Should Nick Marshall Still Represent Auburn at SEC Media Days?

By Posted on: July 12th, 2014 in Football, News 18 Comments »
Auburn Football

                                                                                                                                                           (photo:Auburn media file)
By now most Auburn fans have heard the news that Auburn Quarterback Nick Marshall was cited in Georgia for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Marshall was on his way home when he was stopped for tinted windows.

It’s important to note that Nick was not arrested. He was allowed to leave but will have to pay a $1,100 fine by Sept.10th to avoid appearing in court. In today’s environment if this happened to the average young person it would not even be newsworthy. But Nick Marshall is not the average young person. When you’re a potential Heisman candidate and the offensive leader on an SEC Championship team, your actions reflect not only on yourself but on your team and especially your coach.

Malzahn released a statement to the media last night saying he was, “Very disappointed and I will address it with (Nick) accordingly.”

Nick’s story has been an uplifting one – till now. Given a second chance by Malzahn after being dismissed (as a D-back) from Georgia’s football program in 2011 he was able to fulfill a lifelong dream to play quarterback in the SEC. He had made such a turnaround in restoring not only his career but in assuming a leadership role on the Auburn Football Team.

And that one word “leadership” is why his misdemeanor drug offense is such a big deal. A big part of leadership is example. What Nick has done is set the wrong example for his teammates and for all those kids that  play backyard football wearing No.14.

He has also put the man who gave him a second chance in a more than uncomfortable position. He was scheduled to join Coach Malzahn and two other teammates at SEC Football Media Days which begins Monday. Now instead of Gus taking questions from the podium about how he feels his team will defend their SEC Championship, he will be peppered with questions about Nick’s punishment and future with the Tigers. Gus and the Auburn contingent will now have to deal with negative publicity in what otherwise should be a positive moment in the spotlight.

In light of all this, will Nick still be making the trip to Hoover? Will he be replaced by another Tiger, leaving his coach and teammates to answer questions about his actions?

It will be interesting to see what Gus chooses to do on Monday. But if it were me, I would still have Nick at Media Days. Let him take the embarrassing heat from the press. Maybe that will help him realize how a leader’s actions have consequences.

An East Visits West Headliner!

By Posted on: July 11th, 2014 in Featured Article, Football 25 Comments »
Gamecock Preview

South Carolina is an important test for the Tigers.
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s time now for another Auburn opponent preview. On October 25th, after a week of rest, the Auburn Tigers host the South Carolina Gamecocks at Jordan Hare Stadium. Both teams will have been tested, and this game will be one Auburn needs to stay atop the SEC West. South Carolina showed in 2010 that it could lose this game, and still win the SEC East. These days in the West, even one SEC loss can eliminate a team.

     Much has been made this season about the difficulty of Auburn’s football schedule, but South Carolina has a tough slate as well. The Gamecocks open with a trio of of home games; beginning with a Thursday night clash with Texas A&M. East Carolina and Georgia then visit. South Carolina closes out September with a road trip to Vanderbilt, then they host defending East champ Missouri. A road trip to Kentucky starts the month of October off, followed by an off week, then a tune up against Furman, before the Gamecocks head to Auburn. With Georgia and Missouri already having been played, South Carolina will know where they stand in their division race, by this time. Auburn will have played Arkansas and San Jose State at home, Kansas State on the road, Louisiana Tech for homecoming, then LSU. The Tigers have an off-week coming into this game, and both teams should be relatively well-rested.

     Despite losing starting quarterback Connor Shaw and leading receiver Bruce Ellington, this should be a pretty dangerous South Carolina offense. They’ve got plenty of play-makers returning, starting with outstanding running back Mike Davis. New starting quarterback Dylan Thompson has plenty of experience coming off the bench for after Connor Shaw injuries, and should be adept as a passer. Where things will be different for South Carolina is that Thompson is much less of a scrambling threat, although he did notch 3 rushing touchdowns last season. South Carolina has depth and experience in both the receiving corps, and the backfield.

     Where it gets interesting for the Gamecocks is on the defensive side of the ball. Both the defensive line and secondary will have to be rebuilt. There is talent in the wings on the defensive line, but I’ve seen several previews that state that incoming signees might win starting cornerback jobs. That’s either a tribute to the incoming class, or a sign of real trouble, probably both. South Carolina will try to build upon experience at linebacker, and talented senior Brison Williams in the secondary. Williams might have to move to corner, if a pair of serviceable starters aren’t found in fall camp.

     On special teams, the Gamecocks return all three of their kicking specialists, and were more or less middle of the pack on both coverage units last season. Concerns include a ho-hum return game, and a fairly short 37.8 yards per punt. Much like Auburn did the past few years with Steven Clark, the idea seemed to be to generate high, floating punts that offered little chance for a decent return. Sophomore kicker Elliot Fry was a revelation as a freshman last season, doing very well.

