With spring practice a little over the halfway mark, yesterday’s scrimmage produced what you’d expect from a team in the midst of rebuilding. First, the good. AJ McCarron and back-up Blake Sims had good days, according to Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Monster runningback Derrick Henry got mention as well, saying “he has flashed at times of being a big, strong fast guy.” Saban said fellow early enrollee tightend OJ Howard is a good pass receiver, but is having to learn how to block.
But Saban talked of the need to improve on mental toughness and attention to detail to “sustain things” and get better as a team. This was the first scrimmage of the spring, with a second scrimmage and the A-Day game coming up. But there are a lot of holes to fill. I just hope Saban knows what he’s doing.
He did mention the progress of injured receivers Chris Black, Kenny Bell and DeAndrew White. Last season Black was injured in fall camp, Bell sustained a broken left leg against Auburn, and White injured his knee against Ole Miss. Issues related to them seems to be between their ears, and not necessarily physical.
“It’s a little bit of a work in progress for them psychologically to get the confidence they need that they’re not hurt. But they are doing a really good job.”
As for hitting, it apparently wasn’t a problem.
“It (hitting) wasn’t bad. There were some good hits out there. There was some aggressiveness. I just don’t think the overall intensity of the scrimmage was what I’d like for it to be. I think a lot of that was uncertainty for a lot of players who hadn’t been in this situation before. I think we will make improvement as a team from scrimmage one to scrimmage two.”
Last night Wichita State was thiiiis close to making it into Monday night’s national championship game. The Shockers may have the creepiest mascot in all of college sports (Shockers? Really?), but this team was fun to watch.
As a Bama fan who desperately wants to see the Crimson Tide take the next step as a basketball program, it’s frustrating to think where these two programs were just two years ago.
They’re known as a mid-major, but come on. They are a major. They are more major than Alabama at this point, making it further in the tourney than Bama ever has…dang, just making the tournament two years in a row for that matter.
Two seasons ago it was Wichita State besting Alabama 66-57 in the NIT Championship game in Madison Square Garden. Two seasons later it was Wichita State taking Louisville to the wire in the NCAA Final Four, missing the big game by just four points.
Meanwhile, Bama was in the NIT again, and didn’t even make it back to New York. I know I’ve been a broken record on this (and by the way, what a shame that kids today have no idea what that phrase means), but when will Alabama basketball make any noise? If the Shockers can do it, why can’t we?
Thursday’s public memorial for Mal Moore in Coleman Colesium produced many memorable moments and quotes, but perhaps none were as telling as Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s thoughts on the Tide’s living legend.
“My happiest moment for Mal, with Mal, was when he won the Toner Award for athletic director of the year. It was so good to see Mal get recognized for all of his accomplishments, the legacy that was established here, all of the good work he did. He said something to me afterward, and he had a tear running down his cheek, which was really tough. He said, ‘You changed my life when you came here.’ I looked at him directly and said, ‘No, Mal, you changed my life. I’m a better coach, I’m a better person, I’m a better teacher for the lessons I’ve learned in being in partnership with you.'”
The game’s greatest living coach also peeled back the curtain a little more on the process of him coming to Alabama:
“When Mal came to Miami to interview us, we hadn’t agreed to get interviewed. Chuck Moore, who is a good friend of mine…we had him over the house at the lake in Georgia…Mal’s nephew, I would call him every now and then those last four or five weeks of the season in Miami. I’d say, ‘I’m interested in this and I’m thinking about going back to college. I don’t like this pro ball stuff.'”
Nick Saban is a man who’s done with the NFL. We already knew that after this past season. But I found it interesting that he was really thinking about Alabama long before Alabama knew he was thinking about Alabama…the conduit being Mal Moore’s nephew.
Alabama is obviously proud to have Nick Saban has its head coach. But the memorial service shed light on the fact that Saban returns the sentiment, still elated to be here. After next season there will be more talk of job openings and contract offers, and there will be until he hangs it up for good. But the man every SEC fan fears has it like he likes it right where he is, and it’s because of a simple, honest man named Mal Moore that he does. Mal was an amazing teller of stories, often using them to communicate a truth. Somewhere in the process of recruiting Terry and Nick Saban, perhaps it was a story that changed the life of the the most dominant coach in modern college football history. The results of that story is still being written.
Speaking of story tellers, does anyone believe Jay Jacobs and company? As we pointed out yesterday, the denials are pouring in, but they don’t make sense.
Why woud so many independent members of the media all be saying the same thing? What do they have to gain? And between them and Jay Jacobs, who stands to gain/lose the most if their story isn’t believed? That’s an easy one.
Clearly, Auburn has become the O.J. Simpson of college football. Not because “The Juice” was an amazing runningback at USC. But because everyone in the world knew the man was guilty of killing his wife, but skated…for a while.
