Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yet more news of an assorted nature

There's actually more going on in Auburnland than just fall camp, even if fall camp is, well, fall camp. A quick rundown:

Move along, nothing to see here. When Brandon Jacobs never bothered to even explain his absence from Auburn's camp the handwriting was on the wall--in, like, WAR!-headline letters--and sure enough, he's officially off to baseball. Baseball America has your details. Money graf from Bitter:
Jim Callis reported today that Jacobs, a 10th-round pick by the Boston Red Sox, agreed to terms for a $750,000 signing bonus. All that's pending is the physical. It's the largest bonus for a player taken after the eighth round so far this year.
Seeing as how the odds of Jacobs ever emerging from the running back scrum at Auburn to sign for half that in the NFL would have been perilously thin, there's not any logical way to argue he didn't make the right decision. Best of luck, Mr. Jacobs.

Further Profiles in Courage. There's still time for this to change, and the link itself has been gathering mold for weeks, but via WRAS, the Salt Lake-based Deseret News reported that Utah St. has been lined up as Auburn's fourth punching bag for the '11 schedule. Meaning that in addition to playing at Clemson, Auburn will face ... Utah St., Arkansas St., and UT-Chattanooga. Quite the set of nonconference home draws, huh? And for heaven's sake, if we're this insistent on a cupcake feast, can't we at least play UAB or South Alabama and keep the money a little closer to home than freaking Logan, Utah? Cripes.

Heart attack and die from Not Surprise. Yes, one of the SEC's first-team defensive ends did, in fact, make the 30-deep list of preseason finalists for the national Best Defensive End award. Now, when Coleman makes the Hendricks finalist cut in November, that'll be something. (Actually, of course, it's something now, but don't tell Antonio that.)

Thanks for the reminder, I guess. Kevin Scarbinsky helpfully catches us up with former Auburn signee DeRon Furr, who you'll recall enrolled early to compete at quarterback in spring '08, was told by Tony Franklin in no uncertain terms he had no future at QB, and was drilling in the secondary on the opening day of last year's fall camp when he was at the center of a fight that broke out. Furr transferred out the next day and is now--hurray--poised to become a starting safety at Memphis. In case you were wondering: yes, we could use a starting safety at Memphis in Auburn. Yes.

This is not to lay the blame for the Furr episode entirely at Tubby's feet, not when by most (whispered) accounts Furr was less than a perfect teammate in his brief Auburn tenure and it was hardly Tubby's idea for things to devolve into fisticuffs. Still, though, Furr was an athletic, talented prospect with his whole career in front of him, and Auburn lost him on Tubby's watch. It wasn't Tubby or his staff's biggest failure by any means, but it was a failure nonetheless, and like many of them it's one Auburn's current staff is still paying for.

Obligatory "other sports?" joke goes here. News from the basketball front this week as incoming Indiana transfer Brandon McGee is now outgoing Auburn transfer Brandon McGee and little-used, oft-injured JUCO big man Francis Aihe has been placed on medical scholarship. It's just not a Jeff Lebo offseason without some unexplained roster attrition, right?

And in the first-ever instance of the comment section providing some actual insight, commenter "ilnscsm" has the following to say about the continuous wave of Auburn departures:
Yes, it is hard to play for [Lebo}. I played for him for a couple years. He is very arrogant and still acts like hes an All American at North Carolina. I've respected almost all the coaches I've played for in my career but left Auburn with a bitter taste in my mouth when it came to Lebo. The guy knows basketball inside and out and even had Dean Smith reviewing game film for awhile, but without people skills to connect with his players, I think he will have a hard time obtaining and keeping top notch players it takes to be competitive in this league.
"ilnscsm" goes on to say that the Auburn job is a tough one for various reasons (facilities, lack of fan support, zero recruiting cachet) and that he enjoyed his time at Auburn immensely anyway ... and, yeah, we have to at least acknowledge the possibility that someone decided to claim to be an Auburn basketball player in the comment threads. But given that I can't think of a reason why anyone would go to that kind of effort and that the comment certainly has the ring of authenticity about it, I think we have to take it at face value and assume that, yeah, Lebo probably does rub his share of players the wrong way. It's not the end of the world, but that sort of approach is a lot easier to take when the team is winning, no?

Elsewhere, Lebo also picked up a recent commitment from Georgia forward Heath Houston, who, um, has a Cincinnati offer and is 6-7. That's about all I can tell you.

Obligatory "other other sports?" joke goes in this spot. After years of late-night Olympic viewing and covering the sport first-hand on the high school level, I've developed something of a soft spot for volleyball, and so it's been a legitimate disappointment for me that Auburn's program has been so gawd-awful for so long. The flip side is this: I'm legitimately excited that there seem to be some bona fide reasons for optimism surrounding the team under second-year coach Wade Benson. Under this newfangled SEC TV contract I might even be able to watch the Auburn volleyballers on television some day: it'll be nice if they'll actually be competitive if and when that happens.


J.D. said...

Lebo better return to the NIT (at the worst) or he's gone after this year

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