Saturday, January 28, 2006

We Are Taking A Break...

What a great first year it has been. I want to thank everyone for stopping by and spending time at FSITS. With the Winter months setting in and little football news to report we are going to take a break and resume with our posts in July.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy signing day, baseball season, Spring practice and time with your family. Fall practice will be here before we know it.

I will leave you with one piece of news. An Auburn Athletic Department Official told me last night that Coach Tuberville said this year's recruiting class is the best Auburn has ever had. He said he didn't care where the recruiting services ranked them. Pretty strong words that bode well for the future. War Eagle!

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Give Jacobs Passing Grades In His First Year

FSITS is back after taking a few days off for a business trip to Boise, Idaho. I've been there many times but it was the first during the winter months. Let's just say it's quite a bit different than in July.

Below is a story on Jay Jacobs and his first year as athletics director. While the jury is still out, Jacobs has put together a pretty solid year. He's moving in the right direction on many facilities improvements and has managed to keep Bobby Lowder at arms-length.

Let's hope he carries through on his pledge to renovate the coliseum. There's no doubt that Jeff Lebo will make the basketball team a winner. We just need Jacobs to build that practice facility and gut the coliseum...soon!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Shaun Alexander Thought He Was Playing Auburn On Saturday

Seattle All-Pro running back Shaun Alexander thought he was back in the SEC for a while Saturday after suffering a concussion in the Seahawks win over Washington.

"I looked up and saw Matt (Hasselbeck) on the scoreboard (video screen)," he said. "And I looked down the bench and saw all the linemen gone. I said, 'Did I get knocked out?'

"I was out for about 20 minutes," the former Alabama star said. "For about 20 minutes there, I didn't know if I was me ... or if I was playing against the Auburn Tigers."

I know the former Auburn players (who played against him) appreciate the compliment. I also know they are glad they don't have to face Shaun Alexander anymore.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

New State-Of-The-Art Scoreboard In Doubt

It looks like Jay Jacobs spoke too soon. Last week Jacobs said that it was all but a done deal that Jordan-Hare Stadium would have a new scoreboard in the north end-zone next season. Then the bill came in.

What was expected to cost $600,000 to install has now ballooned to more than $1.2 million. Jacobs says it's not out of the question but improbable at this point.

The story below is from the Huntsville Times...

AUBURN - Jay Jacobs thought the deal was all but done.
All that remained for a state-of-the-art video board to be erected at north end zone at Jordan-Hare Stadium in time for next season was verification that the infrastructure would support it, Jacobs told The Huntsville Times in an interview last week.

But things changed quickly.

The Auburn athletics director said Sunday the original estimate was that the video board could be installed for some $600,000. He got the word late last week that the board would instead probably cost $1.2 million-$1.4 million.

"I'm not saying it's out of the question, but I don't think it's likely now," Jacobs said.

Instead, Jacobs said, he will look at installing a new scoreboard in the north end zone. The decision has already been made to install a video board on the face of the upper deck on the east side of the stadium in time for next season. The board will display real time statistics, scores from other games and other information.

With a $28 million renovation of the concourses, restrooms and concession stands under way, Jacobs said steady improvements at Jordan-Hare Stadium are necessary.

"We are going to try to do something every year to enhance the game day experience for our fans," Jacobs said. "That's something we feel like we need to do."

Schedule Almost Set...

Final schedule near: Auburn hopes to be ready to announce its 2006 football schedule within the next week.

Southeastern Conference approval of moving the game against LSU, originally scheduled for Oct. 21, to Sept. 16 is expected to be a formality, but two questions remain.

Will Auburn play Temple on Sept. 23? Will a visit to South Carolina, scheduled for Sept. 30, be moved to Thursday, Sept. 28?
Auburn is working closely with the Mid-American Conference, which Temple is scheduled to join.

If Auburn does not play Temple, it is expected to play another Mid-American Conference team and would have a short week to prepare for the visit to South Carolina if the game is moved to Thursday.

