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A Pot Smoking, Flora-Bama Kind of Weekend

By on July 14th, 2014 in Football 14 Comments »
nick marshall 2

There’s a cloud hanging over the start of today’s SEC Media Days event. A cloud of marijuana smoke. Just when we thought this year’s event was going to be a ho-hum affair, Nick Marshall gets cited for smoking pot behind his over-tinted car windows.

Cue the drama.

The gripping misdemeanor over the weekend threatened to overshadow a piece of Alabama royalty. Of course, I’m talking about the magical wedding of A.J. McCarron and Katherine Webb. How fitting that Alabama’s first couple would have their rehearsal dinner at the Flora-Bama Bar.

aj-mccarron-and-girlfriend-kissThere’s still no word on whether Tom Arnold was there to film an episode of My Big Redneck Wedding. Then again, when tattoos cover half your body, aren’t you almost obligated to have your rehearsal dinner at a bar?

Let’s pray this story doesn’t get much coverage beyond the state borders. Can Alabama really afford another black-eye now that Paul Finebaum has gone national? And to think, this was all started by 75 year-old Brent Musburger. One little horny comment two years ago and now we have to endure this for the foreseeable future.

Now back to Marshall.

Regardless of your stance on pot, there’s no arguing that Marshall being pulled over with the stuff is a serious lapse in judgment. Then again, coaches kind of knew what they were signing up for when he arrived last year. You always run that risk.

I’m not ready to say the season has gone to hell before it starts. I’m also not going to equate pot with crack. Like it or not, the stuff is as readily available to college kids as cold beer on Friday night.

The bigger concern is that whether it is a joint or a beer, Marshall is the leader of this football team and with it comes responsibility. The act as a whole is forgettable. The idea that he’s doing it with a little over a month before kickoff is troubling.

University guidelines don’t require a suspension or forfeiture of games for a first offense – assuming this is the case. However, Gus Malzahn is facing a defining moment. The face of his team got caught with an illegal substance. Is he going to sit him for the opener or run him until he vomits and passes out?

It will be interesting to watch considering the issues his predecessor, Gene Chizik faced during his tenure. You’ll remember, one of the question marks surrounding Malzahn during the interview process was how tough he’d be when it came to player discipline.

With Auburn taking the stage today in Birmingham, all eyes will be on Malzahn, waiting to hear Marshall’s fate. You have to assume all of this will have a shelf life of a week. Then we can all get back to A.J. and Katherine.

Life in Alabama. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

14 Comments

  1. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    I feel bad for Coach Malzahn. He stuck his personal neck out, as well as putting his professional reputation on the line, for Nick Marshall. Gus made a man-to-man contract with Nick, and Nick failed to honor his coach. I consider that a serious failing on Marshall’s part. Loyalty is a highly valued personality trait. It is the glue that keeps a team together when everything else fails. It requires courage, sacrifice and integrity to do the right thing when no one is watching.

    I don’t know what Gus is going to do. I would be comfortable with any decision he makes ranging from kicking Marshall off the team to doing the minimum as required by Auburn University guidelines for the cited infraction or anything in between.

    I am disappointed in Nick Marshall. It is very sad. And as the author noted, a dark cloud now hovers over the program and its coach on the dawn of media exposure.

  2. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    If this is where Nick’s head is at, his is not fit to run a team that has national title aspirations. I know having a little pot is “no big deal” to most people, but what it shows is how seriously Nick is taking is the season. Sure this might be his Friday night beer. It may also be his Friday night comedown before a Saturday wake and bake, a toke at lunch, etc, etc. We just know that he got caught with an ounce on him, it could be much worse.

    Auburn is very fortunate to have very talented QB’s waiting in the wings, one of which, Jeremy Johnson may be perfectly suited to man the 5 point attack that is the Auburn offense.

