Monday, April 06, 2009
In full spring
Holy hell, there's a lot to keep up with for it being the first week of April.
Scrimmage. Here, let me just start by throwing a bunch of worthwhile links at you and then getting to my reactions: Bitter's usual avalanche of notes; Tate gives us some gin-u-wine scrimmage footage; the offense was ticked they were credited with a loss after being asked to slow down their Malzahnian tempo for the defense's benefit, for which I can't say I blame them; speaking of Malzahn, he fully endorses having his quarterbacks go live; full post-scrimmage quotations are available via the official site.
--Wow, Neil Caudle, throwing that hope-and-a-prayer pick off your back foot was not the way to convince the Auburn populace that thinks of you as talented but too interception-prone that you are, in fact, merely talented. I'm well aware that one play in the first scrimmage of spring means almost nothing in the Great QB Race of 2009, but it's still a little on the ... unfortunate side that the very first time we the public get to see new-and-improved Caudle, he looks like the old Caudle.
--Kyle Coulahan leaves the team to concentrate on academics, reducing the offensive line to seven dudes and a cardboard display of the Michelin Man secretly stolen from the lobby of a local tire dealership.
--Wait, when did Ralph Spry Jr. show up? A transfer from Minnesota? When did this happen? Hey, if he was on scholarship up there and his Dad knows a thing or two about athletic success, glad to have him aboard. But where was I when his transfer went down?
--I do have to wonder if having 2-3 quarterbacks who are all looking just about of equal quality has something to do with the coaches' willingness to put them in harm's way. If they felt like Burns was the answer and they'd be flat lost with Caudle or Trotter, would they still let Burns get hit? Just thinking out loud.
--All right, some of the secrecy and limited access I can understand, but Chizik not divulging to reporters when asked what the terms of the scoring system used in a freaking random spring scrimmage ... look, that's just being difficult for the sake of being difficult, witholding knowledge for no other reason than to remind the beat hacks and the public that he's got that information and we don't. In a word: ugh. There cannot possibly be any disadvantage to the rest of the SEC finding out how our team keeps score in its FREAKING RANDOM SPRING SCRIMMAGE. There's a post coming sometime soon about how uneasy Chizik's control-freak personality makes me, and this is just another piece of evidence to add to the file.
--That the offense was already fast enough that the defense legitimately could not keep up is encouraging. That Taylor is already going on record with the "genius" label for Malzahn ... that's even better. (Somehow I don't remember any of Tony Franklin's assistants calling him a genius last spring.)
The shoes, the shoes! Jay G. Tate answers the call! No wonder Brooks got noticed.
More Sunday. Linkage: Bitter, still killing it; Tate post 1 and Tate post 2; Woodbery, with a solid batch of quotes from Marcus Jemison; scroll through Luke Brietzke's post for one of several sweet Taylor quotes floating around.
--Anyone surprised that Eltoro Freeman has (for now) supplanted Spencer Pybus at weakside linebacker? Anybody? Bueller? Great stories only go so far, especially when confronted with names as great as The Toro's.
--Hmmm, not sure Mario Fannin putting on weight for an offense that should have more use for his speed than his power sounds like the best idea ever. And on top of that, he finally gets his boot off and gets immediately shuffled into the H-back position. Still don't have a lot of doubt Fannin's going to get his come the fall, but it seems like there's more hurdles in his way than I expected.
--Hooray, hooray, a defensive end injured. I think that brings us down to Goggans, Coleman, and a particularly bulky golden retriever.
--Not much to say about Jemison's switch to LB, but hearing that he wanted to quit the team after a fight with John Douglas (and resulting injury) in last fall's camp ... I mean, things were just awful for the 2008 team from the very beginning, weren't they? I promise never to pooh-pooh the importance of a practice fight again--those dust-ups claimed one promising recruit right off the bat and apparently damn near claimed another. Stuff happens, I know, but here's to hoping our current regime can keep more of a lid on it.
--Wish Frenchy could jump, though at least we got another awesome Trooperism out of it. I have to say, it's a bit troubling that PPL's not further along when his injury happened so early in the season and hasn't been reported as serious as Savage's or Trott's injuries.
--So they're doing the chain thing, huh? Better than the "let's swing a heavy ax in a crowded locker room" motivational tactic Jack Del Rio tried with the Jaguars a few years ago, you can say that much for it.
--One thing I don't mind the coaches staying tight-lipped about is injuries. If Billings is hurt and can't practice, I'm not sure I really have to know precisely what it is he's battling.