Thursday, 17 February 2011

All Over A Game

There were two major talking points in the last week or so. Auburn's Defensive Line Coach Tracy Rocker has accepted an offer to play with the Tennessee Titans. All I will say to that is good luck to him because he has earned it, he mentioned that it was a goal of his to coach in the NFL. I'm sure everyone has a dream they want to achieve, Rocker gets to live his and I couldn't be happier for him. When the goal is there you take it. It will be interesting to see who will take Rocker's vacancy and it will give us all something to ponder during drivel season.

Now onto the main subject of todays post, one which I will not enjoy writing at that. Earlier today a man named Harvey Updyke was arrested and charged with poisoning the famous oak tree on Toomer's Corner. A tree that is around 135 years old and is a big part of the schools tradition. What the man did was disgusting, unfair and just damn right horrible. I understand many Bama fans have a hatred for Auburn, and vice versa of course, but it is just evil to damage a schools tradition like this man has done.

But what possesses people to do things like this? What made this man commit this crime against nature? (no pun intended). If only we could get all these questions answered, but I hope this man didn't feel proud for what he had done (regardless if he is a Bama fan). I hope he doesn't have a large, wide, smug grin on his face because quite frankly, what goes around comes around.

I have heard a lot of fans from other schools just say "It's a tree, so get over it". It may be a tree, but that isn't the point. The point is how would you feel if a rival fan damaged, or even destroyed one of your school's biggest traditions That has existed for decades? I'm sure no one would be happy, because it does upset people, and its just a vile thing to do.

But guess what Harvey? Regardless of if you read this post or not, it's just a game. That is all it is, a game. Of course I don't mean to downplay the sport of football because we all have a love for it, but if your vandalising schools and ruining tradition over a game then you need to get your head checked. It's kind of like if you lose a game of dodgeball in PE at school, and then you go and destroy all the PE equipment. It is unneeded for regardless of what happens, and I hope we find out WHY this man did what he did.

Was he upset over 28-27? Was he upset over Bama choking away a 24 point lead at home? Was he upset because Saban promised to dominate Auburn from day one and hasn't kept to that promise? I have no idea why, but like I said, nothing should lead you to doing what he did.

The Auburn-Bama rivalry has been nasty for many years, we all know that and we expect it to continue in that fashion, but you have to draw a line somewhere. I hate Bama from head to toe, from limb to limb, from vein to vein, but I wouldn't sneak onto their campus and burn down Denny Chimes would I? That's just idiotic, pathetic and just damn right insane. Why serve prison time over a game? These are the questions I wish we could get answered, but I don't expect them to be.

I have heard many Bama fans defend the man, and I have heard a few turn against him as well. That is always bound to happen (not just with Bama) because in this world some people are that crazy. However, I have no doubt in my mind Auburn will not cower away from this. I don't mean to say some idiotic Auburn fan will go and do something even more crazy because I'd be upset if that did happen, though its not guaranteed that it won't happen. Instead, I think Chizik will use all of this as motivation for his team in November when Bama visit the plains, and it could result in an utter beatdown or an emotional failure. Who really knows?

One thing is for sure, no matter how hard you try and no matter how hard you pray, Auburn isn't going anywhere. We will continue to roll Toomers Corner and will do it proudly. The tradition will never die and I hope Harvey knows it. I couldn't give a damn what happens to him in prison and I don't think many others will either.

Stand tall Auburn fans, and just DO WHAT WE DO.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Analysing the 2011 Recruiting Class

I apologise for my lack of blogging lately. Last week I had some final deadlines I had to meet which meant a lot of scrapping around for amendments and such. But I wanted to return with a post covering our recent recruiting class. I'll try to give a low-down on our recruits and who can be real impacts on this team. Let's start with the Offense:

QB Kiehl Frazier
Kiehl was one of America's most sought after Quarterbacks, and his highlight film will tell you why. The Arkansas native has been recruited by Guz Malzahn ever since his 8th grade year and if a man like Gus Malzahn thinks you have potential, its usually a good thing. Frazier is a dual-threat Quarterback who is a decent passer as well as an impressive runner, as his forty time is listed at 4.57.

Kiehl doesn't have the freak size that Cam Newton has, but he is still an impressive player who I see starting at some point between now and his senior year. With the Quarterback race open this spring, Kiehl will come in and compete for the starting spot. Don't be surprised if he gets named the starter for the 2011 season.

RB Tre Mason
The coaches originally planned to take two RB's but because of several circumstances it didn't happen. In the end, the coaches took Tre Mason who I am personally quite excited about. Tre Mason holds all the tools to become a game changer at the next level. At this point he is listed at 5'10 and around 190, however he could get to 200 eventually and play at that weight throughout his career. Mason has great vision, and is a very elusive runner, he can make the quick cuts and is very decisive. Mason will be an instant impact guy and I think he is ready for it. In 2011 I see him taking around 5-10 carries from Dyer per game and will be very productive.