To this point, Auburn has continued to skate like Katerina Witt. But one gets the feeling Auburn’s white Ford Bronco has just about run out of interstate in this slow speed chase.
As Clay Travis put it, it seems the NCAA right now couldn’t convict Osama Bin Laden of terrorism. The organization appears inept, at least from the outside looking in. And this couldn’t come at a better time if you’re an Auburn fan. But then again, maybe appearances aren’t what they seem.
One thing is for sure: When the public sentiment starts turning on you, it’s hard to regain your innocence. That’s when you get little treats like this:
Look Auburn, we know you did it. We all know you did it. Everybody in the country now believes you’re guilty of the kind of things that would make SMU blush. And you’ve gotten by to this point. OJ became a national joke long before he became a convict, but one most certainly follows the other.
Even the most die hard Auburn fan knows deep down things don’t add up during that 2010 season. Either Auburn is the innocent victim of every talking head on the planet, casting them in the same light as 1980’s Miami and SMU, or those sirens you hear really are getting closer.
(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)
Comparing the Barn and OJ Simpson is pretty
bad for the cult family in Lee County!!! The NCAA
and SEC needs to bury the most corrupt program
in the country!! What a joke of a program!!!!!
Slive would be the judge in “A Time To Kill” that suspends the sentence of the guilty.
Dang, I love reading your articles! Haha!
Roll Tide Roll!
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The sad thing for us Auburn alumni is that it doesn’t even matter any more if it’s actually true or not. Auburn’s reputation has taken so many hits over the last couple of years that anything said is automatically assumed to be true, so the damage is done. The main source for the Selana Roberts story was a guy who just pled guilty to armed robbery, and its gotten so bad that nobody in the mainstream media even cares. I don’t think the NCAA has any interest in chasing Auburn any more after virtually camping out there for over a year, but the damage that has been done to Auburn’s image and reputation is devastating. All the denials and contrary evidence in the world can’t fix the damage, either. That’s what’s so bad for Auburn right now. What Auburn needs to do is bring in a total outsider with an impeccable reputation fo being both brutally strong and unwaveringly honest, and hire that person as AD. Hell, hire the AD.from Stanford or an Ivy League school if need be. Let the new AD fire everyone in Auburn’s athletic dept, and bring in their own administration. Let it be known that the new AD will truly be in charge and will not be beholden to any boosters. Hell, let the new AD publicly banish a few powerful boosters to send a message. That’s the only way Auburn can turn this around. I am beyond sick and tired of seeing these stories, and it won’t stop until the Jay Jacobs administration is gone.
Extremely valid points. Once you get the muck and mire of speculation on you, it’s over…at least until you take drastic measures to clean yourself up in public light. Measures that satisfy the masses, not your own opinion of whether or not you’ve done wrong. That’s PR 101.
Auburn has a major challenge on its hands in doing what you’re describing, but man is it needed. Following the Bear’s death, there was a fear for almost three decades in Tuscaloosa of doing that. But after years of incompetence and a leadership void, thank God Mal Moore finally saw there was no other way. Now, it’s not entirely the same, because Mal was a homer. You’re talking about hiring an outsider as AD, but you get the point. One outsider (Fran) burned us, and while the move to hire a second one was a bit of a risk, Saban’s “get out of my way” philosophy has put the old cronies who used to run the show in their place. It seems some programs have to get to the end of their rope before they make that decision. Alabama was definitely there in 2006. Perhaps Auburn is getting closer now.
Auburn has a serious challenge in doing this, because it’s highly believed that Pat Dye is still running the show. He is the patriarch of modern day Auburn football, and because of his hand in raising Auburn from the ashes in 1982 and beyond, he always will be. Someone strong with backing needs to make putting Pat Dye out to pasture priority number one. Because when you do that, other “bell cows” in support of Auburn athletics get the message.
Will this guarantee championships? Possibly, but who cares. What it DOES guarantee is an image that is drastically different from the one Auburn is suffering from right now.
I agree with what you said about Pat Dye. Once again, it doesn’t even matter anymore if the perception that he is running the show is true. It’s assumed to be true, and Auburn’s image is so bad right now that all the denals and evidence in the world couldn’t convince the outside world otherwise. The first thing a new AD would need to do would be to publicly thank Dye for his years of service, and then very publicly state that his services in fundraising and alumni support are no longer needed. The first time Dye goes on Finebaum and makes an a$$ of himself, the new AD should make a very public statement of admonishment and make it clear that Dye’s opinions are his own and that he does not speak for Auburn University.
