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To Be Disciplined, To Work Hard, and To Bleed Orange and Blue

By on March 19th, 2013 in Football 5 Comments »

He was a part of some of the most glorious years of Auburn Football – the decade of the eighties. It was a time when the Tigers dominated the South Eastern Conference. From 1983 – 1988 the Tigers had the fourth highest winning percentage in the nation.

He played on two SEC Championships and was captain of the team that came with in one point of playing Notre Dame for the national championship in 1988.

Many great players stand out from that ’88 squad. It was a  team that had three All-Americans: Tracy Rocker-DT, Benji Roland-DT, and Walter Reeves-TE.

Twelve players were named to All-SEC teams including Reggie Slack-QB, Quentin Riggins-LB, Tracy Rocker-DT, Benji Roland-DT, Carlo Cheattom-CB, Stacy Danley-RB, Walter Reeves-TE, Ron Stallworth-DT, Jim Thompson-OL, Rodney Garner-OG, Greg Staples-S, and Brian Shulman-P,

The team is remembered by many as the best defensive team in Auburn history. The Tigers defense was ranked No.1 against the run, No.1 in scoring defense, and No.1 in the country in total defense. In addition Tracy Rocker was voted the SEC player of the year and won both the Outland and Lombardi Trophies.

But lost in memory for most fans is the fact that the ’88 Tigers were also pretty good on offense. The Auburn ‘O’ averaged 446-yards and 32 points per game.

Reggie Slack completed over 60 percent of his passes for 2,392-yards. James Joseph and Stacy Danley combined to rush for nearly 1700 yards with Danley coming just shy of the 1,000 yard mark.

In addition the legendary Freddy Weygand led Auburn’s receiving corps with 41 receptions for 617-yards. And none of it could have happened without a great offensive line. As usual the positions that compile the statistics get the glory. The OL guys just labor a way with little fanfare.

Nevertheless his teammates knew what type of a player he was …

As a pulling guard, they knew how important he was to the success of the offense. As the ultimate team player they recognizd his leadership ability. That’s why they elected Rodney their team captain.

Rodney Garner was so respected by his team mates that 25 of them returned to campus to be with their former teammate when he was introduced as the Tigers new Assistant Head Coach in December, 2012.

It was a happy and proud moment for not only Rodney but his former teammates as well. Garner said on that day that they had all learned so much from Coach Pat Dye, and not just football but about discipline and accountability. He promised that would be what he would bring to the new staff assembled by Gus Malzahn …  “discipline and accountability.”

He told Malzahn, “I’ve always been an Auburn Man. I want a part (of restoring Auburn). I just want to be on the team. I’m going to be the most loyal team member that he has. I’m going to work hard every day. I bleed Orange and Blue.”

The former player has returned to the place where he was the consummate team player. And now that the Tigers are beginning spring training, 85 young Tigers are going to learn from the best what it means to be disciplined, to work hard, and to bleed Orange and Blue.


  1. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    I pray he is right…


  2. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..I’m looking forward to seeing what Mr. Garner can do. We’ve got too many junior and senior “recruiting stars” to get pushed around up front like we have the past two years!

  3. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    Good read ATM, I really excited to have him back on the plains.

  4. AUwaterboy AUwaterboy says:

    Rodney Garner has played with the best, recruited the best, and coached the best. Expecting great things from him.
    That 1988 team should have had a chance at a national championship but Notre Dame ducked them for fiesta bowl I think.

  5. Im4Auburn says:

    Great story and a great coach. Welcome home Coach Garner!