How about how I watched all of the Bachelorette and didn’t complain ONE TIME. Even when that dude wanted to lick that chick’s toes. I even went to see the Proposal with you. Even though you know how much I wanted to see The Hangover and you know how much I hate Ryan Reynolds. I still saw the proposal. Remember when you’re friend Sarah came into to town because her boyfriend dumped her? How she stayed up all night crying and you two ate Ice Cream and talked about how stupid men are? Did I say anything besides “Yes. Honey; You are so right honey”? No. I didn’t. I was supportive even though Sarah had it coming. I know I said I’d go kick her boyfriends ass. But really all that was done so I could get some points for July 14th, when I’d finally be reunited with EA Sports NCAA 10. Oh, and I’m not kicking Sarah’s boyfriends ass. He’s a freaking Marine for crissakes. He’d kill me.

But just know I still love you. I’m just telling you what you can expect. I’ll see you in September.

Love,

Auburn Husbands and Boyfriends.

Read more...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Auburn gets a commitment from Guile from Streetfighter

 

Meet Joel Bonomolo who may or may not be Auburn’s latest commitment. A DE from a Fullerton CA JUCO. Again, he may or may not be committed. This says yes. No official word yet.

Also no official word that Joel (besides having a cool name) isn’t actually Guile from Street Fighter (with an official Bama Bang haircut):

One thing is for sure. If this holds. Then Joel is about to gain about 2,000 new facebook friends.

Read more...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quick Hitter: Auburn adds baseball assistant

 

While the rest of the world was inundated with the almost 3 hour long memorial service for Michael Jackson, Auburn sent out this press release:

Link Jarrett Named Director of Player Development For Auburn Baseball Team

(the two are unrelated, of course). Here’s some quick hitters:

1. Yes, the is an awesome baseball name. Continuing to prove the point that Baseball Players, and former players, always have the coolest names. Seriously, the name Link Jarrett sounds like either a) a 70’s Porn Star b) an 80’s Cop show or c) Awesome Baseball player name.

2. He will mainly be in charge of hitting and assisting in recruiting. I know a lot of fans will wonder when the pitching help is coming, but honestly, that’s CJP’s field and specialty.

3. He comes from East Carolina. A team that went to a Super Regional and ended ranked #16 last year.

4. from the release:

Over the course of his four years at East Carolina, the program went 161-87 (.649) with three straight 40-win seasons. In 2008 ECU lead Conference USA in batting average (.317), slugging percentage (.499), on-base percentage (.408), runs (498), hits (702), RBI (464), home runs (89), total bases (1,105) and walks (307). In 2007, the team led the league in home runs (68) and was third in batting average (.291), slugging percentage (.453), on-base percentage (.374) and RBI (364).

5. Finally a quick comparison of ECU and Auburn and how the ranked nationally in those same categories:

STAT ECU Nat’l Rank AUBURN Nat’l Rank
Batting Avg .339 15 210 .286
Slugging % .546 12 35 .516
Runs 565 4 119 391
Hits 814 1 162 546
HR 108 7 103 10

So yeah, that’s a marked improvement. However, those numbers are slightly skewed because the factor in ECU’s added games during their conference tourney, regional, and Super Regional play.

So, Welcome Coach Link. War Eagle

Read more...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pro Football? In July? Oui!

 

A little admission first, I kind-of sort-of dig Canadian Football. Not because I have affinity for Canadians to begin with (I do)but because it’s like our "football” yet different. I won’t go into all the differences here, but ever since CSS started carrying CFL games on Saturday afternoons, I’ve found myself strangely drawn in. Probably because it fills a certain football shaped heart-hole during the hot summer months.

Well, Auburn fans have a bit of reason to cheer because Tray Blackmon will be making his CFL debut tonight for the Calgary Stampeders. Making his Rookie Debut for the Defending Grey Cup champs.

