Friday, January 09, 2009

Departures

This one hurts.



Not because of what it does to Auburn's linebacking corps, which was OK (if not great) even in Blackmon's absence this year, nor because I think it's not the best decision for Blackmon himself (which, given his apparent family-driven need to play for a paycheck, it probably is). It hurts because of the ifs. If he'd been able to stay healthy. If he'd had his head on straight long enough to stay out of Tubby's doghouse. If he'd been able to play more than two good games at a stretch and really give himself something to build on ... if, if, if he'd ever been able to just play, he'd have been an Auburn legend. And as long as he was in school, there was the chance those ifs could become whens. That won't happen now, and so the Little Ball of Hate hits the long road north with more ifs trailing behind him than any Auburn player I can think of. It's safe to say Blackmon's going to be remembered at Auburn for a long, long time, but for a kid who could have been remembered as the final All-American culmination, the definitive example, of Tubby's undersized-but-quick-and-hard-hitting defensive philosophies, being remembered as a cautionary tale just seems so, so hollow.

From Auburn's actual on-the-field standpoint, however, Blackmon's departure might not have even been the most damaging one reported yesterday, since Chris Slaughter has also hit the road. Commenter Alex P pointed out recently that even if Malzahn wants to throw deep on a regular basis, at the moment Auburn doesn't have the kinds of receivers that scream "legitimate deep threat." I responded that Auburn had one guy who could be coached into the sort of player that defenses would have to respect downfield: Slaughter, who showed against Ole Miss that he had some potential to be that bombs-away weapon Malzahn needs. Now? Uh ... Billings? Uh ... Hey, I hear Rueben Randle is coming for a visit!

Ryan Williams is also gone, which isn't surprising but is just one more blow to the depth of a secondary that really could use all the depth it can muster. All in all: yesterday was not a very good day on the roster front, that's for sure.

6 comments:

Alex P in Smyrna G said...

Just as Jay G. Tate pointed out, I am glad to see that the Chizik administration is at least taking a shot at the top shelf and not trying to spruce up the leftovers.

But if there ever was a chance for immediate playing time, it is at AU for any legitimate game-ready five star WR. Now that Bama has JJ and UGA has Green, a frosh's best bet in these parts to be the MAN in a hurry (for a deep passing system) is to come to AU.

Xavier said...

Thanks Trey for the monster hits and big plays! My favorite may be from your first game as a Tiger. 2006 Gator game, flying into the Gator backfield helping to blow up the play and then recovering the Chris Leak fumble. WAR EAGLE 27-17.

Good Luck in the future.

jrsuicide said...

Over rated.

jd said...

Little ball of underachievement

Sullivan013 said...

Auburn 9, Arkansas 7 - 2007

McFadden and Jones - 86 yards total, lowest career total for both running backs


Blackmon - 3 solo, 6 assists

Good luck, Trey. Wish you could stay but I understand if you want to leave.

War Eagle

Anonymous said...

Normally, I would be severely depressed about these departures, but I am emboldened by the recent history of this program. Ever since the hiring of Chizik, every time something horrible happens, it is made OK and we are left w/ a great sense of hope. Gene Chizik is trying to copy Bob Stoops. Even if the results don't come immediately on the field; I'm OK with the direction we are headed.