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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Day at Auburn University

I was in Auburn last Saturday to watch the second baseball game of the season against Sacramento State and to serve as a volunteer tour guide. Here are some of the photos that I took as I moved around Auburn's campus on Saturday. The campus was busy as I arrived on Saturday morning. Auburn had a baseball game, a swim meet, a basketball gamed a science fair scheduled. Also, I noticed some football recruits roaming the campus. It was a great day to be on Auburn's campus if you were a visitor or a former student like myself.   

The top photo is Langdon Hall where I spent my Sunday evenings watching free movies with other Auburn students. I even remember taking an Art Appreciation class in that building. As you may know, Langdon Hall is the oldest building on Auburn's campus and it is alleged that the building was haunted.

Samford Hall has now been refurbished and there were numerous people taking photos in front of this historic building. I spent many afternoons studying under the trees near that building.

I wonder how many people actually know that "Erk  Russell" attended Auburn University from 1946-1949.  Many of my UGA friends still think that he attended Georgia since he was the defensive coordinator for so many years. Erk lettered in 4 sports at Auburn and got his bachelors and masters degrees from Auburn. Erk Russell went to Ensley High School in Birmingham, Alabama with my mother and my uncle and he was known as Erskine around the neighborhood.  I had the opportunity to talk with Erk at a Georgia Southern football game one Saturday afternoon and he told me that his heart was always at Auburn. 

The Auburn scoreboard is looking good and was a topic of conversation for the many visitors on campus last Saturday.  It was interesting to watch the kids and the parents on campus just stopping to look up at the scoreboard as they walked to the various events around campus.

The Auburn Football trailer was sitting near the practice field. It is waiting for the next football season to begin.

My final photo is my view of the baseball field from he upper level 
of the parking deck near the end of the game. It does seem to be a great area to tailgate and watch the baseball games.

The Auburn campus is growing each time that I visit. I always seem to be at peace when I do visit the campus.  I always had good days when I was in school at Auburn and I will always be thankful that I chose Auburn to continue my education in this life. As the saying goes, "It  is great to be an Auburn Tiger".

War Eagle!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Kodi Burns Show

The official announcement came on February 15th, 2016. Kodi Burns was coming home to Auburn. 

One Auburn son gone, another takes his place.

Auburn fans would normally have been thrilled at the news of Kodi Burns' return to the Plains. However, the sting of losing former coach Dameyune Craig to SEC West rival LSU hadn't worn off for many when the announcement came.

Kodi first came to Auburn out of Northside High School in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Ranked as an elite Dual-Threat quarterback. 

In 2006, his Senior season "Burns accounted for 2,738 yards 36 touchdowns, rushing and passing" - Wikipedia 
"Totaled 6,020 yards passing and 65 touchdowns in three years as a starting quarterback." - AU Athletics.

 Most Auburn fans remember Burns for being an unselfish young man while changing positions from quarterback to wide receiver. 


His passing ability was utilized once again when Cam Newton was named the starting QB in 2010.

Burns started his coaching career at Arkansas State as a Graduate assistant, then came to Auburn along with Gus Malzahn in 2013. In May of 2014 he went to Samford under Pat Sullivan. In 2015 Burns was hired as a wide receivers coach at Middle Tennessee State University.

While many were lamenting the move of Craig to LSU, there were those who thought bringing Burns back home was a solid move by Gus Malzahn.

Random Thought: 4 teeth knocked out early against LSU, sat 1 series, finished the game. Coach Jordan woulda loved Kodi Burns.

War Eagle!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Thanks to Auburn Football Seniors

A special Thank You to all our seniors
** All of these photos are from my personal collection. 

 For this group of Auburn seniors, thank you. I try to write a personal note of thanks to the seniors each year. This year, I included some of the players who declared for the draft. I hope I did not leave anyone out.

In no particular order, here goes:

Johnathan Jones: Thanks for your dedication and hard work during your years at Auburn. I cannot remember how we connected on twitter, but I know it was right away. I have had the honor of being your prayer person for the last three years. Thank you for always busting your tail on the field, no matter what else was going on anywhere else. I've watched you grow into a real Auburn man. It was an honor to get to meet you at the Senior Bowl. Here you are a new dad with your whole life in front of you. I know you are going to do great things. Thank you for all you did at Auburn. We are going to miss you!

Ricardo Louis: I know most people will always remember you for a miracle catch and a miracle season. I will too, but there is more to you than just that catch. You always had a positive attitude. That means a lot to me. Whether it was on the field or social media, you reacted with grace every single time. You had a quick smile or a positive word every time. I know that you are going to be just fine in your life. I am looking forward to seeing great things from you. Thank you so much for everything you did for Auburn. That 2013 season was something really special to see!

