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Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Auburn/Mississippi Softball Series

It was a perfect night for some softball on Saturday night and I just found a place to sit behind the left fence to rest from my bicycle ride around the Auburn campus. I could almost detect a playoff atmosphere in the air.

Auburn won the game on Friday night 4-2 and Kaylee Carlson pitched her 23rd win of the season. I will say it again. "She has the best change up in college softball". Victoria Draper had 2 hits and 1 RBI. Victoria is one of the fastest players in the SEC and once she gets on base, I always watch for her to steal. 

Here are the highlights of the game on Saturday night which is one of the best that I have seen. The night seemed to be magical with the "walk off" grand slam home run by Carlee Wallace. Auburn went into the last inning behind 2-1. Casey McCrackin led the inning off with a solo home run to tie the game so I was thinking an extra inning game. K K Crocker and Victoria Draper both had signals and Kasey Cooper drew a walk to load the bases. Carlee Wallace was at bat with a 3-1 count and she saw a pitch that she liked and blasted the ball over the center field fence to end the game 6-2. 

On Sunday, Auburn won 6-3 and Kasey Cooper became the all time RBI leader for the SEC. She added 3 more RBIs to her stats. She has the best eye for the ball in softball and could be part of the next USA Olympic Softball team. She has a 4.0 GPA in Mechanical Engineering which is not an easy curriculum. 

Makayla Martin and Haley Fagan started the game so their suspension is now over. Makayla Martin got the win and Kaylee Carlson got her third save.

Auburn will face a familiar foe in Tuscaloosa on Friday for a 3 game series. All games will be televised on ESPN2 or the SEC Network so be sure to check your local TV listings.

Bo Bikes Bama 2017

It was a beautiful day in Auburn, Alabama for a bicycle ride with Bo Jackson and many other cyclists. The money raised does go to a fund that has been set up to assist the storm victims in the State of Alabama. Bo Jackson has really hit a "home run" with this annual event.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 Auburn Hype Video

This video is by Josh Keel. Thought you might like to see it. Enjoy.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Auburn Softball Team faces adversity and takes another SEC series

This Auburn Softball Team continues to amaze me. They are findings ways to win after losing several key players last week. As you have probably read, senior shortstop Haley Fagan, sophomore starting pitcher Makayla Martin and freshman Brittany Maresette were arrested last Thursday morning for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. All three have been suspended from the Auburn Softball Team indefinitely and I commend Clint Myers for his action. They have already missed 3 games. Of course, if these girls were starting SEC football players, the punishment would have most likely been a half game suspension against a lesser opponent. It appears to me that it may be time for the NCAA or the SEC to impose a consistent drug policy for both women and men in all sports. This will be an expensive life lesson for each player.

Game 1

Auburn won this game against South Carolina 2-0 and Kaylee Carlson picked up her 22nd win. Auburn had 5 his and no errors. Kasey Cooper and Victoria Draper each had 2 hits. Kasey Cooper had a double and 1 RBI. Victoria Draper had 2 stolen bases which both led to runs. Alyssa Rivera continues to impress me with her play in the field and at the plate. She had a single in this game and now has a hit in 11 straight games. 

Game 2Freshman Ashlee Swindle from Jasper, Alabama got her first career start and a win for Auburn by pitching a 2-0 shutout and only allowed 2 hits. She pitched 5 1/3 innings and Kaylee Carlson was put in for relief. It will be up to Ashlee and Kaylee to pitch Auburn to the NCAA playoffs unless Makayla Martin is allowed to return to the team.
Alyssa Rivera and Kendall Veach each had 2 base hits and Victoria Draper got a hit. Kendall Veach had a solo home run. If Victoria gets on first base she is always looking for the steal with her speed. 

Game 3

There is little to say about this game and the highlights only belong to South Carolina.
 Auburn lost this game to South Carolina 3-0. Auburn played this game early this morning to avoid the rain. Auburn only managed two hits and Kaylee Carlson did not have her best day. Auburn had 3 errors and Carlee Wallace had a throwing error to third base that allowed a run to score.
Auburn will meet Alabama State in Montgomery at Lagoon Park this Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.  Mississippi State comes to Auburn next weekend and I will be at the game on Saturday after the "Bo Jackson" bike ride festivities are over.