    Having the QB go down at any point is something a team has to be prepared for if it wants to win big. Auburns QB is down, and while I don’t know if it will impact his playing time, Gus Malzahn MUST NOT check his values at the expense of trying to win. Nick Marshall needs to be severely disciplined to make sure the rest of the team knows that behavior that is detrimental to the team will NOT be tolerated. If Marshall has to go, so be it. It will be for the good of the team in the long run.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      The thing is is that a ‘little pot’ is actually a big deal as long as it’s illegal. Because ‘pot studies’ are still in their infancy, there is really only anecdotal evidence that pot isn’t any different than beer. Truly. I know, you guys were expecting me to be all ‘meh’ from my drum circle with the rest of my hippie lefties, but for serious, the science does not support ‘the pot is safe’ label, not yet. But, I’m also in the camp that alcohol really isn’t safe either….but that’s a discussion for another day.

      The crappy part is that Nick didn’t have the better judgement to not do it right before SEC Media Days, much less a month or so out from the season opener. It’s maddening…..particularly, when I was waiting for that shoe to drop before the beginning of this season.

      I say bench Nick from Media Days and see how he handles practice and making amends with the team before making a final decision about the season.

      • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

        If you HAVE to smoke some weed, do it at home or somewhere in private! Don’t go traipsing around in your car with it! There is proof positive that weed makes you stupid.

        I seriously have no problem with kicking him off the team if Gus decides to do that. What happened in ’12 can not be allowed to seed, germinate or flower to any degree whatsoever. I think the expectation has been clearly established that its a NEW DAY under Gus and that means keep your ass out of trouble or else. Now Nick has to find out what “or else” means.

  3. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    Wow. I don’t think he should miss any games or maybe just not start the first game. Of course, they pay Gus MILLIONS to make these decisions and I trust what he decides. Since it is definitely a first offense at AU, then he can just follow AU guidelines but if he wants to do more he can. HE knows all the details. We only have what we read in the media.

    I’ve driven through that town plenty of times. Nick knew that town. The Police Chief knew Nick. Pretty convenient all this went down when it did (in the middle of the day). I am sure it’s not the first time Nick has driven through that town on the way home and his car has been tinted for a while. Yeah, he’s a senior and yeah he’s the quarterback.

    The biggest thing is will he be able to garner the trust of Gus again. He will pay a fine and not have a record. I’m from the 70’s~ plenty of pot at AU at the time, plenty of folks caught and not have records today by the grace of God…..

  4. AUcideng42 AUcideng42 says:

    Count me in the “Marshall should not be suspended” camp.

    I understand there are a lot of conflicting opinions on pot (a sports blog is not the place to debate them), and ultimately it is up to Gus to uphold the team rules Nick agreed to. But this was a traffic ticket – far less egregious than offenses by players at other schools (domestic abuse, DUIs, bar fights/assaults, actual arrests, etc.) that resulted in little-to-no loss of playing time.

    I am glad Gus pulled Nick from SEC Media Days. Not doing so would have cast an even bigger shadow over today, and under the circumstances Uzomah is more deserving of the privilege.

    I’m a believer that mistakes are a far better learning experience than successes. It is my hope that Nick learns from this by honing his focus the rest of the offseason and that he spends the rest of the year working his butt off to prove that the trust and expectations placed on him were deserved.

  5. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    If I were Gus I’d sit him and Mincy for the first one or two games. It sends a strong message and from a football side builds depth behind them (and prevents injury). The third week is a bye before the K State game so it all works out well. Im with the Col on this though, it would be a disaster to repeat the player discipline problems of 2012, better to lose Marshall than lose the team again.

  6. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    Sit him and Mincy for at least the first game, SEC opener or no. No one is irreplaceable or above discipline for the good of the team.

    If that doesn’t get Nick’s attention as a starting quarterback with Heisman potential, nothing else will. By the way, I feel the same way about Winston’s crab-legs fiasco at the Publix. Actions have consequences and when you embarrass the university with illegal activity, you lose the privilege of playing.

  7. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    This is a tough one for an old guy who’s never touched weed or any narcotic other than those prescribed for pain, who believes that a rule is a Rule is a RULE, and who passionately loves Auburn and its sports teams. When all is said and done, I believe the best thing for both Marshall and Mincey, if the first offense for both, is suspension for the Arkansas game. Second offense, wish them well anywhere but Auburn. I’ve suffered through too many probations to want to risk such again.