Unit matchups, after the jump!

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Auburn Pre-season Marked by Players Receiving National Recognition

By Posted on: July 11th, 2014 in Football, News 1 Comment »
14O2O7.AuSt.70- Nick runs over Tenn. - Auburn media, anthony hall

    Auburn Quarterback Nick Marshall continues to garner pre-season honors. (photo:Anthony Hall,Auburn media)

The days immediately following July 4th celebrations are always an exciting time of the year for college football fanatics. It’s a time when you can begin to tell the long off season is winding down and college football is just around the corner. While the second week of July brings the excitement of SEC Media Days, the first week marks the announcements of college football award watch list.

And just this week Auburn has had seven Tigers named to 10 different preseason honors.

* On Monday, Wide Receiver Sammie Coates and Quarterback Nick Marshall were named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, which goes to college football’s top college player. Sammie caught 42 passes for 902 yards and seven touchdowns last season and Nick threw for 1,976 yards and rushed for 1,068 more during 2013.

* Also on Monday came news that (Star) Safety Robenson Therezie is on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the top defender. Robenson made 57 tackles and led the team with four interceptions.

* Kris Frost was named to the Butkus Award which goes to the nation’s top linebacker. Frost had 59 tackles last season, including six for a loss.

* On Tuesday C.J. Uzomah was named to the Mackey Award list, which goes to the nation’s top tight end. Uzomah caught 11 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns last year in a run heavy offense.

* The same day, Center Reese Dismukes was once again honored as one of the nation’s best centers when he was place on the Rimington Trophy list. It was the third consecutive year for Reese to be so honored. Last season he was a Rimington finalists.

* Thursday saw Nick Marshall named as’s conference pick for the Player of the Year in the SEC.

* Also Thursday brought big news when Defensive Tackle Gabe Wright joined Reese Dismukes and Offensive Guard Alex Kozan on the Outland Trophy Watch List. The Outland is a very prestigious award and goes to the nation’s top interior lineman.

Gabe also was placed on the watch lists for the Bronco Nagurski Trophy, which goes to the nation’s top defensive player. He made 35 tackles last season including three sacks and nine tackles for a loss. Kozan was part of an O-Line that paved the way for the nation’s top rushing attack.

Out of 121 Division I schools, Auburn is one of just six programs in the nation to have three players on the Outland list. Should one of them win the honor, it would be the third time in history that an Auburn man won the Outland. Auburn greats Zeke Smith won in 1958 and Tracy Rocker took home the honor in 1988.

Congrats to these Tigers, you make us proud! Now lets move on to the next big event of the 2014 football season …

SEC Media Days begin Monday!

Tribute to the 2014 Track ‘Em Tigers Auburn Football Hall of Fame

By Posted on: July 9th, 2014 in Featured Article, Football 5 Comments »
9243269 Frank  Sanders

                Frank Sanders with Bob Hope on the 1994 All-American TV Show. (photo:Auburn media file)
Auburn University has a football heritage that is one of the richest  in all of college sports. In fact, some of the greatest to ever play the game have worn the Orange and Blue. The Tigers have had four College Football Hall of Fame coaches, three Heisman Trophy winners, and are the twelfth Winn ingest program in Division I history.

Not only has Auburn won more SEC Championships than any other school in the last 10 years, the Tigers are the ninth most successful program in the last five decades. In addition, there have been over a thousand players to wear the Orange and Blue in that time span.

For that reason we turned to our members to help select the 2014 class 0f Track ‘em Tigers Hall of Fame.

Over a thousand TET members voted over the July 4th weekend and selected a 10 member class that features one former coach and six All-SEC players, four of whom made All-American.

The ten man class includes four offensive players, three defensive players and one special selection of a person who never played a down of college football.

Following are short bios on the selections for this year’s class.

"Iron Mike" Donahue

“Iron Mike” Donahue

Mike Donahue (Coach) 1904–1906, 1908–1922. Known as “Iron Mike,” Donahue is one of the most important names in the history of Auburn athletics. Coach Donahue had a .743 winning percentage with a record of 106 -35-5 in 18 seasons on The Plains. A record only surpassed by Gus Malzahn (for coaches who’ve coached more than five games).

He had three undefeated teams and won five Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles, in 1904, 1910, 1913, 1914 and 1919. His 1913 and 1914 teams have been retroactively recognized as national champions by various selectors with the ’13 team appearing in the NCAA record book.

In 1905, Donahue both started and coached Auburn’s first official varsity basketball team, which went 3–1 -1. He also served as athletic director, baseball coach, track coach, and soccer coach at one time or other while at Auburn.

