Thursday, January 22, 2009

What I want to know is what special teams coach Jay Boulware has to say about this

Well, if he wasn't important enough to get his mugshot on the official site, what makes you think he was important enough to draw a scholarship, huh?

See, I'm confused. Do we--Auburn--give a crap about our special teams or not?

I was under the impression we do. I mean, we hired a dedicated special teams coach. We heard all the usual coachspeak about how important special teams are. Surely, surely, we've learned our lesson about that after losing to LSU three times in four years because of special teams cock-ups, right? And there's the old adage about the fastest way to improve a bad team being on special teams, right? And then there's the fact that the most special teams-mad head coach in the country has won two national titles in three years. So I thought we were in agreement on this: we think special teams are really important.

But then, see, today we find out that our very best returning special teams player was told to take a hike. The guy that landed us at 15th nationally in net punting, the guy that was one of the few precious things that actually went right during that godforsaken season, the guy who was the best player on the entire freaking team on more than one Saturday last fall ... that guy isn't worth one of 85 scholarships? Really? I mean, the very fact that Tubby promised him a scholarship makes it kind of the right thing to do, and then on top of that he's already one of the best (if not the best) punters in the league and is only going to get better from here ... and that's still not enough? Look, I know carrying two punters on scholarship is a less-than-ideal situation, but Shoemaker made all of one appearance last season and in that one appearance he cost us the game. There's so much uncertainty about next year's team. Shouldn't we have this one thing to hang our hat on?

I guess not. I guess I'm not really confused. Gene Chizik doesn't give a crap about special teams. There. That's simple enough.


Deano "aka" Jimmy Joe Meeker "aka" Fat Elvis said...

I am a little torn on this issue. I agree how important Sp teams are but this team is in big time need of players who impact the game slightly more than 3-4 times a match. I know punting and field position can prevent scoring but is not a real contributor to putting points on the board as say a WR or OL. It is also possible that if we can get a punter of that kids chops from just walking out of the weeds, then another one might just come along. Besides, the kid said he had taken out a loan so 2 semesters until the get him a scholarship isn't all that difficult. He also mentioned the need to work. I know several players who were in a much more demanding position who worked. So maybe the kid just doesn't have the drive to be a possible NFL punter one day. I just think the coach is having to do what is best for the team and lets face it, punting is not the highest priority. I could be wrong. Great blog by the way!

Acid Reign said...

.....As many players as have jumped ship, given it up, washed out with injury... They can't find one for our best player?

.....When the spread doesn't go, your punter is the most valuable guy on the team!

jrsuicide said...

i'm sure The Tide will find a place for him. seriously WTF!?! couldnt they just give him Chaz Ramsey's scholarship? this makes even less sense than hiring the worst coach in the Big 12 to run our program. without Durst we wouldnt have beaten Miss State or Tennesse.

i'll always remember PUNT4VICTORY!

hooper said...

I certainly won't defend this decision. It's not only ridiculous to leave the kid hanging for two semesters, it's simply not my place to get involved. From the UT perspective, the guy's a keeper.

But I will ask this: how do the 2008 and 2009 scholarship limits play into this? In '08, Auburn's class is listed as 28. With a few of those grayshirting, I assume that the class is still technically maxed out at 25. In '09, Scout currently lists 19. With NSD coming up very soon, it's quite imaginable to think that the class will end up maxed out as well. Even if you don't consider the punter, then you have very little room to maneuver.

That having been said, they really should have given him the scholly, figured out a way to place him in the '09 class, and been satisfied with 24 others. I highly doubt that 25th guy could have brought as much value as Durst.

Jerry Hinnen said...

hooper, I'm planning on looking at Auburn's scholarship #'s first thing next week. But off the top of my head, I don't think Auburn's actually carrying 25 schollies from that '08 class: Gray, Furr, Hunt, Jermaine Johnson ... none of those guys are still on (or ever made it to) campus. And IIRC the '07 class only ended up being 19 kids. I _think_ we can take on a full class, though I worry that doing so wouldn't be the wisest move since we should be in much, much better recruiting position next year and will want to max out then rather than now. If we wind up following 'Bama's/UNC's oversigning lead, I will be deeply, deeply unhappy.

Anonymous said...

And then there's the fact that the most special teams-mad head coach in the country has won two national titles in three years.

Beamer has won 2 titles in the last 3 years? How did I miss that.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Anon., it's subjective, but I think Meyer is at least as focused as Beamer is.

hooper said...


I figured that the numbers were probably not prohibitive, but I didn't know anything beyond a quick database lookup of the number of commits at the time. But like you point out, Auburn is in the same boat as Tennessee - probably best served leaving room for scholarships for the '10 class due to the late arrival on the new coaching staff.

FWIW, I now find myself hoping that Tennessee can find a way to grab up Durst. He was the difference in our game last year, punting out of the end zone and keeping UT out of field goal range about a bazillion times in the second half. The one-year wait rule probably means he'll end up in 1-AA play, but I do dearly hope UT can "help" your cause by keeping him from showing up at a certain other school in your fine State.

hooper said...

Side note:

The "DrAUma" tag cracks me up. Do you use "Dr'AMA" for U. of Alabama issues?

Jerry Hinnen said...

No, anything 'Bama gets the OMGBAMALOLZ tag, which is one of my personal favorites.

I'd be surprised if Durst actually hooked up with any other teams. He says he needs to work, so I'm assuming that's the case. I will be even more pissed than I am already if he winds up kicking for another SEC school.