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Friday, February 15, 2019

Changing The Mindset at Auburn


Gus Malzahn takes a beating sometime as the head coach of the football program at Auburn University. let's not kid ourselves though, it's a program. There are tons of moving pieces to any college football program, and coaching the team is just one part.

The head coach is the person in charge of the football team, and it's day to day operations. Recruiting, team functions, and scheduled practices, off season workouts all fall under the purview of the head coach. 

How the team travels, football facilities, and athletic administration are not duties for head coaches on a normal basis. Sure, he has a voice in facility amenities, such as a theatre, or how many meeting rooms and so on. The head coach does not have the final voice on whether he gets his wish or not. 

These decisions fall on the Athletics Director, the University President, and the board of directors. This is where the money flows to and from.  This also is where Auburn has fallen way behind. 

While Auburn may have better facilities than 97%*** of the college football world, it's the upper 3%  they wish to be recognized with. With every month that passes, Auburn falls farther and farther behind.

I have stated over and over recruiting is the life's blood of college athletics. My prediction is this: If Auburn continues to waffle on ALL of it's sports program facilities, it will continue a downward spiral. 

Yes. Auburn has sported some great teams in recent years. What current recruits see when they visit, is not the most modern, and certainly not the "coolest" facilities in the conference. WHY?!?!

Recently we have seen many top end recruits choose other places to play, and at least part of the reason is facilities.

Keep in mind, facilities in and of itself won't sway recruits when they can be compared to other top programs. It's when they don't compare, where the problems arise. 

The message recruits get is a lack of commitment  from the university, so why would we expect them to commit to Auburn? Those who lead Auburn must change their mindset as it pertains to facilities.

Track and Field, Softball, Baseball, and Football all are in desperate need of facility upgrades. It MUST get done!

Yes, winning cures a lot of problems. I won't argue against that. Facilities show a commitment by the university, no matter who the coach is. 

War Eagle!

*** statistical information not available = my best guess 💀

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Experience - Single

This song came across my screen while on Twitter. Anthony Lewis says his Dad wrote the song. When I asked Anthony what his Auburn story was, his response was this:



" But the story is My dad was a Auburn tiger transit Driver from 2003 to 2010 and a HUGE AUBURN FAN!! ... But one day he was driving some students to their stop and a certain student was talking about preparing to move on from Auburn and starting a new chapter and she began to talk about all the things that she would miss about Auburn and the good times she had while in school... And my father being a BIG AUBURN FAN all his life was inspired by that because it's always a amazing experience every time we are on the campus or watching a game or just out and about in Auburn and we just LOVE The university and the people at Auburn!! It's just Great to be apart of The AU Family."



Sunday, January 20, 2019

2018 Auburn Football Senior Thanks


Thank You, Seniors!





The 2018 Seniors have been a truly amazing group. We have seen some spectacular things from you all.
I know there are a ton of things that take your time that no one will ever know about or seen.
I know there were peaks and valleys. I know there were days that it was really hard to keep going.
You may not think that people notice, but people do.

A few years ago, I decided to write a thank you note to each seniors individually, and it has turned
into an annual event that I look forward to writing. I also have included the players that are leaving
early for the draft.  

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything that you have done.
I present to you the 2018 Senior Thanks. To the seniors- I know you will do great things!


Photo property of @tatershell


Used with permission from @elishalehman


Deshaun Davis-
Deshaun, thank you so much for all you have done from Auburn both on and off the football field.  
Your love for Auburn has been evident from Day 1. You were a consistent leader for your team
and a great representative for Auburn.
I know there were rough days for you. You never let that stop your effort, your attitude or your
leadership. Auburn is going to miss you so much. Thank you for making the last few years so
much fun. I will never forget seeing you being “taunted” by a member of another team
while you grinned and skipped backwards. Being from Mobile, I was a fan of yours from the beginning.

I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you. Whatever it is, you are going to be great.
Please keep in touch with your Auburn family. We will be rooting for you 100%.
I am looking forward to seeing you at the Senior Bowl! War Eagle forever!!

