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Thursday, April 28, 2016

I Believe

map created and edited by @AUROBNY

It takes faith in something to truly believe. That something is an intangible gut feeling, coupled with some sort of evidence, whether seen or unseen.

It's no coincidence that football and religious faith go hand in hand. A Christian has to believe that Jesus died on the cross. A football player has to believe his teammates will sacrifice their all on the field to help win the games. Faith that every player will do his job to ensure victory.

I believe that Gus knows and feels the pressure that accompanies the season ahead. It will define his tenure at Auburn. It will define his ability to adapt, and overcome his own tendencies as a coach. 

I believe that Auburn has as much talent on the field as any team they battle. ANY. TEAM. 

I believe the coaching staff at Auburn is as good as any in the country. Remember the "Kick Six" when this staff made the call to replace the return man with Chris Davis, our Punt Return specialist? That was coaching under pressure. At the latest possible moment with a title or two, on the line.

I believe that Chris Rushing is looking down from Heaven at Toomer's Corner with a smile on his face. Passing along a War Eagle from the golden gates of St. Peter.

I believe this 2016 team of Tigers is a close knit group of guys that truly care for each other. There is more talk of togetherness from this team, than any since Josh Bynes talked openly about the upcoming 2010 season. *editors note: Finding that video has been next to impossible.

I believe that playing Clemson in the season opener is the best possible scenario to have this team focused from day one. Ready to show the world that indeed this version of Auburn football can and will be a force to be reckoned with.

I believe the fans will celebrate at Toomer's Corner more often that the last couple of seasons.

I believe that Auburn can contend for the SEC title and a shot at the College Football Playoff. 

I believe that Jordan-Hare Stadium is a special place, and one of the best places on earth to see a football game.

I believe I am not alone in this, and because Auburn Men and Women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it!


2016 Auburn Basketball Senior Thank You

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Auburn/UGA Game 2 Highlights

It was a nice Spring afternoon for Auburn softball. Auburn defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 13-2 and the game was stopped after the 5th inning due to the run rule. Carl Wallace had 4 RBIs, Emily Carson had 3 RBIs with a double that cleared the bases and Madi Gipson hit a 2 run homer. Tiffany Howard and Jade Rhodes each had RBIs for Auburn.

Makayla Martin pitched well and improved her record to 11-0. Makayla was a Georgia commit at one time, but UGA decided not to sign her. Of course, Clint Myers recognized her pitching talent and she signed with Auburn. She will only get better under Clint Myers.

Auburn is now 44-5 and number 2 in the USA. They will go for the series sweep of UGA at 4 p.m. CDT on Sunday afternoon. I will be enjoying the game in the seats outside the left field fence.

Enjoy the game and let's get the sweep!

Auburn/Georgia Softball Highlights

It was a walk off home run for Kasey Cooper last night giving the Auburn Girls a 4-3 win over Georgia. Auburn will play Georgia today at 1:00 P.M. CDT and Sunday at  4:00 P.M. CDT. 


Saturday, April 16, 2016

A record setting day for Auburn Softball

The Auburn Girls softball team defeated Arkansas this afternoon 23-0. They broke a school record for the largest margin of victory over an SEC team. Congrats to the Auburn Girls softball team.
I have enjoyed following this softball team this season.

As I have mentioned, all of the games are now sold out, but there are free seats available in the left field area. 



Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Looking at the Positives in A Day 2016

Jordan-Hare Stadium before kickoff on A Day 2016
The questions are still the same. The anxiety only worsened. 1 for 22 on third down has a way of gnawing at the pit of your stomach. And yet, Gus Malzahn is not concerned. 

That the head football coach at Auburn University is not concerned with whether his offense will be up to competing  in an actual football game, against a real live opponent must indicate that there were some positives offensively to glean from Auburn's annual spring football game.

Let's look at some of those positives. You can add your thoughts in the comment section. Feel free to join in the discussion. Also, lets remember that this game is meaningless in trying to decipher how good Auburn will be. During any spring game it's easier to see how far along the young and inexperienced guys are progressing.

The weather was beautiful. Wishing I could have been there only made missing the game this year painful.

Sean White was clearly the better passer. Yes, White turned the ball over inside the red zone on his second drive, and that is a big no-no. Sean White demonstrated a much improved placement of his passes. He displayed good touch on the deep ball and the wheel route down the sideline. Especially important was his passes on the Wide Out Screen. They were to the correct side of the Wide Out. 

All but one of Whites screen passes had the receiver facing the defense, instead of having to reach behind them to make a catch. 

When the WO has to reach behind to make a catch, the play is usually ineffective. This reduces the effect the play is supposed to have, which is to catch the outside of the defense flat footed, and the rest of the defense slow to respond.

If White can eliminate the mistakes, he will be tough to beat out for the starting job. White is healthy again as well, and that is great news.  

John Franklin is as advertised. Man, is he quick? Franklin looked good at times. I will have to say the pass to Marcus Davis for a TD late in the first half would have been picked off by a first team defense. I look for Franklin to have a huge role in this offense if he doesn't become the starter from day one.

The two young men playing the H Back position looked really good running the ball. Really good. I thought of Rudy Johnson while watching Kamyrn Pettway run. This makes me smile.

Jovon Robinson is ready to be the man. If he can stay healthy, he will certainly become the next Auburn RB to break the 1,000 yard barrier. Robinson has speed and power, which will serve him well in the coming season.

Much has been said by the Auburn beat writers about the loss of production in the WR corps due to graduation. What I saw was a group of guys that played unselfishly, and blocked pretty well downfield. This is a must for this offense to work. 

