Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feedback, 2/11

Yep, it's time for another round of Feedback. My brief, humorous (?) mention of the baseball team the other day prompted the following observation from jd:
Jeff Lebo needs to look at Tom Slater and see that having incredible facilities isn't a magical cure-all for your sucktacular program.
First off, points awarded for "sucktacular." But more importantly, jd's point here is absolutely accurate: facilities help, but they're not going to make the coach. The coach makes the coach, and the coach makes the program. It's not like Nell Fortner has some different magic gym hidden away on campus somewhere. And, as I've said somewhere on this blog before, I refuse to believe that if Rick Stansbury can build a program in Starkville that occasionally challenges for SEC titles and earns NCAA Tournament bids, that it's impossible for a coach at Auburn to do the same no matter how horrible the facilities might be. Lebo's simply failed.

Which, while we're talking about him, gives me an opportunity to clarify exactly where the JCCW stands vis a vis Lebo's continued employment. At the start of 2008, I would have been downright appalled to learn that Lebo might get another season based on current results and the not-particularly-bright immediate future for Auburn. Remember: we lose Barber, Barrett, and Robertson, and there's all of one (rather confused-looking) scholarship freshman on the roster. If Lebo doesn't put together the Dennis Felton miracle run at the SEC tourney, every shred of basketball logic says he has to be dismissed. He'll have had five years in which even his two best teams won't have even gotten a sniff of the NCAA Tournament, and his sixth year will look even bleaker than this one. If you don't have victories in the present or hopes of improvement in the future, what do you have? An unemployed coach, that's what.

However: this isn't a decision that's being made in a financial vacuum. On one side of the ledger there's the fun of the current economy, and on the other there's an entire litany of various football coaching decisions sucking funds away like Michael Phelps at a giant money bong. (By the way, did you know that Phelps's incredible lung capacity means that he can take twice the hit of most mortal humans? Science is so much fun sometimes.) Absorbing the cost of replacing yet another coach in a revenue-producing sport may simply be beyond Auburn's financial means at the moment.

I'm not going to care if Lebo fails to make even the NIT or wraps up the SEC slate at 6-10 with a first-round tourney loss. At that point, Auburn will have to make a move just to maintain the appearance we give a crap about staying competitive in this sport. But if the Tigers make some noise in their remaining SEC games, make some noise at the SEC tournament, snag a bid to the the NIT ... well, I'll still wish Lebo was gone. But I won't raise hell about him staying, either. We all have to make sacrifices when our wallet gets lighter, and keeping a subpar coach at the helm of men's basketball for another season may the kind of sacrifice Auburn has to make.

There's an entire interesting thread of discussion regarding Burns available at the end of this post, with tiger7_88 regarding Burns's future skeptically and Grotus and myself arguing in his defense. tiger7's last word on the subject:
If you watched Tulsa, all that they want out of the QB in the running game is a "little bit". That's it. This offense does not DEMAND in it's QB a two-way player totally effective in the rushing and passing game.

What this offense DOES demand out of it's QB is what every other offense outside of the West Virginia spread and the Ga Tech option offense demands of it's QB... to throw the ball effectively.

If Kodi Burns doesn't show VAST improvement in his ability to actually read the field to make throws instead of (as they were obviously doing at the end of last year) ignoring one side of the field and letting Kodi concentrate on at most two receivers on the other side of the field, his talent to be able to run with the ball will just be a hindrance to this offense.

Unless you are in the triple-option of spread-option offense, if you are a QB then FIRST you must throw. It's just that simple. If Kodi doesn't show more dedication to studying the passing game than he did last year (my contact close to the team says that Todd constantly worked extra with the receivers and lived in the film room whereas Kodi... didn't), then he has no business being Auburn's starting QB just because you and Jerry and the rest of the Kodi Klub are enamored with his vast "talents". When you're playing in the SEC, it's almost guaranteed that almost every player on the other side of the ball is as "talented" as you are, so you dang well better be harder working and smarter than that guy or you will have NO edge.

