By Jay Coulter
Over the weekend I had a chance to watch Auburn practice a couple of times. They looked great. Nobody missed a tackle, no player missed a block and the quarterbacks looked like they could start in the NFL.
That’s the way it is when a team practices in helmets and shorts – and Auburn is no different. I’d be lying to you if I said I picked up on anything of any value during those sessions. What I did pick up on was the heat and the crowd.
To say it was miserable is an understatement. Just standing there required you to be in decent shape. I often think of coaches like Mark Mangino of Kansas and wonder how they survive the heat of the summer – and yes it does get hot in Kansas.
Saturday’s crowd was huge. I’d guess that it was bigger than 80 percent of Auburn’s home basketball games last year. I’m sure it was an eye opener for the freshmen.
The saga of freshman DeRon Furr continues. The highly touted quarterback turned safety from Columbus, Georgia got into a fight at practice Saturday and had to be helped from the field. He was a no-show on Sunday and Monday. When asked about it, Tommy Tuberville said that he had not seen him.
Furr enrolled at Auburn early and played quarterback throughout spring drills. He was then moved to the defensive side of the ball and had been working with the safeties in the off-season. A week ago, I spoke with someone in Columbus who had coached Furr and he indicated that Furr wanted out of Auburn.
According to the source, Furr still believes he can play quarterback and was unhappy with offensive coordinator Tony Franklin moving him to defense so quickly. He is a gifted athlete, but it’s doubtful he’ll ever line up at quarterback for Auburn.
It appears the coaches are doing him a favor by giving him a chance to play before his junior year. We often forget with young players that it’s as much mental as physical. Let’s hope he gets head on straight and battles out of Tuberville’s dog house.
For several years now we’ve been following the saga of Reggie Bush. He’s in the middle of a lawsuit with a sports marketer who’s demanding repayment of a so called loan given to him while playing at USC.
The San Diego Superior Court denied Bush’s motion for dismissal last week. Why is this important? Now the case will be heard in public and there’s little the NCAA can do to keep the matter private.
If the allegations are proven true, it’s likely that USC will have to forfeit its games from the 2004 national championship season and Bush will likely give up his Heisman Trophy from 2005.
Does this mean that Auburn can stake a claim to the 2004 national championship? Let’s just say that if it were Alabama, they’d have already raised the banner and proclaimed lucky number 13.
The title will likely be vacated, but with Auburn finishing second and undefeated they can certainly make a claim. My guess is Auburn is much too classy to make a play for the title this many years later.
I’m convinced Auburn could have played a close one with USC that year and certainly would have been a prohibited favorite if Reggie Bush was not on the field.
I’m sure all of you were saddened to hear about the death of John Mark Stallings, the son of former Alabama coach Gene Stallings. He passed away Saturday morning at his father’s home in Paris, Texas.
John Mark, 46, was born with Down Syndrome and given only two years to live. He was a fixture around Alabama football back in the 90′s when his dad was coaching. It’s safe to say that he was an inspiration to all of us. Our prayers go out to the Stalling family.
It’s looks like the Auburn pay sites have already started the season – against each other. Phillip Marshall’s new Auburn Undercover.com site became a pay service on Monday.
Now Mark Murphy at AuTigers.com is fighting back. He’s offering all new subscribers two months for the price of one. Along withAuburnSports.com there are now three pay sites available to Tiger fans. The question is whether all three can survive. Marshall is being backed byESPN, while the other two are affiliated with Rivals.com and Scout.com.
My guess is with the economy fluttering, one will not make it. Marshall is a gifted writer and I’ve enjoyed the first month of Auburn Undercover; but I believe it’s going to be an uphill battle charging $10 a month when so much Auburn information online is free. Personally, I hope all three succeed.