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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Perils and Pitfalls

Circle the wagons, the rest of the SEC will be gunning for us. photo by Celeste Bell

It's no secret. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Auburn will begin its defense of the Championship Trophy, won on the field in Atlanta against the University of Missouri, as the team everyone has set their sights on. 

Their calendars marked, eight different teams on the Tiger's schedule will want to be the first to take down the "Lucky Champions." It all starts with Arkansas at Jordan-Hare on August 30th. It's a brutal schedule that finds itself ranked among the toughest in the land in the early preseason.

This is not unfamiliar ground for us, we long time Auburn fans. With a quick check, we can find that Auburn has begun a season ranked inside the Top 10 eleven times since 1975. Six of those eleven the Tigers finished the season outside the Top 10.  

1975 started off with a euphoric outlook, only to be dashed with 3 losses and a tie in the first four games. The Tigers didn't rebound very well and finished 4-6-1. 

In 1984, after being looked over as the National Champions in January, and starting the season ranked #1 the Tigers set out to prove the doubters wrong. After starting with two straight losses, there were more questions than answers. The Tigers finished that season 9-4.

Unfortunately, in 1985 nearly the same thing happened. Auburn started the season ranked #2 and in the 3rd game of the season lost by 18 to Tennessee. A crushing loss to Florida of 14-10 set the stage for a colossal collapse at the end of the season. Losses to Alabama and then Texas A & M in the Cotton Bowl were the final two nails in the coffin. The Tigers finished outside the Top 25

1987 started an incredible run in Auburn Tigers football history. Three straight years the Tigers started and finished the season inside the Top 10, setting the stage for 1990. That year, Auburn went into the season ranked #3 in the nation. At the end of October Auburn was sitting pretty at 6-1. November as it turned out, was devastating. The Tigers lost on the road at Florida, and then at home against Southern Miss. Then came UGA to JHS and the Tigers looked like world beaters when they shellacked the 'Dawgs 33-10. A crushing loss to the Tide by the score of 16-7 finished the regular season. Auburn ended the year with a win in Atlanta vs. Indiana leaving them ranked 19th.

Same story goes for 1995, and 2003, but 2008 was the worst.  Fresh off finishing ranked #15 in 2007 the Tigers were preseason ranked #10 going into '08. Coach Tuberville had brought in a new defensive coordinator, and offensive coordinator. There was indecision amongst the coaching staff, and division amongst the players.

Josh Dowdy writes in his book Orange Is Our Color; The end of the streak(of beating Alabama) was difficult for me to accept..

Auburn finished with just two conference victories, and a 5-7 record. Auburn fans were dismayed. Changes were coming.

In 2014 Auburn will once again be highly ranked to start the season.  If the coaching staff can keep the players focused, and the lessons of seasons past learned, this team has the potential to rewrite the offensive record books at Auburn.

The one true unknown is the special teams. Gone are punter Steven Clark, Kicker Cody Parkey, holder Ryan White, and return men extraordinaire Chris Davis, and Tre Mason.

The new pieces to this puzzle must be brought up to SEC speed, and fast, if this version of Auburn football is to reach its highest objectives. 

War Eagle!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Auburn Softball Report: April 28th

This is College Football

Ladies and gentlemen, put aside your feelings of the Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema for a minute. this is what college football is like at the University of Arkansas spring game. 

Giving back is something we as Auburn people are proud of, and rightfully so. We are reminded today, that it's not just Auburn that knows how to give back to their fans. 

Enjoy the video.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Arkansas Comes to JHS

Jordan-Hare Stadium photo by Celeste Bell

Auburn vs. Arkansas at JHS Auburn, AL
August 30th, 2014

Auburn has been in the middle of the heated debate of the off season. Under the guise of player safety, Bret Bielema, the Arkansas head football coach, became the spokes person for the slowing down of college football and the proposed "10 Second Rule" that Alabama's Nick Saban named while in support of this.

The debate has been tabled for now, and no doubt will be discussed more during the SEC Convention that will start on July 14th.


Arkansas defensively is led by Robb Smith in his first year as the Defensive Coordinator and Secondary coach. He had this to say the week before their spring game.

“In our opinion, when we got started the one thing we wanted to do was develop a more physical mentality," Coach Smith said. "I think our guys have embraced that. We’re certainly not where we want to be from that standpoint, but it is an emphasis with our players and they’ve really worked hard to bring that mentality each and every practice. There are no days off in this league. You’ve got to be able to line up, buckle the chinstrap and play physical football week in and week out. We’re starting to embrace that mentality on the defensive side of the ball."

