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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!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Auburn's Quarterback Room

Image result for 2018 auburn qb's
photo courtesy of Montgomery Advertiser
We will never know what Kelly Bryant could have accomplished in a Gus Malzahn offense. We do know Gus wanted Bryant at Auburn, after reports surfaced Malzahn visited Bryant hours before his ultimate decision. 

Is Bryant that "game changer" type QB? Could he have lifted the Auburn football team the way Cam Newton did? 

As unfair as those questions are, it's not difficult to decipher the desire Malzahn had for Bryant to come to Auburn. That won't happen, as Bryant chose Missouri as his final college stopping place.

Let's take a quick look at our current QB roster. The most experienced player is Malik Willis. A Sophomore out of  Roswell High in Roswell, GA Willis was a a 3 star Athlete. A QB project that could run and throw. Everyone thought he would be a fill in type player, and few gave him credit to be a starter at Auburn. How could they? With Jarrett Stidham, and Woody Barrett, the QB Gus had tabbed as his "guy" ahead of him. 

Next we look at Joey Gatewood. Gatewood has spent his brief time at Auburn on "Muscle Beach."***  Recovering from undisclosed injuries during his first campaign as an Auburn Tiger.

Highly touted as a Dual Threat QB, The 24/7 Composite Index has him listed as an Athlete. This begs the question as to whether Gatewood has the qualities to lead the Auburn football team as a starter. Some sports writers think Gatewood is the best QB Auburn has signed in years. 

"He'll be in the running to be the quarterback of the future, which could begin as soon as 2019."

The title of Most Interesting goes to Cord Sandberg. The Bradenton, FL prospect spent six years as a professional baseball player, in the minor leagues, before the former 4 star QB chose Auburn. Out of high school, Sandberg was listed as the 8th highest rated Dual Threat QB in the country, and signed with Mississippi State.  

With Bo Nix, the son of Auburn's Patrick Nix, Auburn will have depth, talent, and maturity in it's QB room. Except there isn't a QB's coach as of this writing. Neither is there an Offensive Coordinator. 

How all this plays out, is up to a beleaguered Gus Malzahn. Who does Gus trust to develop quality depth, and a winning group of leaders at this position? 

Auburn needs a coach that can bring out the best in the guys at this position and run an offense that can score lots of points. 

WAR EAGLE!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Good News & Bowl Games

Image result for music city bowl logo
The Auburn football program received the best news possible Sunday. They are headed to Nashville, TN to play in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl on Friday December 28th.

Kickoff will be at 12:30 pm Central Time

Auburn and Purdue each have a long history of football. The Boilermakers have played football since 1887 and are ranked 48th among F.B.S. schools in victories. 

The Tigers have been playing football officially since 1892. This will be the first ever meeting between these two schools on the gridiron. 

The best news to surface over the weekend however, came in the form of a news flash. Gus Malzahn told his staff that he would be returning next season. 

"Malzahn told his assistants at a Sunday morning staff meeting he was not going anywhere. Other sources confirmed that president Steven Leath and trustee Raymond Harbert, who represented Leath in negotiations with Malzahn, will move forward with Malzahn." https://auburn.247sports.com/Article/Gus-Malzahn-to-be-Auburns-coach-in-2019-125773564/


WAR EAGLE!


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Turmoil: Real or Perceived?


Nowhere on Earth are college football dreams sent crashing, like they are at Auburn. 

2018 was widely looked upon as the year Auburn was going to cement itself as a top tier program in the SEC along with UGA and Alabama. 

The disappointment that unfolded with these expectations has brought on the turmoil we the fans are facing today.

Reports are that Gus Malzahn has been asked to renegotiate his contract. Wednesday 11/28/2018 Tom Greene of AL.com reported a statement had been released by University officials: 

"“We don’t have a statement, and nothing has changed since statements made by both the Athletics Director and the President, which you have previously reported,” a university spokesman said in an email Wednesday afternoon."

Whether or not any such re-negotiations are in fact ongoing, one has to wonder, are the reports real, or perceived? 

The email sent by the university spokesperson would indicate the reports are false.

I am counted among those that thought, even with one of the toughest schedules in the country, Auburn should end the regular season with no more than one loss, and as a candidate in the CFB Playoff. 

Wrong.

It's been said: "Auburn is a perennial 4 to 5 loss program. Occasionally putting together great seasons." 