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Tigers Pick Up 17th Commitment

Auburn's big recruiting weekend has already paid off. The Tigers picked up a commitment from Dunedin, Florida defensive end Darrell Roseman.

The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder chose Auburn over North Carolina State, Rutgers, South Florida and Central Florida. The Tigers hosted 21 recruits over the weekend including several who have already committed.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Picture Of The Day...

Start the blonde jokes now. Apparently this USC cheerleader has never been taught to cheer when her team scores. Notice the look on some of the other cheerleaders faces. Classic!

Thanks to and The Wizard of for this gem.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Black Eye For Auburn, Lowder

Love him or hate him Bobby Lowder is back in the news. And when it's related to Auburn athletics it can't be good. is doing a special report this week on influential boosters and the article names Lowder the most influential in all of college football.

As with most articles written about Auburn athletics and its relationship with the Board Of Trustees much of the information is sensationalism while other parts unfortunately are right on.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions. But I will say this, anytime there is a story written about Auburn in this way it's a negative thing for the entire university. As for the picture of Tuberville and Lowder, if I'm Tuberville I don't give this guy the time of day. Tuberville has earned that right.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Sigh Of Relief... David Irons Back In Class

We can all breath a sigh of relief. David Irons is back in school. Irons started classes this week and awaits word from the NCAA on an additional year of eligibility.

It's not over-reaching to say that he could be the difference in Auburn winning the Western Division and playing for a conference championship next season.

As I've said earlier, he was playing as well as anyone in the country at season's end. This is a huge boast for David Gibbs defense.

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Cast Your Vote For Cadillac

Cadillac Williams has already been named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year; and now he has a chance to be named Rookie Of The Year on both sides of the ball. Diet Pepsi is sponsoring this year's award and you can vote. Each voter is allowed to cast his ballot daily through the end of January.

Bookmark it now and vote daily. Let's help Cadillac add to his trophy case.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Random Thoughts...

By Jay Coulter
Football Saturday In The South
Here are some of my random thoughts as we head toward winter workouts on the Plains...

  • A week after losing to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl it still stings. What a shame that Tommy Tuberville could put together such a masterful follow-up to last year’s championship season, only to field the worst prepared team in his tenure as Auburn coach. Still the year was a success. As my friend David Hart put it, “If you had told me (before the start of the season) that we would win nine games and beat Georgia and Alabama I would have taken it in a minute.” I couldn’t agree more.
  • I have never seen a program win 10 games in a season and its fans still see the year as a failure. That’s certainly how most Alabama people that I talk with feel about their season. Come to think of it, this happened in 1989 when a team coached by Bill Curry finished the year with 10 wins. You know what happened to him.
  • Brandon Cox was the biggest surprise of the year. Everyone knew he had potential but after watching him play against Kentucky in 2004 I had real reservations about how this kid could throw and lead.
  • The jury is still out on David Gibbs. He had a tremendous year and the Alabama game plan was perfect. But something about his leadership still bothers me. And from talking with others I’m not alone. With a year under his belt he still has much to prove. He has a tall task ahead next year working with our defensive line and secondary. It will be a better test of his abilities.
  • I sure hope David Irons comes back for another season. He was playing as well as anyone in the country at the end of the year. It’s likely he could finish next season an All-American.
  • I’m really looking forward to opening 2006 with Washington State. I hope Jay Jacobs locks in more marquee games with other conferences. Despite losing to USC and Georgia Tech I sure enjoy playing big non-conference games.
  • I hope Auburn’s SID department touts Kenny Irons as a Heisman Trophy contender. With the preseason hype he’s sure to get and an impressive opening weekend against Washington State, he will be thrust on to the national scene very quickly.
  • A question for you? Will Tre Smith see any significant action during his senior season?
  • Finally, thanks to everyone who has visited this season and a special thanks to those who have emailed. This season at FSITS has been great fun. I hope you continue to stop by as we head toward college football’s dead time. My goal is to keep it alive and well here at Football Saturday In The South.

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Auburn's Recruiting Continues To Shine

Auburn missed finishing in the top 10 on the field this year. Auburn's coaches are determined not to let that happen in recruiting.

