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Special Teams and a Look at the Fall Schedule

By on April 28th, 2017 in Football 11 Comments »
Carlson Special

Tigers have a phenomenal kicker in the house
(Photo by Acid Reign)

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s time now for a post-spring preview of the Auburn special teams. Given that returns aren’t live during A-Day, this is probably the most difficult unit to take anything meaningful off the field from that scrimmage. Still, there are a few things to watch. I like to watch the warmups. Kickers, punters and the returners usually hit the field first, and I key on how many missed kicks, shanked punts and loose balls I see.

     This year, Daniel Carlson handled every kick and punt during the A-Day game and just about every warmup rep, as well. I think he missed one field goal attempt during warmups. That’s a pretty phenomenal day. Carlson as a punter didn’t impress me as much, but he came away from the game with a 43.8 yards per punt average. That’s a couple of yards higher than Auburn’s 41.5 yard average from last season. Considering also that every punt was fielded, and Carlson got no benefit from a rolling ball, that becomes even more impressive. I fully expect that Ian Shannon will be punting for the Tigers next fall, but it’s really nice to have the safety blanket back there, if that doesn’t pan out!

     Auburn does have some replacing to do in the return games. In particular, punt returner Marcus Davis will be missed. He wasn’t exactly a big threat to break a long return, but he was about as reliable a set of hands back there, as Auburn has ever had. I don’t remember Davis losing a fumble on a punt his entire career. The main thing an Auburn punt returner has to do is field the ball, except when it is going to land inside the 10-yard line. A turnover on a punt return is often a catastrophic game changer.

     During A-Day, we saw a number of guys fielding the ball. I figure that Stephen Roberts has a leg up on the competition, since he returned punts during the Iron Bowl last season. However, Roberts is a starting safety in a depth-challenged secondary. Auburn may need more than one guy over the course of the season.

     The last couple of years, Kerryon Johnson has been a mainstay on the kick-return unit, and I expect that will continue. The good news is that Auburn is pretty loaded with very fast players on this roster, and there should be an able pool of kick returners. Again, much like the punt return game, ball security is key.

     I’ve felt like Auburn’s kick return blocking has steadily declined the past couple of seasons, as Auburn averaged only 19.0 yards per return last season. I can remember just a few seasons ago when guys like Onterrio McCalebb and Corey Grant had Auburn well above 23–25 yards per return. Now, it’s a struggle to get the ball out to the 25. Here’s hoping that improves this season.

     While return yardage was down, Auburn coverage was pretty stifling last season. The kick coverage unit allowed only 18.0 yards per return, and the punt coverage unit allowed just 3.2 yards per return. Of course on the kickoffs, Daniel Carlson had 57 touchbacks on 72 kickoffs. It could have been more, except the coaches seemed at times to try the coffin-corner kickoff inside the 5, to try and pin teams deep. I vote this year to just let Carlson kick away, every time.

     As to place kicking, senior Daniel Carlson should be on the short list of kickers to watch. Last season Carlson was a Groza finalist and might have won it all had the offense performed better at the beginning and end of the season. Carlson was called on to kick way too many long field goals. He had 14 attempts from 40 yards and beyond and, incredibly, hit 11 of those. He had only one miss inside 40 yards on the season. This season, here’s hoping those possessions in enemy territory end in touchdowns.

A look at the schedule, after the jump!

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Offensive Coordinator Chip Lindsey: A Former Player’s Perspective

By on April 27th, 2017 in Football, Memories 3 Comments »
Jan 21, 2017; Auburn, AL, USA; New Auburn Tigers offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey is introduced to the media following the basketball game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Arena.  Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Chip Lindsey isn't new to Alabama. Auburn's offensive coordinator has been coaching for a very long time and has a list of accolades that have afforded him the opportunity to lead Auburn's resurgent offense. Lost among all the dates, stats, and accolades is his first football coaching gig, a stint at Sparkman High School where he coached Track 'Em Tiger's Zach Taylor. Read Zach's thoughts on Auburn's coach.