Today, as I type this, I can't offer evidence to suggest otherwise. Yes, there have been several seasons where Auburn went undefeated. Many more however, have suffered 5 losses.

My hope has been that Gus Malzahn could get Auburn over that hump. I would like nothing more than to have Auburn football highly ranked, at the beginning and end of every season with a shot at playing for the national championship. I would prefer Gus Malzahn be the coach that gets them to that point. 

War Eagle!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

More Questions Than Answers

Life has a way of throwing you curve balls. I must admit I was never really good at hitting. Please accept my apologies for not posting as often as I have in previous football seasons. I won't bore you with the details, just know, I never meant to abandon you.

Now That I am back on the keypad, I'll try to keep the posts coming somewhat regularly.

Now, let's review the Iron Bowl.



A stinging, yet not unexpected loss to our cross state rival has us all questioning the state of our football program. Will there be coaching changes? Will there be coordinator changes? Will someone try to poach any of our defensive coaches?

These are just some of the many questions I have asked myself.

Auburn lost in a different way against our intrastate rival. Our DB's were beat almost consistently with the deep pass.

With Greg Brown, and the addition of Marcus Woodson, I had hoped that would not be the case. Yet there we are in our last game of the season giving up 377 passing yards with 14 passing first downs, 11.4 yards per attempt, and 6 TD's.

Incredible as those numbers are to digest, Auburn's defense held our opponent to their worst first half numbers of the season, and were only down 17-14 at the half.

The worst quarter for Auburn all season against their top opponents has been the 3rd. So it was again in the Iron Bowl.

Still, I can't lay the blame for the loss solely at the feet of the DB's. The Tiger offense finished the regular season 72nd in scoring offense. By far the worst for a Gus Malzahn coached team.

In time, we will recover from the sting of this loss. We will look at our Bowl opponent, and then to recruiting to bolster the loss of some key players from the past two seasons.

It's Great To Be An Auburn Tiger!


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Auburn putting the "L" in U"W"

Wow, oh what a night! Auburn Men's basketball faces its first top 25 test of the season being ranked higher than their opponent and boy did they deliver like the "Mailman!" The Tigers "Glided" to an 88-66 win over University of Washington which was ranked 25th in the nation coming into this game.



The Tigers jumped out to an early lead Like "The Magicians" they are. Like "The Baby Faced Assassin" The Real Vinoo does not disappoint! With another strong night commanding the floor doing what he does hitting 50% from beyond the arc and perfect from the charity stripe.



With the third most minutes played one Tiger went into Double/Double land with the second game picking up where he left off with his great performance in the first game against South Alabama. With the AP headline reading "Okeke Leads No.11 Auburn past #25 Washington..." All I can say is Chuma is looking smooth like a "Dr." What a great game and I am sure everyone is excited to see what is in store for game 3, 4, 5, and on! Chuma filled every column of the stat sheet with Offensive rebounds, Defensive Rebounds, Blocks, Assists, and Steals! The Auburn high scorer for the night showed that Big Cats can tame Huskies not only football but basketball too.

Okeke with spectators on an amazing statement dunk!

McLemore, Bryce and Doughty did what they do and provided the stability and contribution to allow the Tigers to coast to victory draining the bench with a little over 2 minutes left in the game.

So happy, so many Tigers got onto the court as this campaign continues. We must have a "Next Man Up Mentality." We are deeeeeeeep on talent and when the opportunity presents itself, I expect everyone of our Auburn Tigers to step on that court and do the job as good if not better. This team has amazing chemistry, camaraderie and belief in themselves to finish some business they started last year!



War Eagle y'all this is only the beginning. Shout out to the @AUJungle too for making our 9,121 person arena feel like opposing teams are playing to a packed house in the United Center in Chi-town! What a comment from the UW coach post game about our Auburn Arena atmosphere!

Thank you Justin Lee (@ByJustinLee) for the post.

As Greg Duckworth (@Duck4Auburn) put it best this morning... 



Do not get over your skis y'all a lot of ball to be played and we all know how people love to tear down winners.... stay humble and take every step of this journey to March with confidence and a knowing you have to earn it, and every one wants to knock you down. Don't let it happen! We are already balling in mid-season form in November.

Basketball School too.....

Thank you for taking the time to read and as always love feedback and the debate. 

The un-Official Auburn University everything sunshine pumper!

War Eagle!