If Kodi can't throw more TD's than INT's and he struggles to break the 50% barrier in completion percentage, then we need to see if somebody else can do the job.
First off, I obviously make no claims as to the veracity of the "Kodi didn't work as hard Todd" accusation. It's out there, this is the Internet, you can make up your own minds as to how true it is.

I'll respond to the rest of tiger7's comments in two ways, though:

1) It's true that Tulsa never relied particularly heavily on their quarterbacks to run the ball. David Johnson averaged just over 13 yards an outing on less than seven carries a game, seventh on the team. tiger7 is certainly right that Burns's success as Auburn's quarterback will be determined by how well he can throw the ball rather than how well he can run with it. I happen to think that Burns's live arm, success throwing the ball at the high school level and on the curl and slant routes late in the Season of DEATH, ability to improvise, and dramatically better coaching all indicate he'll be the best option from a passing standpoint as well as a mobility standpoint. But reasonable minds can differ on that point.

2) If Malzahn goes in a direction at QB that isn't Burns, there will be not a word of dissension on this end. When Franklin bailed on Burns after his injury against UL-Monroe, it felt more like the opportunity he'd simply been waiting for to thrust his hand-picked guy into the starting role--despite the fact that Auburn was having tremendous difficulty running the ball and that the only way Franklin's offense had ever done that was with a mobile QB. That's not an issue (or shouldn't be) with Malzahn's Spread Eagle. If Malzahn decides Trotter or Todd or Caudle or Rollison or even Moseley is the better option, I'll be willing to take his word for it in a way I just wasn't with Franklin.

Speaking of Moseley, commenter "sw-al guy" passed along some info on two of Auburn's new small-school recruits from--take a guess--southwest Alabama:
Figuring out who's really a stud or not at the 1A level and be very difficult. We might be able to glean a little bit about Gulley and Moseley from their respective performances against 1A Colossus Sweet Water:

Gulley was the lone bright spot for Brantley this year in Sweet Water's 47-7 thrashing with a long punt return and a 60-yard touchdown catch. Also seemed to play well on D against the run.

Moseley was as cool as a mason jar of ice water in the shade while under heavy heavy pressure from Sweet Water during their tilt this year. I'm told he actually completed the pass he was attempting in the photo of the linked story. Moseley also looked very good against three 4A schools, two of which made the playoffs this year. Nothing to sneeze at.
As mentioned before, I've had a couple of people whose opinion I trust tell me Moseley's poise and precision make him a much better prospect than his recruiting ratings would suggest. I won't be surprised at all if we see him taking meaningful snaps at Auburn before he leaves the Plains.

Lastly, Sullivn013 responds to my use of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" as some Signing Day theme music with this suggestion:
I'm sure it's just a matter of personal taste. No offense to ELO, but for me the Allman Brother's "Blue Sky" is a better fit for moment:

"Walk along the river, sweet lullaby, it just keeps on flowing,
It don't worry bout where its going, no, no.

Dont fly, mister blue bird, I'm just walking down the road,
Early morning sunshine tell me all I need to know

You're my blue sky, youre my sunny day.
Lord, you know it makes me high when you turn your love my way,
Turn your love my way, yeah."

Side note: If there is better 'road trip' music for driving through the South than the Allman Brothers, I haven't heard it. "Eat a Peach" can take me from Carolina to Florida in a such a way that I begin to regret reaching my destination.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's Second Helping is a close second. Maybe we can talk about Southern Rock bands of the 70's?
Consider this your invitation, if you'd like, though I'll have to sit out as my knowledge in this particular genre is sadly, sorely lacking. For instance, I wasn't familiar with "Blue Sky." Fortunately, that's why we have the Internet:

OK, unfortunately, that's all the content we're going to have today--I've got a ticket to the U.S.-Mexico qualifier in Columbus (suck it, Todd and Nico and Phillip) and my ride leaves soon. See you tomorrow.


Todd Jones said...

