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News of the day, 1/18

Hey everyone. Let's get to bidness.

Paul Rhoads has been named defensive coordinator, which is the least surprising "breaking news" flash in years. You already know about him. The HOTTIES know their stuff, so I won't go through the curriculum vitae here.

He'll be holding a teleconference with reporters at some point this afternoon. I'll be there. I'll pass along the News You Need To Know at that point.

So keep it real and I'll see you in a bit.

Are you wondering about the tornado picture? I couldn't decide which art element would work here, I have exhaused my one-picture Rhoads supply, so I found that torando and thought it was cool. After all -- the search has been a whirlwind. I'm so funny.

Oh, and thanks for visiting the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

He said he turned down Tuberville's offer in 2002 because he doesn't want to live a nomadic lifestyle and two years at Pitt didn't seem like enough. He later said there were additional issues that surrounded that decision (ie money), but said he didn't want to discuss that right now.

Rhoads said he'll be very detail-oriented at Auburn. He apparently has excess enthusiasm for proper tackling technique, good back-pedaling technique, etc. He prefers a 4-3 front, but said he experimented with some 30 schemes at Pitt this season that yielded some positive returns.

He said he'll "blend fronts," but didn't seem remarkably enthusiastic about deviating from base 4-3.

Rhoads has been given a weekend syllabus that provides information on the 10 recruits making official visits to Auburn this weekend. He's in Auburn right now. He'll participate in the recruiting push, effective immediately.

His Pitt bio pointed out that Rhoads was valedictorian of his high-school class. He said that group included more than 300 students. He also noted that education is important to him because his father was a teacher/coach and his mother also was involved with education.

Best quote: "Coming in with a broom and sweeping everything clean and making wholesale adjustments and changes would be quite foolish."


Tailback recruit Enrique Davis has backed away from his commitment to Auburn, though coaches are planning to meet with the prep-school tailback during the next two weeks. Rival schools have been emphasizing the Tigers' new spread scheme and its potentially damaging effect on tailbacks. I'd do the same thing.

I am not surprised this happened. Still, it re-affirms my respect for guys like Bryan Matthews and Jeffrey Lee and Jason Caldwell who spend so much time covering recruits. They're with you one day -- or nearly two years in this case -- and they're gone the next.

I expect Auburn to make a serious attempt to re-claim Davis. I'm just not sure it's going to work. It seems like Tony Franklin's system thirsts for guys like Brad Lester and Mario Fannin. Davis is a different kind of back. If he wants to be a bruiser, he'll have to play somewhere else. It's hard to be a bruiser out of the shotgun.

News of the day, 1/17

Hey everyone. I expect this to be a crazy day.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this morning, without even a hint of sourcing, that Paul Rhoads has accepted an offer to become Auburn's new coordinator.

UPDATE: The information is accurate. Barring an unforseen last-minute procedural snag, Rhoads will be announced as the Tigers' top defensive coach this afternoon. He's been remarkably successful at Pitt, where he didn't receive much national attention because the Panthers' weak offense limited the team's overall profile. A win against West Virginia in the regular-season finale earned Rhoads some love.

He was Tuberville's top choice in 2002, but turned down Auburn's offer because Pitt sweeneted his deal significantly. Tuberville has gone back after five years with added exposure and a fatter bank roll. Now it's enough.

HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: Remember to read the comments section often. The HABOTN works differently than the other blogs in that our comments section is a running commentary -- rather than a litany of inane flamage.

OK, it's generally not inane. It got that way last night with people arguing about Jeff Lebo of all people. The Tigers beat LSU last night. Maybe he's a great coach now.

Today's story from the Montgomery Advertiser print edition:
Tuberville narrows defensive search

Thanks for reading the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the net.

News of the day, 1/16

Hey everyone. Let's get right to business.

I just talked with the head coach, who is flying today. He's stuck in Atlanta because of the weather. He didn't share the kinds of details I know the HOTTIES want, but I he answered a few ancillary things that may interest you.

