Who Will be Auburn’s Breakout Running Back in 2014?

By Posted on: August 19th, 2014 in Featured Article, Football 12 Comments »
522692362acf1.image- Cory Grant

                                                                                                                                  (photo:Albert Cesare,Opelika Auburn News)
The Auburn football season is just 11 days away and for the first time in eight summers there hasn’t been a quarterback race on The Plains. With a potential Heisman candidate and experienced quarterback on the roster, there is no mystery of who will be the Tigers’ field general. Senior signal caller, Nick Marshall will lead the team in defending their SEC Championship.

However, there is a question of who will replace Heisman finalist Tre Mason as the Tigers No.1 Running back? Mason who left early for the NFL, left behind a legacy as one of the greatest running backs to ever play at “Running Back U.”

He was the leading rusher on the No.1 rushing team in the nation and finished his last year with 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns. The number one contender to fill his shoes is senior Cameron Artis-Payne.

He had  two 100 yard games and finished 2013 with 610 yards and six touchdowns. Most expect him to get the nod. Still, he has been pushed all fall camp by a bevy of talented  backs. Cameron feels good about claiming the top spot though, remarking at one time, “I’m trying to be the first 2,000-yard running back in the SEC.”

While you got to love that attitude, the fact is there are four other guys trying to win that spot and they have been turning heads in camp. Kamryn Pettway a 6′, 239 freshman out of Pratville High has been in the mix but according to Offensive Coordinator, Rhett Lashlee – Red shirt freshman Peyton Barber and true freshman Roc Thomas have been the young guys that have had, “great camps.”

At  5’11″ and 230lb., Barber has a legitimate shot at being number one. He has the build to run it through the tackles and he has the added benefit of having played scout team running back last year. That experience gives him a year of playing against college level talent. Running backs coach, Tim Horton believes Barber has the power and the moves to be a top college back.

Roc Thomas was Mr. Alabama Football out of Oxford High where he finished his high school career with 6,169 yards and 82 touchdowns. Players and coaches alike have been wowed by his exploits during fall camp.

Coach Lashlee has already said he will play this year. His only drawback may be his size. Yet at 5′,11″ and 193 pounds, he could take on the role of Cory Grant who was the Tigers outside home run threat last season. 

If he did that, what role would Grant have in the offense? Well Cory has battled all spring and summer to be the featured back. A job that many thought was out of the question his first two years because, although fast, he was a little on the small side.

However, many forget that Tre Mason was also considered a small and fast scat back early in his career. Then Tre bulked up and started proving what he could do between the tackles.

Like Mason before him, Grant headed into the offseason looking to prove he could be the every down back that was needed in the HUNH. “One of my main goals was proving that I can be a back that can run between the tackles,” Grant said.  Reports out of Auburn is the junior is now 207 lbs. and according to Lashlee is, “A thick, big strong back that can fly,” and is, “now very capable of running between the tackles.”

Last year he averaged almost ten yards per carry and rushed for 647 yards and six touchdowns. What could he do as a bigger, stronger back who hasn’t lost any speed? This writer believes he is the one guy on the roster most like Tre Mason. And like Mason he could be Auburn’s breakout Running back in 2014.

At any rate, in eight years as a college coach, Gus Malzahn has had nine players produce eleven 1,000 yard seasons. That fact along with a promised open passing attack in 2014 will mean one of the five backs will have a breakout year. Question is … who will it be?

Who do you expect to be Auburn's Breakout Running Back in 2014?

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News Flash: Bret Bielema is a Moron

By Posted on: August 18th, 2014 in Football 11 Comments »

Bret-Bielema-topless-2It’s understandable to have some envy and animosity toward another coach and program; especially when that coach started in the SEC the same year as you and managed to win a championship while you continue looking for your first conference win.

But encouraging your people to “knock the s**t” out of fans from another school takes things to a whole new level. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has spread his hate from Gus Malzahn to the entire Auburn fan base.

Trying desperately to connect with his fans after a disastrous inaugural season in Fayetteville, Bielema encouraged the Razorback faithful to put a hurtin on any Auburn fans trying to video Saturday’s practice.