Todd does not care about soccer, so suck on that! Also, since road trip music and southern rock was mentioned, best way to keep the miles from stretching? Whipping Post from the Fillmore East. It's 23 minutes long, so you can only listen to it (roughly) three times per hour. A friend and I began measuring road trips in "Whipping Posts", i.e. Atlanta was only six whipping posts from Birmingham. For some reason it just makes things seem to go by quicker. (Also, Free Bird from One More From the Road works much the same way, but it's only 13 minutes long so you don't get the same bang for your buck as Whipping Post).

Acid Reign said...

.....I'm probably going to get shelled/flamed mercilessly for this, but to me, the Allmans were essentially a bar band. Competent, but when you stacked their southern rock stuff up against, say, "Hotel California;" Ehh.. no.

.....Disclaimer: my favorite Southern Rock band of all time was Blackfoot. Do yourself a favor and go to Put "Blackfoot Train Train" into the search box. Or "Blackfoot Highway Song." Enjoy!

.....I used to hear "Mr. Blue Sky" on the radio every night, driving home from work in the summer of 1978. As far as hit radio went in the late 70s disco era, it was pretty good stuff! I'd be driving my dad's Duster 340 with the 4 on the floor, and get to going WAY too fast! For my favorite ELO song ever, search "elo tightrope."

jd said...

I think just about all Southern rock (particularly Skynyrd) is terribly overrated. Every time I say that in Alabama, I make sure only a select few can hear me, lest I get burned at the stake.

I'm jealous you got to go to the World Cup qualifier, it turned out to be a pretty good game, at least from our end. I see that we've got another qualifier in a couple of months in Nashville, maybe I'll try to score a ticket and road trip up.

Sullivan013 said...


Comparing the Eagles to the Allman Brothers is like comparing apples to oranges (or peaches). The Allman Brothers had 'bar band' roots if you will, but had one of the world's best guitar players in Duane Allman and worked their up through many venues before cutting records. Consequently, their 'sound' reflects their origin, which I rather like.

The Eagles were formed from Southern Californian session musicians with immediate access to studio time and cut records even before they played as anything more than Linda Ronstadt's touring band. Consequently, their sound is far more polished and appeals to a wider commercial market.

I like them, and even went to more of their concerts than any other band (mainly because they toured Europe more often than southern bands and that's where I was in high school), but until Joe Walsh joined them, there was no one who could hold a candle to Duane Allman.

As for Lynyrd Skynyrd, guilty as charged. They never approached the quality or uniqueness of their first couple of albums, with 'Second Helping' being their best effort. However, they were a staple of my musical diet while overseas during the infamous 'disco' era of the 70s.*

Once I started at Auburn in '79, it was well past the era, but I still had the albums listened to all three bands while I was there. Now they are part of my nostalgia for the place.

Along with my other musical loves I picked up while there - Blues and Jazz.


*There were others, Chicago, Yes, Jethro Tull, Aerosmith, even Earth Wind and Fire, but Southern Rock was a touchstone of 'South' while I was away from it.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Todd, really? Could have sworn. Oh well. Your loss on that one, buddy, as Nico would no doubt tell you as well. Using "Whipping Post" as a measure of distance is kind of awesome, though.

Love the rest of these comments as well, guys. Filling in some of the holes in my musical education is always fun.

jd, you should totally make the effort to see the Nashville qualie if you can. T&T won't make for quite the same atmosphere that Mexico did last night, but it's still such an a unique experience I'd recommend it to just about anyone.

Loganville Tiger said...

Hard to argue with anything said here about the southern rock bands. But less not forget The Marshall Tucker Band - they could hold their own with any of the bands of that time IMHO. Though I like the Allman Brothers, I was more partial to M.T. - hard to beat that flue play. Toy Caldwell could match up with most on lead or 12 string.

Can't argue with Skynard's early work being their best - especially the live show recorded at the Fox here in Atlanta (had tickets and sold them - Damn It!)

Don't consider Eagles southern rock either - but liked their early stuff.

