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Changes and Turnover

By on February 9th, 2017 in Football, News 10 Comments »

Let’s put the press in the corner of the end zone AND take away their parking.

     War Eagle, everybody! Wow, has this been a mind-blowing week. There is lots of news in the Auburn world, and quite a bit of it is of the head-scratching variety. The program has announced a new construction project that will add a towering new locker room complex, club-level seating, and a press box in the corner of the end zone. Meanwhile, the football program has demoted its top recruiter. The basketball team reeled off a couple of important wins, and now talk is centered on being an NCAA bubble team rather than whether the team will post a winning record or not.

     The more I think about it, the more I am skeptical of the construction project. I continue to feel like shunting the press off to the corner of the end zone is a poor idea. The grass in that area is also where all of the television and media trucks currently park on gamedays. It appears from the artist’s rendition above that Heisman Drive will also become pedestrian only, further limiting access to the parking deck across from the stadium. Naming rights for the new structure are up for bids, and athletic director Jay Jacobs is certain that Auburn people will rise to the challenge and fund this thing.

     I have my doubts that very well-heeled Auburn supporters will like the idea of sitting in the corner of the end zone. I have no doubt that the vacated area where the press box is now will sell very well. As to sitting in a corner with no view of the jumbotron, not so much.

     I surely enjoyed watching the men’s basketball team sweep Alabama and then beat Mississippi State. However, I probably should have changed the channel at halftime of both games as the end of each contest saw Auburn blow big leads, and give everyone heartburn down the stretch. The Tigers have great difficulty beating the full court press. I would not be surprised to see opposing coaches pick up on that and press the Tigers earlier in games. We have Florida coming up next week, and they are a team with enough depth to do exactly that. I’d expect that Coach Bruce Pearl will have the Tigers working a lot on inbounding the ball, this week in practice.

     I am amazed at how far softball has come, at Auburn in recent years. This year’s team kicks off the season today in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico against the defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN-U, at 1:00 PM Central Time. It’s the first time softball has ever been highlighted in the month of February on the network. There will be a lot of new faces on the field this spring for the Tigers, and we will find out very quickly about any shortcomings against the top-ranked Sooners.

     I continue to wonder about the reason for the demotion of tight ends and special teams coach Scott Fountain. I read that the search is on for a better recruiter, and that a replacement could be named as early as today. Color me shocked that the team would remove this year’s best recruiter on the staff, THEN start a search for a better replacement. That seems awfully optimistic. I can’t imagine firing a guy like Scott Fountain without a really top-notch guy already lined up. And as we’ve become used to in recent years, we’ll never get the real story out of head coach Gus Malzahn.


  1. Mark_Oates says:

    Pretty sure this has been in the works for a while. (Preface everything after this with “If I understand correctly” or “Take with a grain of salt…” etc.) Fountain & Gus seem to have gotten crossways during the season. Nothing hostile or nasty in any way… just a civil, professional philosophy disagreement. After working to, but finally figuring out they weren’t going to be able to, work through it or find a middle ground, they decided around season’s end that Fountain would remain around through signing day, & then they would mutually see if there could be an off the field role with the program that would work out, or if he could & should just move on altogether. Very, amicable parting of ways(or rearrangement, if that turns out to be the case.)
    Fountain is a good man, a fine coach, & has turned out to be an excellent recruiter. It goes to show what a classy, professional man he is that he continued to recruit as hard as he did & came up so huge for Auburn all the way through signing day, knowing that he would be moving on in one way or another immediately afterward. A guy could be forgiven for maybe not having his whole heart into such a tiring & grinding job as recruiting knowing that they were on their way out.

    (I also suspect Lindsey’s intention to utilize the TE more in the future & his and Fountain’s ideas on how to coach TE’s maybe not exactly meshing might have eliminated any remaining chance that the parties were going to reconsider & he was going to stay on the staff.)

    As far as the “search” for his replacement, I’m 98ish% that Gus has & had had for a while his guy to come in. But, you know… going through the motions… due diligence… all that stuff.

  2. AUglenn says:

    What i don't understand was coach Malzahn said he was going to keep all the rest of the offense coaches before the Sugar Bowl and said the same again when hired Chip Lindsey.

  3. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Scott Fountain will be hard to replace. It will take a special guy. As a south Alabamian he knows the landscape of recruiting in Al., Ga., and Fla. having developed close relationships with the high school coaches in those battleground states.

    He was responsible for recruiting (and keeping in the fold) recruits all over the team, from offense to defense to special teams. I particularly liked it when this year he got Tuscaloosa native Bill Taylor, the No. 2 long-snapper in the nation to commit to Auburn.

    While Gus has the right to have the staff he wants I personally hope he will find a place for Scott off the field.

  4. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    I'm glad to see an expanded locker room and a nice recruiting area, although like you Acid, I'm not sure it's a good idea to move the press to the end-zone.

    I also have mixed feelings about placing the National Championship and Heisman Trophies in there. I recognize it's important for recruits to see them but I feel like it would be better to build a first class Auburn Sports museum that would showcase the trophies along with other awards and honors by all Auburn sports. Then everyone could view the trophies, including the recruits.

    On a purely selfish note/motive … I'm concerned how the new JHS addition might affect the regular season ticket holders in that corner, of which I am one.

  5. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    Good up Acid. Love the byline under the picture at the top and “head-scratching” amply describes what we’ve witnessed this week. Biggest puzzle to me is how are you going to find a better recruiter than the best one you already have?

    It may seem crazy but I wonder if Gus wants to get a coach now while most are considering making changes and then bring Fountain back from an off the field position this spring; after the expected NCAA approval for teams to have 10 on the field coaches.

  6. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Here’s a happy update from the Pacific Coast of Mexico! The Auburn Softball team knocked off top-ranked Oklahoma, 3-2 this afternoon!

  7. jbellison56 says:

    Wow, Auburn softball beats the Sooners. Expect these two may meet again in the post season.

    And I don't know if Men's basketball will make it to the NCAA but they're sure fun to watch.

  8. audad says:

    Good column, Acid. To say the basketball team has a hard time beating the full court press is an understatement. They can barely even get the ball in-bounds when pressed under their own basket. And you're right, other teams have to be taking notice and would be foolish not to keep full court pressure on us the entire game.

    The last 5-6 minutes of the Miss. State game was painful to watch if you were a fan of either team, or just watching to watch. It literally took 40 minutes to play the last 6 minutes. I believe the TV guys said 35 free throws were taken in the last 5 minutes.

    But, AU is now a bubble team with these recent wins and it should be fun to see how they finish this out. I saw a scroll on ESPN last night that the softball team has 3 consecutive wins over #1 ranked teams after the win yesterday. Outstanding!!

  9. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    Everyone [including the press] has a right to a view of the Jumbotron!