“If you see someone videotaping, tell them that ain’t right,” Bielema said. “Especially if they’re wearing an Auburn shirt, knock the s**t out of them.”

Really?

I just can’t picture Malzahn or even Spurrier or Saban saying something like that to their fans. It just sounds small, especially considering his John Candy shaped body will show up in Auburn flanked by state troopers.

Not only has Bielema been a flop on the field, he’s got to be an embarrassment to the Arkansas fans and alumni. The last thing he needs is to add fuel to the Auburn rivalry. The opener in two weeks could get monumentally ugly in a hurry…

Now that the SEC Network is here, what is your take on the first few days? I’ll give it a passing grade so far, with interesting interviews with commissioner Mike Slive and legendary broadcaster Brent Musburger to open the network.

The on-air studio talent leaves a little to be desired. Count me as a big Tim Tebow fan, but he has a long ways to go as a broadcaster. Ditto for former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy. The Eddie Haskell look is wearing thin quick.

If there was ever a body built for radio it’s Paul Finebaum’s. Listening to him on the car radio is bad enough. Having to look at him for four hours is like having a colonoscopy without anesthesia.

If network officials are smart enough to get the talent corrected, the network has a chance to be a huge hit. Give credit to Slive for getting it on-air in more than 95 million homes. Personally, I can’t wait for Thursday night’s showing of Bo, Barkley and the Big Hurt. The documentary looks at the Auburn careers of Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley and Frank Thomas. Outside of now, this had to be the heyday of Auburn athletics. The show airs at 8 p.m. CT…

There were no surprises in the preseason AP Top 25 Poll. Maybe Auburn falling to sixth was a mild surprise, but the good thing is, it doesn’t matter anymore. Under the stupid BCS system, where you started the season in the polls could seal your fate before the first snap – see 2004.

The new college football playoff has me more optimistic about the future of the game than at any time in my life. As kids, could we have dreamed of having meaningful bowl games, a champion decided on the field and our very own conference network?

These are clearly, the best of times. For those of you at home keeping score, kickoff is 12 days from now.

Bash the Bulldogs!

By Posted on: August 14th, 2014 in Football 10 Comments »
Georgia Preview

Bulldogs circle the wagons.

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s time now for another Auburn opponent preview. On November 15th, the Tigers travel to Athens, Georgia to take on the Bulldogs in what should be a battle of top ten teams. This game has been a difficult one for the Tigers in recent years, as Auburn has only beaten Georgia twice in the last 8 contests.

     Georgia suffered a rash of injuries to skill players last year, which resulted in a disappointing 5-loss season. One would think that a more normal injury situation should be in the offing this year, but the injuries continue in this year’s preseason camp. Receiver Malcomb Mitchell is out after having knee surgery recently, and counterpart Reggie Davis was sporting a cast on his left hand. Add in some suspensions and tranfers, and Georgia will have a tough start to the season in 2014.

     Should the Bulldogs survive September still in contention, they have a favorable schedule. Georgia opens with Clemson on Labor Day weekend, then has a week off to prepare for a big road trip to South Carolina. The Bulldogs tune up on Troy the following week, before hosting Tennessee to close out September. Vanderbilt concludes the homestand in October, then Georgia travels to Missouri and Arkansas. Another off-week preceeds the annual Jacksonville clash against Florida. Georgia then travels to Kentucky to tune up, before hosting the Auburn Tigers. The Bulldogs conclude the season hosting Charleston Southern, followed by Georgia Tech. With open dates before their two biggest SEC East threats, Georgia has a great chance to win the division.

     Auburn will have played Arkansas and San Jose State at home, Kansas State on the road, Louisiana Tech for homecoming, then LSU, followed by Mississippi State in Starkville. The Tigers have a bye week, then South Carolina at home before traveling to Oxford to play the Ole Miss Rebels. A home tilt against Texas A&M preceeds Auburn’s trip to Athens.

