Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Works, That's what she said-style

Yeah. Jeff Grimes on Vance Smith's position switch to the offensive line:
"Somebody's going to have to fight me to give him up, I'll tell you that," Grimes said. "As far as I'm concerned, it is (permanent). He's a tough kid who works hard and he's exactly what I'm looking for. He's just got to get a little more lead in his pencil."
Cue it:



In all seriousness, I'm glad Smith seems to be working out on the offensive line. I can't imagine Malzahn's going to want his tight ends to be the bulldozing block-first-block-second-receive-third-if-ever types, and in his limited time last year Smith definitely looked more Cole Bennett than Anthony Mix. So this both helps shore up the two-deep along the OL and gives the kid a better shot at contributing sooner. When you think about Smith and the competition at end, with McKenzie and Lutzenkirchen and Trott, it just looks really, really stiff.

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How to get ahead. Kids, remember, when you're an interviewing for a job, you want to wear something as gaudy, loud, and eye-catching as possible, regardless of whether the clothing is appropriate or functional. Just ask Auburn special teams coach Jay Boulware!
Boulware said Huntsville's Chandler Brooks is currently the No. 1 kicker. Actually, Boulware couldn't even think of his first name, referring to him as the "kid by the name of Brooks...The kid with the yellow shoes." Decatur walk-on Morgan Hull is in third place, Boulware said.
See, kids, that's how you get noticed! It also helps if you're (apparently) decisively outkicking your more familiar rivals in practice.

Seeing a total unknown like Brooks waltz in and shove his way to the top of the depth chart (however early in the process it might be) has got to sting if you're Wes Byrum, but at least he's got company in the "scholarship specialists getting beat out by walk-ons" department: Boulware praised Ryan Shoemaker by saying he "looked like Durst" for a practice, so that should tell you something about what that pecking order looks like at the moment, and long snapper/starpilot Dax Dellenbach is running third on the snapping depth chart behind "hands-down" No. 1 Josh Harris and part-time tight end Bailey Woods. Obviously I take my special teams very, very seriously and fully support the offering of scholarships to make sure Auburn's special teams are capable of excelling ... but if Byrum, Shoemaker, and Dellenbach all start the season on the bench, it will be hard not to think of the present situation as--to paraphrase a line delivered by Mr. Barry Pepper--a serious misallocation of valuable military scholarship resources. So it goes.

Elsewhere. The continuing silence on the Gabe McKenzie front is deafening. When it's been this long and we're only being told that "medical things" are the issue, I feel secure in saying the issue is not, in fact, only "medical things," or least the sort of medical things that are unimportant enough to accurately describe in that fashion.

Andy Bitter pretty well covers every other current spring development in this post. To summarize: Carr, Fannin, McFadden, and Justin Albert are in the running at punt returner, which Trooper Taylor is overseeing; Hawthorne has continued to be the most impressive wideout in spring ball, though as Jay Tate reminds us that's not a very large pool to draw from if you account for injuries; Taylor said Carr was "a limo without gas. He looks good and I can't ride him" ... so, uh, better get it going, Quindarius; and Frenchy apparently isn't going to get Taylor's trust until he's healthy.

Also: I've been remiss in not noting the passing of longtime Auburn assistant Paul Davis, who worked under Jordan, Barfield, and Dye in addition to serving as Mississippi St.'s head coach. Although Davis graduated from Ole Miss, both his sons are Auburn alums and Davis was living in Auburn when he passed away. War Eagle, sir.

Big Brother's watching you. From the bleachers two rows behind you, actually. This fall, Auburn will become the first school in the country to employ GuestAssist. What is GuestAssist?
GuestAssist provides instant two-way, text messaging-based communication between ticket holders and event staff, allowing for improved management of safety, security and guest services ...

