LB Jessel Curry high-fives a particularly friendly tackling dummy during practice last Monday.
Eighteen more days until kickoff of the 2010 season and Auburn fans are trying hard not to gush with unbridled optimism with what the new year beholds for the Tigers. Although not terribly superstitious, most Auburn folks know better than to show any tell of chutzpah, as the whole team might come down with H1N1 or go to an agent's party in Miami or simply forget to show up for the first third of the schedule should any one single fan fail to po'mouth the Tigers for the upcoming season. While all of us wait to see which SEC defenses get run over by the Gus Bus, keep it to yourself until at least after the first month. In the meantime, cross your fingers, knock on wood and keep chopping wood until we sound the all-clear!
We're taking the credit. It's looking like the only option for Legion Field now is to fill it with dirt and turn it into a big planter, now that the PapaJohns.com Bowl has refused to pick up the option on this season's bowl game played at Legion Field. Papa John's has bigger plans and is now a proud new sponsor of the NFL. Besides, the game couldn't lure a sell-out if they offered free pizza the whole game and a double-cheese pie to go.
Auburn fans should take special pride in knowing that they played no small part in bringing down the venue that was infamously known as home turf for us every other year during the Iron Bowls between the 1950s through the 1990s. Finally getting the series to go to a home and home after 1989 sewed the seeds of Legion Field's destruction, coupled with the SEC CG moving out after 1993 and Alabama having not played a meaningful game there in over a decade. Maybe Birmingham Tigers feel differently, but I never met an Auburn fan who enjoyed traveling there for that game. Will officials desperately try to get another sponsorship, or should the former bastion of Tide lore be allowed to die a natural, final death?
Gus Degrees of Separation. Recently pulled off the rolls of the witness protection program, former Arkansas QB Mitch Mustain might be challenging for the starting job for Lane Kiffin at USC. Why should we care? History majors might remember that Mustain, an all-world recruit out of Springdale, AR, came to Fayetteville with his high school coach, Gus Malzahn, under very mysterious circumstances. As a matter of fact, the only thing more mysterious is the circumstances that he left under. Mustain came in early in the season and was 8-0 as a starter, but got yanked by coach Houston Nutt after being spelled by Casey Dick in a win against South Carolina. Mustain sat for the next three games and only saw limited playing time in the Hog's SEC title game against Florida and bowl game.
After that season, Malzahn bolted for Tulsa and Mustain declared his intention to transfer, after a much ballyhooed campaign to get his release from Nutt, which involved getting a note signed from his mother. Although he could have gone many places, to his credit, he chose USC, where he has been riding the bench for the last two years since sitting out the 2007 season. Can Auburn fans praise Mustain for being the broken road that led Gus straight to us? Hardly, but it is sad to see great talent squandered in such a senseless way. I wonder what Gus would say about the situation if he could?
Just hand the ball off--to the referee. Aren't you glad you're the fan of one of the most disciplined teams in all the land? Our Tigers are all business on the field. No celebrating, no delaying, just get the ball back to the officials for the spot and go again. Talk is already forming about the new taunting rules that will go into effect next year. Yea, next year, not this year. Taunting penalties will be considered live-ball, spot-fouls and the 15 yards will be assessed from the spot, which translates into six points being taken off the board for many of these calls. Les Miles is one of the coaches on board with the change. No word yet if mailing a coach 8000 watches for bad time management is to be considered taunting. Save your postage though. Les probably won't be around for the 2011 season.
I'm de-following him as we speak. Urban Meyer has fessed up that he doesn't actually make the tweets that you find on his Twitter account. Oh my. Who saw that coming? More shocking was that it was an assistant and not actually Tim Tebow, in between practice, head-shaving and preseason NFL games. Wasn't this to be part of the less-stress regimen to be instituted by Meyer--Tweeting and Face-booking instead of recruiting and coaching? Meyer does retain the title of "Manager of the Twitter program", which isn't exactly CFB's version of a neck-order award, but pretty darn close to it.
What could possibly go wrong?Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach will do analysis for CBS Sports this fall, calling games in C-USA and the Mountain West. Not really sure how wise it is to have the Dread Pirate Leach and a live microphone anywhere near each other, but I guess this means that ESPN and Craig James passed on the idea. Wouldn't you love for him to be on the air right before the jury in his suit against TT comes in? Talk about loose cannons. Navy couldn't batten down this guy to the deck.