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Fall Camp Begins!

By on July 31st, 2014 in Football 12 Comments »

Tiger Coaches will try to mold another SEC Champion!
(Photo by Acid Reign.)

     War Eagle, everybody! After a long, arduous off-season, Auburn begins fall practice tomorrow afternoon. The Tigers have about 4 weeks to get ready for the opening tilt at home against Arkansas on August 30th. I can’t wait for practice reports to return to my daily reading list!

     The Tigers will run one afternoon practice per day through Tuesday August 5th, which is the first day in pads. The Auburn football team will not get an off day till Friday, August 8th. There will be two-a-day practices on Wednesday, August 6th, and Saturday August 9th. Fan Day is Sunday, August 10th, before another afternoon workout. It’s pretty clear that these coaches are trying to build toughness, taking this team out each afternoon during the hottest part of the day in the August heat.

     Auburn begins this camp with 15 returning starters, including 9 from one of the nation’s top offenses. The only starters not returning on that offense are left tackle Greg Robinson and running back Tre Mason. News of what happens at those two spots during camp will be eagerly anticipated.

     While the defense returns only 6 starters, it does have 5 of the top 7 tacklers from last season coming back. This defense may have more talent than last year’s unit, with an infusion of newcomers expected to contribute. At the end of spring drills, a starting safety job was all but locked down by Derrick Moncrief, and several talented new defensive ends should have a chance to break into the playing rotation as pass rush specialists.

More Auburn ramblings after the jump!

     I think the burning question on most fans minds as camp begins is what the fate of Nick Marshall and Jonathan Mincy will be. The two were arrested in separate incidents during the off-season on drug possession charges, and head coach Gus Malzhan has indicated that there will be consequences. It’s possible that Malzhan will keep that resolution a secret till the opening minutes of the Arkansas game. That would force Arkansas to prepare plans for either Auburn quarterback. I’d rather see this issue addressed sooner. Otherwise, this will be a dark cloud that creeps into one practice report after another. With most of each practice closed to the media, journalists will always be looking for something to write about.

     There has been some hand-wringing this week over the news that Auburn has scheduled a series a couple of years from now with the Clemson Tigers. Some folks would have rather seen a higher profile opponent, and some claim to just be bored with Clemson. I think the series makes sense. Clemson is usually competing for their conference crown, and will make for a good addition when folks look at Auburn’s strength of schedule. Furthermore, this is a fairly easy trip for traveling Auburn fans to make.

     Clemson is an old rival, one that Auburn has played 49 times in the past. Auburn has played Clemson 4 times the past 10 years, and 3 very exciting games came out of that. Who can forget Auburn’s first game with the hurry-up, no huddle philosophy, when Kodi Burns dashed up the middle against a tired Clemson defense? Kodi Burns’ touchdown gave Auburn a 23-20 win in overtime. Then there was the Wes Byrum kick in overtime that downed Clemson in Jordan Hare Stadium. On Auburn’s visit to Clemson a year later, the visitors stormed out to a 21-7 lead, before wilting down the stretch in a 38-24 loss. In Atlanta 2 years ago, the Tiger teams had a hard fought battle before Clemson won it late, 26-19.

     Next week, I will get back to previewing Auburn’s remaining 2014 opponents. On November 15th, Auburn heads to Athens to play Georgia. This game worries me more than any on Auburn’s schedule. It will be Auburn’s 6th SEC game in a row, and Athens has not been a hospitable place for the Tigers in the past decade. It used to be that Auburn beat Georgia more often in Athens than in Auburn, but those days are long gone. Except for the thrilling 31-30 Auburn win in 2005, the Tigers have lost the last 5 trips to east Georgia. There was the 26-7 loss that sent Auburn officials off on a plane to Louisville. There was a 45-20 beatdown administered in 2007. Auburn put up a fight in 2009, but couldn’t catch the ball in the end zone late, falling 31-24. I was there supporting the Tigers in their last trip to Athens, and the visitors weren’t even competitive in a 45-7 rout.

