Track ‘Em Tigers Auburn Football Hall of Fame Ballot for 2014

By Posted on: July 4th, 2014 in Featured Article, Football 7 Comments »

                                                                                                           Auburn All-American Ronnie Brown (photo:Todd Van Ernst)
In the last three days here at Track ‘Em Tigers, we have been taking nominations for our own Auburn Tigers Football Hall of Fame. It’s a challenging task to come up with a slate of names when one is looking at hundreds of great players from the past 121 years.

Therefore we turned once again to our readership for assistance. Our members came through, making over 80 nominations along with some excellent reasons for their selections. Today we have prepared a ballot for our readers to determine who will make up the class of 2014.

We announced on Tuesday that Coach Mike Donahue was nominated for the staff selection. His name is one of two remaining Tigers that are on the College Football Foundation’s Hall of Fame that have yet to be placed in TET’s Hall. The other is former Running back, Dr. Ed Dyas. Therefore we are making both automatic selections for this year’s class.

Since all of Auburn’s 12 College Football Hall Fame members are now included, we plan to have two classifications in the future. One representing players from the last 25 – 30 years and one representing “old school” Tigers.

To get our other seven selections we have prepared a ballot/poll based on the names provided by TET members from this week’s nominations. However, we have two deviations from our announced plans.

The player that received the most nominations has not been out of school long enough to be eligible. Nonetheless support for his inclusion has been overwhelming. Therefore we’ve made an exception and added Phillip Lutzenkirchen’s name to  the ballot.

Also in the comments on Tuesday’s article, TET member WarEagle3020 made a suggestion to include a special induction for Auburn radio announcer, Jim Fyffe. Thirty-twenty had this to say about Fyffe:

“Jim Fyffe: voice of the Auburn Tigers. His voice on the radio solidified my love for Auburn at an early age. Many including myself, considered him an important part of the Auburn Tigers football team. His contributions to the program are legendary.” 

We certainly agree with that endorsement and therefore Jim Fyffe will be included in this year’s class as a special staff placement.

There are 11 names on the list and the poll will close Tuesday, July ninth. The seven names receiving the highest number of votes will be included in this year’s class of the Track ‘Em Tigers Football Hall of Fame. So vote for the seven that you would like to see go into this year’s HOF class. Next week, we will publish a tribute article to the list of winners.

Since the comments for Tuesday’s article have been closed, please feel free to discuss your ballot here on this post.

We thank you and again wish all a Happy 4th of July.

War Eagle! 

Voting Closed – See bios of 2014 class at Tribute article.

Ballot for 2014 class of Track 'em Tigers Auburn Football Hall of Fame Ballot (Choose 7 names).

  • Dameyeune Craig (QB) (83%, 871 Votes)
  • Ronnie Brown (RB) (81%, 857 Votes)
  • Phillip Lutzenkirchen (TE) (79%, 832 Votes)
  • Frank Sanders (WR) (76%, 800 Votes)
  • Karlos Dansby (LB) (74%, 784 Votes)
  • David Rocker (DT) (58%, 616 Votes)
  • David Langner (DB) (58%, 614 Votes)
  • Marcus McNeil (OL) (57%, 599 Votes)
  • Tommy Agee (FB) (53%, 560 Votes)
  • Aubdray Bruce (DE) (49%, 513 Votes)
  • Lewis Colbert (ST) (16%, 169 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,055

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Happy Birthday America!

By Posted on: July 4th, 2014 in News Comment »

We are so blessed and thankful to live in the greatest country in the world. And we are grateful for all those who serve our country. We hope all of you have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July.

Later today we will be posting our annual ballot for the selection of Track ‘em Tigers Hall of Fame – class of 2014. So check back and cast your votes when you have time today or over the weekend. We will return with our regular posting schedule on Monday, July 7th.

Happy 238th Birthday to America!

A Bye Week for the Tigers in October.

By Posted on: July 3rd, 2014 in Football 3 Comments »
Bye week result

Auburn made good use of the off week last season!
(Photo by Acid Reign.)

     After Auburn has played their first six opponents this year, the Tigers get a mid-October bye week, taking the 18th off. After playing LSU and Mississippi State back to back, the Tigers may need a rest, before a 4-week stretch against South Carolina, at Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and at Georgia. This week’s subject is whether bye weeks are of any benefit to Auburn. For purposes of this piece, I’m only going to examine the period of time covered since the SEC split into divisions. In other words, the last 22 years.

     In 1992, the Tide and Tigers were forced by their TV overlords to play on Thanksgiving Day. Thereafter, both schools set their schedules up for an open date after the Iron Bowl, taking Thanksgiving week off. Alabama and Auburn were thus left with only one bye week during the season. Since the college football world went to the 12 game regular season permanently in 2006, that’s now the case for many teams. About 7 years ago, the SEC mandated that all SEC teams must have a game scheduled the last week of the season. Looking back on the past 22 years, We’ll examine each Auburn bye week, and then what transpired in the next game.