     Georgia is one of many SEC teams this fall that has to replace a big-name starting quarterback, but fifth year senior Hutson Mason does have experience and ability. Georgia has a stable of explosive running backs led by Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Even with numerous wide receiver injuries, most SEC squads would love to have a starting tandem of Chris Conley and Michael Bennett. Where Georgia might struggle is blocking. The Bulldogs must replace three offensive line starters, and they were not exactly a powerhouse here last season. Also this week the local news outlets are reporting that starting fullback Merritt Hall is being medically disqualified from football due to concussion issues.

     I got a chance to watch a chunk of the Georgia spring game on CSS a few months ago, and one big takeaway was the the Bulldogs had a lot of trouble protecting the quarterback on both squads. While one can blame the offensive line issues, I think Georgia has one of the scarier defensive front seven groups in the SEC. The Bulldogs added FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to the staff during the offseason, and my guess is that the Bulldogs will finally have defensive play-calling to match the success the offense has had over the past few seasons.

     Where injuries and depth issues can really hurt a squad is on special teams, and that might have had an effect on the return game last season, where Georgia got almost nothing. The Bulldogs averaged just 2.9 yards per punt return, and only 18.6 on kick returns. The Bulldogs were decent on coverage, and return a strong pair of kicking legs in Marshall Morgan and Colin Barber.

Unit matchups, after the jump!

Auburn defensive line vs. Georgia offensive line: Auburn’s final starting lineup next fall is a bit up in the air, at this point. I’d expect senior Gabe Wright to start somewhere, either at tackle or end. Expect tackles Angelo Blackson, Jeffery Whitaker, Montravius Adams, and Ben Bradley to all play prominent roles. LaDarius Owens will likely anchor the run-stopping end spot, with Elijah Daniels now the likely rush end starter. Carl Lawson is coming off spring knee surgery, and the latest word is that he might or might not play at all, in 2014. There is room for newcomers to make an impact at end, especially on passing downs. Georgia’s starting offensive line, from left to right will likely be senior Mark Beard, senior Kolton Houston, senior David Andrews at center, sophomore Greg Pike and juior John Theuse at right tackle. There are 57 starts sprinkled amongst this group, and the hope is that this line will gel soon. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn linebackers vs. Georgia backs: Auburn’s starting linebackers coming out of spring drills are juniors Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy. Both are veteran, athletic SEC players, looking to make the next move up. For purposes of playing a pro-I team like Georgia, one must consider the Star position a run-stopping one. Auburn has two of its best defenders at that spot, senior Robensen Therezie, backed up by junior Justin Garrett, who is said to be having an amazing fall camp. Georgia has had something of a MASH unit at running back in recent years, but they have been deep enough to withstand injuries, and appear to be loaded again this year. Juniors Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall would likely start for any team in the country, and sophomore Brendan Douglas made an impact last season. It’s a tall task for Auburn, but it should be noted that last season the Tigers held Gurley and co. to just 117 rushing yards. Advantage: Even.

Auburn corners vs. Georgia receivers: Auburn is again fairly deep at corner, with veteran Jonathan Mincy hopefully locking down one spot, and either junior Joshua Holsey or junior Jonathan Jones at the other spot. Senior converted wide receiver Trovon Reed also looked pretty good in spring drills here. Auburn should be able to run with any receiving corps, and play physical run defense on the edges. The Tigers will need to be better against the Georgia passing game than they were during a disastrous 4th quarter meltdown last season. Georgia will go with a dangerous pair of senior receivers who seem like they’ve been playing for 10 years, Chris Conley and Michael Bennett. There’s depth and skill beyond those two, also. Advantage: Georgia.

Auburn safeties vs. Georgia secondary receivers and quarterback: Senior Jermaine Whitehead anchors one spot here, and Auburn will feature JUCO transfer Derrick Moncrief at the other position. Moncrief was a beast in spring drills, this year. Georgia likes to throw to the tight end and fullback, but loses huge target Arthur Lynch to the NFL. Likely replacements include sophomores Quayvon Hicks and Jarred Chapple, and juniors Jack Loonam and Jay Rome. Advantage: Auburn.