I remember hearing Dee Ford tell the media that the most physical game Auburn played during the 2013 season was vs. Arkansas. Look for a new version from the Hawgs, and don't be surprised if Auburn is in a fight on opening day.

Lets look at the numbers from 2013. Arkansas allowed an average of 30.8 points per game while only scoring 20.7 themselves. These numbers place the Razorbacks 89th in scoring defense and 106th in scoring offense.

The Hawg defense allowed 178.42 yards rushing per game, at  4.67 yards per carry. Pass defense wasn't much better allowing 235 yards per game and 7.9 per pass attempt. All of this had them ranked 76th in the nation in total defense.

 Arkansas signed the 26th ranked recruiting class in February.


The Hawgs are led by Jim Chaney on offense in his second year at that position. Here is what the official Razorback site has to say about Chaney.

"In his first season coordinating the Razorbacks’ offense, he oversaw a balanced offense that included contributions from four freshman All-Americans, SEC Freshman of the Year Alex Collins and first-team All-American Travis Swanson. Arkansas’ offense, which included underclassmen starters at quarterback, running back, tight end and two positions on the offensive line, rushed for at least 200 yards in seven of 12 games and broke the single-season school record with just 8.0 sacks allowed. The Razorbacks led the SEC and ranked third in the NCAA with an average of 0.67 sacks allowed per game and also topped the conference and ranked sixth in the country allowing one snap every 37.63 pass attempts.
Arkansas’ 5.28 yards-per-carry average from 2013 ranked as the fourth-highest single-season average in school history. The effort was led by freshman Alex Collins, the second freshman in school history and 10th true freshman in SEC history to rush for 1,000 yards, and sophomore Jonathan Williams, the second Razorback duo to each rush for at least 900 yards in the same season."

Arkansas did run for a very impressive 5.28 yards per attempt last season. On top of that they averaged 5.53 yards per play. These numbers would lead you to believe there was success in Fayetteville, AR, there was not. Their 3-9 record is an indication of the bad season, the fact that all three wins were at home and against non-conference foes is the conviction that this team was not very good last year.

While Auburn is returning a large portion of its National Championship runner-up team, this is still the first game of the season. The Tigers have had a history of starting slow. One huge plus, is that Coach Malzahn seemed to have his team ready and focused each week last season. With the exception of the LSU game, the Tigers were within striking distance of each of their opponents throughout every game, and ultimately successful vs. their regular season foes.

With the home field advantage, the Tigers should win this game. While it's still a long way off, I can't see the Hawgs coming into JHS and walking out victorious. Auburn has the opportunity to break the jinx of preseason lofty rankings. Call it Auburn 38 Arkansas 17 



Friday, April 25, 2014

Tigers Hit the Dramatic Win

Friday night was a special time for the Auburn Tiger Softball team. Playing pretty good defensively, they couldn't get a big inning going, until the 7th inning that is. That's when the Tigers loaded the bases for the Freshman Kasey Cooper. Cooper's grand slam tied the game and opened the door for the unthinkable.

A walk off home run from Brandi Melero for the win.

"We're fighting for our lives right now to get into the SEC Tournament," Myers said. "We've got to win as many games as we can to assure ourselves a chance to get into post-season. This is a post-season team." - from the AUfficial Auburn website and Charles Goldberg.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 Tiger Give Back Community Service Day


After a near miss in 2013 can Auburn add to their NC total in 2014? photo by Celeste Bell

We are set to start a new series here on ATB looking into the schedule, along with our predictions. We will also look into the potential this team has and the perils of previous Auburn teams with lofty expectations faced.

Before we do, there is this video we would like to share with you. It's been up on our blog before, but it shows exactly how far this team came in one season. 

Enjoy the video.

Auburn Football 2013: The Dark Horses from Austin Lacy on Vimeo.

SEC Network 'Take It All In' -- Auburn

I enjoyed Texas A & M's video. I thought Tennessee's was classy. Nothing more special than a Mom singing to her baby. While I am not thrilled with the song choice the scenery in "our" SEC Network spot is absolutely breathtaking.

You can see all the SEC Network spots here

AUHD Game Recap: Baseball vs. South Alabama

Tigers win! Tigers win!


War Eagle!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Auburn Men's Golf SEC Tournament Preview

Auburn Coaches help students get ready for finals

Emphatic BOOM!

AUBURN AUSPY AWARDS(provided by the AUfficial website)

The AUSPY's is an annual event geared toward the entire student athlete body of Auburn University. 

Each year special achievements ranging from the classroom to the field of competition are awarded. The following is the list of those recognized by Auburn University for 2013.

