Hey everyone. Thanks for hanging around yesterday despite a relative lack of news. The pace will pick up this week FO SHO as the Barrett Trotter Project enters its most critical stage: Should I Stay or Should I Throw Now?
SYLACAUGA UPDATE: Had a great time taking in the Aggies' 42-13 loss to Briarwood Christian last night. Auburn quarterback/redshirt Barrett Trotter was on hand as well. I'm not going to show pictures of him because Auburn doesn't like us talking with players away from the complex. So we'll pretend like nobody talked to -- or photographed -- Trotter.
Witnesses said he seemed relaxed, but wasn't sure about the Tigers' plans for him this week at West Virginia. My guess is that he plays. He probably fits best with the team's recent shift in offensive strategy.
GETTING SOCIAL: I'd scoop these guys in a heartbeat -- and Lord knows they've flipped me over a few times -- but I like 'em just the same. That's (L to R) me, Jason Caldwell of Inside The Auburn Tigers and Charles Goldberg of the Birmingham News. They grew up in Sylacauga and it's clear they're royalty there. These guys can't walk 50 feet without someone tugging on their jacket to say hello.
Nobody knows me. I like it that way.
NATIONAL SCHEDULE: Here are a few games I'll be watching or monitoring in other ways today.
This also doubles as your national schedule. Times are CDT.
Hey everyone. Big time work yesterday. While attendance at the Thursday afternoon campfire was sparse (MVPs: wartiger, scottie b, monica) we rebounded with an awesome night of comments. This place gets hotter every day.
I guess blogs really do matter after all. AUBURN'S SCHEDULE: Tommy Tuberville is giving his team a few days off before a short week of preparation for West Virginia. Players who don't need major treatment (as decided by trainers) are allowed to flee campus today and tomorrow. Players are due back Sunday morning. Their usual Sunday walk-through will be replaced this week by a standard, two-hour grinder.
MY SCHEDULE: Going to see "W" this afternoon and on to the Sylacauga-Briarwood Christian game for fun tonight.
A VALUED CUSTOMER: I have been awarded a "beta token" for the new Call of Duty game. That means I am allowed to play a test version for quality assurance purposes in advance of the real game, which hits retail on Nov. 12. Yes, that makes me a nerd.
Anyway, the game is pretty sweet. Same controls as Call of Duty 4. A 5-kill streak gets an "artillery strike" while a 7-kill streak gets a dog attack. Dogs just kinda roll out there and bite The Bad Guys. Yes, I'm a nerd.
A RELIC: Tony Franklin's placard you see here has been removed. I wish I could have gotten that before it was thrown away. I shot this the day he was fired. I saw Tim Jackson, one member of Jay Jacobs' "senior management team," chilling in that office a few days back. Has he moved in? If so, I can't believe football coaches would consider that a welcome addition considering the circumstances.
Franklin still isn't interested in talking publicly. My guess is he has work already lined up for the 2009 season and doesn't want to compromise that deal. From one loudmouth to another: That's the correct decision ... unless you want to give the HABOTN an exclusive. Then it would be great to talk. MUST-SEE TV: This has been around for a bit, but several HOTTIES have been talking about it and The Beat Writers enjoyed a chuckle yesterday.
(Thanks for the link, scottie b. and taylor)
Photo credit for the Ben Tate shot: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University
Photo credit for the Franklin placard shot: Jay G. Tate/Montgomery Advertiser
I have added a HABOTN Hall of Fame along the right side of the page.
You can find it under the Twitter feed.
The Ring of Fire represents the most enlightened and veteran HOTTIES whose frequent contributions make us the hotspot we're becoming. Without their guidance, we'd be lost like Noel Mazzone during the 2001 Chick-fil-A Bowl.
We're also appreciative of the up-and-comers who are learning the ways and showing remarkable promise. Their hotness will not go unnoticed.
Also, recent research suggests buck has been reading the HABOTN longer than anyone else.
... keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars ...
BIG UP TO THE CAMPERS: First of all, big thanks to all the HOTTIES and "guests" for particpating in Le Campfire this afternoon. We learned that performance anxiety is a real problem some men face each day.