Devonte Lambert:  There are different ways people contribute to a team. It takes everyone to make a team work. Thank you so much for everything you did for Auburn. I know there are many great things ahead of you in life. Keep your head up and go for it every time. I hope that Auburn stays in your heart forever. That is what joins us all. Good luck with everything and thanks for all you did for Auburn.

Cassanova McKinzy: I have never followed recruiting super closely, but I will never forget your time. The Chik-fila thing was probably one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  I was there at the game when you got hurt and had to be carted off the field.  My little nieces were watching so closely. They were so happy when we found out you were okay. You guys put your heart and soul and health on the line every day. Thank you for being such a great team member and influence.  Thank you for everything you did for Auburn. I hope to hear great things from you.

Devonte Danzey:  Thank you for all of your dedication and hard work at Auburn. I was not on a sports team in college, but I was in the band. I know how much time that took, but I know football takes a lot more time. Thank you. We appreciate all the players and their dedication. I know there will be great things in your future. I know Auburn stays in my heart all the time, and I hope it will for you, too. Thank you. I cannot wait to hear about great things from you in the future.

Jonathan Wallace: What can I say?  You have the heart of a lion. I have seen you go out and put everything out on the line when there was nothing you could gain personally.  You were such a great representative of Auburn football, and you always will be. When I think about you, I think of bravery and hard work.  You are a giant among men, Jonathan. I know this for sure: We WILL hear about the great things you are doing.  I would like to thank you for everything you did for Auburn. I hope the joy of Auburn stays in your heart forever.  Thank you for everything. War Eagle forever!

Xavier Dampeer:  There are many things in life that are out of our control. I know this season did not turn out the way you wanted it to, but you continued to be a great representative of Auburn. The important thing is that you did not let it get you down.  A few years down the road, I know we are going to be hearing about fabulous things from you. Keep your head up.  Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn. It means the world to us fans when we know the players are dedicated. Thank you.

Tucker Tuberville: I was so glad to be at the game when you got to play this year! It has been a pleasure to see you over the last few years. Thank you for your dedication and hard work. I believe you are going to be a fantastic coach. Keep your head up and keep up the great work. Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn. It was truly fun to see you play or to see you on the sidelines with your headset calling plays.  You are going to be fantastic. Good luck with everything! War Eagle!

Kris Frost:  You have been such a leader on the field.  Whether it was funny Muschamp impressions or just keeping your teammates heads up, you were a force on the field and off. Your leadership on and off the field was a wonderful thing to witness as a fan. Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn.  I know we are going to hear great things from you. Carry Auburn in your heart and it will always been a joy to see and hear from your Auburn family.  Good luck. War Eagle!
Daniel Pond:  Thank you for everything you did for Auburn. Your time and dedication were not unnoticed. I kept watching out for you because you are from right down the road. I know there will be great things we hear about you in the future, and  I love to hear about great things our former football players are doing. Visit Auburn often~  War Eagle all day long.

Duncan McKinney: I am so thankful you were part of the Auburn football program! You may not think your dedication and hard work were noticed, but believe me when I tell you that they were noticed. Thank you for everything you did for Auburn. I know there will be great things we hear about in the future. I cannot wait to see what is in store for you. War Eagle!

Avery Young: Every step of the way, you showed grace and poise. Whether it was someone asking you to pose in your Iron Bowl pose for the thousandth time or posting pictures of your fishing wins, you showed class every step of the way. We were blessed to have you a part of the Auburn football program. I will never forget that look on your face, even if you get tired of seeing it! I definitely will not forget you! I know we are going to hear great things from you. Keep Auburn in your heart! War Eagle!

Peyton Barber: You are a joy to watch play football. Thank you for your dedication to Auburn football. Your hard work is probably more than anyone ever knew, and we thank you for it. Keep working hard. I know  we are going to see and hear great things from you in the future. It is wonderful for me to see you all succeeding and doing well. We are so very proud of you. Keep working. War Eagle!

Shon Coleman: I saved you for last for a reason. I am so very proud of you. It was incredible to be in the stadium that first game when you were announced in the starting lineup. It was really something special to witness. We prayed for you, and it was amazing to see God work miracles in your life. It would have been easy for you to just take the scholarship and not try to play ball, but you didn't do that. I know there were days you felt like crap and days you were in a lot of pain. Thank you for everything. I know you will do great things. God has a plan for you!  War Eagle, Shon.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Auburn Gymnastics vs Alabama Highlights

One of the happiest bits of news that I could have seen. I really hate that I wasn't able to witness this. 

