Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What to Do While You're Waiting

It's safe to say we have reached the dead period of SEC football, if indeed one exists in this modern day internet environment that is saturated with year round coverage. Use to be that college football was a 3-4 month season. Then it expanded with countdown to signing day. Then came the increasing popularity of Spring practice and Spring games. After Spring ball we don't even wait until January to get interested in recruiting, but instead jump right back into it as evidenced by the recent Tiger Prowl and Big Cat Weekend (thank you Rivals). Now we are just a month away from SEC Media Days with the beginning of Fall practice following shortly thereafter. Welcome to the neverending circus of SEC football, where there are no goodbyes and everyone is trying not to go home. Certainly there are some lulls here and there throughout the year and the interest reaches its crescendo during the Fall, but college football in the South no longer goes into hibernation. The 365 days a year nature of Auburn-Alabama might suggest it has always been so, but never to this level.

If there is a dead period throughout all this, however, it is the idle days of June and July. Sure, we have summer football camps going on and recruiting never really ends, but isolated incidents like Bama's recent probation are the only pieces of news that grab our interest at this point in the year. We have reached the calm before the storm so to speak. Everything that has happened in the months of January to May is prologue. Now we begin to think about the upcoming season in earnest. Chizik and his staff have been laying a foundation for the future in recent months, but the first chapter of that future is about to be written, starting on September 5 when we line up to play Louisiana Tech. Tiger Prowl and Big Cat Weekend were great, but the significance of those events won't be felt until 2010 at the earliest. The business of 2009 will soon be at hand and no matter how tempered Auburn fans' expectations are about the upcoming season, the excitement of hope and possibility will inevitably begin to build in our minds with the first Saturday in September drawing ever closer.

As we tan ourselves by the pool or on the golf course, Summer offers plenty of distractions to keep one occupied, but all the while it is just part of the incessant build up to Fall weekends in the South. Ten years ago, I would have been scowering Lindy's and Athlon front to back to extrapolate what pieces of information I could to surmise in my own mind what might occur on the gridiron during the upcoming season. The depth of knowledge now available on the internet during and right after Spring practice has sort of made this practice obsolete, but the anticipation still has not receded. If I'm at the beach, I'll probably be diagramming X's and O's in the sand as I try to figure out just how Malzahn's offense is going to work in the Fall. A little sad? Sure, but that's SEC football for you. Even the dead period of the season brings with it a certain restlessness as we draw ever closer to that first gameday in Auburn. The wait is agonizing, but before you know it, Ric Smith will be announcing for the fans outside of Jordan-Hare that kick off to the first game of the 2009 season is only one hour away. It's pure nirvana for Auburn fans.

Welcome Another Blog Poster to the Site

Everyone, I would like to welcome my brother, Michael to the blog. Michael, like me, was a manager for the football team from 2000 - 2003. While Michael was at Auburn, he worked with a few position coaches including Phillip Lolley in his first year as Defensive Back Coach and finishing up his last two season's with Eddie Gran and the running backs. On game days, Michael spent the first 3 years in the Press Box responsible for the headsets and his last year on the field. Michael will bring some interesting views and I believe you will enjoy his posts. I intend to have his first post up by the end of the day.

I hope to have some more future contributors to the site and I hope that it will become one of your regular stops in the fall for interesting commentary on our Auburn Tigers. Thanks for stopping by and please keep checking back.

War Eagle!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Does Auburn Need Bama?

With the University of Alabama being handed it’s punishment of three years’ probation and vacating wins from the 2005 – 2007 seasons last week for the mismanagement of their textbook program, the reality sat in that Alabama Football is in the Intensive Care Unit listed as critical but stable condition. As die hard Auburn fans, we love to hate on Alabama, but what would life be like if Alabama football was irrelevant? What if Auburn didn’t end the season with the Iron Bowl? Let’s take a look and see what that cosmic world might look like.

With the University of Alabama being placed on probation, yet again, Alabama cannot afford to find itself in front of the NCAA Infractions Committee for a major violation in this probationary period. There is no more room for error. If for some reason, there is any truth to some of the rumors that seem to be floating around, I believe that Alabama will push the NCAA into a corner which it cannot back itself out of. I do not believe that the NCAA wants to ever hand out the death penalty and destroy a program like it did to SMU, but I also believe it will have no choice but to do so if Alabama finds itself in major trouble again. If the NCAA was forced to shut down Alabama football, it could return to past glory, but it is more likely to flounder like a fish out of water desperately trying to flop out of the boat.

As an Auburn Fan, I have very mixed reactions to this if it was to ever happen. It would be completely strange to go a year without playing Alabama in football. Who would Auburn end the season with? Louisiana-Monroe would be a terrible way to end the season. I really enjoy the Iron Bowl being the last game of the year, especially when Auburn wins. This rivalry, as popular as it is nationally, is still vastly underrated by most of the nation if you look at where it stands in various rivalry polls. I cannot imagine having some other foe to truly hate and root against. Admit it fellow Auburn fans, every team that beats Alabama gives you joy. It is the middle of June right now and the rivalry is still as hot as ever if you listen to various radio shows in Alabama. It truly is a 365 day rivalry. If Alabama football was dead, then Auburn would become the main event in football for the foreseeable future. I would enjoy that aspect, even if Auburn football had to compete with the NASCAR Talladega Race as the main fall sporting event in Alabama, given the lack of choices for the Alabama fans. I would imagine most Alabama fans would become quite bitter and probably hate Auburn even more, therefore keeping the rivalry well and alive, but it just wouldn’t be a competitive rivalry.

