Changes and Turnover
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.