Well, the good news for you and all Auburn fans is that it can be done. Auburn still has not sunk to the depth Alabama was from 1997-2006. In order…
• An egotist new AD running off your winningest coach since Bear Bryant
• A fan driven quest to hire Dubose the doufus
• A leadership void that let it happen
• His giftwrapping of the ’97 Iron Bowl
• Home losses to LaTech (twice), Central Florida and So.Miss (a shut out) and eventually N.Illinois
• His secretarial affair
• Starting 2000 #3 and finishing 3-8
• Dubose’s firing
• NCAA probation (one of the worst in history)
• The hiring of Fran
• Fran having no answer for an AU w/out Brown/Williams in 2002
• Fran’s lies and fleeing
• The hiring of Mike Price
• Mike Price waking up with a stripper
• The firing of Mike Price before ever coaching a game
• The scorning of Sylvester Croom and hiring of Mike Shula (either would be a disaster)
• The elephant package
• Giving up a 21-pt. lead and losing to Arkansas at home
• Giving up 4th & 18 and losing in 5 OT’s to Tennessee, also at home
• Losing six in a row to a hateful rival that ignores all of the above
• Seeing that rival’s coach wear Iron Bowl t-shirts and raise fingers
• Never, ever, overcoming a deficit going into the 4th quarter
• The firing of Mike Shula
• The public rejection by Rich Rodriguez
• Going a month with seemingly no prospects to takeover
(And I know I left a ton of stuff out.)
Then…finally…came the dawn. But hopefully that list just made you feel a little better. And I didn’t even list losing to La.Monroe, the textbook thing and losing to Sylvester Croom, all in 2007.
Auburn is not where we were in that era, and for your sake I hope they don’t get there. It was hell, my friend.
But the point is, it took all that for the powers that be to reach the end of themselves and buy in to whatever it took to bring about change. Maybe that will happen sooner than later, but I agree with you, Jay Jacobs probably isn’t the guy to pull the trigger on his mentor, which is more than likely step one on the road to orange and blue redemption.
I loved Shula. I’m just saying. I know he’s no Saban, but I’m just saying.
I think, and I hate to make it sound like a blanket negative, but Auburn is little brother. They respond to Alabama. They responded to Alabama’s championship with a recruiting coup and their own title, even a Heisman trophy.
I would think if anyone would be able to see what Alabama had to do to get it’s program right for the long-term goals they had, it would be Auburn. I don’t think Alabama’s success is a surprise or the reasons for its success a secret. It takes a commitment, from top to bottom, and a lot of drama behind the scenes to remove the 10% causing 90% of the problems.
But that’s a long-term process. It happened more quickly than I honestly expected, but I don’t think it surprised anyone, especially Auburn. It’s going to take drastic changes to fix Auburn in the long run. But I don’t know what it will take for them to create a plan to make those changes.
In all sincerity though, I don’t think they want to do that. Jay Jacobs doesn’t. Dye wouldn’t.
People like Roberts do. I don’t know if anyone else is trying to change things at Auburn even close to the way she is, but I think she should be celebrated by Auburn’s culture, not chastized by it. It’s got to start somewhere, or it won’t happen, and if something like Roberts’ article isn’t the start then I don’t know what it will take. I think punishment may be the only thing that will make Auburn change. It was a catalyst for Alabama.
And it was worth it. Roll Tide.
Don’t kid yourself into thinking that Roberts cares about changing the culture at Auburn. Roberts wanted to write a bombastic story to get her new website going, and it worked like a charm. I’m not going to go on a smear campaign against Roberts like a lot of Auburn people are doing, but the simple fact is that she could have never gotten away with writing a such a flimsy hatchet job about another school. Auburn is so tainted right now that most of the mainstream media didn’t even bother to examine the article, they just assumed it’s true. If you want to see a well written piece of investigative journalism, read Dan Wetzel’s piece on Nevin Shapiro. Wetzel knew his main source was a criminal, so he made sure that every allegation out of his mouth was backed up by bank records, financial statements, credit card receipts, emails, phone bills and other witnesses. Roberts has no supporting documentation, and every witness but McNeill that she cited has either denied making the statement or has said that she is taking their statement completely out of context. She reported the allegation about McNeill’s grade being changed, but she didn’t even try to follow up with the class professor to see if the allegaton could be verified (and about 80% of academics would relish an opportunity to embarass the athletic dept.). The funny thing is that she spent the entire first half of the article trying to bolster McNeill’s credibility by arguing that he was innocent and that he was going to go to trial to clear his good name, and then he walks into court yesterday and pleads guilty to armed robbery,
You can find disgruntled former players from every school in the country that would be willing to trash their former school and the coaches. The reason you don’t see many stories about them is that journalistic ethics require that allegatons from these types of sources to be independently supported. Auburn is so tainted right now that its acceptable to suspend those ethical standards when writing about allegatons of impropriety. It’s just assumed to be true, so there’s not even a need for verification. That’s why Auburn is in such a horrible position, and its going to take drastic measures to fix it.
