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Monday Musings…

By on December 10th, 2012 in Football 20 Comments »

The hiring of Gus Malzahn last week was met with a collective yawn by the college football community. Considering Auburn’s last football hire was met with bewilderment and laughter, I suppose things are improving.

Clearly, Malzahn was the safe choice. In the end, it will likely prove to be the right one. When you’ve recruited the last four years around the spread offense, why not capitalize on it? Malzahn’s return clearly gives Auburn the best chance to win now.

Kirby Smart would have been an interesting choice, but much more of a gamble considering his age and experience. Sometimes it’s worth taking a chance; in Auburn’s case now is not the time. The talent is on campus. It just needs to be coached…

The ESPN documentary on Bo Jackson was the finest piece I’ve ever seen on the former Auburn star. What was shocking to me was the number of people who tweeted afterward that they never remember Bo in an Auburn uniform.

It seems like only yesterday that I was watching him dominate in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Now there’s an entire generation who don’t remember him on the Plains. I’ve tried over the years to explain to my kids how special he was to Auburn. After Saturday night, they now know why…

High school kids decommitting is nothing new. Auburn’s had its share of good and bad fortune from it. However, Reuben Foster’s backing away from Auburn since the Malzahn hiring has rubbed me the wrong way.

There’s no doubt the kid has immense talent. But there’s something terribly wrong about a player that commits to a school based on one coach – in this case, former Auburn assistant Trooper Taylor.

Even before Malzahn was hired, Foster made it clear he would look elsewhere if Taylor was not retained. Call it immaturity, but Foster seemingly putting himself above Auburn to save Taylor is unacceptable.

He now says he’ll talk again to Georgia and Alabama among others. If I’m Auburn, I pull his scholarship offer. He sounds like a primadonna to me. The last thing Auburn coaches need is another one of those on campus. I say take his talent and big Auburn tattoo somewhere else…

I was quite surprised that Malzahn didn’t retain strength coach Kevin Yoxall. He’s widely regarded as one of the top in the business. Reports say he was undermined by the former coaching staff in recent months, to the point where workouts were no longer mandatory.

Maybe Malzahn figured so much credibility was lost among the entire staff that a complete change was needed…

Is it time to start the Tony Barbee death watch? While most fans don’t realize basketball season is under way, Auburn has quietly jumped out to a 2-5 start. With losses to Murray State, Dayton, Boston College, Rhode Island and DePaul, it’s looking more likely that Barbee will join Gene Chizik at season’s end unless something miraculous happens…

A lot of people were shocked when Tommy Tuberville bolted to Cincinnati over the weekend. Not me. I’ve visited Lubbock, Texas. It’s not somewhere you want to spend a lot of time. That said, Cincinnati just doesn’t look like a fit for Tubs. I can’t see it…

The hiring of Bret Bielema at Arkansas may have grabbed all the headlines last week, but the hire looks really bad. There’s no arguing his success. He’s a fine coach – for the Big 10.

Now he’ll try to bring his brand of pro-style offense to a team that has few athletes suited for it. It’ll be interesting to watch how an Illinois native relates to the fans and recruits in Arkansas and around the South. It will take three to four years for him to fully implement his system. Will Razorback fans be patient? I don’t see it working…

Johnny Manziel’s acceptance speech at the Heisman Ceremonies in New York Saturday was every bit as impressive as his play on the field. It’s hard to believe he was going to the prom two years ago…

20 Comments

  1. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Brother, I remember Bo Jackson. While we had talent at AU before him… in the likes of James Brooks, William Andrews and Lionel James….we never had the coach. Add the two together… where you have an offensive line and then just raw talent at running back… it was awesome to watch.

    Bo for it!

    Bo over the top!

    Bo was a force in his own right. He will forever be remembered at Auburn University wearing number 34. I still say while Hershel was good… Bo was better.

    WDE

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      And yes… AU will need a new coach at basketball and baseball. It is inevitable. But before that can happen, it needs to replace Jacobs. I hope my prediction comes true…

      bring on Pat Sullivan.