With the February 1st signing day just a few weeks away now, Auburn added its 16th recruit of the year this weekend when it signed Oak Grove kicker Ryan Shoemaker.

Shoemaker, who will probably concentrate on punting, was being pursued by both the Tigers and Alabama. Tuberville surprised Shoemaker with the scholarship offer on Friday. An Alabama fan, he was expected to walk-on in Tuscaloosa before Tuberville's offer.

Two of the Tigers biggest recruits will be starting classes today. Running-back Benjamin Tate, the heralded back from Rock Hill, Maryland, who rushed for a state record 6,123 yards is on campus and ready for winter workouts.

Offensive lineman Lee Tilley is also on campus and ready to go. Auburn stole Tilley from Ohio State's backyard earlier this year. The highly recruited lineman from Columbus, Ohio chose Auburn over OSU, Arizona State, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Click on the links below to get all of Auburn's recruiting news:

Two top recruits to begin at Auburn on Monday

Tigers focusing on final targets

Tigers search for more prospects

Andre Smith won't say what lies ahead

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Slive Inherits BCS Debacle

All eyes are now on SEC commissioner Mike Slive. For better or worse Slive has inherited the title of coordinator for the Bowl Championship series, otherwise known as BS. Each conference rotates the job among its commissioners on a yearly basis.

With the Fox Network taking over television coverage of the BCS and the addition of a fifth game, the NCAA is holding its collective nose praying for another easy one vs. two game in 2006. While many are saying the BCS worked this year, others including myself say not so fast my friend.

They may have gotten it right with USC vs. Texas but the other matchups (excluding the Orange Bowl) were a joke. Here's an excellent article by New Orleans Times-Picayune writer Ted Lewis who examines all the remaining issues with the BCS and how Slive might work to make things better. Good luck Mike!

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Clouds Grow Around Gibbs

This week is one that David Gibbs would like to forget. With his defense giving up an astounding 548 total yards to Wisconsin, the defensive coordinator is now a hunted man.

He's not only being hunted by the state's media but also by many Auburn fans who would like an explanation as to what happened on Monday afternoon. Thursday things got worse when star defensive end Stanley McClover declared for the NFL draft.

While the on-field performance was bad enough, what Gibbs did, or rather didn't do after the game is getting the most attention. With Tommy Tuberville, Al Borges and several Tiger players all taking the podium (and the blame) at the post-game press conference, Gibbs was nowhere to be found.

It seems that he's developed a habit of avoiding the media when his defense turns in bad performances. This was well documented following the Kentucky game when the Auburn defense turned in a lackluster performance. Gibbs was forced to get off the team bus and come back to address the media.

On Monday afternoon he decided to skip it completely. He refused to talk about the loss despite the fact that several of his players did talk with media members. It seems we have something of a leadership problem here.

Gibbs has turned in a solid performance in his first year on the Plains. Following in the footsteps of current Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is certainly not easy.

But these clouds are causing many to be concerned that a storm may be coming. Gibbs will have much to prove next year with McClover leaving and David Irons thinking about it.

The Tigers secondary needs major work and losing Irons could be a huge problem for a unit that hasn't matured as expected. There's no secret that Gibbs relationship with the media is rocky. But at the end of the day it really doesn't matter.

What does matter is the product he puts on the field. For now you have to give him passing grades. In fact, you have to give him stellar grades for the season as a whole.

And there's no reason to believe that he can't deliver next year although it will be a huge challenge. Gibbs has been on vacation this week and unavailable for comment. Let's hope that he continues to grow into the position and get better.

But mostly importantly, it's time for all Auburn people to get behind Gibbs and support him. He's earned that much.

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Say It Ain't So Stanley!

Auburn defensive end Stanley McClover surprised everyone with his announcement Thursday that he'll make himself available for the NFL draft in April.

What a huge mistake McClover is making. He's projected to be a late round draft choice at best with many believing he'll have to sign as a free agent.

He becomes the first Tiger underclassman to leave early for the NFL draft since tight-end Robert Johnson in 2002. Ironically, Johnson wasn't drafted.