Devin Adams-
Thank you so much for your time and dedication. I appreciate everything you did for Auburn.  
As a fellow Mobilian, I have kept up with you for a while. I know we only got to see you play
a little but it was still great to watch you! I hope you are able to look back on your time at Auburn
and remember things with joy.  
I know you are going to do great things in the future. Please keep in touch with your Auburn family.
Know you have a home with us forever. Thank you so much. War Eagle!

Used with permission from @aurobUSA

Photo used with permission from @kimt205

Chandler Cox-
Boy, are we going to miss you. Your position is kind of an unsung hero type of role yet you made
everyone notice you anyway. Let me say something that I noticed. If you were on the field,
and a player was injured, regardless of which team he was on, you went over to that player
and checked on him. You checked on the players or stayed with them until their medical staff
could get on the field. You also gave others, including fans your full attention and made them
feel important. You made such a huge difference and it is going to be difficult to fill your spot!  
Thank you so much for your effort and leadership. We are going to miss you so much!
I know you are going to do great things. Please keep in touch with your Auburn family.
Visit when you can! War Eagle!

Used with permission from @kimt205

Tucker Brown-
You are everything that is good about college sports. Each time I saw Tiger Walk, you were so easy
to pick out because of the JOY that radiated from you! I loved seeing the big smile on your face!
When you spoke to the media, it was so incredible. I really enjoyed watching that video.
I know you are going to do great things.  Your energy and joy are contagious and positive.
Please keep in touch with your Auburn family.
Thank you so much for your time and dedication to Auburn. You are a wonderful example to
younger ones who have a dream to do something great. War Eagle always!

photo credit @ianshannon38


Ian Shannon-
Thank you for always representing Philip with #43 with class. That’s a big number to wear but you
did it well. That was a serious responsibility. Additionally, you always carried yourself as an
Auburn man AND player. Thanks for all your time and dedication. Punters and kickers are not
really appreciated until they make a mistake. I know you are going to do great things in the future.
Maybe I will fly on a plane when you are the pilot one day! Please stay in touch with your Auburn
family.

Montavious Atkinson-  
We are really going to miss you! All of your efforts and hard work were noticed and appreciated.
All the early workouts, the late meetings, early classes because you had practice in the afternoon.
It is noticed, even when you think it is not.  We thank you so much for everything you did for Auburn.
I know we are going to hear great things from you. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you.
War Eagle!

Used with permission from @aurobUSA

Ryan Davis-
I have personally enjoyed watching you play. I have enjoyed the videos this week of you at the
East-West Shrine Game. You were always such a great leader, team player and player.
We were all rooting for you so much to break the records this year.  I know you are going to do great
things. You have been one of my favorite players the last few years, so I really look forward to
following your career! Thank you for everything you did for Auburn.
We are really going to miss you. Please be sure to keep in touch with your Auburn family!
Come and visit when you can. War Eagle!

Used with permission from @kimt205


Used with permission from @aurobUSA


Jarrett Stidham-
Thank you so much for coming to Auburn. You will always have a home at with us.
Thank you for everything you did for Auburn. We really appreciate it. Your time and dedication was
truly noticed and we appreciate it.  I am so glad that you became an Auburn man. There were some
really fun games and fun times while you were here and we appreciate everything!
I know we are going to hear great things from you in the future. Please keep in touch with your Auburn
family. I am looking forward to seeing you at the Senior Bowl!  War Eagle, always and forever.

Photo credit @_cover22


Darius Slayton-
You made some pretty spectacular catches and made some pretty spectacular runs while here at
Auburn, but what we love more than anything is the person you are. Thank you so much for all of your
hard work and dedication. Your time and effort were noticed. You will always have a place to come
back to whenever you want to or need to. We look forward to all of the success we are going to
hear about in the future. Keep in touch with your Auburn family!  War Eagle!

Griffin King-
Thank you for your time and dedication and Auburn. I know there were long hours of practice,
workouts, meetings and classes. There are so many things that the fans or others do not consider.
Please know that we appreciate and love your dedication to Auburn. I know that we are going to hear
great things from you. Please keep in touch with your Auburn family! War Eagle!