Punting: Auburn must start a new punter, here, and the job is up in the air going into the second week of fall camp. Redshirt freshman Jimmy Hutchenson, had a really solid A-Day game and was the expected starter, but by all accounts the job is still a wide-open competition. There is a possibility that redshirt freshman kicker Daniel Carlson might handle both punting and kicking. Georgia will go with junior Colin Barber, who sported a gaudy 44.1 yard average last season. Despite the long punts, 20 of Barber’s 29 punts were either killed inside the 20 or fair-caught. Georgia gave up just 4.3 yards per return, compared to Auburn’s 7.0. The Tigers are still trying to find a punt return man, also. The most experienced guy returning is senior Quan Bray. Georgia is also searching for a return man, after averaging just 2.9 yards per return in 2013. Advantage: Georgia.

Kickoffs: Auburn must replace veteran kicker Cody Parkey, and will do it with redshirt freshman Daniel Carlson. Georgia counters with junior Marshall Morgan, who tallied 17 touchbacks on 72 kickoffs a year ago. Auburn’s coverage was porous, giving up 25.8 yards per return, while Georgia gave up 21.4. Auburn senior Corey Grant ripped off 5 returns for a 32.0 yard average for Auburn as the top guy coming back. Sophomore J. J. Green led the Bulldogs last season with a 24.0 yard average. Advantage: Georgia.

Place kicking: Auburn redshirt freshman Daniel Carlson is the man for Auburn. He hit a monster 51 yard field goal this year in the Auburn A-Day game, but also missed an extra point. After struggling as a freshman kicker, Georgia junior Marshall Morgan was almost automatic last season, hitting 22 of 24 field goal attempts. Advantage: Georgia.

Auburn offensive line vs. Georgia defensive line: Auburn returns 4 starters on a road-grading, violent offensive line. Greg Robinson moves on to the NFL, but Auburn has talent to replace him. From left to right, it’s sophomore Shon Coleman, senior Chad Slade, senior all-SEC Reese Dismukes, sophomore Avery Young, and junior Patrick Miller at right tackle. Georgia counters with an athletic, quick line. Senior Mike Thornton anchors the middle, while juniors Sterling Bailey and James DeLoach hold down the end spots. When Georgia needs beef up front, they can call upon junior Chris Mayes and redshirt freshman John Atkins, both of whom tip the scales at over 320 pounts. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn backs vs. Georgia linebackers: Although Auburn lost Heisman finalist Tre Mason early to the NFL draft, Auburn should be fine here with seniors Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant. Grant was this year’s A-Day star, looking even more explosive and unstoppable. Add in a corps of talented newcomers, and it’s no secret Auburn will be able to tote the rock again this season. H-back is a bit thinner. Senior blocking specialist Brandon Fulse moves from end/receiver to take over the starting nod, but depth behind him is questionable. Georgia returns a veteran group that can attack from all angles. Listed as starters are sophomore Leonard Floyd, junior Jordan Jenkins, and seniors Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson. Advantage: Even.

Auburn receivers vs. Georgia corners: Auburn juniors Sammie Coates and Ricardo Louis developed into one of the more dangerous receiving duos in the SEC, last season. Add in monster transfer D’haquille Williams, and this unit became downright scary this spring, with lots of depth behind the big three. Georgia senior Damian Swann is a veteran corner, and the latest depth chart has redshirt freshman Aaron Davis as the other starter. Georgia had a problem giving up big plays in the secondary last season, and might again this year. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn secondary receivers and quarterback vs. Georgia safeties: Auburn senior tight end C. J. Uzomah is a nightmare for safeties to cover. When Auburn needed to go to him late in games last season, C. J. was there every time to haul in the score. Auburn also has senior Quan Bray in the equation, who’s been the career quick screen guy. When guys start to clamp down on him, he can get open down the field. Auburn returns senior quarterback Nick Marshall, and he’s easily the most dangerous guy returning at the position in the SEC this fall. With a spring spent working on a shaky passing game, the sky’s the limit this fall. Marshall was devastating running the zone-read option last fall. Georgia dismissed both starting safeties during the offseason, and has had to go to the bullpen there. Senior Corey Moore does have experience, and he’ll be joined by sophomore J. J. Green, who was primarily a return man last season and had only 2 tackles. Advantage: Auburn.