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Phillip Lutzenkirchen – A Life of Impact

By Posted on: June 30th, 2014 in Featured Article, Football 15 Comments »

Like all Auburn people it was a shock to hear of Phillip Lutzenkirchen’s passing. It’s hard to put into words the emotion that swept over me when I received the news the former Auburn great was gone. I suppose Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee expressed how most of us felt when he tweeted, “Crushed and without words.”

We all know death is no respecter of persons. Yet when I got the news that Lutz had died in an auto accident, it was like someone had kicked me in the stomach.

Only two other times have I had similar emotions when hearing of the passing of an Auburn Family member. The first was in 1980 when Shug Jordan succumbed to a battle with leukemia. The second was in 2003 when I heard over the radio that legendary Auburn announcer Jim Fyffe had suddenly passed away.

But as much as those hurt – this was different. This was not the way it’s suppose to be. This was a young man barely out of college. When a life of promise is lost at such a young age, it’s always harder to fathom.

There will be many tributes written for Phillip this week. I suspect that most will talk of his gridiron glory. Stories will be told and retold about his fantastic almost unbelievable exploits on the football field. However, his legacy goes further than the touchdowns he scored or the records he holds as one of Auburn’s all-time great tight ends.

He felt blessed to be an Auburn man and he had a way about him that impacted not only the fans but his teammates and his friends and family. They all attest to a compassion that was always interested in helping those around him. Phillip led by example on and off the field.

There have been many testimonies from teammates and coaches to that fact but perhaps Auburn AD Jay Jacobs may have given the most poignant statement when he said Lutz, “Had a strong faith, a big heart, and a burning desire to help others. Phillip was a bright light this world desperately needed and his death leaves a void that can’t possibly be filled.”

He only lived 23 years yet oh what a impact he made in that brief time. He once said, “A life is not important except for the impact it has on others.” By that measure, Phillip Lutzenkirchen’s life was really important.

He leaves an example to all that come behind him of faith, of service, of integrity, and of doing things the right way.

The fans have lost one of their all-time favorite Tigers, Auburn has lost a great ambassador, but more importantly his family has lost a son and a brother.

Our hearts and our prayers go out to them today.

Celebrating July 4th Week and …Track ‘em Tigers Auburn Football Hall of Fame

By Posted on: June 30th, 2014 in Featured Article, Football 25 Comments »
hi-res-51553967_crop_exact - Carnell

                                                                                    Cadillac Williams (photo:Chris Graythen/getty images)
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 Tigers to take our annual weeks vacation.

july-4-fireworksThe 4th of July also signals an important time in the world of college football. There isn’t much football news in the middle of the summer. However, after this week that changes, especially with the start of SEC Media Days.

We appreciate all of you that make TET a part of your daily lives and wish you a happy and restful 4th of July. We will be back with our regular postings on July 7th.

In the interim, we have something we would like for you, our readers to help us with.

For the last three years Track’em Tigers has taken nominations for our own Auburn Tigers Football Hall of Fame, which now includes seventeen former Auburn  players and coaches. You can find a list of those names at the end of this article.

The rules for the selection process are:

(1) Nominate only one person from the following positions: QB, RB, FB,WR, TE, OL, DL, LB, DB, ST, and Coach. (2) To be eligible players and or inactive coaches should have been out of college for four years. Eight names, seven chosen by our readers, will go into the 2014 class and may come from any period in Auburn History. (3) Although it would be good for you to have seen the nominee play or coach (at least on television, we recognize that in some cases that would not be possible).

This year the staff will nominate for our selection, legendary Auburn Coach “Iron Mike” Donahue. But Track ‘Em Tigers is about you the fan. So we want to know what you think.

The next two to three days we will be taking nominations to fill up the rest of our ballot of 10 nominees from which seven new names will be selected.

Please tell us in the comment section why you think a player is deserving of the nomination. If your player has already been nominated, you can still nominate him again  - an action that will simply add to the nominees weight to be placed on the final ballot.

Toward the end of this week, we will publish a list of the top vote getters along with a ballot/poll to decide the seven players that will make up the 2014 class of TET’s Auburn Football Hall of Fame.

On behalf of the guys here at Track ‘Em Tigers, thank you in advance for your help. War Eagle and we wish you all a safe and

Happy 4th of July!

Editors note: The names of the seventeen present members of TET’s Hall of Fame are listed after the jump
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We Have Lost Lutzie … “Crushed and without words.”

By Posted on: June 29th, 2014 in Football, News 13 Comments »

Reports have surfaced from Georgia that Phillip Lutzenkirchen was killed in car crash in Troup County, Georgia. He was signed by the Rams and released in August 2013. I will always remember him as a fine young man who did his job and led others to do theirs. The winning Iron Bowl Catch is legendary. He will be sorely missed by Auburn fans.

