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GAME DAY, Auburn vs. Ole Miss

Hey everyone. It's a great night for football. Clear. 70ish. I encountered a major crowd during my travel from Montgomery this afternoon, which justifies Auburn's decision to eschew another 11:30 kickoff. Evening games provide a more festive and electric environment. You can quote me on that.

--------GAME COVERAGE--------

AUBU -- 17
MISS -- 3

AU (1st, 2:41) -- Brad Lester 1 run (Zach Kutch kick)
UM (2nd, 0:00) -- Joshua Shene 51 FG
AU (3rd, 7:59) -- Wes Byrum 36 FG
AU (4th, 3:15) -- Rod Smith 34 pass from Brandon Cox (Byrum kick)

A couple personnel issues to note: K Wes Byrum didn't play during the first half, but came in for a third-quarter field goal kick. His injury officially is listed as a quadriceps issue. WR Robert Dunn is in uniform but hasn't played so far. WR Tim Hawthorne is playing in the slot tonight.

QB Brandon Cox was hurt during a second-quarter sack. The hit wasn't remarkable. He seemed to be unhappy with his right shoulder. He left for the locker room. I'll update this when I hear something.

First downs: Auburn 22, Ole Miss 15
Yards: Auburn 420, Ole Miss 193
Time of possession: Auburn 36:23, Ole Miss 23:37

News of the day, 10/26

Hey everyone. We're finally getting some sun here in Montgomery, which is a nice change of pace from the past four days. It's sunny here every day from May 15 to October 15, then it tuns gray for months. At least I've learned to savor that sunny period while it lasts.

Game conditions Saturday are going to be lovely: Sunny and 75.

Also want to tell our San Diego-based HABOTN readers that we're thinking of you. I spent a large chunk of my childhood there (Tierrasanta, just N of Qualcomm) and those fires really suck. I've seen them from up close, seen the ash fall from the sky day and night, and let me tell you that it's the worst natural disaster. You know it's coming, you know it's at least theoretically stoppable and yet it still plows through your world.

Big up for stopping by to peep the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

News of the day, 10/25

Hey everyone. Two months 'til Christmas. Isn't that amazing?

My friend Gordon, Montgomery insurance magnate, referred to a gal today as a "fox." That is the first documented use of that word (in that context) since 1992. Congratulations.

Also, a lot of people have been asking me about Tommy Tuberville's commitment to Auburn. That's asked in the context of: Will he leave Auburn? I don't have an answer for that. He likes entertaining offers because it enhances his value -- perhaps "perceived value" is more accurate -- in the eyes of college administrators everywhere. Tuberville's agent, Jimmy Sexton, likes that tack as well.

Thanks for freeing up some of your valuable time to meander through our little enterprise, which happens to be the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

There has been some discussion on the message boards about Tuberville's decision to fire up a squib kick prefacing LSU's final possession. That has been a trendy tactic now that kickoffs depart from the 30. I didn't think much of it. Nonetheless, Tuberville addressed this issue on Sunday. He said Wes Byrum still is dealing with the ankle injury that limited him earlier in the season.

``He hasn't kicked off deep all year since his ankle -- that and we weren't going to kick it to their deep guy," Tuberville said.

Preliminary intelligence suggests that Auburn's game at Georgia on Nov. 10 will be on CBS. I initially believed the game would be telecast on another network, but apparently ESPN has engineered a deal to get the Florida-South Carolina-Steve Spurrier orgy of brilliance.

News of the day, 10/24

Hey everyone. A studious and resourceful reader has passed along some interesting screen captures from the AU-LSU game. I'm not super into these angles of argument, though, because things like that happen all the time. If I noted every awkward spot I see in a season, that could be its own blog.

The illegal formation thing might be a tad more worthy of mention, but I still don't think that's a big deal. Auburn fans probably feel differently. So it goes.

Thanks for visiting the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

OK. This is the illegal formation play. You can see the flanker on the left side of the formation is approximately 1.5 yards off the line of scrimmage. Some refs call that. Some don't. This one, you can see him at the bottom left, is not holding up his arm to signal a problem. The flag came from the other side of the field. Based on what you see right here, I don't think the officials necessarily blew the call. It's a judgment thing. Throwing the flag, then watching the video review to disregard the flag is a mistake.

Here is the third-down play late in the game that yielded LSU an important first down. Note that Chris Evans and Eric Brock both missed the tackle.