  8. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    I have to admit when I heard this news my first inclination was “it figures”. Just when things go Auburn’s way … and really it seemed like 2012 was a bit of self-correcting going on for the overall health of the program… and this happens. But after taking a breath – I think I have put things into perspective.
    First and foremost – I want to hear from Nick Marshall. I want him to have to trot out and tell the Auburn family why he is in trouble and why he did this before the start of the 2014 football season.

    Maybe he will tell us that the pot belonged to someone else. Not that it makes it ok… but it sure puts into a greater perspective of what happened other than “I messed up”.

    Trust doesn’t come easy. Not for coaches… and not for players. Nick owes his team… not the other way around. And I think the results of his urinalysis should be made public.

    Next, regardless of the response – I think considering the investment Auburn has made in the young man – there MUST be consequences. I don’t mean he’s off the team. I mean there are significant consequences… maybe… he doesn’t get nominated or supported by Auburn to win the Heisman. Or maybe he is sat down for five games? Or maybe a combination of things… like he gets to play football only after he earns his spot back on the team after doing stadium drills into the wee hours of the morning in two a days.

    At any time Marshall thinks the cost is too high… he either walks away from the team… or is thrown from it.

    And last, I want to hear from Malzahn. I want to know where he stands. I think this is a pivotal issue for any coach. And it will bear dividends one way or another down the line. Personally speaking… I can’t stand any more “Mean Gene” comparisons… when the only thing angry is me. Give me coach who is a leader… and I will show you a team ripe for championships.

    Fear not family. Everyone makes mistakes.

    I just find it interesting that this individual did so after having to walk the straight and narrow in order to get another opportunity at his dream. And frankly that sort of ticks me off because it would never happen for the regular guy.

    And think about the story line that is following Marshall… his family, particularly his mother. Talk about embarrassing a family. Yikes. I would be remorseful too with my mother’s size 6 boot up my butt or a permanent hand print on my face. And yes… corporal punishment was/ and is used in the WDE1988 household.

    Talk about the ultimate penalty Marshall might pay… with so much potential earning power on the line he might have directly affected his future income or ability to get drafted. It’s very possible that this will affect NFL prospective teams in the future when it comes to the draft… you’d think he would have paid attention during this year’s draft and AJ’s fall from grace.

    The good news: he can correct but only if he wants too.

    The bad news… we got a natural passer Jeremy Johnson sitting in the wings ready to go. Only problem is… we don’t have someone like Tre Mason there who we know can produce.

    Make up your mind Nick and come clean. Auburn is here to stay. We will survive you and anyone else who wears the orange and blue that didn’t deserve too. You are going to be one of the major topics at SEC media days – and rightfully so. But you are still lucky… bama had players arrested over the weekend. That’s got to count for something.

    I think I have really grown as an alum considering how well I am handling this. I was a bit more flammable a few years ago. But this is the primary reason why I won’t invest in season tickets for college sports. I could understand a freshman making a mistake…. but Marshall or Mincy or both?? Perhaps the wolf has changed its clothes… but is still there…

    The Auburn family is watching Gus Malzahn and Jay Jacobs..

    WDE

  9. tigertracker says:

    Gus has to choose if he wants to use the university policy of first offense and whatever punishment that entails or his own policy of that’s career strike 2 and define the punishment. It put a black eye on the university on the eve of SEC media days! Here comes the feel good story defending SEC champs and National runner-up to the podium. Ready to bask in the glow of the Winfrey spotlights and talk about getting 13 seconds better. Will this years offense break scoreboards and shatter records?? Can the D become stifling?? How many sleepless nights will defensive coordinators have this year?? Pump the brakes TigerTracker. QB1 on the phone for you with some terrible news. Turns out someone needed a few extra days at that navy seal leadership training this summer. I’m sure the guy really does feel terrible (probably ticked off the guys that are clean) and thank goodness Gus didn’t turn loose the national media on him, but he broke the law and I assume a team rule in the process and that stinks. I’m sure he’s feeling the pressure the fans, media, and coaches have put on this team and no one would say a thing he if had gone to the doc and gotten a prescription for anxiety or depression. Keep you head up
    Nick. Do what you must to make it right and come back stronger. But don’t take any performance enhancing drugs ;) No one can accuse you of that right now! Heck maybe that’s how you slow down the HUNH. This too shall pass. Next man up.

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