     Georgia has the skill up front to slow down Auburn’s rushing attack, and the Tigers last saw coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s defensive coaching ability in the BCS Title game against Florida State. That said, departed coordinator Todd Grantham’s defense was similar, and Auburn gashed it last season for 43 points, 323 rushing yards, and 566 total yards. This should be a great battle between an unstoppable force and an immovable object.

     Is any offensive coordinator more unappreciated than Georgia’s Mike Bobo? I listened to Georgia fans in numerous spots in Athens, and in the stands in 2011, where the Bulldogs trounced Auburn 45-7, and all I heard was grousing about the offense and Bobo’s play-calling. The way I see it, Georgia every year is among the SEC offensive leaders, and consistently scores points. Under Mark Richt, Georgia has scored over 400 points in 7 different seasons, including the last 4 in a row. To put that in perspective, Auburn has only scored 400 points or more 5 times in its entire history.

     Prediction: A difficult schedule finally trips the Tigers, who will be playing their 6th tough SEC squad in a row. Georgia wins this one, 38-27.

Leadership, the Difference Between Success and Failure

By Posted on: August 13th, 2014 in Featured Article, Football 10 Comments »
Marcus+Lattimore+Auburn+v+South+Carolina+oRAAdGM84oVl

                        Jeffery Whitaker corralling Marcus Latimore.(photo:Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

He’s Back. Bigger and better than ever. Jeff Whitaker who missed last season due to knee surgery has been showing his leadership on defense during Auburn’s fall camp as well as his ability to dominate on the defensive line. After sitting out his senior season recuperating from an injury, Big Jeff can’t wait to finally get it underway.

He was one of the South’s top prospects in 2010 when he signed with Auburn out of Warner Robins High in Warner Robins, Georgia. Many thought he would sign with Miami or stay in state and play for Georgia. But Jeff said there was just something special about Auburn. Like many others before him he said Auburn just felt like home.

At 6’4″ and 322 lbs. he’s a mountain of a man … a sort of gentle giant. But make no mistake, when it comes to playing football, Whitaker is not gentle. He’s a fast defensive lineman that can terrorize opposing quarterbacks. And he’s also the veteran leader on what may prove to be one of the best defensive lines in the SEC.

Injury was not something new to Jeff. The fifth year senior has had to play through injury most of his four years at Auburn. However, try as he might, he just couldn’t make it back in 2013. Rehabbing from knee surgery was tough on the senior but not as tough as having to take that medical redshirt.

Had there not been an injury, he would probably be on an NFL roster today just like his fellow teammate Dee Ford. But there was that knee injury in August, 2013. Now 12 months later Jeff is healed and ready to finish what he started last year.

He had began 2013 as a pre-season all-SEC Defensive Tackle, yet had to watch from the sideline as his teammates came within seconds of a national championship. But that didn’t mean he didn’t have a part in the Tigers’ magical season. According to his position coach, Rodney Garner, Jeff  became like a third coach.

“The thing he brings to this team from an intangible standpoint, I can’t put a measure on it,” said Garner. “He has unbelievable character. He’s an outstanding leader.”

Leadership is what’s needed to be successful in any venture. In sports, it can often be the difference between success and failure. And by all accounts from his coaches and  his teammates, Jeff Whitaker is a leader.

In addition he is a leader that knows more than most what the difference is between success and failure. He was there when Auburn beat Oregon to win the 2010 National Championship and he was there when the Tigers suffered through the devastating 2012 losing season.

It can be nothing but a big plus for Coach Ellis Johnson and Rodney Garner to have the fifth year senior leading a veteran defensive line in 2014.

If Auburn makes it back to Atlanta, the fact that Jeff Whitaker anchored Auburn’s defensive line (instead of playing in the NFL this year) will have been an important part of the reason they got to the championship game.

A Case For Renewing Auburn’s Second Oldest Rivalry

By Posted on: August 12th, 2014 in Football 18 Comments »
Georgia_Tech_Auburn_football_game_Thanksgiving_1921

Starting in 2016, all SEC teams will be required to play at least one game against a team from one of the other Five Power conferences (Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, or ACC). As a result Auburn announced a two game series last week beginning in 2016 with a familiar old foe.