HERCULEAN EFFORT: As mentioned in the Campfire, my 1999 Nissan Maxima (nickname: Hercules) hit the 200,000-mile mark today during my Auburn-to-Montgomery run on I-85. That's fitting. I've hit that road many many many times in 10 years of covering Auburn.
I want to thank my Infiniti G20 whose lease expired in 8/1998. The boys at Ed Dyas Nissan (now defunct) said this here Maxima would be an ideal replacement. It sure was. Thanks for that.
I want to thank Billy and the boys at Haigler Automotive for servicing my vehicle with a gentle touch. They even re-attached my pointless rear-deck spoiler after it was "discharged" during a car wash.
I want to thank that cow in Port Gibson, Miss., the "town too beautiful to burn," for making me yield the road after an Alabama State-Alcorn State game in 1998. A cow. The road. I waited for him to cross. That was the better play.
Awesome job on the TECMO-style screens, you all! I think this one is from Mr. Sensi.
THE TALK: Tuberville only spoke for 90 seconds or so. Several coaches were headed for the planes immediately after practice for recruiting visits. I saw Greg Knox sprinting out of the building just moments after Tuberville left. I guess he was running a bit late.
So, really, there wasn't any news. Here are some things I heard:
Steve Ensminger didn't sound all that enthusiastic when asked about how Kodi Burns now is the starter. He said, yeah, this is Burns' team ... "right now." Maybe I'm reading too much into it. I put the quotes up a bit later and let you decide.
YOU DECIDE (updated): "I told him that last week. You're starting. If I feel like we're struggling a little bit, we'll do what's best for this offense. Right now, it's his and he knows it. He knows there's some things he's got to improve on to make us better. The ball's in his court."
Jason Bosley and Rod Smith said the offense hasn't changed much from what they ran against Arkansas.
Sen'Derrick Marks said Tray Blackmon has been coping OK with his surgery situation. Blackmon apparently believes he can get back on the field three weeks after the procedure, which is scheduled for next week. Marks and Blackmon are roommates.
Antonio Coleman was the only defender who didn't watch that First-and-Goal drive on the Jumbrotron. He refused to watch. Marks said Coleman is "too competitive to watch," and added that Coleman won't play most video games because he's so afraid to lose. One exception: Goldeneye 007 for the N64. Great game, sure, but not one I expected A.C. to be playing in 2007.
It was obvious that Tray Blackmon's wrist injury was fairly serious.
Now we know. Coach Tommy Tuberville said Wednesday that Auburn's junior middle linebacker will miss the remainder of the 2008 season. Blackmon will undergo surgery later this week.
``(Blackmon) is going to have a screw put in his wrist and he'll be done for the year," Tuberville said. ``It's just one of those situations where you're going to have to go ahead and do it. It didn't respond as well as we'd hope but that's part of it. We just keep right on going but it's been tough luck for him."
Sophomore Joshua Bynes has been playing in Blackmon's spot for three games. Tuberville said senior Chris Evans, who has been playing at weak-side linebacker, may move inside to provide support for Bynes.
Blackmon broke his right wrist while playing against LSU on Sept. 20.
Hey everyone. It almost feels like December these days with all the rumors flying around. I've been trying to substantiate a few of them, but nothing has panned out. Or even come close.
If something is in the works related to changes in Tommy Tuberville's status, it's seriously underground right now.
I'm talking molten core deep.
TUBS ON THE TELECONFERENCE: Tuberville fielded an unusual call on the SEC Teleconference today. A reporter, allegedly Ben Volin from the Palm Beach Post (Florida beat writer), asked what Tuberville thought of Nick Saban and "what's it been like for you guys being kinda passed by Alabama as the top team in the state."
SCHEDULE UPDATE: Auburn practices this afternoon, but players and assistant coaches will not be available for interviews. It'll only be Tuberville. I have made an executive decision to skip this practice session. Auburn's practice Thursday morning will be much more valuable in that players (ie Barrett Trotter) and assistans (ie Steve Ensminger) will be holding court with reporters. So I'll attend that one instead.
ANOTHER HI-YO TO THE CAMPERS: Very energetic crowd last night. I learned that the HABOTN BANHAMMER is more mighty that initially believed. It apparently identifies the BANHAMMERED IP address and blocks it from any type of Campfire participation.