Enjoy the week!

Bo Bikes Bama

The "Bo Jackson Bicycle" ride will be next weekend in Auburn. This was my view from the start last year. There will be a 60 mile ride beginning at 7:30 a.m. and a 20 mile ride at 10:00 a.m. I will be on campus to report on the ride and hang out with the riders. As you may know, Bo Jackson put this annual ride together to raise money for the storm victims after Alabama was hit by several violent tornadoes on 4/27/11. Bo Jackson has raised over $1.1 million for the State of Alabama "Emergency Relief Fund".

If you are in Auburn next weekend, come by the Auburn Coliseum and hang out. You never know who you may see at this ride. I have met Brian Bosworth, Ken Griffey Junior and Senior, Brett Favre and Lance Armstrong. There is a lunch after the ride that is hosted by Chicken Salad Chick and you might just be able to score a t shirt and meet Bo Jackson.

War Eagle and always enjoy the ride!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Auburn Softball defeats Missouri 6-1

An Easter Softball Series

It was a great Easter Sunday in Birmingham today. I had some good turkey and dressing with the family and then watched the Auburn/Missouri Softball game. The Auburn ladies won another SEC series for the season. 

Game 1

 The Auburn Softball team did not fare well on Friday. The team just never seemed to get started after the Kasey Cooper home run in the first inning and Kaylee Carlson's change up was not working. Auburn did try to rally in the final inning, but failed to produce any runs. It was Missouri 6 Auburn 1.

Game 2

Auburn came back from a 3-0 deficit and won this game 5-4. Carlee Wallace continued to hit well and had a triple and 3 RBIs.
Makayla Martin pitched a complete game and is now 15-5 for the season. Kendall Veach made a heads up play to end the game in the 7th inning by catching a Missouri runner trying to score the tying run from third base. 

Game 3

I will call this the "Easter" game. All fans were encouraged to wear white to celebrate Easter Sunday and the Auburn ladies looked great in the white uniforms. 
Auburn came away with a 6-1 win and now has momentum going into the South Carolina series next weekend in Columbia, SC. Kaylee Carlson pitched much better and the change up was working well. She does have one of the best change ups that I have seen. If you do go to a game, just watch the ball float and spin across the plate. Kaylee only allowed 3 hits and one home run late in the game. Her record is now 21-2. 
Kendall Veach broke out of her slump by hitting a 3 run triple in the fifth inning and Haley Fagan was 2 for 2 and 1 RBI. Haley also made several nice plays in the field. Alyssa Rivera continues to impress me with her play as a freshman. She had s RBIs and played well in right field. If a ball is hit in here area, she will make the catch.
Auburn's road to Oklahoma City continues this week. They will play Kennesaw State on Wednesday night at home at 6 p.m. 

Happy Easter and War Eagle!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Great A Day in Auburn

My good friend Johnathan Williams and former Auburn player, Damon Duval at the Auburn A Day game on Saturday. Johnathan and I had a great conversation about the A Day game and what we saw for the future. 

Thank you for your insight Johnathan and the Krispy Kreme in Auburn was rocking.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Another Summer - Another QB Battle

photo by Julie Bennett courtesy of sports

The talk is cheap crowd have already tabbed Jarrett Stidham as Auburn's starting QB heading into the season that is still 5 months away. 

One sports writer actually fired a shot toward the University of Alabama! They said with Stidham at QB, Auburn is a contender.

Let me be the voice of reason, and pump the brakes on this. Actually, I'm leaning heavily on the brake pedal and the anti lock device is screaming.

I'll be the first to admit that Stidham looked very good in his A Day performance. 16 of 20 passing for 167 yards. He was every bit the QB we were told he was when he chose to attend Auburn.

In 2016 Sean White went 133 completions on 288 attempts. White tossed 9 TD passes and only threw 3 interceptions. 

Lets examine what the big differences are this year. One, Auburn has a new offensive coordinator. Chip Lindsey is known as a QB coach, and has been labeled by some as a guru. 

Two, Gus Malzahn has handed over the offense completely to Chip Lindsey. Where former offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee ran Gus Malzahn's offense, Lindsey has free reign to run his own offense, and call his own plays.