Jamel Dean-
You are surely a fun player to watch. It was fun watching you because we knew at any time that  you
might catch an interception with your little mitt soft cast on your hand. I know you are going to do well.
I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you. I think you are going to do great in the NFL!  
I know we are going to hear and see great things from you! Thank you for all of your time
and dedication to Auburn. You will always have a home at Auburn.
Please visit when you can! War Eagle!

CJ Tolbert-
Thanks for your time and dedication to Auburn. I know there were days that were so busy you did
not know if you could keep going. Class, meetings, workouts, practice, games- it can wear on you.
We appreciate everything that you did. I hope you enjoyed your time at Auburn.
I know we are going to hear great things from you. Please keep in touch with your Auburn family
and visit when you can. War Eagle!

Dontavious Russell-
I am looking forward to seeing you at the Senior Bowl!  It has been great rooting for you the last few
years. I was at the 2017 game vs UGA and it is something that I will not forget. Thank you for
all of your time and dedication to Auburn. I know all of the hard work will pay off for you.
Thank you for your leadership on the team.
You paved the way for the players who will come after you.  We are going to hear great things from
you. Keep up all of your hard work. I know it is going to be great.
Thank you so much for everything! Please keep in touch with your Auburn family and visit when you
can! War Eagle!

Robert Muschamp-
Seeing the video of you finding out you were going to be on scholarship was really a bright spot
for me this year. Those videos are some of my favorite things. Your hard work has been noticed
and appreciated by your teammates, coaches and the fans as well. Thank you so much for all of
your time and dedication to Auburn. You will always have a home with us.
I know we are going to hear great things from you. Please stay in touch! War Eagle!

Chase Cramer- Thank you so much for coming to Auburn. I hope you were able to enjoy everything. Thank you
for your time and dedication to Auburn. I know there were long days and long nights in order to be
a part of the team and do your school work. I know we will see great things from you in the future.
Good luck with everything. Keep in touch with your Auburn family and  visit when you can!
War Eagle!


Used with permission from @kimt205

Darrell Williams-
You are one of those players that seem quieter than others to fans, but you demonstrate some
outstanding leadership skills. Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn and to the team.
I definitely think there will be great things in the future.
They do not award the “Hard Fighting Soldier Award” to just anyone.
Please let us know what you are up to in the future. Thanks for everything that you did for Auburn.
Come visit when you can! War Eagle!

Ryan Meneely-
Thank you for your time and dedication and Auburn. I know there were long hours of practice,
workouts, meetings and classes, studying and probably a million other things.  
Please know that we appreciate and love your dedication to Auburn. I know that we are going to
hear great things from you. Please keep in touch with your Auburn family! War Eagle!

Jaunta’vius Johnson-
First, congratulations on your graduation in December. I know we are going to hear great things
from you in the future. Thank you for your time, dedication and effort at Auburn.
We appreciate all of you guys more than you will ever really know. Please keep in touch with your
Auburn family. Come back and see us when you can. War Eagle always!

Andrew Williams-
You have been a pretty dynamic player!  Thank you so much for all of your hard work and dedication.
It has been noticed and appreciated. I know we are going to hear great things from you in the future.
We watched you grow and mature into an Auburn man. Your leadership on the team has made a
difference and it will be carried on by the players you mentored.
Thank you! Keep in touch with your Auburn family! War Eagle!

Dalton Brown-
We are so glad that you decided to come to Auburn! Thank you for your time and dedication.
You will always have a home with us at Auburn. I know you are going to do great things in the future.
Keep in touch with your Auburn family and visit when you can! War Eagle always!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Looking Ahead

photo from Google archives

As I am writing this, I find myself looking into the future with both anxiety, and hope. Flushing with confidence that next season will be much better ( just like every other off-season). Yet, worried about which coaches will be poached by other teams, which players will declare early for the NFL Draft, recruiting and all of the unknowns associated with this time of year.

My confidence level is high that Jamel Dean isn't the only underclassmen declaring to enter the NFL Draft. I would expect Derrick Brown to declare his intentions soon. Who else might follow?

The early signing period went as well, maybe better, than most expected. I will restate my displeasure for the recruiting services, and their "star ratings."  Since it is the only metric we fans have to go by, I am left with that as a tool to use as a measuring stick, if you will.

By this metric, Auburn pulled off a Top 5 recruiting miracle amid a treacherous storm of  innuendo, and rumor about possible coaching changes that included Gus Malzahn possibly being fired. 