Sure, I think the tailback fell short of the first-down line. I'm just not that keen on scrutinizing spots. They're pretty subjective in all cases. There were times during the New Mexico State game when I found certain spots poorly judged. It happens. If you want to clamor for better spots overall, fine, but it's very rare that I hear coaches seriously grumbling over spots.

As a follow-up to my Sunday rant about Bobby Hebert, LSU released a statement on Tuesday night apologizing to the Auburn reporters who were stationed near Hebert at the game. Here is a portion of the release. This is very rare, and a very classy move on LSU's part to acknowledge the issue and pledge to keep it from happening again.
For all you that attended the LSU vs. Auburn football game last Saturday
at Tiger Stadium I would like to extend a formal apology on behalf of
the LSU Sports Information Department concerning the behavior of one of
our credential media members. I understand that the situation was not
only completely unprofessional, but a huge distraction to those of there
in a working capacity, especially considering the late deadline. I can
assure that the issue is being addressed on our end and we don't expect
any future incidents of that nature.

Once again, I apologize for any problems this may have caused you that
evening and I only hope that your next trip to Tiger Stadium will be a
better one.

News of the day, 10/23

Hey everybody. We're moving right along on Tuesday, which is when we chop the wood around here as Will Muschamp would say. So check below for a smorgasbord of delicious information and opinions.

It's Tuesday, so you know what that means: Another insightful "Tuesdays with Tommy" segment. I actually struggled to pay attention today because there were only a few useful topics discussed. I already know Jerraud Powers is good. I already know that Quentin Groves is back from the toe injury. Bippity-boppity-boop.

We're so happy you strolled by to peruse the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net. We hope it satisfies you.

Here are your weekly flash quotes from coach Tommy Tuberville:

*On struggles at LSU: "The bottom line is that we didn't coach very well in the third quarter. Somewhere during the game, we lost our edge."

*On the loss being a moral victory: "We don't want to hear people saying 'You're close.' We're there."

*On Jerraud Powers' effort during the final play:
``It was great coverage. He hung with the guy. You can't cover a perfect pass. Can't do it."

*On not overlooking a struggling Ole Miss team this weekend: ``You can't look at past performances. You have to look at the present. This team (Auburn) has been pretty on-track with that."

*On WR Rob Dunn and his chances of playing this week:
"He has a lot of work
ahead with coach (Greg) Knox. I washed my hands of it once he was on the team and back into the fold. He has to prove it to his position coach and to the players."

*On LB Merrill Johnson and S Aairon Savage not playing against LSU:
``They could have played. The speed of that game is a little different."

-----BRANDON COX-----

*On the LSU game: "It's been hard to sleep the last couple of nights. I'm trying to avoid watching that film."

*On regrouping after the loss: "I'm ready to get back out there and play."

*On Rob Dunn's apology: "He apologized and we moved on."

Here are your top defensive producers from the Arkansas game game. Players are given points for doing significant things correctly. They are docked points for missing assignments, missing tackles, penalties or loafing.

Here is the full rundown of point distribution.

DE Quentin Groves -- 16
DE Sen'Derrick Marks -- 16
DE Antonio Coleman -- 16
S Eric Brock -- 14
LB Chris Evans -- 11
S Zac Etheridge -- 11
LB Tray Blackmon -- 10
CB Jerraud Powers -- 9

Evans -- 140
Powers -- 137
Etheridge -- 130
Marks -- 126
Coleman -- 123
CB Pat Lee -- 116
DE Quentin Groves -- 95

none -- 8
Etheridge, Marks, Coleman -- 7
Powers, Brock, Evans -- 6
Lee, Stevens -- 5
Groves -- 4
S Aairon Savage, Sims -- 3

Here are your team defensive goals for the AU-LSU game.

Win: NO, 30-24
Allow 13 pts or less: NO, 30
Allow 3.3 yards per carry or less: NO 5,6
Allow 5.0 yards per pass or less: NO, 10.1
Create at least 3 turnovers: NO, 2
Allow no big plays (defined as 15+ rush or 20+ pass): NO on run (4); NO on pass (6)
Allow no TDs inside "red area": YES
Force opponent to convert less than 30% on 3rd down: NO, 47%

Louisiana State's YAC (yards after contact) number was 84.