In fact, too familiar for a lot of fans. The news that Clemson was the chosen opponent was met with about as much enthusiasm from fans as hearing their spouse had scheduled a family reunion of the in-laws at their home.

Clemson is definitely a worthy opponent and would be good for anyone’s strength of schedule. The problem? Auburn has played the purple Tigers four times in the last seven years. Most fans want to see someone different. Some would like to see a team from the Pac12 or Big 10.

Others point to the long history of the two sets of Tigers as a reason to keep them on the schedule. When the two teams meet in Jordan-Hare on Sept. 3, 2016, it will mark the 50th meeting between the old non-conference rivals. I for one like the old sectional rivals. League expansion is doing away with a lot of those treasured series.

Series like the Auburn – Florida game. The Gators were the first SEC team to ever play Auburn at home and is one of the closest geographically to Auburn. The two teams have met 84 times. With expansion there’s not anything that can be done to put the two back together short of moving Auburn to the east and the league has rejected that idea.

However, there is another old rival that could be put back on the schedule

John Heisman's 1892 Auburn Tigers

John Heisman’s 1892 Auburn Tigers

A rival that dates back to 1892. When the two teams stop playing each other on a regular basis (in 1987), the game was known as the second oldest rivalry in the south.

The Deep South’s oldest rivalry began on February 20, 1892, when the Tigers defeated the Georgia Billy Goats 10-0. Nine months later on November 25, 1892, John Heisman’s Tigers defeated Georgia Tech 26-0. Twelve years later Heisman would become Tech’s Head Coach.

Having met 92 times, the Auburn – Tech series is still one of the oldest and most storied series in college football. There were great moments on both sides. I especially remember the 1985 game when Bo Jackson broke loose down the sideline to score a late touchdown and give Auburn a 17-14 victory.

Bo broke loose for a Touchdown.

Bo broke loose for a Touchdown.

And the ’87 game in Atlanta was really special when Auburn scored twice in the final 22 seconds to beat the Jackets 20-10. Defensive End, Aundray Bruce intercepted three passes returning the last one on the final play of the game for a 45 yard touchdown and kept on running right through the end zone and into the tunnel. But an even greater moment was when AU announcer Jim Fyffe made what was to become one of his most famous calls on the other score, “Tillman, Tillman, Tillman … At The Baseline Of The End Zone! A Bullet By Burger! Auburn Goes Ahead!” -  The tape still brings goose bumps today.

From 1905 to 1987, Auburn and Georgia Tech played every year with the exception of 1943 when Auburn did not field a team because of World War II. The Yellow Jackets were the first team to play Auburn at home in 1896. And to this day that contest remains one of the most famous games in the history of the sport.

The game gave birth to Auburn’s “Wreck Tech Pajama Parade.” An old Auburn tradition before the annual game and one that Auburn students are missing out on today. As the story goes, Auburn students went out at night in their pajama’s and greased the railroad tracks the night before Tech was to arrive in the morning at Auburn.

screenview-wreck techOlder Auburn alum remember the story of how the train couldn’t stop and slid through Auburn almost to Loachapoka 10 miles away. The Tech team had to walk back to Auburn carrying their luggage, and the tired Yellow Jackets were trounced by the Tigers 45-0. The event is so legendary that in 2013, USATODAY picked it as the second all-time greatest prank in the history of college football.

You can call me a sentimental old fool but rivalries are the fuel for college football and every time we lose one we lose a little bit of what makes the college game so special.

Auburn and Georgia Tech need to be back together. And now that the SEC and the ACC have to schedule one non conference opponent from the power 5 … the time has come for the two school’s administration to make it happen.

Editor’s note:
The picture at the top of the page is of Auburn playing Tech in Atlanta Nov. 24, 1921.

Enough With the Nick Marshall Story

By Posted on: August 11th, 2014 in Football 19 Comments »
Auburn Fast

The Nick Marshall ordeal is over. On Sunday, he did what he had to do. He apologized to the Auburn Family. Case closed.

