Category Archives: Auburn’s Cast of Thousands

Wear it and be wonderful.

Evidently this is a real thing.

Yes, that’s a 2017 SEC West division champs ring.  Soon to be a collector’s item, no doubt.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Wednesday morning buffet

The chafing dishes are open for business.

  • It’s official.  Booch goes to ‘Bama“With that announcement came the predictable, obvious and necessary jokes. The coach with the five-star heart is joining a program with five-star players. The man who coined the phrase “champions of life” is now a member of the national champions. A former SEC coach is now going to be getting coffee for the greatest coaching legend of our generation.”
  • Auburn’s shitty finish to last season “left a chip on our shoulder”?  What, you’re mad at yourselves for crappy play?  Does that mean you’ll take it out on each other in spring practice?  Geez, Malzahn can’t even do motivation right.
  • Evidently Jon Fabris was at spring practice yesterday.  I hope they kept him away from Rodrigo Blankenship, who definitely does not need a directional kicking challenge.
  • There’s a new professional football league on the horizon that intends to play in the spring with players who don’t make it on NFL rosters.  I mention this because of one marketing element I wholeheartedly endorse:  there will be no TV timeouts and 60 percent fewer commercials.  Praise Jesus and let’s hope it turns out to be the start of a trend.
  • Jacob Eason speaks (h/t)“Honestly I couldn’t tell you. But if I’d not gotten hurt and I finished out the season I doubt we’d be talking right now. But that’s the thing about football. It’s an injury-related sport, things are going to happen and it did but I couldn’t be in a better spot.”
  • Jason Butt drops an intriguing note in his story about Natrez Patrick:  “Patrick’s December arrest marked the third time he was booked on a marijuana-related charge. In the past, that would have been automatic grounds for dismissal. However, Georgia’s drug policy changed recently to allow for certain offenders who are dealing with addiction not to be subject to removal from the team.”  We’re not living in Michael Adams’ world anymore and that’s a great thing for Georgia football, not to mention it’s a more enlightened way to deal with kids struggling with addiction problems.
  • Dan Mullen explains that paying college athletes wouldn’t work because they’d have to pay taxes… you know, like every other hard-working American — including Dan Mullen — already does, which would put them in a financial hole.  Sounds rough.  (It’s also probably bullshit.)  Rhetorical question:  would Mullen be able to overcome his scruples if at some future date players got paid?
  • Drew Lock on Derek Dooley’s new offense:  “It’s more complicated of an offense but I do think it’s easier.”  Whatever you say, Drew.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World, Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

The Auburn Way

Would it surprise you to learn this?

The new batch of data was unambiguous. Half of the students in one major were athletes. One in three black players on Auburn’s football team was enrolled in the program.

Rather than question how this might have happened, the university’s provost instead offered a plan: Create more programs like it.

“The following report points to the need for more majors that have enough elective courses etc.,” Timothy R. Boosinger, the provost at the time, wrote in the late winter of 2015 to G. Jay Gogue, who was then the president. So many athletes concentrated in one major — public administration — can attract controversy, and it did. Offering more programs with similarly flexible requirements would, Boosinger implied, solve the problem.

The provost assured the president that those other programs were in the works, and that he had met with Jay Jacobs, who was then the athletic director, “to discuss the new offerings that are in the pipeline.”

The email and other communications obtained by The Chronicle suggest an openness among Auburn’s academic leaders to tailor a curriculum for the specific benefit of athletes, privately discussing the creation of new majors that would best serve a small but high-profile segment of the student body. These discussions demonstrate the power of athletic interests at universities with big-time sports programs and the quiet ways in which they put pressure on the academic enterprise.

Nah, I didn’t think so.  Well, then, what about this?

The athletics department’s interest in public administration was first reported by The Wall Street Journal in 2015. Faculty committees had voted to discontinue the program after its centrality to the department’s educational mission was questioned. But Auburn kept the major after a lobbying effort from athletics officials, who at one point offered money to keep it afloat.

Okay, no surprise there.

Auburn officials say that no money came from athletics.

Hmm.

And the punchline…

In response to questions from The Chronicle, the university said that the athletics department does not unduly influence curricular decisions.

“The shared governance system at Auburn serves as a type of internal watchdog, guarding against the very type of situation at the center of your questioning,” C. Michael Clardy, a university spokesman, wrote in an email. “We as an institution are committed to the integrity and rigor of our academic programs.”

Well, that’s a relief.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Auburn's Cast of Thousands

The new recruiting sheriff’s in town, part one

Over at al.com, they’ve noted the recruiting off-years at the two big in state programs and are looking for some answers.

By anybody’s standards but their own, Alabama and Auburn both reeled in excellent recruiting classes this year.

The Crimson Tide brought in a 19-man class (its smallest since the probation days) that ranked No. 7 nationally and second in the SEC. The Tigers landed a 24-man class that ranked No. 12 nationally and third in the SEC.

But it was definitely a fall-off from recent years.

Alabama’s streak of seven straight No. 1 classes ended, while its overall ranking was its lowest since 2007. That was Nick Saban’s first year, when he and his staff had only a month to put together a class.

Auburn’s No. 12 finish was its first outside the Top 10 in Gus Malzahn’s tenure, and its lowest since finishing No. 23 in 2009. That was Gene Chizik’s first year, after the turmoil of Tommy Tuberville’s resignation and Chizik’s controversial hire.

So how did this happen?

Here’s answer number one:

1. Kirby Smart has built a recruiting machine at Georgia: The Bulldogs signed the country’s No. 1 class, with seven 5-star prospects, 14 4-stars and seven of the country’s Top 23 players.  Smart’s success at locking down his state has especially hurt Auburn, which has long had a history of pilfering top players from the state of Georgia (think Carl Lawson, Phillip Lutzenkirchen and Carlos Rogers, to name three). But he also beat Alabama head-to-head on at least two Top 50 players this year: Georgia linebacker Quay Walker and Florida cornerback Tyson Campbell.

Speaking of Auburn, does anyone know where Rodney Garner’s spending his time on the recruiting trail these days?  He sure had a quiet time in his old stomping grounds this past year.

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Filed under Alabama, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Recruiting

Job security

I have a simple question.

How bad would Auburn have to be this season for Malzahn to be fired on December 1st without cause?  Honestly, I’m not sure I can come up with an adequate scenario.

Who in their right mind obligates themselves to that kind of money for a football coach?

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, It's Just Bidness

You can never go wrong blaming Auburn.

The reaction of Alabama’s players to the “Central Florida national champs” cheeky narrative is about what you’d expect

… but I do love this one, for obvious reasons.

Hmmm… maybe Gus tanked it on purpose.

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Filed under Alabama, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

“He’s a first-round talent, so that’s on him.”

If Carlton Davis had only known Auburn was playing in a national title game, he would have suited up for the Peach Bowl.

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