Congratulations ladies, I am so very proud of you. 



Can You Say Defense Auburn?

Coach Rodney Gardner being congratulated by Gus Malzahn. photo from

I have probably said it a thousand times, recruiting is the life's blood of any college football program. With national signing day for 2016 in the rear view mirror, the coaches can shift gears and focus on developing these new recruits. The time spent this spring and through the summer will be about producing a championship caliber football team.

Superlatives abound when describing the newest members of the Auburn football team. Many believe the Tigers signed one of, if not, the top Wide Receiver classes in the country. Nothing however tops Auburn's defensive line class of 2016.

Coach Rodney Garner "did an excellent job of holding this defensive class together" coach Malzahn stated in his post signing day press conference.

The Tigers got a huge boost in January when Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson both announced they would not declare for the NFL Draft. 

Combined the new recruits with the players already on campus, and the early enrolled players, this could be the best and most talented group of defensive linemen in a single season in the history of Auburn football. Those currently on campus including the early enrollees:

Montravius Adams
Carl Lawson
Raashed Kennion
Jaunta'vius Johnson
Andrew Williams
Justin Thomas-Thornton
Tyler Carter
Dontavius Russell
Aaron Garrison
Gary Walker
Prince Tega Wanogho
Marlon Davidson
Antwuan Jackson Jr.  
Maurice Swain

Defensive linemen joining the team for the summer practices and fall camp are:
Derrick Brown
Nick Coe
Tashawn Manning

The AUfficial website roster shows Paul James III as a Linebacker, even though his recruiting pages list him as a defensive lineman. James III is currently enrolled and on campus.

What can we expect from this group? This could be the year we see Auburn defensive linemen are winning games and choking down opposing offenses. Everything, and I mean everything starts with your defensive line, when it comes to disrupting a good offense. A very recent example of that was Super Bowl 50.

We all know that Carolina had a terrific offense, with a very talented Quarterback. Yet, the Denver Bronco defensive line disrupted and harassed the Carolina offense so much, the Panthers couldn't run their normally efficient scheme.

I'm not saying that Auburn's defensive line will be as good as the Broncos, but the same effect on opposing SEC offenses could very well be witnessed next season.

We have been hoping and praying for a really good defense at Auburn for a decade now. The 2016 Auburn Tiger defense will be the answer to those prayers. 


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here?

Gus Malzahn Has Tigers Eying An SEC Championship(photographer unknown)  

Now that we have settled into the start of the 2016 Football season. 

Wait. What?

Of course I know it's only February 10th. What kind of silly question is that? Oh, I see. 

Let me explain it to you. Around here there are two halves to the annual college football season. 

The first half starts of course, when all the up and coming gridiron heroes that were playing high school football last season, choose where they will play their college football. The world knows it as National Signing Day. Those of us that have given our sport hearts to our favorite team see this as the start of the new football season.

Before the end of the first half, we will be witness to such things as Spring football practices, and the annual Spring game(s). Many media  publications will barrage us with their "Way Too Early" posts, and rankings. We will see and hear about which new player on any given team shall be the newest star. 

The second half the football season starts with SEC Media Days, and ends with the College Football Championship game.

Now do you understand? Good. Now, where was I?

The Auburn Tiger football team has many questions to find answers to this year. 

Who will start at Quarterback, and will we see improved consistency at this position? 

Who will replace Shon Coleman and Avery Young along the offensive line. 

Will the new Tiger offensive line coach, Herb Hand, deliver the same quality and dependable play along the front as former coach J.B. Grimes?

Can Gus Malzahn field an offensive unit that doesn't require changing personnel every time it reaches the Red Zone?

Will Kevin Steele develop a Top 10 defense that Gus Malzahn said he had all the pieces to do so?

With 4 consecutive Top 10 recruiting classes, is there any reason Auburn can't compete for an SEC title?

There are many more questions and I think you get the point. Auburn, namely Gus Malzahn, has to turn on the jet packs and fly high as it did in 2013. Another season of faltering in Amen Corner will be disastrous. 

Where we go from here is a question only Gus Malzahn can answer. Simply put this Auburn Tiger team must win and win big. 

I have little doubt that the talent is on campus already, with more talent coming in the middle of summer, for this team to elevate itself above the middle of the pack SEC football programs. It will take heart, lots of hard work, and excellent coaching to achieve any championship goals they most assuredly have. 