He said he has interviewed "10 to 15" guys in all so far. Most of those were at the AFCA convention a few weeks ago.

He said he's currently down to "3 or 4" guys.

He has met with "a few guys" for second interviews. None were held in Auburn.

Asked about his timetable, Tuberville said: "When we find the right guy."

Asked for some names, Tuberville went in another direction: "They all have jobs, which is the way I like it. It's hard to get together this time of year. We're out recruiting. They're out recruiting. You have to pick your spots, so to speak, and that takes time."

He isn't in Auburn offering the job to Paul Rhoads (right now). That may be bad news for the boys at JOX, who reported that this is a done deal. I really don't think any agreements have been finalized just yet.

I'm saving a few details for the story that will run tomorrow.

EDITORIAL ELEMENT: I think Rhoads is part of this deal. I think he is a guy Tuberville is eyeing/considering/discussing/meeting. It's obvious that Tuberville isn't in a hurry. I mean, duh. He's telling recruits that the system won't change. That's it. I'm surprised these kids don't require more information. Then again, I wouldn't have asked when I was 17.

News of the day, 1/15

Hey everyone. We've got a few Auburn-related morsels of information to share. It's been a big day at HABOTN headquarters because, as you probably don't know or care, Apple founder Steve Jobs delivered his keynote address at the Macworld Expo.

That included the unveiling of "the world's thinnest notebook."

Yeah, yeah. I know. You don't care. I'll prove a short synopsis at the bottom for the 6% who care.

We so incredibly humble that you'd spend an average of 67 seconds per day reading the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

So what if there is no defensive coordinator. The show must go on. Auburn released its tentative spring schedule today, which included a small surprise.

Practice starts Feb. 28. The A-Day game will be held on March 29. Auburn will take time off during spring drills for Spring Break, which runs from March 17-21. Coach Tommy Tuberville generally doesn't like doing that. Last year's spring practices were over before Spring Break began.

I don't pretend to be a recruiting expert. I leave that to guys like Bryan Matthews and Jeffrey Lee and Jason Caldwell, who spend years analyzing these kids. I will say, though, that Auburn's recruiting class seems to be gaining significance. The group Tuberville, Inc., brought in last season was outstanding. Those three freshmen linemen performed way above expectations. Now the Tigers are emphasizing ultra-fast wideouts and they're committing by the half dozen. Surely a few of these kids will play next year. Auburn had a huge hole at WR and the coaches did what they're supposed to do -- find guys to fill the hole. I'm highly interested to see how this kind of speed translates in Tony Franklin's wide-open offensive system.

Injured basketball players Rasheem Barrett (ankle) and Quan Prowell (knee) practiced on Tuesday after missing work on Monday afternoon. Both are expected to play against LSU on Wednesday night.


So the new Apple notebook: Very slim. It's 3/4" at its widest point and fits easily into a manila envelope. The downside is that it includes a sluggish 1.6 GHz Intel processor (to conserve energy), has no optical drive and will cost $1,799.

I'll stick with my Powerbook G4 a while longer.

I'm a Mac geek and proud of it. I'm not one of those conscientious-objector guys, though. I attended elementary school in San Diego during the early 1980s and Apple computers filled our lab.

News of the day, 1/15

BREAKING NEWS: Auburn adds two more commitments to its 2008 recruiting class. See below for a few details.

Hey everyone. Spurred on by coach Jeff Lebo's comment about how his team "needs more bullets," I'm going to make today's blog in bullet-point form. Good enough for Leebs means it's good enough for me.

Before we get to business, though, let me make my requisite assertion that this is the HOTTEST blog on the 'net. You knew that. I know you did. Still, pushing that fact is part of my contract.