      WDE

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        Incidentally… did you see how much money they are paying Bielema? I think he knows what you said in terms of his abilities in the south. I think he is getting his pay out up front just in case he pulls a Chizik.

        And tubs… well, I have always said Tub’s has proven you can never be happy at one place. And yes, I have been to Lubbock… I guess there are worse places though. How about El Paso?

        Seriously… Tubs won’t last long at Cinci… he is on his way out. He just wanted to get where there was green grass again.

        WDE

  2. mikeautiger says:

    I remember Bo’s first game. He had not been in the game yet and the student section then e whole stadium began chanting “We want Bo, We want Bo.” He was finely put in the game and instead of 3 yards and a cloud of dust he went for I think 8 yards and the fans went crazy. After watching the 30 on 30 I realize even my memory could not remember how great it was. I really enjoyed the presentation.

  3. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    I consider myself fortunate to have competed against Bo in high school football and track & field. He didn’t play much, if any RB against us. For some reason McAdory started a running back named Vincent Rivers instead of Bo. I have seen some outstanding track & field athletes but none of them compared to Bo Jackson. I always thought that he should have trained and tried out for the decathlon for our Olympic team. He was that good at everything he did, and I mean EVERYTHING.

    The amazing thing to me about Bo’s college and professional football career is that at the time he was just learning to be a running back.

    I hope I live long enough to see another athlete like Bo but I don’t think it’s likely.

  4. Todd92 Todd92 says:

    Great article Jay. Seems like yesterday, sitting in the student section with my bourbon and coke watching Bo making great opposing players look average. Also used to watch him take batting practice….. Incredible.

  5. Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

    I am fortunate that I have been able to see two of the best college athletes play at Auburn. The Bama coach who spurned Bo Jackson was Ken Donahue. I wonder what words “The Bear” had for Donahue when Bo went over the top. Also, Mark Richt was recruiting Cam Newton as a tight end. It does me realize that coaches are human and they are subject to making mistakes just like us.

    It was a bad season for the Auburn fans, but there are better days ahead. I will always wonder how Chizik could just go thru this losing season thinking that the product on the field was going to get better.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      If I remember correctly Bama wanted Bo to play LB. He would have been just as good at LB as he was RB, but Bo wanted to play RB. I think Bama also told him it would be several years before he could start, but what really motivated Bo was that they told him as long as he was at Auburn, he would never beat Alabama. Bad move.

  6. MyAuburn myauburn says:

    I was a VERY young coach at a Birmingham Jr. High School when Bo was also a 7th-8th grader. We had a track meet against his school and he almost beat us by himself. Won every event he was in easily.

    On another note, I did not yawn when Gus was announced as HC, I was very excited. There are so many positives to his hire it is hard to think of any negatives.

    We won’t win any championships next year but I bet we will surprise people.

  7. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    The 30 for 30 production was nothing short of spectacular. What I didn’t realize was that Mr. ToTM was a huge fan of Bo Jackson when he was growing up too. I thought it was just an Auburn thing. But, he had his first baseball card and the card/poster that had Bo in football pads, balancing a bat on his shoulders…..Of all of the Auburn talk that happens in my house, I had no idea that Bo was a childhood hero of my non-Auburn husband! He wants to find the baseball card and frame it and put in Little ToTM’s room….right over his MNC football…makes me happy (and warm-for those of you keeping score, it is a crisp 3 degrees on the Prairie this morn).

    The Reuben Foster saga has rubbed me the wrong way too. We will survive without him. IMO, he’s burned the bridge. Yes, I realize that he’s 18 years old, and 18 year olds are not known for the prudence–but I would like to think that they have a modest amount of humility. Let him be Saban’s or Richt’s problemo…..

    I yawned with the hiring of Malzahn. You know, you want something shiny and new……..but, he’s proven to ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK! So his hiring is splashier than initially anticipated. I think that we are going to enjoy the Malzahn era at Auburn. War Eagle!