It doesn't hurt the nations number one wide out class will report in full for fall camp. This area of the offense can only get better. 

Defensively, this team looks like a force that will create havoc, and disrupt all who dare step on the field. What I saw on film, from the starters and the others, was gang tackling. 

Effort to get to the ball was easily better than any outing since Tommy Tuberville was walking the sidelines at Auburn. If this continues, and they can stay healthy, this will be a fun season for Auburn fans to watch their beloved defense play.

Special Teams is difficult to judge accurately, because of the way Gus sets up the spring game. Although, Daniel Carlson made a statement with his FG kicking. The prestigious 2015 Lou Groza Award finalist will be in the mix once again in 2016.  

War Eagle!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Auburn A Day and Softball

The Auburn Family on A Day. photo by the author
I made it to Auburn about 2 hours before the start of the 2016 A Day football game. I stopped at the “Chicken Salad Chick” on the way in to town and they were preparing meals for the Auburn Girls Softball team. 

It was a festive atmosphere in the restaurant and many people were taking photos of their families. Over the years, I have learned that Auburn A Day is more about just getting together with family and friends than attempting to figure out how the Auburn football team is going to play next season.

I arrived in Auburn and there was more people than I expected, a track meet was taking place and Auburn had a softball game with the Longwood Lancers at 6 P.M. 

I was able to find a great parking place in the hay fields next to several great tail gates. I will say that parking will not be easy when football season does begin due to the new construction going in Auburn. 

I decided to actually sit down with my “Loyalstrikcklin” notepad this time and actually record what I saw at this A Day game. Yes, I did use pen and paper instead of recording notes on my iPhone. As expected, the play calling was simple and the  defense played “nickel”most of the time. All 3 quarterbacks did play and it was hard for me to determine who was the best due to the play calling. It was obvious that Gus Malzahn was not going to show a lot of plays in this scrimmage. I was sitting under the scoreboard in the first half and I now know what the players see. I noticed many of the players watching the scoreboard in between plays. It is an amazing piece technology.

This A Day game was much different form 2015 where Jeremy Johnson and Sean White combined for 435 passing yards. I would probably have to give Sean White the prize for throwing the best looking pass at the start of the game. Of course, I would like to see the Auburn quarterbacks throw more mid range passes in the actual games. Auburn will have several good tight ends and H-backs to catch the ball in the Fall.

The MVPs of the game were Carl Lawson on defense, Marcus Davis and Jovon Robinson on the offense and Daniel Carlson on special teams. I was able to see Daniel Carlson actually kick the ball and he hasten of the best legs in college football. I really think that he will be an All American before he does leave Auburn and he will be playing on Sunday afternoons. 

The Auburn first and second string defenses did hold the offense to 1 third down out of 22 attempts. I was impressed with the Auburn front four and Carl Lawson cannot be blocked if he is healthy. Carl had 4 solo tackles and a sack on John Franklin in the first half. Carl really seemed to enjoy playing the game and he is destined to play on Sunday afternoons. Paul James III is listed as a linebacker, but he was lining up on the edge. He has some speed and blew up one of the sweep plays. Also, I feel that Montravius Adams will have a good year. I did not see Byron Cowart in the game. The big runs of 71, 55, and 40 yards all occurred against the second team defense. 

Coming into this Fall, the linebacker position was a concern; however, Deshaun Davis had 9 tackles and Tre Williams and Darrell Williams had 6 tackles each.

The passing game should improve with the arrival the new recruits this summer. Of course, Kyle Davis did not play on Saturday and Marcus Davis seemed to be the primary target for the quarterbacks. Jason Smith was running some great routes, but seemed to go unnoticed. He was wide open several times and either his number was not called to receive the pass or the quarterbacks did not see him. He does block down field and does break off his routes.

We should all get ready for some action from the Auburn H-backs this Fall. Chandler Cox, C.J. Tolbert and Kamryn Pettway all played well. If John Franklin does get the start at QB, he will be able to use their talents to move the ball down the field.

After the game I did compare notes with some other fans and we all agree that Auburn will need a running quarterback for the Gus Malzahn offense to succeed. The best option right now seems to be John Franklin and I did like his enthusiasm on the sidelines. I am sure that Auburn is going to assist him with adding some weight prior to the start of the football season. Right now, he is 10 pounds lighter than Charlie Ward, who won a Heisman trophy at Florida State. 

By the way, the halftime recognition of the Auburn former football captains was a memorable experience for me. Congratulations to all of the former players who were on the field where they played. 

I headed over to the Auburn Girls softball game after the A Day game. Auburn was playing the Longwood Lancers from FarmVille, Virginia. Auburn did win the game 5-2. All of Auburn’s softball games are now sold out for the rest of the season. If you are unable to get a ticket, just go behind the fence and sit with in the left field stands at no charge. Clint Myers has really elevated this Auburn softball team to new heights and many good players want to play for him. Today, the Auburn softball team is ranked number 2 in the USA behind  Michigan and I expect them to play for another spot in the College World Series. My compliments to the Auburn grounds crew for their hospitality. 

Enjoy the spring and summer and I look forward to the start of the football season.

Auburn Women's Tennis: Thank You Seniors

Auburn Women's Tennis: Seniors Reflect On Their Time At Auburn

Friday, April 1, 2016

Butch Thompson 3 31 16


Video courtesy of 247Sports

Coach Hand is trying to build Auburn Baseball into a national power. It will take some time.

War Eagle!