Given that Lindsey is a QB's coach, Sean White still has a chance to make a run at holding onto his starting spot as the Auburn QB. In Lauren Shute's article, Sean White admitted to a slight disadvantage: 

“I mean [Stidham] probably has a little bit of an edge just because,” White said. “I mean I have to admit, because he’s been through spring and been scrimmaging and gotten more reps than me.”

But from what we have seen from White in the past, he won't go down easily. He is a scrappy competitor. 
So don't go handing out that starting spot just yet. 

War Eagle!

Another SEC Series Win for Auburn Softball

Kaylee Carlson is "kryptonite" to the Ole Miss Softball team. She notched her second win against Ole Miss this afternoon and the Auburn Softball team won 3-1 to take the weekend 3 game series. Kaylee allowed only 4 hits.

Kasey Cooper who was 2 for 21 against SEC opponents went 6 for 9 with a double and a triple and 2 RBIs in the series. 

Auburn will play Georgia State at home this Wednesday night at 6 p.m.

Some A Day Observations and Hope for the Future

This A Day game will go down as one of the best that I have attended. Of course, there was no pressure because Auburn could not lose the game and some players were playing for both teams. There were recruits for baseball and football in attendance and several left committed to Auburn. A shout out to Steven Williams, a baseball recruit that I met yesterday on my way to the softball game. Welcome to the Auburn family Steven and I look forward to watching you play at Auburn. 

The weather was perfect and the offense was really clicking. Of course, this game was just a scrimmage to entertain the Auburn fan base and Chip Lindsey did not disappoint with the play calling. It was the Blue Team (first team players) 37 and the White Team (second team) 13. It was an air show by Jarrett Stidham in the first half. He was 16 for 20 for 267 yards and I was impressed with his accuracy and arm strength. He seemed to know where his receivers were located and the ball was on target. He was able to place the ball in some tight spots and I felt like I was watching a 7 on 7 flag football game since the QB could not be touched. As one writer told me, "you cannot coach arm strength and this kid can throw the ball well in tight places". Malik Willis played QB for the Blue and White team and was 11 for 18 for 157 yards. Also, he ran the ball 8 times for 42 yards and 1 TD. I do feel that he will be a good read option QB for Auburn in the future. Woody Barrett saw limited action on the field. He was 2 for 2 for 14 yards.

Nate Craig-Myers is healthy and it was evident by his play on the field. He caught 5 passes for 154 yards and he will be hard to cover this fall. I felt like he and Jarrett Stidham have established a good connection and was his favorite receiver for the day. Darius Slayton caught 3 passes for 65 yards and will only improve. Will Hastings had 7 receptions for 75 yards. 

Despite the passing display, Auburn did run the ball. Kamryn Pettway did not play. Kerryon Johnson had 7 carries for 47 yards and 1 TD. Kerryon did sprain his ankle in the second quarter and left the game. C.J. Tolbert had 9 carries for 30 yards and 1 TD and Kam Martin finished with 8 carries for 30 yards. 

Daniel Carlson kicked 5 field goals and his longest was 55 yards. He also punted the ball and averaged 43.8 yards a punt. Ian Shannon was not present due to personal family reasons. I was walking to my car after the softball game and I saw Daniel Carlson on the practice field kicking field goals. I am sure that he will be a finalist for the "Lou Groza" award again this year and he will be kicking on Sunday for one lucky team in the NFL.

The offensive line play should be solid by the start of the season and Austin Golson performed well at center. Austin made the right decision to transfer to Auburn from Ole Miss.

Of course, many people came to see how the offense would perform, but the defense will be hard to run against next season. Auburn's front 7 will be stout. Paul James III was the defensive MVP and played at the "Buck" defensive end position.  He had 4 tackles and 3 were for a loss and a sack. At times, I thought that I was watching Carl Lawson on the field again. He has recovered well from knee surgery and will be hard to block.

I have a good feeling about this Auburn team and they do have many offensive weapons at their disposal. It was a great day to be on the Auburn campus.

War Eagle!

A Day Highlights

As I write this, I am trying to low key my enthusiasm for this football team. Beyond my usual Orange & Blue tinted glasses, while sipping my Tiger flavored Kool-Aide, I am seeing the makings of a quality  unit. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not ready to say they will win it all. There are some questions, just not as many questions as in the past few years.

