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A Volunteer Visit (Previewing Tennessee at Auburn Football)

By on July 17th, 2018 in Football, News 6 Comments »

Can the Vols play defense this year?

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s time now for the another Auburn game preview! On October 13th, Auburn will host the Tennessee Volunteers. It has been a decade since Auburn last hosted Tennessee in an offensively challenged 14–12 scrum in the dying days of the Tommy Tuberville era. Fortune hasn’t been kind to the Vols in days since. Tennessee has run through a number of head coaches and hasn’t won a title of any sort since 2007.

     Tennessee is rebuilding once again this year under former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Pruitt was frank about his new team’s performance this spring, grading the effort a “D.” He also lamented that some guys just “flat out quit.” The real challenge for Tennessee, as I see it, is rebuilding some toughness at the line of scrimmage. Last year’s Vol lines were awful on both sides of the ball. It led to a 4–8 finish on the year, 0–8 in the SEC.

     This year, Tennessee opens in Charlotte with West Virginia, which should be a challenge. Tennessee then gets a couple of home tune-up games against East Tennessee State, and UTEP. The schedule gets brutal after that. The Vols host Florida, then travel to Georgia and Auburn. Auburn will have played Washington in Atlanta and hosted Alabama State, LSU, Arkansas and Southern Miss before traveling to Mississippi State.

     On the offensive side of the ball, head coach Pruitt brings in veteran offensive guru Tyson Helton, who was the passing game coordinator at Southern Cal. last season. He will bring in a more balanced offensive style at Tennessee, which previously rarely ran any plays other than from the shotgun. We’ll wait and see on the results. Teams often transition from conventional to spread offenses with success. I really haven’t seen ANY team go from the spread to a pro-style attack and have much success in the first year.

     The main weapon Tennessee returns on offense is junior receiver Marquez Calloway, who had five touchdown catches in 2017. Sophomore quarterback Jarrett Guarantano returns after a shaky freshman campaign, but he’ll face a challenge from transfer quarterback Kelley Chryst, who transferred from Stanford where he started most of the last couple of seasons. The main issue I see is that Chryst managed only a 54 percent completion rate in Stanford’s offense. Tennessee was poor up front last year on the O-line, and they lose their best rusher to graduation. They were still mixing and matching up front this spring.

     Frankly, Coach Pruitt inherits a mess of a defense. It was just plain bad up front last year, giving up 5.4 yards per carry on the ground. The Vols only picked off 5 passes all year and got seriously pushed around by the likes of Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The pieces are in place to bolster line production this season, but there’s not enough there to make a run at a division title.

     On special teams, Tennessee will have to find a punter, but part-time starting kicker Brent Cimaglia returns. Tennessee was pretty average on returns and coverage. Cimaglia hit 4 touchbacks on 10 kickoffs last season.

Unit matchups after the jump!

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SEC Media Days: New Coaches, New Location… New Atmosphere?

By on July 16th, 2018 in Football, News 9 Comments »
We hit another milestone today. SEC Media Days gets underway this morning at 11:30 am CT. I love the event. It’s uniquely Southern. No other conference has been able to  match the atmosphere. However, this  year will mark the first time it will be held outside of the Birmingham area since it began in 1985. The SEC leadersh... Read Full Story

2018 SEC Football Media Days—Broadcast Schedule

By on July 14th, 2018 in Football, News 4 Comments »

This year's event kicks off Monday in Atlanta and will run from July 16 to the 19th. It will be held at the relatively new College Football Hall of Fame. The Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center is the host hotel for the event and will house Radio Row. However, the Hall of Fame is connected to the Omni and will be where coaches hold their press conferences and where live broadcasts from ESPN and the SEC Network take place. The schedule of ...

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Nostalgic Friday: 1993 Auburn vs. Florida

By on July 13th, 2018 in Football, Memories 8 Comments »
It's a shame that league expansion has changed some of the most historic rivalries in the SEC. One of the most exciting every year was the Auburn–Florida game. There have been so many extraordinary games in the series, and today we look at another great one. Auburn came into the contest on October 16, 1993 as a big underdog at... Read Full Story

Defining Success for Auburn’s Other Major Sports in 2018–2019

This time of year is all about expectations. Unlike that other team across the state, Auburn fans want and expect the other major sports to do well. 2017–2018 didn’t feature any national championships, but every sport save softball exceeded expectations. No, Auburn football didn’t end on a high note and watching Alabama’... Read Full Story

Tribute to Track ‘Em Tigers Auburn Football Hall of Fame – 2018 Class

By on July 10th, 2018 in Football, Memories 3 Comments »

Some of college football's greatest players have worn the Orange and Blue on The Plains of Auburn ... Check out 10 great ones in this article.