     I think the onus is on defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson against Georgia. Last season, Auburn slowed the dawgs for 3 quarters, then collapsed in the 4th quarter. Georgia roared down the field on 3 touchdown drives, and were knocking on the door again at the end of the game. In the past ten years facing the Bulldogs, Auburn has held Georgia below 30 points only twice. The 2004 SEC Champions held UGA to 6 points, and somehow in Tuberville’s last appearance at Jordan Hare the Tigers held Georgia to 17 points in a 17-13 loss.

     Otherwise, head coach Mark Richt’s offenses have had their way with the Tigers. Even playing against new starting quarterbacks hasn’t helped the Auburn defense. Georgia put up 37 with Matthew Stafford, 31 with Joe Cox at the helm, and 31 in Aaron Murray’s first season. This will be Hutson Mason’s first full year as the Bulldog starter, but if history is any indication, he’ll be playing like a pro by November. Mason has probably the best running back in the nation behind him in Todd Gurley. He has great receivers, including Sith Lord Khari Vion Chris Conley and Malcomb Mitchell to throw to. Here’s hoping Ellis Johnson has a plan this season that will defend Georgia for all 4 quarters.

We’ll look at the matchups next week.


  1. tcummins83 tcummins83 says:

    Nick Marshall was !!!!!!! NOT !!!!!!! arrested. He was only cited. (ticketed)
    I’m not trying to “split hairs” here. There is a profound difference in “arrested” and “cited”. If this was simply an oversight on your part, please accept my apology.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Anyone who has ever enlisted has probably been asked a similar question. “Have you ever been arrested?”

      Need to caveat that i am not a lawyer…

      But if you have EVER received a ticket… you might want to look it over, because TECHNICALLY you are under arrest, only due to the nature of the crime you have been released awaiting payment of the established fine or to report to your court case.

      Marshall did get pulled over and was issued a ticket. He was arrested just not taken into custody. His momma paid the fine so his family wouldn’t suffer the humiliation of a hearing.

      It is what it is. Fussing over it doesn’t make it go away.


      • sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

        My answer to the Army recruiter – “No, I run too fast”

        It was the truth. My one brush with the law at Auburn was exiting Dominos with an open container and attempting to open the passenger door of an Auburn police cruiser in a stupor. It was only when the patrolman exited his side and crooked a finger at me that I realized my situation (and the fact that I didn’t have enough money in my bank account for a ticket).

        My roommate was laughed hysterically as I took off running. I turned down a blind alley and vaulted the wall at the end with the patrolman in chase. I nearly dislocated both knees when I landed, but still managed to cross Magnolia and dive into the hedges around Stamford to lie dogo before he realized where I had gone. I must admit I don’t clearly remember the events between seeing the patrolman and lying panting under the bushes, but my roommate said I took one more long gulp from my beer as I ran before chucking it.

        • wde1988 wde1988 says:

          LOL. Sully, that’s funny!

          I only mention the “recruiter” scenario because as an 18 or 20 something wanna be I remember being asked the question – “ever been arrested?” and my quick response… “No sir!”, and feeling pretty proud of myself at the time. And then the recruiter asked me if I ever got a traffic citation… sort of off the topic I remember thinking… and how suddenly that feeling of pride changed to feeling of dread because he was back to questioning my integrity since by receiving the ticket… I was “arrested”.

          After about 30 seconds to think over it (as the NCO continued to yell at me with such colorful language that I don’t think even now that I could dare repeat) I realized that what he was saying was true. It took a few seconds to complete the dots… but yes, I was given a court date by the policeman… and I had a fine if I didn’t contest the findings… Yes, he was right, I was a common criminal. (GULP)

          Thank God for redemption and forgiveness and the limited memory of the State and my fellow countrymen.


          • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

            …..Woo, those open container encounters! Sully, that was my philosophy also, as far as getting caught. I arrogantly figured no one would catch me on foot, because I was going through every obstacle I could find if I was chased.

            …..Come to think of it, that was the one advantage of not having a car in Auburn. If they get your tag number, you’re done.