Who would Auburn hate if it didn’t have Alabama to hate? The answer would still probably be Alabama, but I imagine that the University of Georgia would garner a little bit more attention for the Auburn fans that are Alabama residents. As for myself, living in Georgia and working less than an hour away from Athens, I have already attained a hatred of UGA. The fact that the Auburn-Georgia game is the oldest rivalry in South and has a lot of history among the two schools makes UGA a logical choice for new main rival, but it could never become what the Alabama game means for so many.

To answer the ultimate question as to whether Auburn needs Alabama, I will reluctantly say yes. It just wouldn’t be any fun if Alabama was no longer competitive. If you think that this time of the year is dead, can you imagine what it would be like without the in-state rivalry? If, and I mean a huge if, Alabama is cheating, I hope that they pay a price for it, but death is not the price that I would wish upon them or anyone else.

I apologize for the long delay between posts, and I hope to have some more enjoyable additions to the blog in the near future. Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to share with others.

War Eagle!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Innovative Recruiting

Auburn recruiting has taken a huge step forward with the arrival of Head Coach Gene Chizik. In his short stint as Head Coach, I have seen Auburn go after more high profile recruits (as rated by than I have seen at any previous time in my lifetime following Auburn. A lot of the credit should go to this fine staff of recruiters that Coach Chizik has hired, because they are indeed some of the best in the nation. These coaches have already found new and exciting ways to reach out to recruits such as the Tiger Prowl, Big Cat Weekend and the planned un-named event to be held later in the summer and I would imagine that this type of outside of the box thinking will continue to be present from signing day to signing day.

The Auburn staff got the in-state recruiting off with a bang when they introduced the “Tiger Prowl”, an event in which they took a stretch limo that was filled full of assistant coaches visiting different high schools across the state of Alabama. The Tiger Prowl caught media attention locally and nationally, heck, it even drew the ire of Coach Urban Meyer when he incorrectly thought that Auburn had offered potential prospects rides in the limo. I know that this tactic was received with mixed emotion among some Auburn fans, but if the kids love it, then I love it. I thought it was a great way for the staff to travel around the state introducing itself and being very visible in doing so. Recruiting is all about relationships and with that being said, it was a great idea on Auburn’s part to have a staff of coaches travel together around the state and spark those relationships among the kids and high school coaches. I believe Auburn is at its best when the roster is filled with Alabama and Georgia kids. I know, at least from my days with the team, that if a player is from a certain state and Auburn plays a team from that state, the player seemed to be more motivated to win that game. With that being said, Auburn needs to win its share of the in-state talent and the Tiger Prowl was a great beginning to building these needed relationships.

This past weekend, the Auburn coaches held their first Annual “Big Cat Weekend” and by all accounts, it seems to have been a smashing success among those who attended. I am not going to bore you with the details of who attended, because there are plenty of good sites out there that specialize in that, such as and, but this weekend involved Auburn bringing in a big group of highly rated high school seniors to get a feel for Auburn, the coaches, current players and an opportunity to do so in a relaxed environment. The most impressive thing about this weekend is that the Auburn coaches were able to get these kids and their parents to pay their own way to Auburn and back including all their living expenses, especially with some of these kids coming from as far away as Texas and Connecticut. I cannot think of a weekend like this, in which a school has hosted this many unofficial visitors in the middle of summer and it not be a football camp, and to also have them all be big time recruits is icing on the cake. For me, this seems to be one of the best idea’s out of Auburn in a long time and I look forward to seeing what dividends pay off due to this weekend.

Coach Chizik has made one thing clear when it comes to recruiting and it is that Auburn is going to go after the best players and not be intimidated by others from doing so. It is very evident that Coach Tuberville had backed down from this type of a challenge, choosing to not put the effort in recruiting players that he thought Auburn could not attain, but if you never try, then you never know. This approach to recruiting is very refreshing and a big deviation from the Auburn Football Camp mentality of recruiting where Auburn used to try and get players to their camps and then offer them based on what they saw in the camp. Auburn may be lacking in talent right now when you look at the roster, especially once you get past the starters, but it will not take long for Auburn to build up a good team of depth and talent with this type of recruiting. I love the direction that our program is headed and I really believe the coaches are creating the base of a solid foundation for years to come. There will definitely be bumps along the road, but I don’t believe Auburn will get knocked off its path, especially if the Auburn coaches are able to continue the momentum that has been generated these last few months. I am personally looking forward to what the Auburn coaches have planned for later this summer, and before long, we will get to see these same coaches on the field in action.

Please drop me a line and share your thoughts in the comment section about how you feel about Auburn Recruiting and anything else. Thanks for your time and keep checking back. War Eagle!