Auburn added a pair of Florida-based commitments today in S Christian Thompson of Ft. Lauderdale and WR Onterrio McCalebb of Ft. Meade. Thompson was the leading tackler for the 5A state champions and is a teammate of WR Philip Pierre-Louis, who committed Sunday night.

McCalebb is a short (5-foot-10) wideout with extreme speed. He committed to West Virginia way back when, but changed his mind after Rich Rodriguez left for Michigan. reports that McCalebb may begin his career in a prep school or junior college.

It's obvious what Auburn is trying to do on offense now. It's all about speed and elusiveness, which makes perfect sense. If you run away from defenders, they can't get you. I could make millions with that formula.

I've received a few blog comments and emails about Josh Moon's recent column that ran in Sunday's editions of the Advertiser.

I'll start by saying Josh is a good friend of mine and I think he does good work. I disagreed with his basic premise that "boosters" were the central reason Will Muschamp left for Texas. The HOTTIES know my stance on this issue is that serial administrative failures annoyed Muschamp, though, to my knowledge, boosters didn't play a role in that.

Also, I don't think anyone was prepared to fire Tuberville after the Alabama game. Before the Alabama game? Perhaps. After he won that sixth straight against the Tide, Tuberville once again was golden.

There's a tricky dynamic at play here. Most of the people who conspired to run Tuberville in 2003 remain in power and it's reasonable to assume they're probably not the biggest Tuberville fans around. Tuberville knows all about it. The thing is -- he makes $2.8 million/year now. He's one of the highest-paid coaches in the nation. He can't walk away from that without a really lucrative gig waiting. There aren't many of those around.

That's all I have on that issue.

Lebo said today that both guard Rasheem Barrett and forward/center Quan Prowell are questionable for the Tigers' game at LSU Wedesnday. Barrett missed part of Auburn's weekend loss at Florida after suffering an ankle injury. Prowell apparently is dealing with some knee discomfort. Not sure what to make of that yet. If either of those two can't go, I mean, that's pretty much a wrap. There is no room for error when the list of available players drops to five or six.

I covered the Auburn-Georgia women's game on Sunday, which was a lot of fun. I love watching DeWanna Bonner play. She's a spaz, I mean that in a good way, and she helps her team in so many ways. Auburn won by 30 -- absolutely demolishing what appears to be a very good Georgia team. That was one of the least competitive SEC games I've seen in a while. Auburn was just toying with them. I'll say this about the Tigers -- they seem to have a purpose on the court now that wasn't there in past seasons. Remember that point guard Whit Boddie, my pick for team MVP, is out indefinitely with academic problems. Freshman Alli Smalley is Boddie's replacement. Great offensive player. Defensively? Not so good.

News of the day, 1/13

Hey everyone. It's been a big recruiting day for the Auburn Tigers in many ways. They got a commitment from someone they really wanted, though I can't offer any profound insights into any of the recruits.

Every recruit is a stud in someone's eyes. Every recruit is a bust in someone's eyes.

With that said, let's examine the significant developments:

*WR Philip Pierre-Louis of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., committed to the Tigers on Sunday. He's only 5-foot-9 (some list him at 5-10), but he's remarkably fast. He chose Auburn over Syracuse and Mississippi State. Pierre is the Tigers' 20th commitment.

*S Christian Thompson, who played high-school ball with Pierre-Louis, said Sunday that he enjoyed his trip. Still, he didn't make a firm decision before leaving. He's considering offers from LSU, Miami and Mississippi State.

*WR LaRon Byrd of Boutte, La., said he now considers Auburn his No. 1 choice. He's 6-4. He's considering competing offers from Mississippi State and Miami.

*DE Robert Quinn of Charleston, S.C. said he enjoyed his weekend at Auburn and considers the Tigers his co-leaders along with Alabama and North Carolina.

*RB Eric Smith of suburban Tampa, Fla., will announce his decision Saturday. He is choosing between Auburn and Clemson. Smith told that his visit was a 100 on a scale of 1-10.

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