(P.S for those worrying about RB depth, don't be. These coaches know what they are doing, and I have no doubt that we will pull two more top RB's in the 2011 class)

WR Jaylon Denson, Sammie Coates, Quan Bray
We lose three receivers (T-Zach, Darvin and Kodi) and we gain these three. A solid haul I think. Jaylon Denson is a receiver we have been missing. A big physical receiver who will develop into a real weapon for us. He is listed at 6'3 190, and could get a bit bigger. Denson impressed a lot at camps last summer, and he got an early offer from our coaches and he took it. He quickly moved up the rankings and will continue to get better at Auburn. Sammie Coates, I feel is one of the most underrated players in this class. Sammie is a tall and slim receiver (a la Darvin Adams) and you can see from his film that he is agile, fast and possesses good hands. He may get some solid playing time this season and I wouldn't be surprised if he did. A solid pickup indeed.

Finally we have Quan Bray. He may move to RB into the Onterrio role but I wouldn't be upset if he did. Bray is an exciting player who brings a lot to the table. He looks much bigger than listed (5'11 180) and has the speed and agility to hit the hole quickly and never looked back. He has incredible open field speed that may be hard to match.

All three of these could see solid playing time as freshman, and I don't see any of these three getting redshirted unless they have some injury issues.

TE Brandon Fulse, CJ Uzomah
The coaches took two tight ends in this class, and both were decent pickups. Brandon Fulse is a quick off the line and has very reliable hands. He is also a decent blocker and may get some time on the line this year, even as a true freshman. Same said for CJ Uzomah, he played some Quarterback in high school but our coaches see him as a Tight End. CJ is a big guy listed at 6'5 230 and may end up being more of a blocker with that size.

OL Christian Westermann, Greg Robinson, Thomas O'Reilly, Reese Dismukes
This OL class is another solid haul to go with last years. Auburn loses the majority of it's starters on the line and I think all four of these guys will get a shot at the starting jobs this fall (Spring for Reese). If we snag Kouandjio then he would be an excellent addition, if we don't we will still have a solid class on an area of great need.


DL Gabe Wright, Angelo Blackson, Keymiya Harrell, JaBrian Niles
The DL position is a top need right now. I feel Angelo Blackson is the classes most underrated player who could be a monster at the next level, Gabe Wright will also provide some needed depth at the DT position and may see some good playing time next season. The DE position is already a strong position but both Harrell and Niles will still see good playing time as well. Both are excellent additions to a strong class.

LB Kris Frost, Justin Garrett, Chris Landrum, Devaunte Sigler
Yet again, Auburn pulls in another quality LB class which will really help enforce the depth at the position. Frost may start out at WR but I expect him to be moved back to LB eventually. Frost has the talent to be a real player at the next level, and will push for a lot of playing time this season. Garrett also has potential to be a good one, although the coaches may let him take a year out to gain a bit more weight depending on injury or general need at the position. Landrum is a physical player at OLB, though he played a good bit of RB in high school. Sigler was a late addition but with how late he held out I think he may be worth it. I am impressed with this LB class and it could prove to make the position stronger almost immediately.

DB Erique Florence, Robenson Therezie, Anthony Swain, Jonathan Rose, Jermaine Whitehead

A lot of Auburn fans know that DB was a need for this team and the coaches went ALL IN and found some very good prospects. Erique Florence was the signing day commit and he is impressive on all levels. He has great size and is a straight up ball hawk. I think he will push for the starting safety spot this fall and don't be surprised if he gets it. True freshman starters in the SEC are rare, however if he impresses and the coaches like him, then whats the harm? Most of the team is reloading and Florence will only improve with experience. The same can be said for Robenson Therezie. He reminds me of a faster Daren Bates, who is a real headhunter at the safety position. With how physical the Auburn team was this year Therezie may fit right in.

As for Anthony Swain, I think we very well may see him get switched to LB this fall. He is a big guy and his speed may let him down a tad. However he could be a much better player at LB, and though I think this may happen we will see if the coaches feel the same.

The two corner's we recruited were also two massive gets. There is talk that Rose may be moved to Safety because of his rangy size. I couldn't disagree more. The coaches know that we need some corner's and Rose is a very good player at that position. He has solid speed and has the height that AU needs against the big receivers (Alshon Jeffrey for instance). Whitehead was a signing day switch from Mississippi State (if you haven't already go check how their class finished LOL) and I think dropping Roberson for Whitehead was a solid move by the coaches.

Plenty of scouts ranked Roberson ahead of Jermaine, however commitment to the program is what counts and Whitehead obviously wanted to be here. He got the offer and I couldn't be happier for him. Recruiting studs is great and all, but recruiting studs who genuinely want to sport the O&B is what you want. Don't sleep on Whitehead, he is a decent player and has a good height and size to tackle any task given to him.

So there we have it, the 2011 class has had it's twists and turns ever since last March and I don't expect the 2012 class to be any different. You all saw how much of an impact the 2010 class made on our Championship season and I am excited to see what this class will do. The results will take it's course, and as the depth builds up so does the play of this team.

Here is to a great 2012 class! And as always War Eagle!