Saluting Phillip Marshall
I’d be remiss if I didn’t start today with the semi-retirement of long-time sports writer Phillip Marshall. He’s an Alabama institution, writing for many years at the newspapers in Montgomery and Huntsville before starting Auburn Undercover.com.
While Phillip will continue contributing two columns a week at AUC and a few more stories for AuburnTigers.com, he’s stepping away from day-to-day coverage of Tiger athletics.
Marshall is the most influential Auburn sports writer today and will go down as the greatest Auburn beat writer in history. It’s not a stretch to say things will never be the same now that we can’t read him first thing each morning.
While some people have accused him of being an Auburn homer, if you ever watched him in action, you know that’s far from the truth. As a young sportswriter for The Auburn Plainsman in the late 1980’s I used to watch in amusement and horror each Tuesday morning during Pat Dye’s weekly press conferences.
Without fail every week, Phillip would ask Dye something he didn’t want to answer. This would lead to Dye lashing out in a way only he could at Marshall. To Phillips credit, he never backed down. He continued asking the tough questions and never seemed to mind Dye’s barrage of attacks. Deep down, you could tell Dye had a tremendous amount of respect for him.
Those kinds of stories are what makes Phillip special and why he’s always had the respect of Auburn officials. As a college kid, I used to look at him and think, ‘That’s what a real sportswriter looks and acts like.’
Acid Reign summed it up best last week when he wrote, “He (Marshall) is one of the last of the old-school football reporters, who actually writes about the sport with a bit of reverence. When the whole world was predicting the death penalty for Auburn over Cam-gate, Marshall had the courage to tell the truth. He was widely ridiculed for saying that nothing would come of the investigation, but look how that turned out.”
I know I speak for everyone here when I say good luck Phillip!
Job well done…
Auburn’s hiring of Gus Malzahn has apparently not impressed a lot of people – at least in the short-term. Las Vegas clearly believes the turnaround will take place faster at Arkansas and Tennessee than on the Plains.
News last week that Auburn has been made underdogs in all of its SEC contests (except Ole Miss, which doesn’t have a line yet) is something of a surprise despite the disaster of 2012.
While the Razorbacks and Vols are starting over too, the betting line at The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas puts Auburn a 3.5 point dog heading to Fayetteville on Nov. 2 and then a whopping 8.5 point underdog to Tennessee a week later in Knoxville.
Auburn sits an 11.5 point favorite heading into its season opener against Washington State on Aug 31. These lines have no real merit right now, considering we are months away from the actual games, but it goes to show that despite some really good recruiting classes in recent years, the effects of last season are likely to linger in the psyche of the national media.
Low expectations are not necessarily a bad thing…