As you watch these highlights, I want to remind you of a couple things. First, it was the projected first units, offense and defense, against the second units. In the spring.

Second, Gus Malzahn and Chip Lindsey have stated, with emphasis, this was the base offense. There was enough play calling to work all aspects of the offense from their base sets. 

Enjoy the highlights. It is going to a long summer. 

War Eagle!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My A Day Expectations

Beautiful weather expected Saturday

There are several things I expect to see (on film) when I get to watch the replay of the A Day game at Auburn this coming Saturday.  

On the offensive side of the ball, our Tigers must replace three very good offensive linemen. Each of which could be seen taken in this upcoming NFL Draft. 

Alex Kozan, Xavier Dampeer, and Robert Leff took with them 30 starts from last season.

How much passing we will see is dependent on how much Gus Malzahn and Chip Lindsey allow in a spring game.

Malzahn has already been quoted in the media stating he is "Guarded, probably more than most coaches and I need to be." So don't expect to see a lot of new wrinkles. 

Auburn is returning it's most experienced defense in quite some time. I give you this from Justin Ferguson over at SEC Country:

"Now that Matthews is officially staying in school, Auburn could return up to 17 offensive and defensive starters in 2017, depending on what one calls a “returning starter.” But even the most conservative of definitions would give Auburn more returning starters for 2017 than it has in any of its last 12 seasons."

This news bodes well for the Auburn team in the fall. Alas, it probably means a less than spectacular spring game for the fans.

The defense is more experienced, and not learning a new system since 2014. The offense is still trying to find a QB, while learning from its new coordinator. 

Still, Coach Malzahn said the game would probably feature "1's versus the 2's" so anything can happen.

The weather will be-AU-tiful, and Auburn is always great to visit. 

War Eagle!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Auburn baseball vs South Carolina Game 3 Highlights

A Historic Sweep in Athens

It has been an interesting week for this Auburn Softball team. It does appear that this team has come together and swept the Georgia Bulldogs this afternoon for the first time in school history. Auburn won 4-3 and two players are really starting to make some waves. Kendall Veach hit two triples and had an RBI today. She ended the series with 7 RBIs and 2 home runs. Alyssa Rivera made another great catch in the 5th inning and threw out a Georgia player at the plate. She was 2 for 3 at the plate today. 

Kaylee Carlson notched her 18th win and pitched another complete game. She is the pitching team leader.

Carlee Wallace took a break from catching today and played at the DP position. She feasted on the Georgia Bulldog pitching this weekend. She had 7 hits, 4 RBIs and a home run this weekend. She is one of the best catchers in the game today.

Auburn will play the Samford Bulldogs this Wednesday night at Spain Park High School at 6 p.m. in Birmingham, Alabama. Also, they will begin a 3 game series next weekend against Ole Miss in Auburn. I will be heading to the softball field after the A Day game so come on out and support these girls. 

War Eagle!

Auburn Softball defeats Georgia 13-4

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Auburn/UGA Softball Series

The Auburn Softball Team began a 3 game series with the Georgia Bulldogs last night and came away with a 7-5 victory. I was concerned about the mental state of this team after the Haley Fagan incident and the surprising resignation of Corey Myers, but this team performed well. It was the 6th straight win against the Georgia Bulldogs and I just wish that I could say the same for Auburn Football.

Kaylee Carlson is now 17-1 and pitched a complete game with only 3 earned runs. The Bulldogs allowed 11 walks and Carlee Wallace and Kendall Veach each had two hits. Haley Fagan had a career high 4 walks and scored 3 runs. This Auburn Softball Team will certainly make an opposing pitcher work. The hitters are very good at waiting on the best pitch to hit causing pitch counts to rise.

An Auburn player to watch is Alyssa Rivera in right field. She made two nice catches yesterday that helped Auburn get this victory. She made an outstanding one handed catch in foul territory in the 7th inning. She is fearless when going after the fly balls. 

The two teams will meet again tonight at 6 p.m. 

War Eagle and enjoy the game.

Auburn Baseball defeats South Carolina, 5-4