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End of Week Ramblings From the Plains

Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports

Is he going or is he staying?

This is the time of year for colleges to poach from other schools coaching staffs. After Auburn successfully staved off a threat by Arkansas to hire away head Coach Gus Malzahn, the Tigers are in jeopardy of losing defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. He’s a serious contender for the head coaching job at Tennessee. 

In Auburn’s favor is the fact Steele loves being at Auburn, but he is a Tennessee graduate and the big million-dollar contracts of today’s coaching market may be too tempting to turn down. No word yet whether the Broyles Award finalist will stay or go.

Update: Auburn fans can breathe a sigh of relief as Tennessee announced the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt today.

An energized bowl opponent.

Tickets for the 50th Peach Bowl went on sale Monday, and the UCF fanbase set a record when they bought up the school’s entire allotment in less than 24 hours. The fans are excited to be playing on the big stage and look to make a big splash against SEC West Champion Auburn.

Although Scott Frost was hired by Nebraska Saturday, he plans to coach in the Peach Bowl. At 12–0, UCF is the nation’s only undefeated team yet was left out of the Top 10. The Knights feel like they have a lot to prove, and their high scoring offense will be a challenge for the Tigers.

End of year awards.

Kerryon Johnson
was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year. The running back led the conference with 1,320 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns and tied Cam Newton‘s record at Auburn for the most rushing touchdowns (15) in SEC games. He was the fourth Auburn player to win the SEC’s top offensive player award. Previous winners were Newton, Tre Mason in 2013, and Jason Campbell in 2004.

Daniel Carlson was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year for the second straight year. He is the league’s all-time leading scorer with 471 career points. It will be an injustice if he doesn’t win the Lou Groza Award this year as the nation’s best kicker.

Braden Smith won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which is given to the SEC’s best blocker. The offensive lineman started all 13 games this season and earned a grade of 88.7 from Pro Football Focus. You can bet the senior will have a career in the NFL.

Finally Auburn and Bama tied for the league lead in placing five players on the First Team All-SEC list. The Tigers tied with LSU with seven overall selections on the first- and second-team units.

Defensive end/Buck Jeff Holland, cornerback Carlton Daviskicker Daniel Carlson, offensive tackle Braden Smith, and running back Kerryon Johnson  earned first-team honors. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham and linebacker Tré Williams were named to the second team.

Carlson, Smith, and  Davis were also named to the Walter Camp All-American Teams making Auburn Football the only SEC team to have three players named!

And finally, Coach Steele has been named the 2017 Football Scoop Defensive Coordinator of the Year.

Auburn basketball.

Head coach Bruce Pearl said he’s “staying hopeful” that Daniel Purifoy and Austin Wiley will be able to play this year. With a 7–1 record, the team hasn’t needed them thus far, but that will change when the Tigers begin SEC play January 2nd.

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Congratulations are due for Auburn’s Tim Hudson. The former baseball Tiger will be inducted into the 50th Anniversary Class of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame this spring. The All-Star pitcher had a 17-year major league career and was a two time All American at Auburn. He was the 1997 SEC Player of the Year and an All-American in 1997 at two positions (pitcher and outfielder). He batted .396 with 18 home runs that year, and his 165 strikeouts were the best in the NCAA.

You’ve got to be proud for the Phenix City native. No one wanted him when he came out of high school, so he went on to play junior college ball and became a star at Chattahoochee Community College, Auburn, and the pros. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Until next time …

War Eagle!


  1. jbellison56 says:

    Hey Tennessee… Keep your stinking hands off our Defensive Coordinator!

  2. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    A buddy of mine said UCF would not bring that many people boy was he wrong. I was hoping Auburn could play somewhere else in the post season. Cotton Bowl would have been nice. Kind of tired going to Atlanta.

    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      I’ll take it. Personally, I was hoping to beat Georgia and move into the #4 spot and spend New Years in NOLA again. That was a REALLY good time, well, except for the outcome of the game. Sigh.
      But, as I state below, I’m fine with driving 25 miles.
      (We also just booked two weeks in June 2018 that includes an Alaska cruise for my wife.) We have saved for that for about, literally, five years and I’m happy not having to “beg” for a trip outside Atlanta!

  3. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……I believe Phillip Fulmer is looking for full control of the football program, and Steele has is own Tennessee backers, and understanding of the fan base. Unacceptable, to Fulmer. He wants a guy he can control, and Pruitt is the least experienced of the coordinator candidates. Plus, Fulmer is trying to weaken Bama by taking Pruitt away from them.

    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      It has now been made official that Pruitt is the new Head Coach of the Vols. I'm glad to keep Steele. I haven't heard any recent updates on the reports of Lindsey interviewing with South Alabama.
      I would like for the entire staff to stay intact.

      I'm not surprised at UCF snatching up all their tickets. Each school received 13,000 tickets. We ordered the 4 for which we qualified, BUT, I received an email today where I'm eligible to order additional tickets. So, based on that, Auburn fans may not be as "excited" as UCF fans. I did, however, see on Stubhub where upper level seats in the corner of the end zone on the Auburn side going for around $70 – this is less than the $150 face value of the tickets we bought through Auburn.
      Maybe the price is different based on season ticket locations – I don't know, maybe the $70 tickets are owned by Falcons or corporate ticket holders who have no vested interest in the game and just want to unload them. Otherwise, makes no sense to sell for less than half price.

      But, Auburn has still had a great season; beat two Number 1 teams which also happened to be our two biggest rivals and then back-to-back New Year's Six bowls. I'm perfectly fine only having to drive 25 miles! But we would be going to whatever bowl to which Auburn received an invitation – except the Birmingham Bowl – made a promise that I will never set foot in Legion Field again. (Yes, I missed Auburn's bowl game there for that very reason.)
      And, yes, great for Tim Hudson

  4. audude audude says:

    I’m glad we’re keeping the major staff components. Steele is huge to keep! Glad to keep Lindsay as well!

    The more we keep them in tact the more consistency we have. The more consistency we have the better recruiting goes and it will builds.

    Now let’s focus on UCF and ring this season out with a win.

    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      I’m with you, audude! Consistency, stability, keep and build on the recruiting class and go into bowl prep all intact… Let’s get that 11th win!!

      WAR EAGLE!!