After reading a couple of new articles about Tray, you can tell he’s really matured since leaving the Tigers:

From a Calgary Herald article:

"I was basically just living free and not trying to be a role model," said Blackmon. "I didn't have a male role model growing up, I didn't have anyone to look up to, so I didn't expect anybody to look up to me. But once I matured, I realized that there are kids, even here in Canada, who know about me and they look up to me and want to be like me, so you have to be a role model for the kids and put forth a positive image.

From a blog post from Tray himself:

I sit back and think about it and I believe this is the path God wanted me to take. I truly believe that. I have no regrets about Auburn even though I never got the chance to play my final season there. I hurt my wrist and missed a lot of time in my third year at Auburn and then I was thinking about transferring and trying something different. Luckily, I ended up here.
No matter what, I have nothing bad to say about the people at Auburn. I love them because they took really good care of me and they’re still like family to me. That’s why I say that this is just the way things were meant to be and I’m trying to seize the moment and take advantage of it.

He won’t be alone in the Stampeders backfield. He’ll be joined by former Tiger and Jacksonville State Gamecock LeMarcus Rowell. Speaking of Rowell, you have to love this from his team bio:

In his rookie season, Rowell dressed in six regular-season games for the Red and White. He recorded two tackles and seven special-teams tackles. In the season finale against BC on Nov. 1, Rowell grabbed his first interception and returned it 37 yards. It was the third-longest interception return by a Stamps player for the season and he did it without his helmet, which had fallen off during the play.

Even then he’s still won’t be the only Tiger in the league. Which boasts a veritable who’s who of former Tigers.

Damon Duval is practically a super star for the Montreal Alouettes. Tre Smith (pictured above) and Prechae Rodriguez are both big for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Finally, Former Nose Tackle Josh Thompson was a member of the Montreal team as of June 19th, but isn’t listed on the teams roster anymore.

Need another reason to follow the CFL? I’ll let this promo do the rest of the heavy lifting:

Hell. Yes.

As for Blackmon, we wish him luck in the Great White North and will now change his unofficial “Little Ball of Hate” nickname to it’s French Translation: “Peu de Boule de Haine”

Read more...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Big Show Update

Trying out a new format for the Big Show update. Not much news to really report. But there are a couple of notes and notables.

-“Monster” Mike Bianucci’s hard work paid off as he was selected to the SAL All-Star game. How good is Mike? He’s in the Top 3 in Doubles, HRs, AVG, and Total Bases for the SAL League

-Joseph Sanders (Tri-City Dust Devils) and Paul Burnside (Great Falls Voyagers) have already found teams after being drafted.

-Mike Nix, who bounced from a couple of teams, was finally released by the Rockies AA affiliated, the Tulsa Drillers

-Tug Hulett is having a rough 2009. It doesn’t help that the Royals keep Yo-Yo-ing him from Omaha to Kansas City. Hopefully he can stay one place or the other so he can get some consistency

-Nice profile of Chris Bootcheck and his journey back to the Majors:

it's been a longer haul for Bootcheck. The former Michigan City/LaPorte star bounced between Salt Lake City and the Angels for four years before becoming a free agent.

Now gainfully employed by the Indianapolis Indians, Pittsburgh's Triple-A farm team, Bootcheck is raising eyebrows. Over his last 10 appearances, he struck out 16 in 9 2/3 innings and carries a sparkling 0.93 ERA, but the clock is ticking for the 30-year-old pitcher.

Used mostly in relief with the Angels, the former first-round draft choice out of Auburn came closest to establishing himself in 2007, working 77 innings in 51 appearances.

Two Clete Thomas articles and comparisons to Jeff Mathis of the Angels. Since both are from the Panama City area and have taken similar trips to the Majors. Good reads both here and here. Another tries to determine just what is wrong with Clete Thomas that keeps getting him sent back to AAA Toledo. The simple answer? His swing:

"Clete is gradually getting better," Toledo manager Larry Parrish said, and the numbers support it: .306 batting average for the Mud Hens and .429 in his last 10 games. "We addressed it the other night, but he just tends to stride too far. He runs off and leaves the bat head and it just doesn't catch up.

"Against one right-hander he was too big with the swing, real late on the ball, and then in the same at-bat he shortened up and put a good swing on the ball. That's why I say we're starting to see some progress."