It's always tough to watch a great kid make a huge mistake. I'm sure the coaches tried to talk him out of his decision. He will forever be part of Auburn lore after the dominating performance he put on against Alabama this year. McClover was as colorful off the field as he was on. He will be missed by many. Let's hope it works out for the best.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Cadillac Runs Away With NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year Award

Former Tiger Cadillac Williams ran away with the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award on Wednesday. Williams received 47 of 50 first place votes in the balloting. Ronnie Brown collected one first place vote.

"W really felt that he was a great, great running back, to be honest with you,"said Bucs Coach John Gruden. "Tommy Tuberville felt the same way. Everybody I talked to in Alabama said: This is the greatest running back in the history of high school football in Alabama.

"Better than Bo Jackson, better than most of these guys have ever seen. I'm not saying he's better than Bo. But everybody I talked to said he's a hell of a back. Get him on your team, somehow, some way," said Gruden.

Williams rushed for more than 1100 yards and had six 100 yard games.

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We're Headliners Baby!

Football Saturday In The South was recently covered in The Corner publication that is printed locally in Auburn and owned by the Opelika-Auburn News. We want to thank Jeremy Dale Henderson who wrote the story.

The article talks about college football blogs and the influence they have on the game. For us here at FSITS it's just plain fun. If you haven't checked out The Corner online, please do. It's an excellent publication.

Click here to read the article...

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Thumbs Down For Tuberville's Preparation

By Jay Coulter
Football Saturday In The South
September 6, 2003. Not since that hot day more than two years ago has an Auburn football team looked as bad as it did on Monday afternoon. And like that loss to Georgia Tech, Auburn’s football team was beaten every way possible, both mentally and physically by a hungry Wisconsin football team.

While Auburn coaches, players and fans laughed and celebrated while wearing their “Fear the Thumb” T-shirts, the Badgers were busy working to earn a little respect and send their beloved coach into a happy retirement.

Can a hangover last six weeks? I think Monday afternoon proved it can. This loss falls completely on the shoulders of Coach Tommy Tuberville. During Tiger Walk you could see in the player’s eyes that the game wasn’t on their minds. Many players danced their way into Citrus Bowl Stadium, all smiles, still basking in their season-ending wins over Georgia and Alabama.

Most of the media and fans thought Auburn deserved better – a better bowl and a better opponent. By dusk on Monday, it was apparent that the Capital One Bowl and Auburn’s fans deserved a better prepared team.

Not to take anything away from Coach Tuberville – he has done a masterful job this season. But on this summer-like day in Orlando he was taken to school by another fine coach, Barry Alvarez.

With more than 70% of the stadium wearing orange and blue, Alvarez and his team did a masterful job of handling Auburn’s offense. Al Borges has never looked so bad. With Kenny Irons having a decent day running the ball, Borges continued to try to throw. From the two yard line late in the third quarter, Auburn inexplicably went to the air in trying to score.

Brandon Cox was never in the game. His mind was obviously elsewhere. And most surprising was the play of Auburn’s sure handed quartet of receivers who early on looked like they hadn’t practiced in a month. Come to think of it, they haven’t practiced much in a month.

Tuberville needs to take a hard look at his bowl preparation. Last year’s team was able to stay focused because it was chasing a national championship. This year’s group was obviously given way too much time away from football.

Auburn blew a huge opportunity to finish in the top five. Does it put a damper on the season? It may for a few days but ultimately this year’s team will be looked upon as one of the best. It certainly doesn’t take away from those season-ending signature wins.

But Monday’s loss does set back a program who’s working to be a perennial top 10 team. It does deny a great group of seniors the right to call themselves the best ever. Although for a lot of us we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

The Tigers lose 15 starters next season. It has much work to do. The Auburn defense obviously has some holes to fill starting with a slow maturing secondary that could become even more problematic if David Irons decides to try the NFL. Tuberville, his staff and the returning players will learn from this experience and it will perhaps help them as they get ready for Washington State. Spring practice starts in a few weeks.

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