Establishing an online business isn’t as simple as a one-hit-wonder of an accusation, especially when so many people immediately don’t believe it. It takes a lot more than that, but Roberts writes for (and gets money from) many other places too.
But that’s my point——–if anyone wanted to do anything to try to fix Auburn, they’re not doing anything. I say Roberts probably is, you say she definitely isn’t, which means nobody is. Nobody cares enough to do anything. Maybe the NCAA will, I don’t know. Auburn won’t do anything, Auburn’s fans aren’t doing anything (especially if Roberts doesn’t count), and Auburn’s boosters aren’t going to jail like in the Miami U case.
But as for players at every school bashing their program, you wouldn’t hear about it in an expose article like Roberts’. You’d hear about it from Twitter. Or Facebook. Or all kinds of places the students themselves have access to. I just don’t hear it, that’s all. It sounds like you’re trying to say Auburn’s reputation is tainted, but not Auburn itself. So I don’t know. I don’t know how you fix either. But nobody is trying to do anything, so get used to it or try something yourself. Didn’t work out for Roberts.
I missed the way this blog was back in 2008. Looking at ITK’s columns during that period (up to the Iron Bowl that year), there seemed to be a minimum of 80 comments…and 90% were Auburn fans talking trash.
What happened to BallPlay Indian and the gang? Did Tuberville take their nuts with him, when he got fired?
Don’t play too nice with the Aubies…We went through a lot more stuff than what they are whining about with their program at the moment.
And you know what? They got worse and more hateful every year. I’m not saying we treat them like they treated us (trust me, it will be tempting to hold up both hands when we reach 10 in a row over them), but to realize that as soon as they are worth a damn again…Abraham isn’t going to be so passive. And in my humble opinion, their attitude and treatment of UA fans during the Tuberville years helped to encourage the mentally unstable fans to poison the beloved Ass-paper trees.
I’ve got a couple of brother-in-laws who are Auburn fans (didn’t even go to school there, which I thought didn’t exist with Auburn fans) who have acted nice towards me during football season (I’m an Alabama fan and alum, which I shouldn’t exist…according to Auburn fans). I’ve been really civil with them the past few years….but knowing how they will treat me, when Auburn manages to beat Alabama again, makes me want to start holding up the fingers after the game this year….3! But unlike an Auburn fan, I will wait till after January to hold up the fingers….because at Alabama, we count NC’s, not Iron Bowl wins.
I’m not being passive. I’m stating the simple truth that my alma mater has a horrendous image problem right now. You can debate til the cows come home about whether the problem is deserved, but my point is that it doesn’t really matter. The image problem is there whether it’s deserved or not, and it’s not going away without drastic measures on Auburn’s part.
Don’t worry. I’m always willing to talk smack, although I must admit that it’s pretty tough to find any good material with the run Bama is on right now.
Make no mistake, Auburn fans were b-r-u-t-a-l during ‘the streak.’ Merciless, and like I pointed out, Aubs haven’t darkened the door of the calamity Bama was swimming in for over a decade.
Still, I would like the rivalry to be cordial…something I’ve never experienced in my lifetime. I can remember as a child the librarian in my elementary school, an Auburn fan, jumping for joy (literally) at the news that Bear Bryant had died, looking directly at me and saying with a huge grin, “He’s gone!”
It’s just such a hateful, bitter rivalry. If Auburn would clean house and do what Abraham suggests, showing Pat Dye the door with his brand new car as a gesture of thanks, it would clean up the image of decades of “keeping it down home, cuz”, and it would possibly establish trust across the state from Bama fans. Alabama fans do not trust Pat Dye, period. I know gaining Bama’s trust isn’t on the agenda, but shelling Dye would kill two birds with one stone. It would definitely be a statement that a new day had come. Will it happen? I have a hard time seeing it. Dye’s divorce with Auburn is much more likely to happen when he’s put in a box and buried.
ITK, I think fans of both sides have a tendency to remember extreme cases of classlessness (is that a word?) from idiots on the other side, and then attach those memories to the entire fan base. There are urban legends about Auburn rolling Toomers corner when Bear died, and about how Bama fans were going to roll Toomers with crimson toilet paper if they won the Iron Bowl in 1989, but it’s all BS. Both sides have their share of idiots. Updyke and the teabagger have gotten a lot of publicity, but we both know there a plenty of Updykes and teabaggers in every fan base in the SEC. Truthfully, I think Bama and Auburn have some of the better fan bases in the country. I’ve never felt intimidated or uncomfortable going to the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa wearing Auburn clothing, and I’ve never seen anything that would cause a Bama fan to feel that way in Auburn on game day. LSU and Florida? Just plan on being called every name in the book about 100 times, and that’s for a day game. I feel like I’m going to get a knife in the back at any time at night.
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