      • AUcideng42 AUcideng42 says:

        (I know, as has been said previously, this is splitting hairs…)

        As it has been explained to me (not a lawyer, but have family who are), any time someone is pulled over, they are technically “under arrest” since they cannot flee (they are detained) and must comply with an officer’s order. If you flee from a traffic stop, or refuse a request like not signing a ticket (although constitutional rights regarding search can be an exception), then you WILL be tried for resisting arrest.

        That being said, there is a difference between this type of arrest and custodial arrest (being handcuffed and processed). If asked “have you been arrested” on a job application or a license, Nick Marshall could honestly and lawfully answer “no”. (I can’t speak for military or clearance-related questions as there is a record of a ticket, just not a permanent one.)

        That being said, I think the point Acid was trying to get across is that both Marshall and Mincy have had concerning skirts with the law even if neither have will apparently have permanent records for it. My hope is that, as was the case with myself at their age, that they learn some valuable lessons from their mistakes. There was a time as a teanager where I had a number of speeding tickets (among other juvenile shenanigans), but I eventually learned from those lessons and have had zero tickets/fines/whatever in over a decade. These student-athletes are at school to learn (and play football), and if Gus thinks there is an opportunity for them to learn from their mistakes and grow as adults, then I trust him. I definitely don’t think they should be ostracized/kicked out for offenses that are far less than many college students are guilty of.

        Now don’t disappoint my optimism – I want to see Mincy win the Jim Thorpe and Marshall the Heisman!!! 😉

        • wde1988 wde1988 says:

          I think you have a valid point. I would only counter the next time you get your ticket… look on the back of it. Hopefully that won’t happen anytime soon. Point is – you have broken the law. They didn’t give you a fine because you won a prize. The fine is the punishment. And you are given a court case to appear if you choose not to pay the fine. Fail to do either… and you will be arrested and confined in the county jail.

          Where I do agree with you, and not to sound too much like Bill Clinton, but it really depends on the question and how it is asked.

          Had I been placed in handcuffs and placed in the back of a police car? Taken down town, booked into the county jail? In my case no. But was I detained by a policeman after “running” a stop sign? Yes.
          The point of the question at the MEPS station in Montgomery is that I had answered a broad statement of “have you ever been arrested” and didn’t fully understand the implications meant by the person asking it.

          In Marshall’s case… I think we will revisit this subject again when it’s Heisman time – if he warrants such attention. Auburn may choose not to back him after this… or they will support him with the caveat “he learned from his mistake”. But the people who will count will be the media and heisman voters. And no matter how you look at the situation… I think it would be hard to state he was targeted. He had over tinted windows (he should have known better). And when he was pulled over the officer smelled pot and took it to the next step by looking in the car. BL: He broke the law. You don’t celebrate that…. or promote it like it doesn’t matter. We don’t all live in Colorado.

          It’s kind of funny really. In Cam’s case in 2010 I don’t think the hatred was warranted. But here IF it occured for Nick I think I would be torn. Can’t argue he didn’t do it. Can’t say that he was innocent. His Mother paid the fine so it wouldn’t go to court. Whether you like it or not that is an admission of guilt.

          Again, you gotta take it for what it is. Or if you like… you can put lipstick on a pig but you still gotta pig, albeit a cute one.


  2. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    What starters from last year are out due to injury? and do they have a chance to make it back during the season?

    Dump Clem and his son and let’s get GT on the schedule for old time’s sake…I’d like to see Ellis’ approach to the triple option.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Agree with that!

    • wpleagle wpleagle says:

      As long as Georgia plays GT every year, it’s gonna be tough to get Tech on the schedule. However, Clemson and Sacerlina also play every year, so there goes that argument.
      Use Old Guys used to love that Tech game in Hotlanta!!!
      War Eagle.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..Evidently, from the first practice notes, Alex Kozan is out. Wasn’t in uniform. They moved Chad Slade over to left guard, Avery Young to right guard, and Patrick Miller at right tackle. That’s still a very solid offensive line!

  3. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    00PS, should read US old guys. Darn laptop keyboard!