We know this because Tuesday night's villian, "hamburglar," complained that he no longer could access the chat after being crushed by the BANHAMMER. I told him that calling me a "racist fat-ass" (for no reason, I might add)should be a terminal situation. That's one HOTTIE we don't need.
Sept. 5 LOUISIANA TECH Sept. 12 MISSISSIPPI STATE Sept. 19 WEST VIRGINIA Sept. 26 BALL STATE Oct. 3 at Tennessee Oct. 10 at Arkansas Oct. 17 KENTUCKY Oct. 24 at LSU Oct. 31 OLE MISS Nov. 7 FURMAN [HC] Nov. 14 at Georgia Nov. 28 ALABAMA
Ball State? Tough deal there. That's a mid-major program that provides a really poor risk for Auburn: Beat 'em and nobody cares; lose and the world is coming to an end.
Hey everyone. I thought there were be some news coming out today regarding Barrett Trotter, but I was wrong. He wasn't available for interviews. So let's take a look what was said today.
Tuberville said Barrett Trotter has accepted the idea of playing this season and (allegedly*) worked with the varsity today: ``He's practicing. We're going to see what he can do. We'll make a decision Sunday of who's going to be our No. 2 guy. We're not going to play (Trotter) as a third-team quarterback. He'd have to be the second-team guy."
("allegedly*" = Brad Lester said he didn't know much about Trotter because he hasn't seen him in practice. Yet we know Lester participated fully today. I have no idea what to think there.)
So how will the rotation work at quarterback?: "It will depend on what Kodi does, how well he plays, how much better. Second-team quarterbacks don't play a whole lot. But if (Trotter) moves up to second-team, obviously, we'll think about playing him. If we do play him, he'll get more than just a normal second-team quarterback. We'll play that by ear as we go along."
(If you're confused about what that means, join the club.)
I asked Tuberville if he and the offensive coaches sat down for a powwow to sort out their strategic hodgepodge: "You've got to have an identity of what you want to do. We're still going to run the spread. What are you going to do from that? A lot of teams do different things. We have to figure out what are best it, the best things. It's not a lot. It's something you can work on consistently for the next seven or eight weeks left for five games. Once we get to that identity, we're going to look at some things this week and once we start Sunday, we're going to be full-forward on that."
Injury update: Jerraud Powers was running on the side. Tuberville said Robert Dunn's "ankle" injury is healed, but the senior was held out of interviews ostensibly because of injury. Antoine Carter is still in a boot (a big one) and didn't practice.
My favorite quote: "Auburn fans," Williams said to the crowd, "we've got to rise above the mice. Because there's a lot of gnawing going on. There's a lot of chewing going on, but we're going to be just fine. Coach (Tommy) Tuberville is captain of the ship and he's well-equipped to handle this."
Hey everyone. Monday was a great day for comments. We cracked the 250 barrier, which is sensational. I can safely say that thousands (plural) of people are Feeling The Heat® each day. It's a testament to your intelligent and rational commentary.
So thanks for that.
Auburn will practice this morning for the first time since the Arkansas game. Tommy Tuberville, defensive players and (allegedly) defensive cordinator Paul Rhoads will be made available for interviews afterward.
I'll Twitter any important news in real time. If that happens, it'll be between 10:30 and 11:30.
I'll then provide a Tuberville synopsis around 12, a video no later than 2 and other updates at times of my choosing.
If significant news breaks, we'll hold an afternoon campfire.
Hey everyone. Thanks again for a swell campfire last night. It was the second-biggest day in terms of HABOTN traffic, so it's clear that the fire is spreading. I know a lot of you have said nice things about us and turned your friends toward this glowing mass of illumination, so thanks for that.
Let's take a gander at some stuff I keep hearing about. You're probably wondering about and/or hearing the same stuff. UPDATE: ESPN.com's Mark Schalbach, a friend of the HABOTN, reports that Tommy Bowden is out at Clemson. Those Tigers are 3-3. A Bowden fired at mid-season? That never happens.
Why did Auburn pass three times near the Arkansas goal line? Tuberville said Arkansas stacked the box and thereby prohibited a running play. I'm just telling you what he said.