Male Athlete of the Year: Tre Mason, football
Co-Female Athlete of the Year: Pleun Burgmans, tennis and Indy Roper, equestrian
Male Rookie of the Year: Kyle Darmody, men's swimming
Female Rookie of the Year: Caitlin Atkinson, gymnastics
Male Team of the Year: Football
Female Team of the Year: Equestrian
Best Comeback: Women's basketball
War Eagle Moment: Football
Inspiration Award: Women's golf
Passion Award: Lakin Eddy, women's golf
SASS Academic Achievement Award: Jonathon Mincy, football and Chris Denson, Men's basketball
Male Scholar Athletes of the Year: Spencer Kerns and T.J. Leon, swimming and diving
Female Scholar Athlete of the Year: Jennifer Waxman, equestrian
Spirit Award: Equestrian

Here's the A Day intro video, which is a part of the "Auburn Fast" video series we were treated to inside JHS during the A Day game.

War Eagle!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Day in Auburn 2014

Pat Dye and Stan White with fans A Day
My day in Auburn was filled with special moments. I was able to see two good baseball games (Auburn did win the first game) and I saw some future stars on the Auburn football team perform. Some of my thoughts are:

  • Nick Marshall continues to improve at the QB position and will be a "Heisman" candidate.
  • "Duke" Williams and Sammie Coates will be special at the wide receiver position.
  • Auburn will have 4 talented running backs and "Roc" Thomas will likely see some playing time this season. 
  • Auburn's defense will be much better. 
  • Auburn's kicking game will be fine.

I think that my alma mater has a good chance to be in Dallas in January. 

War Eagle!

Coach Malzahn Talks A Day Performances

Thanks to Bryan Mathews for the video.

SEC Women's Golf Championship Highlights

2013 SEC Champions

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Auburn's 2013 SEC Championship Flag

Auburn's A Day Review

Just some passing thoughts before I watch any of the highlights, or read any of the news headlines from the game today.

Nick Marshall is certainly better with his timing route passes. I still see the tendency to look at a receiver all the way through the route. Three separate times I watched as Marshall never looked at any other receiver in the pattern except his intended target. That will lead to trouble if that doesn't change.

Kenny Flowers played lights out. That means he played great! I was impressed with his ability to read the run options. 

Robenson Therezie is still a hitter. He will bring the hammer to anyone who tries him. 

Cameron Artis-Payne looked really good today. In fact, so did Corey Grant. I was dismayed at the loss of Peyton Barber to injury. I was looking forward to watching him run the ball.

Now to the videos.

A Day primer

For those of you that can't make it to A Day today. We have put together a few highlight videos with some help from our friends at AUHD from last season. Enjoy, and War Eagle!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Missouri at Auburn Softball Game Three

A Day

courtesy of official Auburn Athletics website

Another A Day is upon us and the birth of another college football season is coming.
I feel that we could see another special football season for the Auburn Tigers. It has been a long time
since Auburn has had a QB return for a second year. Also, I have to remember that the most of the recruits from 2013 are not even on campus yet.

I am expecting a memorable day. I will begin my day at the Arts Center on College helping out with the Bo Jackson bicycle rides and I plan to watch some Auburn baseball after the A Day game.

Enjoy your time in Auburn next weekend!

This is Auburn Basketball

The fact that we are talking about Auburn basketball in April should tell you all you need to know about the new found excitement level of Auburn Men's Basketball under new head coach Bruce Pearl.

Coach Pearl is close to completing his first staff of Assistant coaches at Auburn. Here is a video from AUHD, enjoy. 


Auburn FB Defensive End Carl Lawson

Auburn FB Wide Receiver Sammie Coates

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Auburn FB Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee

Inspirational Sports Moments

There are moments in every season of every sport that just make you stop and take notice. Today, I want to share with you a very special moment between a Father, his Son, and several hundred fans.

During the video, it is clear to me the struggle between a Father and his Son are universal. This young man clearly wants to let his Dad know that he can do this by himself. The Father though, he just wants to protect his Son. Look for the story within the story, and you see the timeless expressions of both a parent and their child.

Special thanks to and @AndyAutrey for the video.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Leadership at Running Back

Auburn will be blessed with two Seniors in their talented backfield this fall. Both of whom have played in pressure situations on the road and in conference play. That experience will be invaluable come this fall.