AURob (@AURobUSA)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

You really are not fan if you didn't enjoy yesterday #justsaying

I am sure there are some who are not going to like this post at all, good because you are about to be called out. Warning the grammar may not be on point, maybe some typos but I had to get this one out because of the passion I have for the student athletes, the coaches, the teams and Auburn University.

A fourth quarter 10 point come from behind win against a ranked SEC West opponent in a series that since it was reignited in 2012 the home team never has won has our scrappy, never say day, short term memory, never quitting (yeah sort of said it earlier) players going out on the field and delivering a HUGE WIN for themselves, for the fans and for the school they play for. Wow, thank you team for this win, You EARNED it!

Ahhhh my first segue, they EARNED it. It would seem some of you that claim to be fans think you deserve or are owed something by student athletes and coaches. Life clue: no one owes you shit, and you do not deserve anything you, yourself do not earn!~ OMG but Rob, in today's time we expect everything and because we merely type the words, or we say them everyone around us should except them as facts. Sorry, not how it should work and not how it works with the adults in the room. What a couple tweets I came across last night. I am not sure why, but I will protect the owners of these tweets as they may be just off and I don't want to push them further into their dismal abyss...


Bad coach?

This is as of a few weeks ago....yeah, he is out performing in all categories the aggregate of coaches before him, so where did you get your expectations?


Wait, you cannot handle the truth, you do not like facts, you do not be called out for having expectations only set by you and the hype monsters and accept the fact that Gus us delivering. Got that! That is why you cannot be counted as rational.

In another tweet this twit decided to callout a player. This one infuriated me to no end. Seriously doing this to a 18-21 y/o when you do not even know him, obviously watch him, know his skill is amazing and I wish I could bring you up in front of the Family and make the case to eject your ass from the Family because Family never ever should act this way nor is it anywhere in the creed. Not only did the person not see where it "could have" not been the best thing but they doubled down and kept defending themselves. Here is the tweet:


Seriously!?! What fan after watching this team rise like a phoenix out of the ashes and 55 minutes of rock'em sock'em robot football does this to a student athlete starter who is out there and know what fans, his school, his coaches expect from him as an Auburn Tiger football player as well as go to class and get a college education? What fan does this? I will tell you, not an Auburn fan. May be a bammer or a Ugger or a Gator or just a consummate troll but not an Auburn Fan and especially not an Auburn Man.

By the way I will give you my response and this player, is the guy he led Kerryon Johnson into the end zone for the nail in the coffin TD.


And in case some of you forgot about that "Nail" here is the refresher...


One of the best post game tweets though came from a devoted member of the Auburn Family and a Coach in our family who has been leading our Women's Tennis Team.  I could not agree more and yes, this stings but what she says is so true. I think it screams that quality support is way more important than quantity support,




So, I think it is this simple, if you think after a huge comeback win is the right time for negative criticism you may just want to go cheer for another team. I believe 99% of us enjoyed, loved, and wanted truly to embrace that precious comeback moment. Unfortunately for the haters, you continued to scream and tweet the most brainless criticism on the planet when it comes to sport; "fire the coach." It does not take a genius to say this week in and week out. Constructive thought out, building, and not destroying criticism is always welcome if it is in context of the proper set of expectations and measured against the capabilities of what is being measured. All you "righteous fans" protecting us "sunshine pumpers" out there reed and heed this....


And if this was too convoluted a way to send the message let me let one guy that I am sure all of you cheered for and still  throw out there as being proud that he is an Auburn Tiger put it....


Consider all of you boo birds and negative nannies "shut-up" that is not from me that is from a major leaguer.

As I close out this recap of the buffoonery from what I am sure are a small percentage of people who self-identify with Auburn I would like to say War Eagle to the true orange and blue Auburn Family. I am blessed to be a part of you, I was blessed to graduate from this awesome school and I am blessed because of what this institution taught me coupled with my United States Navy career. 

Thank you for all that you all do beyond sport, make a difference and always be the builder not the destroyer. You only deserve what you earn....

God Bless

P.S. Here is the updated Bus Ticket and we are bowling again! My Coach just earned a bonus..... so why do you think he gets a bonus for getting to a bowl game? 😎 Yeah something to think about with 3 games to go in the season. #thankful 



Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Friday night in Auburn

Sorry for the mixup Y'all - pictures should be viewable now. God Bless.

