Midweek Ramblings From The Plains
Will Kam Martin be Auburn's starting tailback for 2018? The decision will probably not be made till fall camp. (photo: USA TODAY Sports)
Auburn basketball is one of four SEC teams to finish the season ranked in the Top 25. The Tigers came in at No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. That’s really not surprising news since finishing at 26–8 and making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. What is surprising is Auburn making almost every news outlet’s Top 10 list for next year, with some picking them to be in the final four. In fact Vegas has given the Tigers the sixth-best odds in the country to win the NCAA Tournament in 2019.
However, these way-too-early polls mean nothing. Yet, while no one can really predict what may happen a year in advance, you can understand the enthusiasm for the Orange and Blue especially if forward/center Anfernee McLemore, guard Danjel Purifoy and center Austin Wiley return to a team that will probably have most of its NCAA Tourney players back.
The basketball team may not have made it this year but the equestrian team is on track to win its fifth national title and third in three years. Last week the Tigers learned they were selected as one of eight teams to vie for the title when Auburn was awarded the No. 2 seed for this year’s championship match. Auburn will face No. 7 seed Baylor on April 19 at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas.
No. 10 Auburn softball will be attempting to reach a program milestone today when the Tigers take on Kennesaw State at 6:00 p.m. CT. An Auburn victory would mark the Tigers’ 800th win in program history.
Question is will Auburn’s leading hitter Taylon Snow be able to play today or even this Saturday against Tennessee? The freshman phenom hasn’t played since suffering a shoulder injury in the final game of the Alabama series. With the team in a hitting slump at .206, the Tigers could really use Snow, who was averaging .416 before her injury.
Speaking of slumps, the No. 13 Auburn baseball team has been on a skid. Since winning its first 16 games the Tigers have gone 6–7 and lost five of their last seven SEC games. But it’s not time to panic. The Tigers (23–7) still have good defense and great pitching. And last night in Plainsman Park the bats came alive as the Tigers drubbed Alabama A&M 19–5. However, the offense has to keep it going against SEC competition. The next chance to do that will come in a tough place when the Tigers play No. 4 Arkansas Friday in the Razorbacks’ 11,000 seat Baum Stadium.
A-Day is usually a time for fans to check out who will be playing at key positions, but this Saturday’s scrimmage is shaping up be more like who will not be playing instead of who will. From quarterback Jarrett Stidham to the receivers to the defensive and offensive lines there has been a rash of injuries.
A major concern has to be along the offensive front where injuries have hit the center position the hardest with Tucker Brown nursing a possible leg injury, Nick Brahms out with a broken leg, and Kaleb Kim on crutches. The coaches will most likely have to call out walkons Phelps Gambill and Trent Kelley Saturday. While it’s a good opportunity for those two, you really want to have your O-Line in place so it can begin to gel now—not in August.
With Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway entering the NFL draft, six backs are vying to be the new bellcow for the Auburn running game. But with only one practice left before the spring game, there’s no decision yet on who will be the one and two guys. Offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey said this week that whoever gets the nod will not necessarily be the best ball carrier. “It will come down to who you trust the most in pass protection,” said Lindsey. [We need] guys we can trust who will block the right people.”
A-Day is set for 3:00 p.m. CT. If you can’t make it to Jordan-Hare, the scrimmage will be carried on the SEC Network. Until next time …