Cameron Artis-Payne, and Corey Grant both rushed for over 600 yards each last season. A season that saw another Auburn RB, Tre Mason, break Bo Jackson's single season rushing yardage record.
  "He ran for 1,816 yards this season, which broke Bo Jackson’s single-season school record of 1,786 in 1985, the year Bo won the Heisman. Mason’s total is third in SEC history behind Herschel Walker’s 1,891 yards in 1981 and Darren McFadden’s 1,830 in 2007." - from story

In 2014 however, the offense is projected to be much more balanced than the previous version which ran the ball over 70% of the time. Rushing attempts will be at more of a premium. These players will have to make their mark with every chance they get. Experienced and capable, Payne and Grant will each see plenty of playing time this fall.

The Redshirt Freshman Peyton Barber also is in the mix for playing time. Coach Malzahn has stated that Auburn will pretty much start the season as a "Running Back by committee" until one of them separates themselves from the others.

Having that early in the season, should result in stronger performances later in the season.

Listen as Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne talk with the media during spring practices.

Troy at Auburn Baseball highlights

Auburn seemed to put its current troubles behind them Tuesday evening as they hosted Troy at Plainsman Park. The Tigers won 6-0 utilizing 8 different pitchers in the game.

“I thought we really got after it and attacked the baseball well, and
their arms are pretty good,” Golloway said. “We’ve really worked hard
since we got back from Ole Miss on our approach at the plate.” - from

 “It was a good day for all our hitters. We were hunting the fastball,
and I think we did a good job of that. Success brings fun, and we had
fun tonight. We just have to bring that tomorrow and when we go to play
Alabama over at their place." - from

Next up is our dreaded rival Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The weekend series starts Friday April 11th.

First pitch is set for 6:30 pm.

War Eagle!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fast Track to Better

Did AU Basketball get better by hiring Chuck Person?

Spring is a whirlwind for every college athletic program. Auburn is certainly no exception. Soccer, Golf, Track and Field, Softball, Baseball, and Tennis all are in action once the weather starts to warm.

The added media circus brought on by a new basketball coach and staff just adds to the excitement of it all.  When Jay Jacobs hired Bruce Pearl, things changed around a dormant program that hadn't seen a post season in years.

Bruce Pearl hired Chuck Person, to come home, to Auburn, as an Assistant Coach

Now that Pearl has hired the beloved son of AU basketball, there is suddenly an air of confidence. Not that anyone is bragging, or guaranteeing anything just yet. Suffice it to say, whatever was wrong with Auburn basketball, is no longer. Better days are just ahead.

Thanks to Bryan Mathews of for the video.

The 2013 Auburn Tigers ( Regular Season Highlights )

Just because it feels soooooo good


Spring Practice No. 9: OL Avery Young

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dark Horses w/ Video

Strolling around YouTube trying to get myself some energy this morning, I ran across this video by "rockwoodgroup" I thought you might like to see it as well, so here it is. Enjoy.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Coach Malzahn Presser

Thanks to, we have the presser from Coach Malzahn that happened on Monday March 31st.

This is Why Auburn Will Be Better

Listen as Ricardo Louis talks to the media early in the spring. 

Auburn morning practice FB video

Offense, Defense: Auburn practice Day 7

Looking Forward: 2010 vs 2014

Gus Malzahn is in uncharted territory in some respect. As an offensive coordinator in his previous stint at Auburn, Gus did a fantastic job during the 2010 season with a Senior laden offensive line. Almost every other aspect of his offense that season however, was an unknown to him. 

A Freshman RB would eventually start at the Tail Back position. The other RB was a skinny kid who was fast, but had a propensity for hunting the escape route along the sideline, rather than fight for the extra yards. Mostly unheralded WR's won the starting jobs. An unproven QB was to be named starter. And yet, all that team accomplished was to climb that mountain all the way to the top, and become the King's of college football in 2010.

Toward the end of the 2013 season, Auburn's run games was clicking on all cylinders. Against Tennessee they rushed for   444 yards. Against Georgia 323 yards. Bama 296. Against Missouri for the SEC Championship, the tigers put on a clinic by rushing for 545 yards on the way to the title.

Fast forward to 2014, and we find Gus Malzahn in a place he has never been. A proven WR corps with some quality additions. 3/4ths of the starting backfield returning. Although the starting tailback is gone, his relief from last season is a proven commodity. The same starter at QB from a team that won the SEC the previous season. In addition to once again having a Senior laden offensive line. The prospects of a really good season ahead are all laid out.

Let's take a look at that offense against arguably one of the best Bama defenses.I'll leave it to your imagination as how much better this Auburn team will be in 2014. Let;s talk about it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook.

*special thanks to barrelheadrad for the video...


Bruce Pearl talks new Auburn coaching job (+playlist)