News of the day, 10/22

Hey everyone. Been getting several emails about the "dirty" hit on LSU's Glenn Dorsey. LSU fans mistakenly believe I have some stake in this argument. I do not. I thought it was an illegal and unnecessary hit. Taunting me about it just makes me laugh because I don't have allegiance to Auburn. I just write about Auburn. My allegiance is the the faithful HOTTIES who peep this site. One love!

We here at HABOTN headquarters thank you for visiting the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

A reader emailed today correcting me about Bobby Hebert's alma mater. He did not attend LSU. He actually attended Northwestern State, but was at LSU Saturday presumably to watch his son, T-Bob Hebert, not play again. Realizing that Hebert's son is an LSU player really enriches Daddy's taunts toward Brandon Cox. I wonder if Hebert had been fine with me yelling for the Tigers to injure his son. He seemed so eloquent and pliable. I'm sure he'd have played along.

I must say that I was a little surprised that Auburn practiced on Sunday afternoon. This practice was no grueling fist-fight, but the team returned home around 3 a.m. Sunday. They got back around that time after the Arkansas game, which was late enough for coach Tommy Tuberville to give the players a rare Sunday off. Yet 3 o'clock wasn't too late this time. Not a huge deal, mind you, but I found the decision interesting nonetheless.

I also found it interesting that Lee Ziemba, Chaz Ramsey and assistant coach Hugh Nall weren't available for interviews on Sunday. Those two players were involved with the post-and-cut block applied to LSU's Glenn Dorsey last weekend. I know Nall pretty well and he's not one to cower from criticism. Tuberville wanted a consolidated voice on the issue. I still plan to get some reaction from Ziemba and Ramsey. I'm still not sure exactly why they did what they did.

News of the day, 10/21

Hey everyone. That was a fun 6-hour drive back to Auburn. Nothing like that scintillating stretch of road from Ft. Deposit to Satsuma. Wonderful.

We (Josh Moon and I) had a pretty good time at LSU on Saturday. We arrived several hours before the game and bascially loitered around the area between Tiger Stadium and the Maravich Assembly Center. We were waiting to see angry confrontations between Auburn and LSU fans, which we then would chronicle in the Advertiser. Yet we saw nothing objectionable at all. There was a styrofoam cooler with "Auburn sucks" written on the side. I didn't think that was worth a story.

Pretty standard pre-game atmosphere. I saw two poodles with their hair sheared to read "Tigers," which was unexpected.

I also saw way more of Bobby Hebert, former (Northwestern State) and NFL quarterback, than I ever care to see again. He was sitting in the press box one level below me, demanding that LSU "hurt Brandon Cox" and having an absolute fit after the Dorsey chop block. You'd think Ziemba and Ramsey had cut blocked Hebert. The experience ruined my feelings for Hebert. I liked him when he played in the league.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to peep the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

Tuberville, as you'd expect, was not happy with the phantom flag thrown during Jacob Hester's screen touchdown there in the fourth quarter. The call was correct. One official threw a flag because he though LSU had only six players on the line of scrimmage. Game footage shows that LSU's split end -- the seventh player -- was lined up approximately one yard off the line of scrimmage. Yet the official beside the split end did not have his arm out, which officials do when players are not aligned properly. A penalty wasn't warranted.

With that said, the officials did themselves (and the league) a disservice by not making the call before reviewing Hester's touchdown run. Illegal formation calls cannot be overturned. So what happened is that the replay-booth people confirmed that LSU had seven players on the line of scrimmage. Then the officials rescinded the flag. That's great from an enforcement perspective, but an obvious breach of protocol. Penalties need to be handled before the review process begins.

Tuberville said he spoke with OLs Lee Ziemba and Chaz Ramsey about the cut block applied to LSU DT Glenn Dorsey during the second half Saturday. Ramsey went low and Ziemba immediately hit Dorsey high, knocking the All-American into an awkward position that led to a knee injury. Dorsey didn't return. Tuberville concluded that there was no malice. He also said that Auburn doesn't teach illegal cut blocks and won't tolerate illegal cut blocks. Tuberville probably should have ended his rant with the malice stuff.

WR Rob Dunn, who did not travel to Baton Rouge because of a suspension, was at practice Sunday and remains with the team. Tuberville said he hasn't yet decided when Dunn will return to gameday duty. Dunn was suspended for a "practice problem," Tuberville said.

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