  8. AUwaterboy says:

    Let Reuben Foster follow TT to where ever he winds up. We don’t need anymore guys that feel entitled. Had enough of the Angelo Benton and Mike Dyer types.
    on other note, the Bo Jackson piece was great, can’t believe ESPN could put something out like that.

  9. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    I made my family sit down and watch the Bo special so they would understand why I have an autographed picture, helment and Beckett monthly card collectors guide where he is dressed up in Orange and navy Superman (AU shield) outfit with his jersey and pads hanging up behind him. I was a freshman in ’85 so I thought Bo was the end all be all….and he pretty much was. My wife and kids must have said “Did he really do that?”, at least 10 times. The beginning was great, where they recounted all the legends surrounding Bo and that he was probably the last great American legend where his fame was based solely on word of mouth.

    As good as Manziel was on the field this year he was equally impressive accepting the Heisman, he did all the right things, and any kid that makes his Dad bawl his eyes out in pride gets a big thumbs up from me.

    Tommy T on the move again? And who’s surprised? The man never met a job opening he didn’t like. I never liked him because for the “Auburn Family” crap he used to espouse, he was always out playing footsy with whoever had a job opening so he could get renegotiate his contract and get a nice raise regardless of what kind of season he had.

    Foster. If he wasn’t a 250 lb beast of a MLB, I would say good riddance to bad rubbish, but we REALLY need an enforcer in the middle of our D. I’ll hold my tongue until he decides where to take his talents.

  10. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    There are many videos that attest to his blinding speed but one of my favorite ‘Bo’ memories is on the YouTube video titled “Bo Jackson “The Greatest Athlete Ever” at about the 1 minute mark. Bo hits a one hopper to the second baseman (who is understandably playing a little back). The fielder takes five steps, scoops the ball perfectly and throws smoothly in stride in text book form for an easy out.

    The only problem is that in the video, Bo has beaten the throw by a mile. He’s at least three steps past the bag before the ball reaches the first baseman. Easiest call the first base umpire had to make that entire day.

    Another comparison: Usain Bolt is the fastest human to ever run the 100 meters in history. In his record setting performance in London, the video clocks his ’40’ time at about 3.96 seconds. This means that Bo Jackson’s 1986 NFL combine time of 4.12 is only 0.16 seconds off the fastest man who has EVER ran that distance on the planet, despite being four inches shorter and 20 lbs heavier than Bolt (a distinct mechanical disadvantage in Olympic class sprinting).

  11. sparkey sparkey says:

    You know Jay, this time you’re way off base with Rueben Foster. It rubs you the wrong way huh?

    You ever think it rubbed Foster the wrong way too? No, it’s not a logical feeling on his part, but try to put yourself in his position for just a bit. His two best friends happen to be the sons of Curtis Luper and Trooper Taylor. He’s grown very attached to both of these men as well. He’s known these guys now for four years.

    This is not your average decommit with Foster. This is nothing like what happened with Yeldon. For the record, I happen to think he ends up with Auburn. So, you might want to slow down your comments towards him he may end up in orange and blue after all. The school means a ton to us and we love it. We will always cherish Auburn and hold it very high. Foster has not had the opportunity yet of actually being an Auburn student and getting the full AU experience.

    Gus axed everybody. You guys ever wonder why Yox got axed too when you like him so much? Gus is making a statement. I would also like to add I happen to agree with him. He felt a complete change was necessary and it had to be fast and clear. That’s exactly what he did. Now in the mean time, Foster sees a man who has become like a father to him get fired along with everybody else. On top of that, but he’s seeing AU fan after AU fan hold negative feelings towards Trooper Taylor. The man who is serving as a father figure for him and whom he thinks the world of whether rightly or wrongly.

    I’m not saying the kid was right in what he did. But, I am saying that you can actually see virtue and a sense of nobility from that action. He is loyal to those he loves. If he makes it to Auburn University he will be loyal to our beloved institution as well. War Eagle everybody!