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Auburn Tigers News and Notes...

By Jay Coulter

It didn’t take long. Auburn right guard Lee Ziemba has been practicing with the Tigers for little more than a week and he’s already ascended to the top of the depth chart. Phillip Marshall of the Huntsville Times reports today that Ziemba has been given a shot with the first team. According to the coaching staff, the job is now his to lose.

The talented freshman was a Parade All-American and Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year last season in Rogers, Arkansas. He came to Auburn with high expectations, but no one thought he would climb the depth chart this fast.

Sophomore Andrew McCain began fall camp as the starter. Offensive line coach Hugh Nall wasn’t satisfied with his play and went through two others before settling on Ziemba.

"I've tried each one of them and haven't been happy with what I've seen," Nall said after Wednesday's practice. "I did a lot of drills yesterday to try to evaluate, not just assignments, but where I thought the talent was and where I thought that guy could improve the most. It's all about tempo. It's all about attitude.

"I wanted to see how guys handled some adversity. That's part of it, too. Nothing is set in stone yet. I'm trying to work a lot of angles here to get ready for the season. I don't know who the starting five are yet."

"The best guy is going to play there, whether he's a freshman or senior," said coach Tommy Tuberville.

Gandy To Coach

By now you probably know that linebacker Steve Gandy has given up football because of a series of concussions dating back to last season’s Cotton Bowl. Gandy expressed to Tommy Tuberville that he wanted to go into coaching; and now Tuberville is giving back.

This season, Gandy will be working with linebackers coach James Willis during practice so that he can get a feel for what it’s like "on the other side." Hopefully, this will lead to a full-time graduate assistant job in the future.

William Walker Dead At 69

Former Auburn president William Walker died yesterday after a battle with liver cancer. Walker lead the university for nearly two years and will be most remembered as the guy who chartered the plane to Louisville to hire then Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino while Tuberville was still under contract at Auburn.

It was a despicable act that will never be forgotten by the Auburn family. It also brought down a fine man in David Housel, who had no choice but to accompany his boss on the ill-fated trip. Walker did do some good things like helping secure the $25 million donation and establishment of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

Auburn Responds To Cuomo Allegations

Auburn has finally responded to allegations by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. As we reported on Tuesday, Cuomo, the bleeding heart liberal from New York State, accused Auburn along with 37 other schools of taking kickbacks in exchange for steering students to the student loan company, University Financial Services.

Today, Brian Keeter, Auburn’s director of public affairs says the allegations are untrue. "We don’t have a direct relationship with University Financial Services," said Keeter. "They aren’t even a participating lender." Let’s hope that once Auburn is proven innocent that they file suit against Cuomo. And we thought his dad was a joke.

Turner Loose Gets It Done

With apologies to Phillip Marshall, who I think does an awesome job of covering Auburn, the best Auburn beat writer is Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reporter Christa Turner. She does a daily blog that is an absolute must read. It’s called Turner Loose and she updates it from practice daily. Christa is able to uncover information that no else can. Make sure you bookmark it. I can’t believe it’s free!

Thanks For A Great Two Weeks

I want to thank all of you that have followed me over to Track’em Tigers. I know it’s not easy keeping up with me. I love the SB Nation group. I enjoyed my time at AOL, but this gig is so much better. It’s a lot less corporate and I have complete control over the content.

Make sure and check out some of the other SB sites listed on the right side bar.