One of four Auburn Coaches to have been inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame, Donahue Drive on which Jordan–Hare Stadium is located is named in his honor.

Ed Dyas

Ed Dyas

Ed Dyas (RB/LB/ST)  1958-60. A three way player at Auburn from 1958-60, Dyas was a star fullback, linebacker, and kicker. He is one of eight former Auburn players to be inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame. He led his team in rushing and scoring his senior year and was named the most outstanding back in the SEC. At the end of his Auburn career he was sixth on the all-time rushing list at Auburn.

As a kicker Ed was considered one of the most outstanding field goal kickers in the history of the sport. He rewrote the NCAA record books in 1960 for kickers. Four times during that season, Dyas won SEC games with his field goals, including kicking three in the first ever Auburn-Georgia game played in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Although the All-American finished fourth in the 1960 Heisman Trophy voting he elected to forgo an NFL career to attend medical school.

More after the jump including one who never played for Auburn.

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Some Memorable Plays (from the past) – 1983 Auburn vs. Florida Edition

By Posted on: July 8th, 2014 in Featured Article, Football, Memories 5 Comments »
23afe021f64f14053c7e9161336e1f4e - Bo

Greetings, fellow football-starved sons and daughters of the Burnt Orange and Navy Blue!  Once again I have crawled out from my rock to share a few memories of one of the first significant games I ever saw as a student at Auburn- the 1983 Florida game, which ended up a hard-fought 28-21 win for the Tigers.

mxayTbVn0lwfU_z3YrjIbDw - 1983The game itself was just another brutal SEC contest featuring the wishbone offense of Auburn against a particularly nasty defense by the Gators (featuring Wilbur Marshall and Alonzo Johnson, among others). In fact, the game program from the 1990 AU-FL game noted that there were more NFL stars (draft picks or starters, I can’t remember the criteria) on the starting line-ups of the two teams together than in any other college football game at any time.

On a personal note, I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, which was brutal territory for any Auburn fan, especially a young one during the Barfield years. Bulldogs and Seminoles (and a few proto-Hurricanes) were rife of course, but for absolute fan rivalry annoyance no one can beat Gator fans. AU’s yearly rivalry with the Gators, now a sad casualty of SEC divisional realignment, gave me an annual opportunity for the pain of dealing with these Gators. I think I am a Gator Hater more than any Bulldog that walks the earth. When it was annual, this was ‘The Game’ I cared about, even more than Georgia or Alabama.

To complete the scene, my folks were visiting me at college for the first time, and I was looking forward to seeing them. We had three seats in the regular fan section of the North end zone (back in the day when regular-dues-paying alumni like my Dad- and now me – could get single-game tickets to decent games). We settled in on a beautiful day at Jordan-Hare for what promised to be a great matchup.

After the jump, I’ll describe a few plays from that game that still stand out in my mind even after all these years (and provide some video clips):

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The Real Definition of Rich

By Posted on: July 7th, 2014 in Football 3 Comments »

Society has its own definition of rich. The visual images include big homes, foreign cars, swimming pools and vacation cottages. Last week, Phillip Lutzenkirchen gave us the real image of rich. Looking at those pictures of a full high school football stadium in Atlanta during his memorial service, you realized this young man was among the richest of all.

Thousands don’t show up for a service because a guy was a great football player. He was so much more. There are few who go through life never making an enemy. There are fewer who touch so many lives in such a short period of time. Phillip did all those things in 23 short years.

I’ll always have those memories of him on the football field, but the lasting one for me was a football stadium full of people gathered to pay their final respects. That’s what you call rich. Even in death, Phillip Lutzenkirchen continues to teach us all. We’ve been blessed to share in his life…

With the attention on football, new Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl continues to quietly put his program back on solid footing. A big piece of that is getting buy-in from past players and coaches.

Recently, Pearl was able to put together a reunion on campus of the old guard, including Charles Barkley, Sonny Smith, Cliff Ellis, Chuck Person and Chris Porter. It was a collection of greats that couldn’t be imagined a year ago.

Pearl says he can’t succeed without them and that includes former coach and current Coastal Carolina head man Cliff Ellis.

“When Bruce called me, I said, ‘Bruce, I’m not ready,’” Ellis told Charles Goldberg. “He said, ‘Your players think you’re ready, and it’s time for you to come back. Cliff, your group is making a statement for the things I’ve tried to do. I need you to help me to get this thing going.”

It was his first visit back to campus since being released more than 10 years ago. Getting Ellis back to campus is a statement itself on the determination of Pearl to build Auburn into a contender.

While Auburn basketball has had few sustained highlights, those in the room that evening show us that the program can win at a high level. Having Barkley and Person active in the program should make everyone feel better about the winter months.

Now back to football.

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!