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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Attrition Update (The 06 Class)

 

Last time we checked in on the 2005 Recruiting class to see who is still a Tiger and who hit that long dusty trail. Here’s the 06 and 07 Classes. Again, Strikethroughs are no longer on the team:

 

Steven Ensminger (QB/West Monroe, LA) – Currently a JR at LA Tech. Played Scout Team work for the Bulldogs last year. From a 2007 Article he talks about why he left the Tigers:

"I just didn't feel comfortable being there anymore," Ensminger said. "I talked to my dad about it and he said he wasn't going to make the decision whether I stayed or go. I was a grown man and I can make my own decisions. And he supports me with it. He's been helpful. It's been hard being away from him because I'm used to coming home and talking football with him. He calls me every night and checks up with me. I'm getting used to it."

And the odd story about him striking up a friendship with LB Zach Schreiber even though they been Rivals their whole lives:

"I talk to him a lot," Ensminger said. "He's a good guy and will be a good player for us. It's kind of weird, we talked about it, because I played for West Monroe and he played for Evangel. I played for Auburn and he played at Alabama.

Raven Gray (DE/Enterprise, AL) – After a JUCO Stint. Gray actually enrolled at Auburn only to redshirt due to injuries. He has since left the team and is now a Delta State Statesman. At least I think that’s where he is. This article says yes. While the Delta State Roster says no (then again, it’s an old roster).

Hendrick  Leverette (LB/Hattiesburg, MS)- Enrolled at Pearl River CC. Instead of coming back to Auburn decided to sign with the hometown Southern Miss Golden Eagles. He’s listed as a Top Newcomer for them by USA Today.

Bryant Miller (DE/Miami, FL)-  Could never break into the starting rotation at Auburn. Instead decided to transfer to Hampton University. We apparently, makes it a habit of stockpiling D-1A players who need a new home.

Jermarcus Ricks (DT/Leighton, AL) – It’s actually Jake Ricks now. The name change prompted some confusion. See: Jake. Jemarcus.

Alex Rose (WR/Jacksonville, FL)- Who knows? I can’t find anything after he left the Tigers.

Chris Slaughter (WR/Fort Valley, GA)- Left the Tigers in January. Hasn’t resurfaced (to my knowledge) since.

Greg Smith  (DT/Booneville, MS) – Showing up to Auburn looking like he ate the GDP of Cameroon. Smith is no longer a Tiger and I’m not sure if any team has taken a chance on him. He would definitely rank as one the biggest recruiting busts of Tommy Tuberville’s recruiting classes.

Lee Tilley (OL/Columbus, OH)- Again, another much hyped recruit who didn’t pan out. Again, not sure where he ended up.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Attrition Update

 

So after the earlier report from Phillip Marshall:

Gone are sophomore safety Christian Thompson, redshirt freshman defensive end Cameron Henderson, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jomarcus Savage and redshirt freshman wide receiver Philip Pierre-Louis, AuburnUndercover.com has learned.

We’ve learned that’s not entirely truthful. Per Jay Tate:

Hey everyone. Just got off the phone with trusted Auburn spokesman Kirk Sampson.
DE JoMarcus Savage is off the team.
LB Christian Thompson is off the team.
S Marcus Jemison is off the team.
DE Cameron Henderson is ON the team and, as far as I can tell, is in good standing. The same goes for WR Philip Pierre-Louis.

So PPL and Cam Henderson are still Tigers. As for the reasons, none have been given (none probably will) but it looks like both a combination of “Brain Cramps” and just plain “Jack-ass-ery”.

The Rumor is this (culled from various messageboards) and again, to reiterate, this is a RUMOR: Either 1, 2, or all 3 of the players that are leaving the team were disrupting a classroom and asked to leave by the professor. This happened once, the players involved were warned and disciplined. It then happened a second time and the player(s) were promptly shown the door.

Others have posted that “The reasons involve disrupting a classroom, missing classes and missing workouts, etc.”

So again, “Brain Cramps” and “Jack-ass-ery”

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