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Auburn Slips Up in Midweek Matchup

By on April 26th, 2017 in Baseball 2 Comments »
Christian-Camacho-1280x720-Kris-Sims-2017 It's baseball. Teams will lose some unexpected games. It happens, and it's not the end of the world. No. 5 Auburn fell to Troy, 5–2, on Tuesday night at Plainsman Park. And the game could have and should have been much worse than that. Troy put 14 in the hits column and left 14 runners stranded on base over the course of the ... Read Full Story

Tigers Take Series from Gamecocks Despite Uninspiring Offense (An Auburn Softball Review)

By on April 25th, 2017 in News, Other Sports 3 Comments »
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Auburn squeaked out a series win against one of the SEC's worst softball programs and scored just f runs. Spectacular pitching kept Auburn in all three games and limited the Gamecocks to zero runs in games one and two before allowing three runs in a game-three loss. Did the loss of two Auburn starters contribute?

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Josh Anthony Named SEC Baseball Player of the Week

By on April 24th, 2017 in Baseball, News Comment »
-f90ed981b7dbc911 Auburn third baseman Josh Anthony has been named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. The league office made the announcement early Monday. The junior received the honor for his performance in the Tigers' series win over No. 11 Arkansas. The Columbus, Ga. native was 2-for-2 in stolen bases and was a terror at the plate... Read Full Story

Auburn Baseball Is Proving to the SEC How Dangerous It Can Be

By on April 24th, 2017 in Baseball, News 4 Comments »
12631771 (1) The best surprise  to come out of Auburn this spring has been a rejuvenated baseball program. And Auburn keeps on rolling along as the No. 10 Tigers defeated No. 11 Arkansas in a three-game home stand over the weekend in what was possibly the biggest series at Plainsman Park in the past seven years. Sunday's game marked the se... Read Full Story

Old Friends, Old Friends

By on April 22nd, 2017 in Football, Memories 6 Comments »
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After all is said and done, the only thing you really have in this world is your friends and family. So value the friends you have gained in your lifetime, especially those you found at Auburn. If you haven’t spoken to one in a long time, pick up the freaking phone, burn some rollover minutes and call them up. It doesn't have to be for a reason. Let’s face it, the clock only runs in one direction ...

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How Will the Arrest of Three Auburn Softball Players Affect Auburn’s Post-Season Play?

By on April 21st, 2017 in News, Other Sports 16 Comments »
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Three Auburn players, including two starters, were arrested early Thursday morning for marijuana possession. The loss, even temporarily, of two of these players may have sunk Auburn's post-season hopes.

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A Juggernaut in the Making! (An Early Preview of the 2017 Auburn Offense)

By on April 20th, 2017 in Football, News 6 Comments »
A day offensive review Two receivers, only one defender in the same zip code. Stidham found Hastings on that play, for 50+ yards!(Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! Today, we'll take a look at what we might expect to see out of the Auburn offense in 2017. In the past decade, when Auburn could run the ball, offensive records tende... Read Full Story

Auburn Completes Its Road Trip

By on April 19th, 2017 in Baseball, News 3 Comments »
22251708-mmmain Auburn completed its eight-game road trip on Tuesday with a 15–7 victory against Kennesaw State. The Tigers picked up five victories during the road stretch, and they now have their eyes set on their series against Arkansas at home this weekend.At one point in last night's game, the No. 10 Tigers held a 13–1 lead followi... Read Full Story

Tigers Rebound After Loss, Take Series Against Missouri (An Auburn Softball Review)

By on April 18th, 2017 in News, Other Sports 5 Comments »
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Judging by the results on Friday night, it appeared Auburn may have been treading on thin ice against unranked Missouri. The Tigers fought back and took the series with back-to-back wins. Read how they pulled it off.

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Al Borges Has Always Been An Auburn Tiger

By on April 17th, 2017 in Football, News 5 Comments »
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Even after leaving the Plains, Al still talked like an Auburn Tiger. “My four years coaching there, I wouldn’t trade anything for it. What made my job so good really to me was the Auburn fans. The Auburn fans were awesome.”

Borges will be helping new OC Chip Lindsey with quarterbacks. It may seem strange that Lindsey would welcome such a move, since that’s an area that is supposed to be his expertise. But ...

