Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Works, Too Much Information-style

How many links and stories are we covering today? I'll let Duran Duran explain:

Dude, the Wedding Album rocked, and I'll brook no argument on this one.

Chizik to Tubby: "You kind of sucked." The tidbit from Mark Schlabach's Chizik profile that's drawn the most attention is the Chiznick's contention that everything was peachy keen in Ames (and that he sees a "similar rebuilding job" at Auburn, but those are Schlabach's words, not Chizik's, who I suspect would have put it a little differently). But for me, the most intriguing quote from a story that offered us precious little insight into Auburn's new head man beyond "even ESPN's not going to get an especially juicy or creative quote out of the guy" is this one:
It didn't take Chizik long to realize why the Tigers struggled so badly last season.

"We've got some deficiencies right now and we've got to overcome that," Chizik said. "I think there's a difference from 2004. Depth is an issue at this point, and I think that's glaring. I left here in 2004, and compared to now, it's a different-looking team physically. We've got to ramp it up, and I think we can do that."
So a "glaring" lack of depth and "a different-looking team physically," huh? Hmmmm ... should we translate that as "my predecessor quit recruiting"? Because I think that's how I'm going to.

I'm not going to spoil it for you ... but you should know that this picture:

is paired with a related chart at the Auburner that's every bit as good as "chart at the Auburner" implies.

Yes. The cheap shot at Auburn's spring game crowd isn't necessary--since when do schools who set attendance records turning out for a coach who the school's fans are supposed to be unhappy with have their support called inadequate?--but K-Scar's column on the UCLA FAIL is otherwise dead-on. The highlight:
Losing the big payday of an eighth home game is no excuse.

Alabama played seven home games in 2008 and will again in 2009. How has that affected the bottom line? ...

By the way, a school official said Alabama earned about $2 million for playing Clemson last year. That's not as much as Alabama or Auburn earns for a home game, but the intangible benefits - see recruiting - are priceless ...

It would put Auburn in the spotlight, and let's face it. Auburn has to go the extra mile to earn national respect. It's not many miles to Atlanta, which offered a national stage in a home-away-from-home setting.
This link is also noteworthy for the comments, which blast Scarbinsky for daring to criticize the great Jay Jacobs with logic and sense and in the process set a new record for stupidity in an comment thread. That's not an easy bar to clear, as you know.

Krootin' links. I forgot yesterday to mention that Auburn has a very special recruiter hot on the Marcus Lattimore trail. I'll force you to click over to find out who, but it would help you to know the recruitment is being conducted by ... wait for it ... Facebook!!?!?

Also, courtesy of Lifetime of Defeats, here's some free Rivals video discussing Auburn's "buzz" on the recruiting circuit, highlighted by some film of Shon Coleman:

As you can see, Coleman really is one very, very large gentleman. LoD also runs us through Auburn's top 10 2010 recruiting targets. Linemen figure prominently, as you might imagine.

So much for that. Recruiting pedigree and all, Phelon Jones is not coming to Auburn:
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback from Mobile's McGill-Toolen Catholic School received a release from LSU on April 3 to talk with coaches at Auburn, but his father, Tony Jones, said the Tigers do not have a spot for him. Jones said his son, who started two games at cornerback in 2008 and saw extensive action as a nickel back, would like to consider transferring to Alabama or Troy, but has not been released by LSU to talk with those schools.

"Phelon wanted to come back home and play," the elder Jones said. "In talking to (Auburn head coach Gene) Chizik, he's not making it happen. The NCAA said he would count in the 2010 scholarship class and Chizik just doesn't have enough scholarships."
I'm a little surprised--and, yeah, kinda disappointed--that Chizik can't make room for a player of Jones's quality, but it's preferable to him saying "Welcome aboard!" and then praying somebody decides to transfer to Wyoming at the last minute without a word of explanation to relieve a numbers crunch, that's for damn sure. On top of that, with Bell, Thompson, Slade, etc. showing well in the spring and Paige and Washington coming in this fall, the secondary might be one of two places on the team--RB the other, of course--where Auburn really isn't in all that much need of help.

Speaking of the depth chart in the secondary ... Andy Bitter is breaking the entire Auburn roster down position-by-position in the wake of spring practice and is doing a hell of a job with it. A sample from the secondary post:
Jerraud Powers' decision to enter the NFL Draft might not be the blow everybody thought it would be. The secondary is undoubtedly the deepest position Auburn has on the defense, with three starters returning from last year, another player who nearly started before injuring his knee in two-a-days (Savage) and a former nickelback who is coming into his own (Thorpe). Despite injuries that kept both Etheridge (shoulder) and McNeil (broken leg) out for part of spring drills, Auburn has plenty of bodies to take their place, with three sophomore safeties eager to get their shot. The Tigers had so much depth, in fact, that safety Marcus Jemison moved to linebacker and cornerback Harry Adams moved to wide receiver, which tells me the coaches are very comfortable with this group.
Linebackers are here, the defensive line here. Enjoy.

Inevitable. This is making the rounds in record time, but I'd encourage you not to scoff at the chance to by your own Auburn Snuggie. After all, check this guy out:

He's hanging with two hot chicks! Then again, kissing the one on the right would taste like eating something batter-dipped you can't quite place and the one one the right would whisper things like "I'm gonna run up the score on you, baby ... you want me to roll over for you in the big game?" in your ear, and that would just be weird. So maybe you should pass. (HT: WRAS.)

