Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Works, Danger would be my middle name if it wasn't already War Eagle-style

War Eagle, Sara Elisabeth Burson. TWER breaks a long silence with an awesome tale from Twitter. Check the screenshot:

This being TWER, there's more where that came from: background info on the tweet pictured above, some personal recollections of that girl you've probably heard of who really did have "War Eagle" as a middle name, an enjoyable cheap shot at Tide fans, etc. Click over.

The exchange. Not long ago, this blog spent some time discussing the danger of Gene Chizik's hard-nosed policies vis a vis how the players would react when their investment in them might be repaid with defeat. Chizik sort of indirectly addressed those concerns as part of a long Q&A with Philip Marshall, like so:
AUBURNUNDERCOVER.COM: What’s going to be done first?

CHIZIK: “In a couple of weeks, this whole building is going to be torn up. Jay was very proactive in trying to get some locker room stuff done last year, but we’re going to take that to another level. We’re going to do a players’ lounge and some things that I think are really important. We’re going to be very demanding on these guys. We’re going to ask them to toe the line. In return, we want them to know they are going to be treated first-class in everything we do.”
So, kind of a "we'll build you guys the World's Best Field House, but you're going to have to take care of it" sort of thing, huh? Makes sense, but I still have to wonder how much they're going to care if their spotless locker room helps them to a 4-8 season.

As for the rest of the Q&A, it's a must-read for Auburn fans, though as usual Chizik forces us to read between the lines as much as possible. I did appreciate that he declined to comment on the Limo Gambit sniping from Meyer and Mullen. This was also ... interesting:
AUBURNUNDERCOVER.COM: Now that you have been through a spring practice, was Auburn football like you expected?

CHIZIK: “My expectation was probably a little bit unfair, because I had knowledge of where it was when I left. I probably made some unfair comparisons. I do know where we are. I don’t know if it’s better or worse than what I expected, but it certainly is different.”
Translation: Hoo boy, talk about your unstocked cupboards. Thanks fer nothin' Tubs.

Elsewhere in Auburn coaching interviews ... Curtis Luper talked a little bit about the spring recruiting period, pretty much exclusively in glowing terms. I guess that's better than having him admit some kind of failure ... but with every word that's come out of an Auburn coach's mouth regarding recruiting over the past few mouths having been some variation on BEST KROOTING YEAR EVAR, it's a little tough to take it too seriously at this point. I like the start Auburn's gotten off to, but we're not going to find out how well things are really going until we get closer to February.

Decorum. Tony Barnhart's blog post today focuses on Mike Slive's efforts to get his leagues' football coaches to play nice. Although the whole "SEC coaches gone wild!" theme that's popped up more than once over the past few weeks doesn't seem all that accurate to me: there's been the flare-ups along he Meyer-Kiffin axis, Mullen took his former boss's cues re: the Limo Gambit, and Spurrier's been Spurrier ... but has anyone else been out of line? Don't think so. So Slive's job is really just to tell Meyer and Kiffin to cool it, remind Mullen he's at Mississippi St., and ask Spurrier to at least dull the barbs before unleashing them.

Should he even do that? There's good arguments out there that he shouldn't, that letting the claws come out is--contrary to Barnhart's post--good for the SEC's business. That's definitely the case for Spurrier, who's got a lifetime pass anyway, but the sniping between Kiffin and Meyer and Mullen's "Hey! Look over here! PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEEEEEEE!" chirping are schoolyard stuff. Not to be Stuffy Q. Stuffington the IVth, but a little more dignity would be nice, I think.

Go, Auburn athletes, go! Sweet story from Evan Woodbery on Fred Bousquet, the French Olympian swimmer who helped Auburn to the 2005 national title and still trains on the Plains. After getting in a few weeks under the supervision of Bret Hawke, Bousquet went out and set a new world record in the 50 freestyle and beat Michael Phelps in the 100 in Charlotte. (To be fair, I think Phelps has only just gotten back into the pool after his ... intriguing ... offseason regimen.) I don't know much about swimming recruiting, but I can't think it hurts to be able to say "Swim for us, and we'll let you train here even after you graduate, and then your next step is setting world records." Vive la Bousquet!

Elsewhere, doubles tennis team Alexey Tsyrenov and Tim Puetz made a run to the semifinals of the NCAA doubles championship before falling to a team from Tennessee. Tsyrenov and Puetz were ranked 10th coming in and are the first Auburn pair to make the semis since 2002, so, hey, nice job guys.

Etc. War Eagle Atlanta dreams about a kind of ACC-SEC Football Challenge, which seems like a great idea until you realize that Boston College really is as "natural" an opponent as Auburn could expect if Georgia Tech's not doubling up ... Blutarsky lands a quick, effective jab at ESPN ... Mississippi St. is letting their fans vote on their basketball court design. Attention Auburn: this is a good idea.

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