Monday Musings From The Plains
Julie Bennett / al.com
What is normally a day of high interest in college football is a complete downer for many Auburn fans. It’s discouraging to have to watch the school’s two biggest rivals play for a national championship. It’s a feeling only exacerbated by the fact Auburn dismantled both of those teams in dominating wins during the regular season.
Never can I remember a season more heavy laden with woulda, coulda, shoulda, thoughts. What would have happened if key players like Tré Williams, Kam Pettway, and Kerryon Johnson (as well as others) had been healthy every game? And the coaches should have done a better job—especially in preparing for the Peach Bowl. Then there was the Auburn loss at LSU where the Tigers gave up a 20-point lead. It was that game more than the SEC championship game that kept Auburn out of the playoffs. But the reality is it happened. It’s history. So what’s next for the program?
With the loss of both Johnson and Pettway and key defensive players Auburn will be in a rebuilding mode in 2018. The good news is starting quarterback; Jarrett Stidham decided this weekend to return. And Auburn has some talented younger guys ready to step up. But it’s going to take a massive effort and a bit of fortune to get back to where the Tigers were when they dominated the Tide 26–14 in the Iron Bowl. Having to play both Alabama and Georgia on the road next year makes that an even bigger challenge.
It will also be a rebuilding season of sorts for Auburn softball. First year coach Mickey Dean has the charge of restoring order to a proud program that was devastated in the offseason by the news surrounding Clint Myers’ retirement as head coach. Gone from the program are College World Series veterans Kasey Cooper, Haley Fagan and Carlee Wallace. Auburn has started preseason practice, and Zach Taylor has done an excellent job previewing the 2018 Tigers.
Who would have thought before this season that the Auburn basketball team would be one of only two teams that are undefeated in the SEC? That’s where the Tigers sit after Tennessee (a 10-point loser to Auburn last week) defeated Kentucky Saturday.
The Tigers (14–1) are off to their best start in more than a decade. They have been great at the foul line, are playing great defense, and are fun to watch. Bruce Pearl has definitely brought excitement to a program that was ho-hum before his arrival. “Look, I came here to bring good things to Auburn, and we’ve brought some,” Pearl said. “I’m accountable for the things that we’ve brought that haven’t been great. [But] we are really excited about what this team is doing. We’re thrilled that people are enjoying it. This is what we came here to do.”
Up next for the Tigers is another home game Tuesday at 8:00 against the Ole Miss Rebels.
It’s only four weeks till National Signing Day and Auburn is closing in on another top-10 recruiting class. With Thursday’s commitment by four-star receiver Anthony Schwartz, Auburn currently sits at No.9. Coach Kodi Burns has done it again, bringing in another elite prospect. Schwartz, from Plantation, Fla., has elite speed and could become a deep threat for the Tigers’ passing game. He is the fourth four-star receiver to commit to the Tigers.
Be on the look out for scouting reports here at Track’ Em Tigers once the guys sign their letter of intent. Zach has one coming out tomorrow on early signee, Asa Martin.
Speaking of National Signing Day be sure to join us here on February 7th when Atl_AU_Fan will be bringing you the latest in his NSD day open thread. Until next time …