Others on my southern rock list - in no particular order are Little Feat (Live Dixie Chicken is as good as it gets), Atlanta Rhythm Section, Ram Jam and Blackfoot come to mind.

Maxed out these songs in an old Opel with a Marantz quadraphonic 8-Track driving 4 Jensen 6x9's.

Aahhhh those were the days....


Bellefay1 said...

Asked to be flamed and you shall be flamed.

The Allman Brothers were my favorite band growing up and being that I saw this last fall at Chastain park, they continue to stay up there as my collective favorite band of all time. Music is a tough topic to debate but I feel the "bar band" reference is rather out of line if I were going to give the Allman's a label. The easy answer to justify the range of the Allman Brothers would be to pop in Fillmore East and hear the music flow from a raunchy, loud, cover of a classic like Statesboro Blues, Done Somebody Wrong and Stormy Monday then filp the script with the "PLAY ALL NIGHT" jam of "You don't love me/Soul serenade." Throw in a jazzy/latin influence of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Hot Lanta" and I think you've hit a musical spectrum the likes of bar band couldn't imagine.

Going back to Duane days, you've got the guys playing with everyone from Fleetwood Mac (back it was Peter Green and they weren't a pop darling) to the Grateful Dead. Don't forget as well that it was Duane's guitar that is blending so beautifully with Eric Clapton's guitar on the Layla and Other Love songs album. I doubt anyone has the box set but there are some outtakes of those sessions with the Allman Brothers playing with Clapton and Layla guys. Incredible stuff.

As for the clip of "Blue Sky," that is probably the worst Allman Brothers group ever thrown together. That was during the peak of Greg Allman being whacked out of his skull on drugs and much of the band leaving to work on "Sea Level." Goldflies and Toler were just there so they band could continue to tour and keep the cash coming in.

Rant over. Enjoyed the article.


Todd_Jones. I grew up in Atlanta. Atlanta to Athens was exactly one listen of "Appetite for Destruction."

Sullivan013 said...

For no other reason than the sheer hilarity of the best 'cover' of a Lynyrd Skynyrd tune by any band, I give you the following:

Yes, that *is* the Red Army choir singing backup.

Reaction notes:

1) This is what you get when you lose a [Cold] war with the US. Let it stand alongside the photo of the Japanese ministers on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor, the crumbled concrete of the Berlin Wall and Saddam's statue face down in the dust. Iran, China and North Korea, be advised.

2) Oh, the humanity!

3) Why haven't they ever been invited to perform as the halftime show for the Iron Bowl?


Acid Reign said...

.....See, while I was living the 70s, I had no idea that the Eagles were a southern California band. "Lying Eyes" and "Desperado" RULED Birmingham Radio, Adult Contemporary and Country stations alike. I'd have bet money on them being from the South.

.....As far as 70s guitarists, I was a Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore guy, truth be told. Until Eddie van Halen blew the top of my head off with "Eruption!"

....."Bar Band" isn't necessarily a dig. A capable bar band was one who could go on, say, Saturday Night Live, without all their studio production gear, and still sound decent. Some HUGE bands, like the Rolling Stones, in 1978, could not!

.....Favorite late 70s/early 80s Auburn bar band: "Stranger." Then they got all fancy, and actually recorded an album. Let's see if Blogger can handled the link:

Todd Jones said...

MARSHALL TUCKER BAND! You want to talk about some amazing southern rock guitar, Toy Caldwell is second in my mind only to Duane. God I love them...

PhilipVU94 said...

Interesting thoughts on Lebo, if only because so much changed from this post to the end of the season.

You mentioned the possibility of a Felton miracle run. Since I know you appreciate the big picture in much the same way I do, isn't something really wrong with a system where a few lucky outcomes determine a coach's employment status? (Not really ethically wrong, because Felton was well-paid while at UGa. Just dumb, stupid to set the future of your program back a year because of a few game outcomes.)

That said, I've liked Lebo since he was a VU assistant and think he's probably a better coach than his overall record. For that reason I'm glad he seems to have won another year.