Some pictures for all of us who are not able to be in Auburn on a Friday night before the game - I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

War Eagle

All photos taken by Randy Comer - thank you again Sir for sharing!












Hope you enjoyed these snaps Y'all! Truly the loveliest village....... anywhere....

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sometimes you can be who you are



We are U.

Wow after a big win on the road in Oxford, MS with some great stats it feels like we all can take a much-needed deep breath. At least it would appear on twitter that has happened. The incessant anti-Gus, anti-player tweets have slowed way down, thank you.



Quick run down of the key stats in my opinion; 0 turnovers, 269 yards rushing, Whitlow had 170 yards rushing, only lost the Time of Possession battle by 22 seconds. Still had some areas of concern; 8 penalties for 80 yards, 5 out of 6 of the 3rd down conversions for q (6 of 17) were 5 yards or greater.




For most of us, we know that U is much more than wins and losses, it’s about the U family. Some people like to claim they do not want mediocrity or are not ok with 8-5 seasons and the blah blah goes on and on🙄. All I have to say is chill. Did you see the Ohio State and Purdue game? Sometimes there is a reason or a force on how things are the way they are and supposed to be. Purdue was not being denied and I believe Tyler Trent along with the Good Lord and the spirit of a team to do something no one gave them a shot to do. Obviously, they did it and they were last night who they are, and they showed the world that.




This U team needs to be who they are and we as U fans and most importantly as U family need to accept that. So many people with so many opinions trying to control the situation. Trust in Al Greene, trust in the U coaches and players. They are the only ones that truly know who they are and what they are truly capable of. Every single “journalist,” tweeter, and opinionated blogger (myself included) only speculate. When you speculate, you invariably assume to fortify your opinions. Now for some of you more experienced folks on the planet you know that when you assume it only ends making an ass out of u and me 😊! Oh, and we all know about opinions too, everyone’s got one like something else and like that something else they normally always stink😮.

So, as we head into the bye week why don’t we all take a lot of deep breaths because the rest of our season is brutal! We all knew this stretch of the schedule was coming and now more than ever our team needs us to be positive and supportive. I mean seriously, realistically, I know we all want to win every game but how many would you be happy if we won? 1? 2? 3? The combined record of the final 4 are 23 – 6. We also know the UGA and bama game are not in our house.


I am sure some will answer it is not if we win it is how well we play which I totally get but having proper expectations on where our team is and what they are capable of is key. I do not believe this team wants to lose a single game and I do believe they believe they can win every game. For years and years when I played sports that is the attitude I had, and you must have when you are an athlete but as a fan you have the luxury of enjoying the game without risking your health or making a mistake that ends up being the talk of twitter for a week. So be a fan, enjoy the games and remember these are 18-20+ year old’s playing a game for our University and they deserve our unwavering support.
I know we all had high expectations and all I am saying is don’t let the last games pass you by without enjoying this college football season. Sure, there are going to be ups and downs but embrace the ups and forget the downs. Enjoy them while you can, embrace being around family and friends sharing the tailgating and watch party experiences for those moments are the moments to cherish for a lifetime.
 I read a quote this weekend and it reminded me that we should never waste the moments or try and be somebody that we aren’t because chances are you are who you are supposed to be, so be the best at that.


Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are. 
- Marilyn Monroe



War Eagle y’all, stay positive and believe it when I say it we are stronger together and united as one!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Agony of Defeat

Saturday morning at home, Auburn football lost to an up and coming Tennessee team 30-24. 


Nobody likes losing, period. For the fans this is frustrating, and I get that. Trust me, I do. For these players however, the feeling is hallowing. Agonizing.

Among the goals set for the season, making the College Football Playoff was chief. Everything that this team wanted to accomplish is now not possible.

To make matters worse, there's the beast across the state that has been clicking on all 8 cylinders. There's Florida that has seen a resurgence. LSU waltzed into our house and won, and nothing seems to be going right for Auburn offensively. 

If Auburn can't right the ship, and soon, there will be other consequences. What was hoped to be a Playoff season is now "let's hope we make a Bowl" season. Add to those miseries recruiting will likely take a major hit if the losing streak continues. 

Where does Auburn find the way back to winning football? In the locker room and on the practice field. I for one am hoping they can get it done. For their sake. 

All the other things that happen if this team can't turn it around are on the table. 

I don't want to eat at that table.

WAR EAGLE!