What is the deal with Barrett Trotter? He represents a fresh slate, which could be a good thing for Auburn. Trotter is a guy this staff really liked as a senior at Briarwood Christian this time last year. He's a kid with good stuff: Enough speed and a good arm. Is he ready for a major challenge? I don't see how anyone -- including coach Tommy Tuberville -- can know. Trotter has been running scout team for two months. I believe coaches are going to give him a legitimate shot this week and will remove Trotter's redshirt if they feel good about his practice work.
What about Neil Caudle? Isn't he the third-team guy? Tony Franklin ripped Caudle earlier this year for being prone to interceptions, which is something Tuberville et. al. are trying to avoid. Caudle's path to playing time is clearer now than it was with Franklin in the fold, but I think Trotter has more upside and may be considered a more worthy player.
Is Tuberville going to survive this? He could. Auburn is 4-3 right now. The rest of the season looks like this:
10/23: at West Virginia 11/1: at Ole Miss 11/8: UT-Martin 11/15: Georgia 11/29: at Alabama
How many wins do you see? UT-Martin is a gimme. Auburn will be a mild underdog at WVU and Ole Miss. It probably will be a major underdog against Georgia and Alabama.
Let's say Auburn splits em and goes 7-5. It may come down to which game represents the seventh win.
Considering what happened to Tommy Bowden today, Auburn finishing 7-5 with a loss to Alabama likely would spell the end of the Tuberville era here. There is one thing you always must consider: Tuberville is best with his back against the wall. It's a mistake to ever count him out.
OK. Here is what Your Head Coach had to say today after his team's 25-22 loss to Arkansas.
On the offense and where it's headed: "It's going to look different."
Expound on that: "We'll have a plan. We'll start that plan this week. As we go, we'll get better at it. This time in two weeks, we won't be deviating from it. We'll be in here saying: Hey, it worked, it looked good, we're going to keep doing it or well, it's not very good but it's what we're doing and we'll keep working on it."
On the possibility of playing freshman Barrett Trotter: "If we did decide to do that and there was an agreement in terms that he wanted to do it, we wouldn't play him four or five plays. We'd put him out there and let him go and get him ready because I think that he could help. Again, there's a lot of water to go under the bridge to see if that will happen."
Expound on the Trotter idea: "Say we go in and talk about it and we give it a shot and then we practice it for four or five days and then I say it's not going to work -- then we won't even go with it. I'm not going to go into a game with him and say we're going to play him four or five plays or 10 plays here and five plays. I'm not going to do that. If we're going to play him, we're going to play him. But it's got to be mutual."
On Neil Caudle: "We're going to give him a shot. Probably what we do is, if Barrett came out, we'd compare them to see which one we thought knew more about what we were doing and could get it done. I'm not just going to throw Neil under the bus. We're going to give him a shot. That's what I'm saying. Whether Barrett comes out there or not, Neil will have an opportunity."
On Chris Todd's immediate future: "We wouldn't be talking about these other things if we thought Chris could get it done. That doesn't mean he can't. I just think Chris' arm, if you look at it, isn't 100 percent."
On Kodi Burns' role: "We've just got to get some continuity. You can talk to Barrett Trotter and Neil Caudle and "all those guys," but Kodi is a guy who's going to have to be a factor for us. He has good feet, good legs, can run, can make plays. He's got some experience. He'll get better. He had some problems yesterday. He's worked through them. He's coachable; he’ll listen."
On the possibility of Tray Blackmon needing surgery on his right wrist: "They're trying to decide. We've been trying to put it off. He's done good on kickoff coverage but it's hard, and it would be on any of us, to put that hand in there on contact. They're going to have to decide what they're going to do with it. We don't want it to be a problem for him 15 years from now."
Injury summarization: He said both Jerraud Powers (hamstring) and Antoine Carter (ankle) are "50-50" for the West Virginia game. You read about Tray Blackmon above. Ben Tate injured a hamstring last week and didn't feel good enough to play a major role last night. Brad Lester took a pair of blows to his injured right knee last night and asked for a substitution.
On his decision to make coordinators off-limits to interviews after the game: "It was a tough night. Tough night. I was almost not available."