5p Primer: Radford
An old coach used to always hammer the 5 "Ps": Prior planning prevents poor performance. Not just a fancy slogan that gets a High School football coach/Driver's Ed instructor through the day; it's also a good way to know what to expect from upcoming Auburn opponents. Here's your 5 "Ps" for Auburn's next opponent: Radford University
Not much can be said about Radford. The Highlanders were picked to finish 5th in the Big South, a conference which has quickly become Coastal Carolina’s to dominate. Last year they finished just above .500 with an 29-26 record. No way to sugar coat this, Radford is a decent team but that’s just putting it nicely. Best analogy? Radford is like playing Utah State in football. You should win, you should win convincingly, and a loss is a huge setback. Still, they’re on the schedule and Auburn will need the game and hopefully use the game as a tune up before the Charleston Tournament. Best thing I can say about Radford? Their mascot is the Highlander, which gives me an excuse to post this:
Hell yeah. Queen. Princes of the Universe. PA Announcer at Plainsman Park, if you are reading this. PLAY THIS SONG when Radford takes the field. You won’t have another chance for a long, long time.
Radford got off to a good start last weekend, taking 2 games from Army and dropping their Sunday finale against Davidson. The Army game was the first season opening win since 2000 and only the 7th time in School History that the team has opened up the season with a win. Auburn and RU have met before. The last time was in 1999 when Auburn swept the weekend series. The Highlanders' head coach is Alabama assistant Joe Racuuia who actually played against Auburn in 1994 when Radford lost a double header to Auburn. So there’s history, but a bit of dominance on Auburn’s part.
Every team should have a player that shines. For Radford, that player is Jeff Kemp. A 2009 Big South Freshman of the Year. He’s hitting .308 on the year right now and is a bit strikeout prone, but Kemp is hands down Radford’s best player and biggest power threat. Last year was a wash for Kemp thanks to injuries but his 2009 campaign was something any player would be pleased with:
2009 Big South Freshman of the Year; became the first frosh in Radford program history to earn the honor ... Added to the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year award watch list in April; only Big South shortstop named to the initial award list ... Started his collegiate career with safeties in 18 of his first 19 games, including a 10-game hitting streak (16-of-19, .390) to begin the 2009 season
This weekend should be all about Auburn. No offense to Radford, but the Highlanders aren’t in the same league as Auburn. The biggest is decent and they did hold Army a little silent. Still, Auburn should focus on improving themselves and finding a bit of a rhythm on offense. One thing I’m personally hoping for is an Andrew Morris sighting. Rumor is that he’s back in the dugout and some relief work could help him sharpen.
Auburn should sweep. If they don’t then I’ll have some serious worries about the team. I know we are facing the Highlanders, and of course, there can be only one. But in this case, Auburn is Conner MacLeod and Radford is the Kurgan. Yes. That’s a Highlander reference. It’s kind of the only thing that helped me power through this preview.