Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Good news, "bad" news

Good. This:

wasn't nearly so bad as it looked:
An MRI on Monday revealed that (Chantel) Hilliard did not suffer a tear in her left knee during Auburn’s 65-59 victory over Georgia, an Auburn spokesman confirmed. The Auburn training staff would not divulge the nature of her injury, but it is not expected to be season-ending ...

The news was certainly outstanding for the Tigers, who dress just 10 players, regularly play eight and have been short on depth since
Jordan Greenleaf went down with a torn ACL in December.

“She is not out of the woods yet as far as playing with the team,” coach Nell Fortner said. “It was good to hear that there was no tear or anything and we are excited to have her back as soon as she can join us.”
You wouldn't usually see a player averaging 3.3 points a game as "critical," but Auburn has pretty much just the two backups in the frontcourt, Carrier and Hilliard, and as intimidating as Carrier might look she's clearly got a ways to go before handling major minutes. Hilliard was one of the few Auburn players who was actually having a good game against the Dawgs before she went down, and I think it's quite safe to say she's going to have to play for Auburn to have any shot at not wearing down over the course of the SEC tourney.

When it happened, I frankly assumed she was done for the year, so this quite the pleasant surprise.

"Bad." As you've no doubt heard by now, The Fantastical Mr. Oku has now moved to Lincoln, Nebraska and will apparently graduate from his new high school there. His motivation for the move is apparently to be closer to his Lincoln-based girlfriend, who he met on his official visit to Nebraska.

Staying far, far away from the merits of said motivation, I'm with the Syracuse bloggers in simply acknowledging that if you are choosing to play college football in either Lincoln, Auburn, Knoxville, or Syracuse, and you just got finished moving to one of those cities, it stands to reason you're most likely to choose to play in the city you moved to rather than move yet again. "Hopes," such as they were, are not up.

Which, of course, is fine. Oku is likely to be a quality running back and I'd be happy to have him at Auburn. But--once again--we just signed several quality running backs and we have several more already on our roster. Plus we're still just a bit on the "need to get the class down to 25" side. If he was an offensive lineman I'd be singing a different and substantially more desperate tune, but as is the travails of The Fantastical Mr. Oku are a fun story that's going to have a happy ending no matter how things turn out in the end.

Good. I mentioned yesterday that anyone who wanted to write baseball coverage for the JCCW would be encouraged. Nevermind: there's no point in anything but rudimentary "hey, this happened" talk here as long as new Auburn baseball blog Plainsman Parking Lot is around to provide the goods. A sample:
Just from three games, I can tell that the difference between Slater and CJP is night and day.

Fundamentally, we are better. We actually had successful bunts and *gasp* pulled off a hit and run.

But there are so many little, unrecognizable things, that are different from last year's staff.

The first is communication. If you have a chance to go to a game, especially late in the game, pay attention to the 1B coach. Late in the game Sunday, Auburn was trying to keep a close eye on the Elon bullpen. Every now and then you would catch the first base coach (I forget his name at the moment) keeping a close eye on the pen and signaling whether there was a RH, LH, or even a separate signal for a Submariner. So even before the pitcher was called in for Elon, Auburn knew what to expect and could adjust accordingly.

The second is attitude. Slater would rarely come out of the dugout to argue a call. CJP was out even during the first inning. Arguing a close play on a steal to second. That attitude trickles down to the players. I don't know how you would measure this, but even on Sunday, the team seemed, I don't know, happier. They were having fun. Better than that they were vocal, loud, and cheering their teammates on late in ninth when Auburn was trying to rally (even putting on rally caps). Something has changed in Auburn. Something has changed for the better.
Kevin has not one, not two, not three, not five, but four different posts on the Elon series. So, yeah, I think we've got that "Auburn baseball" thing covered for the time being. Visit and enjoy.


jrsuicide said...

it's good to see that "hot chicks" are still the greatest recruiting tool of all...but i've got to say, i've been to Nebraska a number of times and the ladies of Auburn, Alabama have them beat in spades.

jd said...

Re: Oku moving to Lincoln.

Pardon my French, but what the fuck? He met a girl in the past few months and is ready to move 2 states away to be with her? At age 18? (17?) Given our current stable of RBs in this class, this makes me not care a lick whether Oku comes to Auburn. It sounds very immature or something. Nebraska, you can have him.

Jerry Hinnen said...

jd, I feel like I ought to refrain from issuing direct comments about a recruit's maturity level, reliability, etc. He's 17 and a recruit.

So I'll just say I'm glad that other people like you don't necessarily have to refrain.

jrsuicide said...

i've also read some rumor-tastic rumors (aka i read it on the Auburn Rivals site) that Mr. Oku has knocked up the young lady in question and so that might explain his desire to move out there to be closer to her. regardless, he ain't comin' to the Plains and so we'd probably all be better off moving on.

jd said...

jrs -

If true, that explains alot. That would obviously change my mind about Oku, because that's an obviously important life event.

And Jerry -

I chose the word "immature" because I couldn't think of anything else. If the rumors jrs just posted are false, then I guess the best way to describe what I feel towards Oku would be that I don't think he's taking his football career seriously (laissez-faire attitude about making a decision, moving to a whole new town with 3 months until graduation, etc.). Feel free to roast me.

Jerry Hinnen said...

jd, I was just looking for a convoluted way of saying I am, um, sympathetic to your argument. No roasting imminent.