Tuesday Ramblings From The Plains (Valentine’s Day Edition)
Today is the day when people the world over celebrate Valentine’s Day by expressing love for those they care deeply about. And it’s no different in the Loveliest Village on the Plains. There is just no way of telling how many have fallen in love ‘neath the sun-kissed skies of Auburn.
Once you have experienced what it’s like to be in Auburn, you will forever be changed. Many come here and never leave while others come back when they retire. That includes ex-coaches. Former Tiger assistant and Troy Head Coach Larry Blakeney moved to the Plains when he retired last year, Tommy Tuberville lives nearby at Lake Martin, and now Gene Chizik has left his position on Larry Fedora’s North Carolina staff to come back to east Alabama.
It’s little wonder that Auburn is the fastest growing city in the state and one of the fastest growing in the nation. It’s truly a place that you can’t help but fall in love with. Many Auburn couples have gotten engaged on this day, and a popular place to pop the question has often been under the treasured oaks at Toomer’s Corner.
Speaking of the Toomer Oaks, yesterday the university announced the young trees will be replaced yet again. “The fire in September severely damaged the Magnolia Avenue tree,” said Auburn University horticulturalist Gary Keever. And the other tree has not been taking root as planned.
The oaks were planted two years ago on Valentine’s Day. This redo probably means that fans will not be allowed to roll the trees till they have been in the ground for at least a year. The tree removal will begin this Saturday.
Former defensive back Jonathan ‘Rudy’ Ford got some good news Monday. Even though an injury caused him to miss most of the Iron Bowl and all of the Sugar Bowl, he was invited to participate in the NFL Combine to be held in Indianapolis Feb. 28 through March 6. Rudy will be joining Tiger All-Americans Carl Lawson (DE) and Montravius Adams (DT).
Also announced Monday was the game time for A-Day 2017. Kick off will be at 1 p.m. on April 8. It’s hard to believe, but spring practice for Auburn begins February 28. The annual Homecoming date and opponent were also released. The Tigers will host the Mercer Bears on September 16 in the third week of the season.
There has been a lot of talk the last few days about recruiting. Yesterday Auburn moved to shore up its running backs corps with an offer to four star back, Asa Martin of Decatur Austin. According to 247Sports, the 6-foot, 193-pound Martin is the No. 11 running back in the nation. While Martin has left his recruiting open, he has said in the past that he feels like he could be a good fit with the Tigers, and he loves the Auburn family atmosphere. Can you blame him?
Auburn head swimming and diving coach Brett Hawke said he feels, “…really good about our teams this year.” The No. 7 Tigers will be participating in the SEC Championships this week in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Finally, March Madness is just around the corner. While it looked like Bruce Pearl’s squad may have blown its chances last week when they let a 20-point lead slip away in Oxford … all is not lost.
Despite the ups and downs of this season, the Tigers still have a shot. That’s if Auburn can upset No. 17 Florida tonight in a home game. No doubt, the Gators present a big challenge. But for Bruce Pearl, the question is which team will show up tonight in the Arena. The one that beat Oklahoma, U Conn, and swept Alabama, or the one that let Ole Miss up off the mat last weekend?
Game time for the Valentine match is set for 6:00 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. If you’re like me and have to be at a romantic dinner with the wife, you can always DVR it. Until next time …
Happy Valentine’s Day!