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Defining Success in 2018–2019

By on July 8th, 2018 in Football 6 Comments »
Now’s the worst time of the year for sports fans, aside from those who find solace in a World Cup bereft of the United States. So it’s a good time to start looking forward to the upcoming football season. Preseason rags are out in force, and like every year, I buy them all. I don’t buy them necessarily for the projection o... Read Full Story

Track ‘Em Tigers Auburn Football Hall of Fame Ballot for 2018

By on July 5th, 2018 in Football, Memories 2 Comments »
This week at Track ‘Em Tigers we have been taking nominations for our own Auburn Tigers Football Hall of Fame—class of 2018. We have had some great comments put forth in support of some outstanding nominations. But that’s not surprising since there have been hundreds of Tiger greats that have played on the Plains.This y... Read Full Story

July 4th Week and Track ‘Em Tigers Hall of Fame Nominations

By on July 2nd, 2018 in Football, Memories 14 Comments »
With the possible exception of Christmas and New Years, there’s not a bigger American holiday than the fourth of July. The celebration of our nation’s independence is a time-honored tradition. It’s a time for parades, fireworks, barbecues, and vacations. And traditionally it’s a time for the staff here at Track ‘Em Tig... Read Full Story

Nostalgia Friday: 1957 National Champions

By on June 29th, 2018 in Football, Memories 6 Comments »
Today’s Nostalgia Friday salutes the 1957 National Championship team. In Shug Jordan’s seventh season, he led Auburn to a perfect 10–0 season. How dominant was this team? It shut out six of its opponents and gave up only 28 points all year.Stop and think about that for a second. It’s simply amazing. In victories over Ten... Read Full Story

I Came To Auburn To Win It All

By on June 27th, 2018 in Football, News 10 Comments »
When quarterback Jarrett Stidham arrived in Auburn in 2017 he had only played in four college games, and that was two years before he set foot on the Plains. He naturally had some rust to work through after the two-year layoff. And under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator, Chip Lindsey, he responded by getting better almo... Read Full Story

Banner Year in Auburn Sports Despite Change in AD

Regardless of their differences, Jacobs and Greene share the 2017-2018 sports year, which was fantastic despite not winning at the highest level. Let's take a look back at what was a banner year for the big three in Auburn's sports.

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A Tough Road Trip to Starkville (Previewing Auburn at Mississippi State Football)

By on June 23rd, 2018 in Football 6 Comments »
Mississippi State has typically been much tougher at home (Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! It's time now for another Auburn game preview! On October 6th, Auburn will visit the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The last 2 seasons, Auburn crushed Mississippi State by scores of 38–14 in Starkville and 49–10 in Aubu... Read Full Story

Nostalgia Friday: 1986 Iron Bowl

By on June 22nd, 2018 in Football, Memories 13 Comments »
Today we bring back an old feature called Nostalgia Friday. Each week at this time we’ll look back at video of a famous Auburn win.What better game to start with than the 1986 Iron Bowl, better known as the “Tillman Reverse To Victory.” With 32 seconds to go in the game, Lawyer Tillman's 8-yard reverse gave the Tigers a ... Read Full Story

2018 NCAA Rule Changes—The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By on June 18th, 2018 in Football, News 15 Comments »
It's that time of year when the NCAA passes rule changes to clear up muddy college athletics. In the last few days and weeks there have been several controversial moves that could possibly have a big impact on college football.As one who doesn't like to see a lot of  changes, I have to admit some are good for the game. Take for... Read Full Story

Auburn Basketball Retools and Reloads

By on June 14th, 2018 in Basketball, News 11 Comments »
For just a moment, things looked very bleak to Auburn basketball. Over the course of a few days, Auburn was looking to field an entire new team when players tested the NBA waters. Like all teams that experience success, Auburn faced the possibility of rebuilding a roster as Mustapha Heron, Bryce Brown, Jared Harper, and Austin W... Read Full Story

Auburn Did Everything It Could to Make it to Omaha—Despite the Actions of the Selection Committee

By on June 12th, 2018 in Baseball, News 11 Comments »
If you’re a baseball purist, you had to love the display put on by Auburn and Florida Monday night. The third game of the Gainesville Super Regional had everything from great pitching to clutch hits to base stealing gems to highlight-reel defensive plays. It had it all. It was a thing of beauty—except for the ending if you... Read Full Story

Auburn Stays Alive, Forces Super Regional Winner-Take-All Game Monday

By on June 10th, 2018 in Baseball, News 6 Comments »
With their backs to the wall after dropping the first game of the Gainesville Super Regional, the Auburn baseball team downed No. 1 Florida today at McKethan Stadium. And, they did it in dramatic fashion.Standing at the plate in the ninth inning with the score tied at 2-all and two men on, Auburn's Luke Jarvis drove the first pi... Read Full Story

A Battle of Eagles! (Previewing Auburn hosting Southern Mississippi)

By on June 8th, 2018 in Football, News 3 Comments »
It has been a decade since these two teams met (Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! It's time now for the another Auburn game preview! On September 29th, Auburn will host the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. This is a game Auburn should win, but after Auburn got decked in back-to-back years by this school in 19... Read Full Story

Midweek Ramblings From The Plains

Like a fired coach who feels like he's still got some years left to contribute, former Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs is staying in administration of college athletics. Jacobs, who was allowed to retire this spring after scandal rocked the men's basketball and women's softball programs, has accepted the executive associate... Read Full Story

Auburn, NCAA Regional Champs!

By on June 4th, 2018 in Baseball, News 6 Comments »
Last week after hearing Auburn would be playing in the Raleigh Regional, Coach Butch Thompson said , “We want to finish a tournament and be the last one left standing.” The Tigers gave their coach  his wish in a big way on Sunday by defeating host North Carolina State 15–7.  Auburn (42–21) swept through the Regional un... Read Full Story