"On football Saturdays, Jordan-Hare Stadium becomes Alabama's fifth-largest city, with more than 87,000 fans in attendance," said Auburn Associate Athletic Director Jeff Steele. "Maintaining safety and security and providing responsive customer service to Tiger fans is a priority for the university, and GuestAssist will improve our ability to do that efficiently and effectively.

"We selected GuestAssist because of its proven track record in the National Football League and Major League Baseball, and we're proud to be the first college in the U.S. to offer the service," Steele said.
There's good news and bad news with this. The bad news is that I remembered ignoring this dreadful Rick Reilly column on fan-texting that popped up on the ESPN front page last week, and I made the mistake of thinking I should go back and read it. The good news is that I think we've all sat in a section at one point or another with a fan that really, really needed to be escorted out, and provided staff doesn't just start tossing or harassing fans all willy-nilly, this should help.

Tennessee links. There's a very real possibility that Memphis is going after Bruce Pearl and going after him hard. Why would Pearl, who's had nothing but success at the helm of the Vols, feel like listening? Joel at RTT says it's "big orange poison":
(W)e have one season that is "down" only by Bruce's own standards, and the orange poison begins to work its way into the man prompting defenses that shouldn't have been necessary but were. Well, how do the venom-carriers feel now? ...

(C)oach Pearl had to call out his fans for being dissatisfied for winning their division and making the NCAA Tournament on four of four tries. He witnessed the quick kill of a coach of 17 years the season after winning his division. No matter what he does, he feels like he's always third on campus behind football, regardless of the coach, and the Lady Vols as long as Pat Summitt is around.
I've read more than one blog post or comment by Vol fans this past season that expressed a level of displeasure with Pearl waaaaaay above and beyond what one semi-disappointing season still waaaaaay above and beyond Tennessee's basketball standards over the past 25 years have called for, so it's not entirely surprising Pearl's heard the gripes, too. Learn a lesson, fans around the SEC: you call out coaches that don't deserve it, you suffer some kind of consequences.

A tad on the old side in Internet-time--it appeared all the way back on last Saturday!--but also Vol-related and worth checking out: Smart Football takes a guess at what the Kiffykin offense is going to look like. Quality.

Besuboru. Auburn took two of three from Vandy last weekend before heading to Starkville tomorrow to try and even up their SEC record at 5-5. PPL has your usual must-read recap of the Vandy series; though he called the middle game of the set "the most complete game Auburn has played all year," the 22-hit blowout loss to open the series and sloppy ending on Sunday limited the weekend performance as a whole to only 3 Jobus. On the road, it'll probably have to be a 4-Job performance to win this week's series.

Etc. The Pathos sounds a little bummed about spring practice being closed, and I don't blame him ... any article about an alum of the JCCW's own high school alma mater gets automatically linked, so say hello to surprising Auburn softball pitcher Holly Ragsdale ... DeWanna Bonner is still racking up the All-American accolades.

3 comments:

jd said...

I can't imagine Malzahn's going to want his tight ends to be the bulldozing block-first-block-second-receive-third-if-ever types

Pure gold.

You also missed one last golden "that's what she said" moment from your Trooper Taylor quote:

Taylor said Carr was "a limo without gas. He looks good and I can't ride him"

SEC Homer said...

Lot of stuff to process there...
I am still in B-ball mode so I will comment on Bruce Pearl. Bruce Pearl IMO is one of the best overall coaches in the country. He has an awesome personality and coaches an entertaining style of ball that is tough to defend. Both of these aspects help with recruiting to a school that is totally a football school. I don't blame anyone for going after Pearl. He is a unique and one of a kind coach. The question is, is Memphis a better program than UT? Historically, yes. Resource wise, probably no. With Coach Cal coming into UK, it might be a good time to leave UT and go dominate Conf USA for a few years, esp if he is already getting heat. UK is going to be a monster in two to three years.

easyedwin said...

I cannot see my phone while in Jordan Hare. I cannot feel it vibrate because of crowd noise. I use it at the half to talk to other fans at other game venues. Maybe it is for use before or after the game. ?