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No Masters Hangover for the Duf

By on April 16th, 2017 in Other Sports 2 Comments »
012316-Jason-Dufner-Career-Builder Jason Dufner, aka "The Duf," is showing no ill effects from his poor showing in the Masters. He is back golfing his ball at Harbor Town and after a stellar 65 yesterday takes a lead into the final round today. Jason is a superb ball striker, but his glaring weakness is the putter. That being said he has a few things going for h... Read Full Story

A Salty Defense! (Previewing Auburn’s Post-Spring Unit)

By on April 15th, 2017 in Football, News 5 Comments »
Spring after defense The pocket collapsed quickly when this line was on the prowl (Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! This morning, we'll take a look at what we might expect to see out of the Auburn defense in 2017. Most years after A-Day, I'm optimistic, then a couple of injuries into the fall season, and Auburn seems to be gi... Read Full Story

Auburn Baseball’s Motto: “Make it Exciting in the Ninth”

By on April 14th, 2017 in Baseball, News 4 Comments »
11911313 We always find a way to make it exciting in the ninth,” Auburn shortstop Luke Jarvis said after the Tigers defeated the Tennessee Vols 3–2. The Tigers' seven hits on the night were highlighted by Jarvis’ third home run of the season. The redshirt junior went 2–4 with a home run and a triple, and he scored the Tigers' thi... Read Full Story

Jordan-Hare to Receive $40M in Upgrades, But You Won’t Notice

By on April 12th, 2017 in Football, News 3 Comments »

It isn't news that upgrades and renovations to Jordan-Hare have been kicked around for years. Athletic Director Jay Jacobs has shot down several proposals for expansion over the years but has been quick on the trigger for piecemeal improvements. However, a $28M proposal was brought forward a few months ago and has since been increased to $40M. Will it alleviate concerns that average fans have expressed time and time again? Will there be improvements in the bathrooms? Better concessions?

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Coach Kodi Burns: The Real A-Day MVP

By on April 12th, 2017 in Football, News 8 Comments »
Kodi Burns
Third Week of Spring Practice on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 in Auburn, AL
Lauren Barnard

Auburn's annual spring game was a far cry from last year's defensive struggle. Many point to quarterback Jarrett Stidham's performance as the breakout performance of the day. Still, no scholarship QB's were live, and Auburn's starting offensive line dominated the second-team defensive front. Auburn's young receivers shined on Saturday, and much of that is thanks to their coach, Kodi Burns, the real MVP.

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Auburn Holds On Against Samford, 16–15

By on April 12th, 2017 in Baseball, News 2 Comments »
635915097680368476-376d5c84-dd1e-4815-a751-0e2854b854a21 The tenth-ranked Tigers managed to escape with a close, high-scoring win on Tuesday night. Auburn defeated Samford, 16–15 to move to 25–10 on the year. The small dimensions of the Birmingham park were the reason for the high-scoring affair, as the Tigers put up 14 in the hits column with a season-high in runs. Samford was... Read Full Story

Softball Squeaks Out Series Against Ole Miss

By on April 11th, 2017 in News, Other Sports 2 Comments »
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Auburn pulled in another series win against Ole Miss, but it didn't come without some lumps. After edging out the Rebels Friday evening, the Tigers were blasted by Ole Miss Saturday in front of a huge crowd. Auburn fought back Sunday afternoon to take the series.

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An Electric A-Day! (Breaking Down 2017 Spring Game)

By on April 9th, 2017 in Football 20 Comments »
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Time now for the Acid Reign Report on Auburn’s 2017 A-Day game. I’ve been to a number of these spring shindigs over the years, and I really think this last one was the best I’ve seen! There was much to like, and some of the things in recent years that I did not like disappeared. Reports that Auburn would throw the ball more and better are definitely true! And the starting Auburn defense smothered the ...

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A-Day is Here!

By on April 8th, 2017 in Football 3 Comments »
A Day Open Thread A-Day open thread (Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! It's Auburn football game day once again! It's A-Day on the Plains. This game will be televised on the SEC Network channels. The game starts at 1:00 PM Central Daylight Time. It's a great opportunity for us Tiger fans to see what this year's team looks l... Read Full Story