“I made a mistake and I’m just trying to gain my trust back from the coaches,” Marshall said. “I let my family down and I’m also trying to gain their trust back and also the Auburn fans. The incident that happened, it’s just going to change me as a better man on and off the field.”

Enough said.

 Marshall made his statement on the first day coaches made him available to the media. For the record, Jonathan Mincy also apologized to fans. Both will be punished and move on. Isn’t it amazing how Marshall and Mincy continue to get attention for their transgressions while Alabama has had four incidents with its players since this all started? …

Much was made last week about the release of the blood-alcohol level of former Auburn star Phillip Lutzenkirchen who was killed in a car accident in Georgia a few weeks back. Many argued the facts should have been kept private.

I disagree.

I have a daughter at Auburn. I have a teenage son. I preach continuously about getting in a car with someone who has been drinking. They need to know this can happen to anyone.

The death of Lutzenkirchen was a tremendous shock to this age group. People this age don’t die, or so they believe. As painful as it was to read, it needed to be reported. Does this dampen the legacy of Lutzenkirchen?

Not even a little.

It was a dumb mistake that cost him his life. Unfortunately, it’s something many of us did when we were young. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I did it. It was beyond a stupid move. I was just blessed no one was hurt.

If this news saves one life, it will be worth it. As for Lutzenkirchen, he will always be one of the greatest players to ever wear an Auburn uniform. As good as he was on the field, he was a million times better off.

One mistake doesn’t change things…

blue helmets 2I know I’m going to get hammered for this statement and most likely fall in the minority. I like the alternative uniforms some teams are wearing these days and think it would be cool if Auburn would do the same on occasion.

I said it.

There have been some mighty sharp alternative Auburn uniforms floating around online. I’m not suggesting wearing them for Georgia or Alabama, but what’s the harm in doing it for San Jose St. or Samford?

I don’t see how it takes away from the Auburn tradition to spice things up every now and then. In full disclosure, I loved the orange jerseys worn back in the Doug Barfield era. It was one of the few bright spots in a miserable period of Tiger football.

Another confession: I loved those orange face masks worn during the 1983 season. I’d love to bring them back. As for the orange outline around the numbers during the Terry Bowden era, I hated the look.

Go big or go home.

Sunday’s Fan Day Means Auburn Football is Less Than Three Weeks Away

By Posted on: August 9th, 2014 in Football, News 1 Comment »
1h4mfa.AuSt.70- Fan day

                                                                                                           (photo:Todd Van Ernst/AU media)
First there was SEC Media Days, then last week the start of fall camp, and now tomorrow Auburn will hold it’s annual Fan Day on The Plains. Yes, Auburn Football is almost here! Just three weeks from the date of this article, the Tigers will be teeing it off against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

In the mean time the Tigers will be taking a break on Sunday to meet and greet the fans. Players and coaches will be available for pictures and autographs in the Auburn Arena between 3:30-5:30 p.m. CT. As always there will be no admission fee and doors will open at 3 p.m.

In addition the soccer and volleyball teams will be available and Aubie will be on hand for photographs along with the Cheerleaders, and Tiger Paws (the dance team). Fans will be able to pickup free posters and schedule cards for the 2014 season inside The Arena. Also each fan is allowed to bring an item to be signed (but only one item).

Fans are asked to enter the Auburn Arena from the south side through the doors leading in to the practice court to access the seniors and through the main entrance to meet the underclassmen football players, cheerleaders, Tiger Paws, Aubie and the volleyball and soccer teams.

To meet Gus Malzahn, fans will have to enter through the Scholarship Entry on the southeast corner of The Arena. According to the official release, time constraints will prevent the taking of pictures with Coach Malzahn.

In addition to Fan Day, Auburn will host “Meet Your Seats,” a time when fans can enter Jordan-Hare Stadium (between 2:30-5:30 pm) and take a first-hand look at available seats to purchase season tickets for the 2014 season. Entrance to the stadium will be available through the west side Gate 11. In addition to the Stadium Parking Deck, free parking will be available at the Auburn Arena and the old Coliseum.

And after this day is over, it won’t be but 2 weeks and 5 days till kickoff. We can hardly wait.

War Eagle!