Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Works, Ron freaking Franklin-style

I'm kicking myself, because during the Alamo Bowl the other night, I thought to myself, "I've got to post that clip of Maclin's punt return and write about it." Then yesterday I forgot, and now Blutarsky's beaten me to it, sort of:

I'm posting it myself anyway, horrible quality and all, because if you need any more proof that Ron Franklin is the best play-by-play guy and probably best announcer, period, in all of college football, here you go. If you're stuck at YouTubeless work, this is his call here:

Kiss him good-bye! Count it off: 20, 15, 10 5 touchdown! 75 yards! Pat Fitzgerald, you knew better!

Magic, man. If I'm ever at a fancy cocktail party and making chit-chat and say "Yes, I'm a freelance writer, do some college football blogging," and the guy I'm talking to says "Oh, you like sports? I'm an ESPN executive," and I say "Really? Did you have anything to do with Ron Franklin's demotion from ESPN's primetime Saturday night team and his replacement with Mike Patrick?" and he says "Why yes, I made that decision myself, as a matter of fact," I'm going to punch him right in his fat face. Tuxedo and all.

Thoughts, prayers. As you've surely read by now, Auburn head swim coach Richard Quick has been diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous brain tumor. God be with you, Coach, and I'm not sure if there's anything else for someone like me to say.

Tangible benefits. Not that any Auburn fan really ever needed one, but would you like a concrete reason bringing back James Willis was an excellent move?
Another player formerly from the Mobile area whom Willis had recruited for the Tigers, former Faith Academy quarterback Raymond Cotton, also has de-committed from Auburn and has January visits lined up to Arkansas, Ole Miss and Southern Miss. Cotton threw for 2,243 yards and 24 touchdowns this season at Fort Meade, Md.

Cotton's father, Raymond Cotton Sr., told on Monday, however, that Willis' retention on the staff has his son looking twice at the Tigers.

"We have been in touch with coach Willis and that's always a plus," the elder Cotton told the Web site. "After this week, we'll sit down and talk about what Auburn has done with the hire of Gus Malzahn. We're going to talk with coach Willis and that will hopefully give us an opportunity to sit down with Gus Malzahn and Chizik and just talk. Prior to Willis being retained, I don't think that meeting would've ever happened. Now, I think it will."
Maybe Malzahn will explain about that whole "in his first year under me, my first QB at Tulsa finished second in the country in touchdown passes" thing? Do you think that'll come up?

Rush Propst should just retire and offer football-related quotes full-time. Not because he's necessarily good at it, but because he seems to do it so often these days I have to wonder if it's cutting into his coaching time. I do have to give him credit for the chuckle-inducing specifics of this one, though, delivered to K-Scar for his Malzahn column:
"Gene Chizik is one of the finest defensive football coaches I've been around. Gus is innovative and ahead of the curve on offense.

"Auburn has hit two three-run home runs."
For Scarbinsky's next column, I sincerely hope we get a breakdown Propst's baseball analogies for each and every possible coaching candidate on the market. Something like:

Turner Gill: Solo shot
Rodney Garner as DC: Bases-clearing triple
Todd Graham: Line-drive single, thrown out trying to advance to second
Steve Spurrier: Pop-up to shortstop
Mike Sherman: Called strike three
Bill Stewart: On-deck pinch-hitter called back to the dugout when opponent makes pitching change
Pete Carroll as DC: Grand slam that hits light stand and causes it to explode in picturesque shower of sparks, like in "The Natural"

SEC coachin' carousel. The Orgeron is back, this time as LSU's "associate head coach along with recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach." Also, he'll be paid more than the defensive coordinator he'll be working under, the jolly and agreeable John Chavis. I'm sure there won't be any kind of friction on staff at all!

Really, though, I shouldn't be so sarcastic: on paper it's hard to see how having Orgeron recruit menacing recruits that Chavis has always been capable of scheming into position isn't one hell of an idea. I like it a lot better than Lane Kiffin's "hey, let's build our college staff entirely out of NFL retreads" philosophy, which has allegedly taken its next step with the hire of the Vols' new OC ... Jim Chaney, the St. Louis Rams' tight ends coach and former assistant offensive line coach. Let's let TSIB respond, shall we?
This is definitely not the sexy hire that we all expected, like Billy Gonzales, Jeremy Bates, or possibly Trooper Taylor, and I for one was dissappointed to hear the news.
To be fair, Chaney had some pretty good years as the OC and recruiting coordinator at Purdue, and Kiffin's of course going to be calling his own plays regardless, but ... would Trooper Taylor really have turned down the opportunity to come back to Knoxville under the title of full offensive coordinator? Is Chaney's recruiting record at Purdue several years ago really worth more than Taylor's experience in the Vols' backyard? Also, he looks like this. I realize that an Auburn fan calling out Tennessee for unusual coaching decisions gets us well into pot-and-kettle territory, but I just don't get it.

Two more staffing thing worth mentioning: Dan Mullen has hired Carl Torbush to (most likely) come run the Bulldog defense in Starkville. Torbush is an old pro who, unfortunately, doesn't seem an especially good bet to tear down the Ellis Johnson-built competence on that side of the ball. Also, Terry Price has continued the ISU-Auburn swap meet by joining Rhoads in Ames. Good news for the Cyclones.

Hoopity. The Auburn women had no problems whatsoever in Miami, strolling to two easy wins over Duquesne and yesterday the host Hurricanes, the latter a BCS-conference team sporting a good record. Sweet. The men "will put a five-game win streak on the line today as it hosts" ... wait for it ... Southeastern Louisiana. The Lions are actually a decent team, having been competitive in losses to Arkansas and Texas Tech. Then again, they also have losses to Florida Atlantic and Lipscomb and they don't have a victory over any non-SWAC D-I team. Forgive me if I think Auburn's win streak isn't really so much "on the line" as "safely tucked away in Auburn's knapsack, though I suppose they could take it out and lose it by trying to show it off for some dumb reason." Or something.

Grotus. His thoughts on the Malzahn hire are up, and as expected they're very much worth a read:
Everyone by now has heard how Chizik is going to let Malzahn have a say in the structure of the offense and the hiring of assistants, and is rightly pleased. But - courtesy of Jay G. Tate - this is what Malzahn had to say:

That's what I did today -- spent time evaluating our strengths.

Well, you got to be balanced, and you've got to take what the defense gives you. People tell me, hey, do you want to run more than throw? Really, it matters on what the defense is going to give you.

We're going throw the ball far downfield, and we're going to do that quite often.

[When I talk to the players,] we will definitely put up exactly who we are, we will put up our goals... we'll have a good sound plan, and we'll have extremely high goals.

Now, some may dismiss that as coachspeak, pandering, or well-duh-isms. But our current situation dictates what the "Well duh" will be. And this year, what is "well duh" is play to our strengths, balance in the context of the opposing defensive scheme, and stretch the field. None of which was done consistently in 2008. Taken with Chizik's generous proclamations, this is the message I heard:

We have identified the lethal mistakes that were made and publicly announce our desire to correct them.

Hallelujah. This is the real ray of light, the sign that the dawn marches ever earlier after our dark solstice.

Etc. Blutarsky makes me ever-more-wistful we never picked up the phone on Mike Leach ... Braves and Birds's thoughts on Bill Simmons are pretty much exactly my own. Terribly underrated as a writer; terribly overrated as any kind of analyst, or at least he would be, if anyone I knew rated his analysis in the first place.

1 comment:

Philip Arnold said...

I don't like Ron Franklin but I despise Mike Patrick so very, very much...