2019 Recruiting Rankings Top 10 (per player rating average 247comp.)

1. Bama (94.04) 2. UGA (93.71) 3. Ohio St (92.16) 4. Penn St (92.12) 5. Auburn (91.90) 6. LSU (91.39) 7. Oklahoma (91.13) 8. Texas A&M (91.09) 9. Oregon (90.97) 10. Texas (90.90)

Thanks to Skye Underwood for the chart. If you follow us on Twitter, please add Skye to your follow list. 

The second signing period should be a fun one to watch. Coach Malzahn is confident the massive blowout of Purdue will help strengthen that part of the recruiting cycle. 

I have rewatched the second half of the Bowl game trying to get a feel of  two players who will be closely watched this spring, and heading into next season. Malik Willis, and Joey Gatewood will be under a magnifying glass, and scrutinized in every way possible by fans, and media alike. None of that will compare to the test they will be put through by the coaches. 

Add Cord Sandberg, and freshly signed Bo Nix to the mix, and any one of them could be named the starter by the end of fall camp. In a perfect world, Nix would be redshirted, and given time to develop his body for the rigors of SEC play. 

Jatarvious "Boobee" Whitlow has the edge at being the starting tailback next season. Shaun Shivers delivered an impressive Freshman season as well, and looks to be in the rotation next season.

Barring a massive change defensively, the Tigers should enter next season with a chance at another very good defense. I'll explore that aspect of our team in another post. 

Here's hoping all of our players remain healthy, and safe during the next year.

War Eagle!


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Going Out In Style

It's the last game of the college football season. The last one I'll watch in its entirety, anyhow.  The Auburn Tigers dismantled a chatty Purdue Boilermaker team by the score of 63-14.

For the first time all season the Tigers offense kept the momentum going on consecutive possessions with TD drives of 75 yards, 87 yards, 18 yards, 75 yards, 44 yards, 65 yards, and 49 yards. All in the first half.  Add to that a pick six on a batted pass attempt  by Tyrone Trusdale returned for a TD by Big Kat Bryant. 

The Auburn defense delivered a gem. Keeping the lid on the Boilermaker offense that had averaged over 30 points per game. Two interceptions, one of which was returned for six points, and holding the All-American Rondale Moore to 104 total yards, and one TD were key. 


With Gus Malzahn taking full control of the offense for the first time in two seasons, the potent Auburn offense blossomed into the monster we had hoped it could become. 

The exclamation point came on the first drive of the second half when Auburn drove the ball 78 yards on 12 plays to go up 63-7. Gus then put the brakes on, and ran as much clock on every ensuing possession. The game ended with Joey Gatewood taking a knee inside the Purdue 5 yard line twice.  

War Eagle!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Plains Football: A Difficult Life

"Difficult" is the word I use when asked about Auburn football.

Life in the Southeastern Conference West division is difficult.

Recruiting against the likes of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, all state named schools, has always been difficult. Can't see that changing anytime soon.

Consistently playing one of the country's most difficult schedules year-in and year-out has proven difficult. A+ for trying though.

Lately however, the difficulty has come from those we thought were close with us. Without denying the disappointing way the season has played out, rumors, and hearsay printed by media outlets close to, but not directly related with the football program.

"Unnamed sources" became the buzzword to create site visits, and spread panic among the Auburn faithful. Needless to say, I dislike these attempts to create viewership, and with some, membership.

Headlines from the Birmingham media have always been slanted to slight Auburn. It's been this way my entire life. 

The problems recently have been from media outlets closer to home.

From reports of renegotiated contracts, to tying the hands of head football coach Gus Malzahn hiring a replacement offensive coordinator, and limiting what Gus could offer, all seem like stories built to destroy any chance Auburn may have had, to remain competitive on the recruiting trail. Much less the direct effect this could have on wins and losses next season.

 If you provide an employee with every tool possible to be productive, and they don't perform, it's time to look for another employee. If you tie their hands, so to speak, that's on you. 

If any of these story lines were, or are true, the problem isn't within the Athletic Department, it's an Administration problem. That's how I see it.

WAR EAGLE!