Oh, Frenchy, we're all so sorry.
So when I posted yesterday about the reported departures from the back end of Auburn's football roster, I considered offering the caveat that nothing was official, this was still just one report, that grains of salt should be applied, etc. ... but I ended up skipping it, because the report was coming from Phillip Marshall. And whatever web site or sports section Marshall might be writing for, he's such an old pro and is so familiar with the ins and outs of Auburn's football program that I couldn't imagine him going public with information that was less than 100 percent reliable.
Too bad for me, too bad for all of us: Marshall is busy trying to clean the egg off of his face, I'm doing the metaphorical blogging version of Han Solo screaming "It's not my fault! It's not my fault!", and most importantly people are going around thinking things about Cameron Henderson and Philip Pierre-Louis that just aren't true. Blecccch, all the way around.
Well, with one major exception the to the Blecch: instead of four players gone, there's just three. Per Jay G. Tate and others, Jomarcus Savage and Christian Thompson are dearly departed as reported, but Pierre-Louis and Henderson are safe with Marcus Jemison the actual third player to be dismissed. Andy Bitter has a typically useful rundown of where the departures stood after spring camp.
The upshot from where I sit:
--As I said yesterday, Thompson's departure could really hurt the secondary if Etheridge and McNeil aren't healthy, and if Drew Cole isn't up for the occasional spot-duty snap it might hurt some even if they are. From the football perspective Savage's departure still isn't much more than a minor annoyance; once the freshmen arrive Rocker will have plenty of bodies on the defensive line.
--Henderson not being gone is, obviously, very good "news." I wasn't looking forward to seeing Gabe McKenzie in a three-point stance again. And while I'm not as excited about Pierre-Louis's "return," we're all in agreement there's potential there if he's fully healthy and he and Trooper Taylor can get on the same page. Plus, we get to keep using the nickname "Frenchy," and that's a big plus.
--Jemison's departure is probably closer to Savage's level of importance than the Thompson's. Position switches are never a good sign of where one stands on the depth chart, and while Auburn needs linebackers the way Florida needs lawyers, if Jemison wasn't able to grab a second-team spot over Spencer Pybus, Adam Herring or DaShaun Barnes, when was he ever going to grab one?
--I'll let you click over to PPL to read the current HOT RUMOR regarding the reasons behind the dismissals, and Auburn By Beaver adds "missed workouts" to the rumor mix. If there's nothing more to this story, I'll have to let my cynical side wonder if, say, Lee Ziemba or Walt McFadden would have gotten the ax for the same offense. But the likelihood is that there is more to the story, and in any case there's a pretty big difference between Ziemba and McFadden and Savage/Jemison/Thompson in that, as far as we know, the former pair wouldn't do the kinds of things to earn this kind of wrath from the coaches. If you want to maintain order and discipline on one's football team, there's probably no better way to do it than to prove, and prove early, that you're not screwing around when you issue warnings and the like.
In short, I am all for these kinds of dismissals as long as there's no double-standard going forward. And as we have no evidence there will be, I am all for this kind of dismissal.
--Man, I bet Marshall takes some serious crap from the other Auburn beat hacks at SEC Media Days.