Tuesday, April 14, 2009


This post is about further developments from Auburn's spring practice, but I just realized I never wished my readers a Happy Easter, so here's to hoping you all had a very, very Happy Easter.

Speaking of Easter, for any fans out there of the world-famous Paas Easter egg decorating company, Patton Oswalt has a few words for you (audio exceedingly NSFW):

OK, on with the Auburn stuff.

--Well, I guess there was always going to be at least one major injury eventually, wasn't there? McNeil's broken leg/shin/whatever could be so much worse, though--most estimates (including one directly from Curtis Luper ... kind of directly, anyway) have him back by fall camp, and broken bones don't have that nagging quality that various tears or even severe sprains might have. And McNeil is neither an inexperienced player or a position-switcher who's in desperate need of reps. If this is as bad as it gets, Auburn still won't have too much in the way of complaints.

--I think we're all in agreement that Burns and Caudle are the QBs still standing after Malzahn trims the quarterback race to two, right? Haven't found anyone yet who wants to argue for Trotter.

Malzahn's level-headed "OK, that's enough, we're moving forward" approach is most welcome. Get a good fair look at all three guys; when the reps have to be spread less evenly for the good of whoever wins the job, eliminate one; eventually pick your guy. Sounds reasonable to me. Just one of the many, many reasons I feel like we're in so much safer hands than we were in last spring. (Not that I felt that way at the time, of course.)

--If Neil Caudle did indeed throw the pick that Neiko Thorpe returned for a touchdown, um ... this does seem to be something of a problem, doesn't it? Is there maybe the slightest nudge in Burns's direction? Not that it matters right now; whatever Burns and Caudle say they want, I'm still not expecting to have a starter named by the end of spring.

--Consider me unconcerned that the defense dominated the scrimmage. Three QBs in and out, a constantly rotating cast of receivers, coordinator consciously going one-dimensional to work on the passing game? Those aren't concerns in a live-game situation.

--Kudos to Jay G. Tate for pointing out the downside of not letting the press into practice and scrimmages: when something interesting really does happen--like the Coleman/Rocker incident--instead of having (relatively) unbiased reporters there to verify what happened, we get third-hand message board innuendo from anonymous posters who could have God only knows what agenda. And so the Internet spend two days thinking Coleman pulled a leather glove our of hip pads before slapping Rocker with it and challenging him to a duel, or however that rumor went.

I know Chizik said keeping the press out was to keep pressure the pressure off and the hype away and all that, but I'm also thinking he just doesn't like the press for whatever reason. From Andy Bitter:
Here's how Gene Chizik answered a question about who won: "You know, that’s a little premature because you don’t know what’s happening until you go back and watch the film. … You hesitate right now by looking at the score that went back-and-forth early on to decide who beat who. I’m a little reluctant to do that."
Contrast this with the response from Curtis Luper when asked the same question:
"They handed it to us pretty well today. It was a good old-fashioned whupping. It's not all bad. You like to see the defense do well sometimes. We've been spanking them pretty good."
So it wasn't just the scoreboard: the defense was just plain better. And so I have to ask, other than pure unadulterated pettiness, what possible motivation could Chizik have for not answering "Who won?" with a straight answer? If it's really all about looking at the tape and figuring things out from there, why keep score?

None of this has anything to do with how well Chizik can coach a college football team, not a thing at all, but it's just a baffling approach to me. I would like to feel like this spring is an opportunity for all of us out here in Auburnland to get to know our new football coach, but when he can't even tell the public who won one of his scrimmages, it gives me the feeling he doesn't care if the public gets to know him or not. Sorry.

--More from that same Tate post: Auburn's currently standing tall at 7 healthy scholarship offensive linemen, and that's with just one injured player (Bart Eddins). Whoopee!

--On the way up, according to the scuttlebutt: Tim Hawthorne, Onterio McCalebb, Christian Thompson, Eltoro Freeman. Given that all four of those gentlemen (save possibly McCalebb, if you're feeling generous) play at positions that vastly underachieved on the field in '08, I'd consider it good news.


Anonymous said...

With regard to the up-and-comers, we're always hearing that Benton and Blake have a great chance to play immediately, but is it just me or have we heard little to nothing about how they're actually performing so far?

Acid Reign said...

.....From my understanding, those two guys are incoming freshmen, and won't be with the team till August drills.

SEC Homer said...

Fairly or unfairly, deep down I am rooting for Caudle bc Burns was such a disaster last year.

easyedwin said...

Free T. Hawthorne