Thank you. So for whatever reason Tommy Tuberville's trip overseas to visit U.S. troops didn't made quite so many headlines as last year's edition, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen, or that Tubby shouldn't have the same amount of gratitude shown his way for his efforts in keeping up the morale of our servicemen and -women.
So reluctant as I am to link to any site with an entire tab devoted to fan-on-fan "Humiliations" and some weird, desperate (and mildly NSFW) plea to LSUFreek to join up, I'd encourage you to check out BusterSports' pair of interviews with Tubby from Djibouti. Nothing earth-shattering there, I guess, but when Tubby says things like
I want to relate to the people back home how important this generation is to us. War is not a game, it’s very serious – I can’t imagine being in it and being as close to it as much as these people are.you can hear how sincere he is and how much these trips have genuinely mattered to him. As with last year, Tubby and the other coaches involved--Troy Calhoun, Houston Nutt, Jim Tressel, Mack Brown, Jim Grobe, and Rick Neuheisel--deserve maximum kudos for their willingness to help out the troops in whatever fashion they can.
Wake me when the sanctions hit. So Kevin Scarbinsky's column today lifted just a little bit of the curtain of redaction on Textbookgate. The revelations: 200 students involved, apparently, though very few of them are football players or violated rules intentionally; possible vacations of records and victories; a decision--as we've been hearing for a while now--should arrive any minute. I guess the scope of the scam is a little surprising--200 athletes means we're talking about a pretty hefty amount of failing to monitor, I would think--but still, the reaction from this corner is still pretty much ... Eh. The vacating of victories isn't that big a deal, is it? First, the only sport we're really discussing here is football, and it doesn't sound like those players were involved enough to earn that kind of punishment. Second, even if they were, so there's a few asterisks in the history books--no one's going to remember who the "new" winners of those games are when we all remember who won it on the field. Unless we're talking about something like Bobby Bowden's chase of JoePa or an actual championship banner that has to be taken down, past records just don't strike me as being that important.
What matters--as it did before the column--is how many scholarships we're talking about being lost, how severe the terms of the probation are, and what kind of punishment the Tide is being set up for if--great big giant humongous IF there, I know, I know--those other NCAA rumors have any fire behind the smoke. As for information on those counts, we're still waiting.
Meet the coaches, continued. The Auburn beat hacks' profiles of the new Auburn coaching staff have continued to trickle out over the summer. Andy Bitter wrote a nice recap of the stop-and-start path Ted Roof has taken to the Auburn DC's chair for the Ledger-Enquirer, but frankly I enjoyed the "b-sides" post at Bitter's blog even more. "Hit somebody in the teeth," indeed, Mr. Roof. This is also encouraging:
(W)e've got some guys and I was real pleased with Jake Ricks and Mike Blanc's leadership this spring. I thought they did an excellent job leading.Seeing as how it's absolutely critical for Blanc and Ricks to hold the middle--given the experience everywhere else in the starting defense, the two of them and health are kind of the only thing standing between Auburn and being really, really good defensively--any positive signs for a big year from the two of them is most, most welcome.
Also: Jay G. Tate continues his look at the position coaches by offering his impressions of Tommy Thigpen. Money grafs:
Trooper Taylor gets all the publicity for being Mr. Friendly -- nearly all of it deserved -- but Thigpen also has surplus congeniality. He's a happy guy. He smiles more than Taylor, in fact, and has no problem striking up conversations.Thigpen comes across as maybe yet another Auburn assistant who's smarter than the average bear who coaches football, always a plus for a geek like me.
If I was a recruit, Thigpen is the guy I'd want as my primary contact.
With that said, he's not exactly outgoing. Thigpen isn't one to skip down the hall whistling Cameo's "Word Up." Thigpen is relatively quiet, but will open up quickly. He doesn't mince words. He'll assess players pretty evenly.
BlAUgosphere. One of the cool thing about the Internet is that the stuff on it doesn't go away. (Look, Boom Goes the Dynamite! Awesome!) This is helpful when you want to show how the thing somebody said at one time in the not-so-distant past is directly contradictory to the thing they're saying now, as PPL does with Tony Franklin in a thorough evisceration of the Franklin "system," which at Auburn meant celebrating his independence one day and griping that he wasn't getting any help the next. Plus there's an illustration of Franklin as a carnival barker. Click over.
The Auburner claims that this excellent piece of work is a leftover from their "too dumb to post" folder, which, like, if that's the case guys, you need to lower your standards a bit.
Elsewhere, PPL reviews the potential impact of the MLB draft on Auburn baseball, and Luke Brietzke counts down the seven most-anticipated newcomers for Auburn football. In the process he revels that DeAngelo Benton's nickname is "Voodooo," which aside from "The Toro" automatically ranks right up there with the best nicknames on the Auburn roster. How did I not know about this before? And how many games into his Auburn career will it be before someone photoshops his face into this logo--
--for the defunct New Orleans VooDoo Arena League team?
Etc. Not surprisingly, a post (via) devoted to finding something interesting about all 119 D-I college football teams goes with "will the Malzahn offense work?" (and, for the overwhelming majority of you who don't keep up with the NBA blogosphere, the Alabama note is a Gilbert Arenas riff) ... Brian Harbach offers five ways to improve the SEC, and though I don't agree with every idea--mandatory bye weeks aren't necessary when there's I-AA num-nums on the schedule--they're definitely thought-provoking ... an "offer" from any school may not mean exactly what you think it means, but it really doesn't in Tennessee's case.