On the NFL personnel front. Well here's something of a surprise: the third Auburn free agent to sign on with an NFL team wasn't Lester or Johnson, but apparently long snapper Robert Shiver. The first reaction is "Really? That's weird, I never even thought about him"; the second reaction is "Oh, he's a long snapper, that I never thought about him proves how good he really was, huh?"
Attention Dax Dellenbach: this could all be yours some day! Also worth noting (given the slowness on the current news front) is that Rod Hood was released by the Cardinals. Which is too bad, but maybe he'll catch on somewhere else, and even if he doesn't, he's had one hell of a professional career for a guy who had to walk-on at Auburn.
Krootnews. Here's the full quote from Marcus Lattimore on Auburn's "big lead" and exactly which schools Chizik and Co. will have to hold off for his signature:
Running back Marcus Lattimore (6-0, 210) of Byrnes High in Duncan visited Auburn on Friday and Saturday with his mother, stepdad and a friend, and he left there with the Tigers the favorite for his services.Standard disclaimer about how there's always a post-visit bump and how things could change next week much less in 10 months goes here. (HT: VB.)
"They've got a big lead," Lattimore said. "Georgia and Florida State would be second. And USC and Clemson are still going to be up there. My mom liked (new Auburn head) Coach Gene Chizik and everything. He has a three-year plan for me and no other college has done that for me."
Lattimore said he won't take any more visits until he goes to Penn State this summer. He will attend the Nike camp this weekend at Georgia.
Also, those of you who find recruiting nothing but borderline-creepy hype and hot air may want to turn away now, but Auburn's already started offering recruits for the 2011 class. Well, one recruit, a safety out of Valley who was first-team All-State as a sophomore.
BlAUgosphere. The Auburner has a comic up on the Limo Gambit. It's gold, of course. (Don't miss Saban's small turn as Michael Dukakis.)
Elsewhere, Lifetime of Defeats wraps up his draft talk by examining why you can't blame kids for departing early and taking a shrewd swipe at the NFL's quarterback scouting:
Which of these guys do you think would make a better QB?See, I would agree wholeheartedly--and other very smart people certainly are--but tons of college-oriented wise guys were totally convinced Matt Ryan was going to be the second coming of Akili Smith ... and then he went and made us all look like chumps. So now I'm tentative to declare any quarterback the pros think might be worth a first-round shot a future bust ... but, yeah, dude, Josh Freeman sucks and The Bucs are suckers for taking him. It's Josh Freeman.
QB rating of 183.2/ 6,390 yards passing/ 67 tds to 9 int/ a 66% completion rate
QB rating of 124.73/ 8,078 yards passing/ 44 tds to 34 int/ a 59% completion rate
That's Tim Tebow's 3 year stats (only 2 of those were as a starter) vs. Josh Freeman's 3 year stats (all of those as a starter) not to mention Tebow has won 2 national titles and a Heisman and Josh Freeman went to the Texas Bowl once. But yeah, Tim Tebow is gonna be a Tight End in the NFL and Josh Freeman is gonna be the future of the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Also also, Guaranteed to Satisfy throw their lot in with Neil Caudle:
The issue comes to a singular point--empirical evidence. We have a very comprehensive body of work on one side (Kodi) compared to a blank slate on the other (Caudle). We have seen Kodi's happy feet under pressure when he needs to hit his safety valve. We have seen the deer in headlights look when the Alabama defender stuffed him to the ground as he flailed helplessly. We have seen him, time and again, not go through his progression and run after his initial read was not open ... Caudle, on the other hand, is a complete unknown with some worthwhile credentials ... In the face of all we saw last year, he cannot represent a downgrade in our quarterback play.The post is definitely worth a read (I'm ellipsing the "worthwhile credentials" GTS lists) but I have to disagree that our evidence is all that "empirical" when things have changed so dramatically from last year to this year: the Kodi we got under Borges and Franklin and Ensminger is by no means guaranteed to be the Kodi we get from Malzahn. The schemes are too different, the coaching too much better (I'm assuming). Burns may not earn the job--whoever Malzahn picks, I'll trust to be the best choice, unlike the "Hello? You can't run without Burns, Tony!" reaction from last season--but it's still way too early to write him off just yet.
Let's hope so. The Andy Bitter position-by-position series continues with the receivers and running backs. The receiver post doesn't do a whole lot to soothe the worries there, but I thought this was an interesting take on the Tate/McCalebb situation:
Speed is usually the trump card in football, and McCalebb brings a ton of it. He's fast — legitimately fast. Everyone on the team agrees. Malzahn's system seems like it can free up running backs in open space quite a bit, where McCalebb can be most dangerous. Get him in the open field and you're going to have a tough time bringing him down. In my time covering college football, the fastest back I've seen was Michael Bennett when I was in college at Wisconsin (these two games stand out in my mind). A legitimate track star, Bennett was good for a 50- or 60-yard touchdown run in every game, simply because the Badgers' line got him a hole and nobody could touch him. Bennett's problem was that he was a featured back and he physically broke down by the end of the year from repeated poundings. Tate is Auburn's featured back, meaning Malzahn can be smart about getting McCalebb into the game on a limited basis and keep him fresh.Sounds good to me.
Hey, other sports. The baseball team showed something approaching signs of life against Troy last night, beating the Trojans 26-6. The 26 runs represented Auburn's fourth-highest scoring total ever. Now, as the old saying goes, if only they could have saved some for the upcoming Ole Miss series.
Also, both tennis teams made the NCAA Tournament. Which is good, even if I feel like the devoted tennis followers at the Red Cup Rebellion could probably tell you more about our team than I could.
Etc. Tony Barnhart names Malzahn one of five "SEC assistants who will make a difference," alongside Kiffin the Elder, Carl Torbush (State's new DC), Scot Loeffler (Dan Mullen's replacement at Florida), and John Chavis ... The Advertiser editor supports the Limo Gambit ... since stealing a dead girl's credit card and being accused of "us(ing) brass knuckles to send a man to the hospital" isn't enough for Houston Nutt to give up on the dream of Jamar Hornsby playing for the Rebels, so we'll see what happens after today's preliminary hearing on the brass knuckles incident.