Auburn AD Jay Jacobs said in a release:
“Philip’s death is a devastating tragedy for his family, the Auburn family and his countless friends. Today is also a profoundly sad day for the Auburn Athletics family, who loved and respected Philip not only as a great player but more importantly as a friend and the epitome of an Auburn man.”

Both Gus Malzahn and Gene Chizik expressed deep respect for Phllip and sadness for his passing. However, perhaps Offensive Coordinator, Rhett Lashlee best expressed the feeling of the Auburn Family when he said:
  “The Auburn Family is broken today with the loss of a great Auburn man and friend Phillip Lutzenkirchen. Crushed and without words.”

Condolences to his family and rest in peace Lutzie. 

Here is a link to a story from the NBC affiliate in Huntsville, Al.

Nostalgia Friday: 1972 Sugar Bowl

By Posted on: June 27th, 2014 in Football 1 Comment »

Our Nostalgia Friday pieces typically highlight Auburn victories from years past. Today we take a look at a loss. The footage here from the 1972 Sugar Bowl between Auburn and Oklahoma is just too good to pass up regardless of the outcome.

The 1971 season will be remembered as the Heisman Trophy winning year of Pat Sullivan. He also had a pretty good receiver by the name of Terry Beasley – you may have heard of him. Auburn started the year by winning its first nine games and putting itself into national championship contention.

It then laid an egg against Alabama, losing in blowout fashion 31-7. Despite the loss, Auburn was invited to face Oklahoma in New Orleans at old Tulane Stadium. The outcome wasn’t much better than the Iron Bowl.

Led by Greg Pruitt, the Sooners ran all over Auburn and Sullivan-to-Beasley never got going that afternoon, with the Tigers falling 40-22. Auburn would finish the year 9-2 overall and 5-1 in the SEC. The Associated Press voters put Auburn at 12th in its final poll while UPI (the other major poll at the time) had Auburn fifth.

There are two parts to this video. The first one is embedded above. The second one can be found here. Despite the loss, this is some of the coolest Auburn footage I’ve seen in years.


A Showdown in Starkville!

By Posted on: June 26th, 2014 in Football 3 Comments »
MSU Preview

Auburn’s last visit wasn’t so great.
(Photo by Acid Reign.)

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s time now for another Auburn opponent preview. On October 11th, Auburn continues its SEC schedule with a tough road trip to play Mississippi State in Starkville. I’ve seen some projections that both teams will be undefeated coming into this game, but I’m not so sure I’m buying that. The Bulldogs play LSU in Baton Rouge before playing Auburn, and under head coach Dan Mullen, they haven’t beaten a Top-25 opponent since taking out Florida in 2010. Mullen’s record against Top-25 opponents is just 2-22.

     The Bulldogs open with home cupcakes Southern Mississippi and UAB, before traveling to Mobile to play South Alabama. Then, State is put to the test when they visit LSU in Baton Rouge on September 20th. A week to recuperate follows, then the Bulldogs host Texas A&M. Some folks think that without Johnny Manziel, the Aggies will be down. I’d caution such folk to look at Aggie coach Kevin Sumlin’s record. He’s lost good quarterbacks before, and keeps right on cranking out big numbers on offense. After Texas A&M, the Bulldogs host Auburn. The Tigers will have faced Arkansas and San Jose State at home, Kansas State on the road, Louisiana Tech for homecoming, then LSU. The concern for Auburn is the road trip to Starkville, right after a physical game with LSU.

     Every preseason look at MSU focuses first on returning junior quarterback Dak Prescott. Some believe he’s the best returning signal-caller in the league. Prescott battled injury last season, but led some big wins that got the Bulldogs to a bowl game. Prescott’s rushing numbers were second only to Auburn’s Nick Marshall, but only finished 11th in the SEC in passer rating. There’s talent returning among the offensive skill players, but it’s important to recognize that MSU returns only 6 starters on offense, and they’ve had questions on the line this past spring. One of the more dangerous problems was one with bad snaps that cropped up. Shoring up the center position will be a prime focus in fall camp. The Bulldogs must also replace leading running back Ladarius Perkins.

     On defense, the Bulldogs return 19 of 22 players on the two-deep depth chart, and most folks expect the Bulldogs to be tough on defense. Experience is a plus, and these guys last season held Auburn to 24, Alabama to 20 and Ole Miss to just 10 points. On the other hand, they allowed 59 to LSU, 51 to Texas A&M, and 34 to South Carolina, so it’s a mixed bag. Mississippi State held Auburn to just 120 rushing yards last season, and Tre Mason had just 34 yards on the ground. Look for the Bulldogs to again try to make Nick Marshall beat them with his arm.

     Special teams are somewhat of a concern for the Bulldogs. They’ve had snap problems on kicks this spring, also. Last season, a trio of guys managed just 10 of 21 field goals. Mississippi State was just average on kickoffs and punts, and got very little out of the return game, even with the talented, speedy Jameon Lewis fielding both punts and kickoffs. Coverage, at least, was solid. Much like Auburn, MSU special teams are a work in progress.

Unit matchups, after the jump!

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