Feelin' a draft. Luke Brietzke tells us not to tune in if we're just hoping to see Auburn players picked up:
Kiper doesn't think any Auburn player will get selected on the first day. In fact, the first player he has getting selected is offensive guard Tyronne Green, who Kiper currently has slated to get taken with the 91st overall pick.
After Green, Kiper only projects one player to get drafted in the first four rounds -- DT Sen'Derrick Marks.
Brietzke also wonders aloud how it is that a disruptive DT like Marks--one of the hardest commodities to come by in the NFL--has fallen as far as he has. The guess here: he's just not that physically intimidating, and let's face it, as good as he was last season he could have been a shade better, too. I think he'll succeed in the NFL, but I don't think it's an outrage he's slipping, either.

Been waiting' for this one. Acid Reign offers his now-annual (I hope?) review of the A-Day game and is less than impressed with the quarterback play:
Beyond the first quarter, the quarterbacks mostly had ALL DAY to throw the football, with excellent protection. Did we have a guy step up and prove that he can be an excellent starting SEC quarterback? Sadly, no.

The offense, under Kodi Burns, had much early success. But, it was mainly on handoffs to Tate, Zachary, and McCaleb. On most of his eight passing attempts, Kodi still seemed to be throwing off balance. There was a high throw to Carr on the hitch. A bomb to Fannin into coverage that should have been intercepted. A slip screen to Spry WAY behind him. An underthrown post pattern to a wide open Derek Winter that allowed the safety to close. An overthrow out of bounds on the screen to Spry, with pressure coming. A line drive on a post to wide-open Winter, no air under it, overthrown. That was six bad throws on 8 attempts. The capper was Kodi, late, deciding to try and run for it on 3rd and 27. Bear in mind, though, that if the quarterback had been live in this one, Kodi probably could have run for 200 yards.
Acid goes on to say that Caudle had his moments, but wasn't quite as good as some fans made his performance out to be, either. On the positive side: I don't think I've seen anyone else note that Byrum was sticking his kickoffs inside the 5 with regularity. That would be a big help if he can keep that up in the fall. Anyways, tons of good stuff.

Lowder = nuclear cockroach, as usual. TeamSpeedKills' Year 2 took a look at the current status of Bobby Lowder this week, noting this article reporting a potential $300 million infusion that could save Colonial. But the deal is fragile and Colonial could collapse around Lowder's ears anyway. Year 2 summarizes:
(E)ven with this development, Colonial isn't in great shape. It's financial strength rating is E+, with A being the top mark on the scale. Plus, some shareholders are suing the company over Lowder being somewhat dishonest last December about disclosing regulatory actions taken by the state of Alabama. Tiger fans, try to contain your shock.

In any event, Colonial will almost certainly be headed for insolvency and FDIC receivership at some point if this round of private and public funding falls through. Many had given up on the possibility of Colonial getting enough private money to qualify for government loans, but at the last minute it's back on the table.

What does this mean for Auburn?

Well, it means we can't yet say that the recession will K.O. Bobby Lowder. It's brought him down pretty far, but he's not out yet. Then again, given his realm of personal influence it's difficult to predict that he'll ever truly be out of Auburn's business while he still draws breath without intervention from the law or the NCAA.
I think we all agree on that last part, but I think we all also agree that if Lowder doesn't have megamillions to dangle in front of the school like a carrot on a stick, he also won't have as much influence as he's had before. It's a story worth tracking.

Thankful for this. Bruce Feldman reports on the West Virginia spring game:
Completing his first 15 passes and 21-of-28 before retiring for the afternoon, (new QB Jarrett) Brown threw for 273 yards and four touchdowns in the Gold team's 35-7 mismatch with the Blue in West Virginia's spring-ending scrimmage Saturday at Mountaineer Field.
Dr. Saturday delves further:
Saturday, though, was the most clear evidence yet that, with White taking his show on the road, the Rodriguez-era spread 'n shred is kaput, replaced by Mullen's insistence on balance. Brown, despite his forgettable relief efforts in the crucial '07 losses to South Florida and Pittsburgh, was always considered a more traditional passer than White, and completed his first 15 passes -- against the second-team defense, it must be noted, but still -- while dropped back on a Texas Tech-like 25 of 34 snaps in the first half.
So: that West Virginia team that ran Auburn silly last fall and has generally been the most explosive rushing team in the nation over the past few years? That's not going to be the West Virginia team that's coming to Jordan-Hare this year. They've been replaced by a team headed up by Bill Stewart with a green-as-can-be offensive line that's going to throw the ball all over the place into the teeth of Auburn's strongest unit. It's way too early to say I like Auburn's chances, but I like them better than I did before I read these particular reports.

Etc. Garnet and Black Attack imagines a big-city Pitchfork type vs. an SEC football-lovin' type with humorous results ... kleph has some interesting thoughts at RBR regarding global culture, the perception of time, and the 1966 tie between Notre Dame and Michigan St. Like I said, interesting.


jrsuicide said...

It sucks for Marks (who was listed as a preseason top 10 prospect) to drop so far...but I'm hoping the Falcons can steal him in the 4th round.

easyedwin said...

No one cares more about Auburn University than Robert Lowder.

jrsuicide said...

As a hipster douchebag who runs a college football blog I take offense to Garnet & Black's characterization of what it is like to watch a college football game with me. I would never eat circus peanuts.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Ed, perhaps that's true, but when that caring expresses itself by actions that put the school's very accreditation at risk, I really wish he'd care about something else instead.

jrs, yeah, actually, I don't know anyone who ever eats circus peanuts. Ever.