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Saluting Phillip Marshall

By on June 10th, 2013 in Football, News 10 Comments »

phillip marshallI’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…

10 Comments

  1. daledotwd says:

    I always enjoyed the content PM provided. He seemed to struggle with getting feedback that was not stroking him on Auburn Undercover. I have canceled my subscription to 247Sports because it nauseates me to read the recruiting speculation and comments.

  2. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    It has been my pleasure to read Mr. Marshall’s work. I always appreciated his criticism as well as his support.

    Vegas and everyone else will dismiss AU until we A) Find a SEC caliber QB.
    B) Prove we can field a SEC caliber defense.
    With the exception of Cam Newton, Auburn has fielded neither since 2007.

  3. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..The funny thing is that Arkansas and Tennessee are looking for quarterbacks, too. There are a LOT more missing pieces on both of those teams, than Auburn has to deal with.

    • daledotwd says:

      I agree with you. I think Coach Malzahn is in great position to be Coach OF The Year. WDE

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      If Malzahn and Lashlee can find a serviceable QB AU will surprise quite a few peeps. I really believe the defense will see marked improvement.

  4. dabble says:

    i think the days of good sports journalism have been murdered, or at least fatally shot, by the 24.7.365 needs of internet publishing. guys like him will not come again. the world is different. shame and good. but different. what is the line about my 90 year old pop. …only two things he cannot stand: change and the way things are.

    Auburn hired the right coach and got lucky with ellis being available. So glad that momma was able to get garner and craig back. how cool is it to see craig tossing the ball around…….
    gonna be a good year on the plains.

    • daledotwd says:

      I agree Dabble. It is good to see craig on the plains again. I all ways felt we had a chance when he was playing. 247 & ESPN have done to sports what CNN and FOX did to news. SOS repeated constantly and you have to filter carefully.

  5. Todd92 Todd92 says:

    Phillip Marshall was never my favorite writer but I have certainly learned to like him since the attempted smearing of AU by the cowards at the NewYork Times, ESPN, and in general by the masses. I wish he had been as outspoken about Lowder in the eighties and nineties as he was about Cam and the many detractors… But I also recognize that he may have been shut out of the program if unsuccessful. Either way I typically enjoyed his articles…. Good luck PM.

    As to the early lines in Vegas…. Put a hundred down on a parlay for AU to cover all the early lines. I wouldn’t bet on AU winning any of the games, although I think we will win more than not, but AU will most likely cover these Lines with ease… Especially the A&M and Bama games.

  6. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Phillip Marshall is the last of a dying breed. Guys who relied on telling the truth instead of sensationalism.
    Great tribute Jay.
    Best wishes to Phillip!

  7. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    He will be missed.

    War eagle Mr Marshall.