To all of the newcomers that signed to play at Auburn, I welcome you. I salute you. Now, lets get to work. After all, it is in our creed that we enjoy the hard work it takes to rise above the rest and become champions. To become Auburn Men.


Auburn Softball Strike Out Hunger

Clint Myers 2 6 16

Friday, February 5, 2016

Auburn Finishes 2016 Recruiting Class


That's the only word for it, really. 

After a dismal finish to their 2014 season, and a disaster throughout the 2015 season. Plus, the former defensive coordinator left for the head coaching position in South Carolina, and he took 3 position coaches with him. All from the defensive side of the ball I might add.

This Auburn coaching staff worked like crazy and ended up with a Top 10 recruiting class  Considering the obstacles against this staff, the #9 ranked class in America is quite the accomplishment.

Auburn ended the day with 21 signees. 

Tashawn Manning has an NCAA waiver and 

won't count against the 25. The total will 

actually be 22 because Auburn includes 

Jamel Dean, who transferred from Texas and 

Kevin Phillips.

What this means is Auburn will have three

scholarships left to use for a transfer or roll 

over into next year's class. Auburn could 

potentially sign 28 next year if this is how it 

ends up. These numbers could fluctuate 

depending on, among other things such as 

transfers, what Stephen Davis Jr. decides 

to do.

This coming season will be monumental in Auburn football. All signs point to a very talented team that will have everything it needs to compete for championships. 

Gus painted himself into a corner saying things like;  "We have the tools to produce a Top 10 defense" "We have targeted this guy as our future QB for 3 years." In several instances Gus expounded on the relationships that were built over the last 2 or 3 years since he's been at Auburn. 

With the 4th consecutive Top 10 recruiting class for this staff, the time is now. It is time to produce a championship caliber football team. In the near future we will examine the players along with their coaches.

We will take a look at Auburn's football schedule, and what it will take to get thru that schedule, and make the College Football Playoff. Until then,

War Eagle!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Special Signing Day for Auburn Football

Coaches Gardner and Malzahn celebrate a great defensive class. photo by Auburn Athletics

 Auburn finished this day in the top 10 for the 4th consecutive year and probably has one of the best defensive line and wide receiver classes in the country. 

Two of the big announcements today that I saw was Derrick Brown, a 5 star defensive tackle from Buford, GA and Nate Craig-Myers, a 4 star wide receiver from Tampa, Florida.  I was actually surprised at the news about Derrick Brown since I was led to believe all day by the Atlanta news media that he would certainly sign with Georgia. 

This will be the first time that Auburn has signed the number 1 player in Georgia. Here are some of my thoughts about this recruiting class:

1. The defensive front should be solid next season with the addition of Derrick Brown, Marlon Davidson, Antwan Jackson, Paul James, Nick Coe and Dashawn Manning. 

I expect Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson to be starting on the defensive line this season and both could make an instant impact. Both players are destined to be all SEC players.

2. It does appear that Auburn intends to throw the ball a lot next season with the recruitment of Kyle Davis,  Nate Craig-Myers, Eli Stove and Marquis McClain. 

I do believe that all of these receivers will see the field next Fall. Kyle Davis and Nate Craig-Myers are destined to be immediate impact players.

3.  The QB competition will come down to Jeremy Johnson, John Franklin and Sean White. It will be interesting to see how the QBs performs in the Spring game on April 9. John Franklin is a dual threat.  The decision on the starting QB at Auburn will define the season.

 Auburn did sign Woody Barrett, a 4 star QB, although it's reported that he is scheduled to take the SAT again so I wish him well.

4. Prince Sammons , a 4 star defensive lineman from Cincinnati, Ohio. Auburn will most likely convert him to the offensive line. Also, Brodarious Hamm, a 3 star offensive tackle from Griffin, GA will add some depth to the offensive line.

5. Malik Miller, a 3 star running back from Madison, Alabama will add some depth to the Auburn running back rotation now that Peyton Barber has left for the NFL.

6. Marlon Character, a 3 star safety from Atlanta, Jayvaughn Myers, a 3 star corner back from Dade City, Florida and Daniel Thomas, a 3 star safety from Montgomery, Alabama and John Broussard, a 4 star corner back from Phenix City, Alabama will add some needed depth to the defensive backfield. 

7. Tre Threat, a 3 star linebacker from Spanish Fort, Alabama and Landon Rice, a 4 star tight end from Calhoun, GA was signed.

The foundation has now been laid for the future of this Auburn Football program under Gus Malzahn and I look forward to the next football season. 

War Eagle!