(Yes, the "slmandel" in question is that Mandel.) The knee-jerk Auburn fan in me wants to say HEY CHRIS TODD'S ARM IS NOW MADE OF TITANIUM AND SPIDER-SILK FISHING LINE, but we can be honest here: it's terrific news that the quarterback battle is already decided, but that doesn't change the fact our starting quarterback was the least threatening QB in the SEC last year, that rarest of college signal-callers who had neither an arm nor legs. (The most threatening quarterback, of course, was Jarrett Lee. He just happened to be threatening his own team.) Yes, that Auburn's best quarterback is Chris Todd is bad news until Todd proves us wrong.
The nice thing is that there's reasons to believe Todd will do just that, and in the first truly worthwhile post from resurrected al.com Auburn blog Tigers Corner, PPL's Kevin Ives offers a goodly number of them. Some of them we've seen before, but this one I thought was particularly incisive:
3. HE HAS A BETTER OFFENSE TO WORK WITH: Better receivers, more experienced lineman, and an offense that can actually rely on Auburn's strengths (Running Backs) instead of it's weaknesses (receivers). King Gus's offense is all about timing (which he's repeated in numerous interviews. The biggest knock on Chris Todd is arm strength. Not a problem in this Offense. From what I've seen from watching film of Malzhan team's in action, the QB just needs good timing and good decision making (both of which Todd has). He doesn't need a cannon. However, Auburn fans will probably get a pleasant surprise now that Todd has had a full year to rehab his shoulder.I'm not entirely sold on Todd's decision-making just yet--there were some seriously shaky moments last year that had nothing to do with his arm strength--but that can probably (OK, maybe hopefully) be ironed out by Malzahn in time for the opener. At the very least, we can say this: Todd has both way, way more recruiting pedigree and just as much experience as the two QB's Malzahn turned into TD-machines at Tulsa. Doesn't guarantee the same results, of course, but I for one will take my reasons for optimism where I can get.
Quickly ... speaking of Mandel, he's got a new column running down the prospects of all of D-I's new head coaches. Nothing insightful in the least re: Chizik and Auburn, but it's out there if you want a look.
Welcome back. Not a secret by now, but with classes starting yesterday Frenchy Pierre-Louis is back in the fold. Who knows what we'll get out of him, but if he's healthy and focused, he showed enough pre-injury last fall to think he could still be a big help.
Still no help. K-Scar writes a column applauding Chizik for the quick quarterbacking decision, and while I agree that this staff's decisiveness is a good sign for their future prospects, Scarbinsky still can't help out those of us who'd like a little more personal detail on Chizik--even though he's trying:
When you sit down in Gene Chizik's office and look around to get some insight into the new Auburn head coach at the end of two-a-days, there are few clues.I'm going to take this as a metaphor for Chizik himself--just as he's got decorations for his office but just hasn't put them up yet, so I'm assuming he's got a personality and a less-reserved side the public just hasn't seen yet.
There's not a picture on the walls.
There's not a knick-knack on the shelves.
Which is a clue in itself.
The man who occupies this office doesn't have much use for decoration.
Oh, he'll get around to personalizing the place -- "that'll happen about next March," he said -- but he has more pressing business.
Like proving he belongs here.
Mid-term exams. The switch from two-a-days to one-a-days prompted beat hacks Jay G. Tate and Luke Brietzke to both issue "state of the team" blog posts. And speaking of Chizik's businesslike approach, Tate had this to say:
Chizik doesn't like mess.The same complaint I had in the spring--that this approach won't fly if Auburn starts losing--still basically stands, but at least we haven't heard any complaints from any players yet, and you won't hear any from this end either with what appears to be a stronger core of leadership than we saw last year. Burns and the other quarterbacks would be part of that, of course, but it sounds like Walt McFadden is joining Antonio Coleman in taking the reins of the defense, too. (Which we need like crazy: with Aairon Savage gone, the defense will start a whopping three seniors, one of which is the relatively fresh face of Jake Ricks.)
That's the primary reason behind three players leaving the program this summer. The coach has instituted a reasonably strict dress code and holds his players to reasonably lofty behavioral standards. He also demands that helmets be lined up almost perfectly during warm-ups.
No detail is too small.
It was reasonable to assume the no-frills aura he created upon arrival would wane as fall arrived. That was an errant assumption. Chizik is as guarded and focused as ever these days.
Getting back to mid-terms, Tate's forecast that the thinness of Auburn's defense will result in more snaps for the starters is bad, bad news--because with the no-huddle on the other side of the ball, that's going to mean a freaking ton of snaps for those guys. In a year when Auburn will play its first 11 games in 11 weeks, color me already worried.
We'll figure this out later. At TWER, Jeremy (or maybe J.M.?) has trouble tracking down the "Authentic Films" company supposedly partnering to create Auburn Football: Every Day ... . At least the two gentlemen do exist and do have TV experience, but I'm pretty sure that "12 Emmys" claim is a wee bit exaggerated. Google does connect them with the Emmys, but, um, it's these Emmys. (Note that I'm sure these guys will do a fine job with the show: it's just interesting, is all.)
This is just sad. CFN's SEC bloggers on the OBC at Media Days:
The most interesting thing I saw during the SEC Media days was how flustered and uncomfortable Steve Spurrier looked at the podium. The once mighty Darth Visor looked awful. A self-admitted 7-6 head coach, it looks like 4 years at South Carolina has taken away his swagger, his attitude and his confidence. It was quite a change from the man that came into Media Days 4 years ago with the opinion that he could win the SEC at South Carolina and it seems evident that even he doesn’t believe that any longer.I'm not the first person to say it, but against the schedule the 'Cocks are facing, I just don't see any way Spurrier's still in Columbia next year.
Etc. It'd be an even better story if she was American, but if Jamaican Olympic and now World Championship 100-meters silver-medalist Kerron Stewart was going to go to school in the States, I'm glad she went to Auburn ... PPL ties up some Auburn baseball odds and ends ... I don't have anything to add to the Brett Favre story, but the blog-takes here and here simply have to be passed on (language warning on that second, as you could probably guess from the URL alone) ... nd just so you know, Woodstock sucked.