Freestyling from The Bay
Why not write more?
I'll take a few minutes each afternoon (pre-Outback Bowl) to pontificate on some Auburn topic. It'll be freestyle, stream-of-consciousness stuff.
So on that note...
Walt McFadden is underappreciated.
Sure, he's an all-conference cornerback. Sure, he was the most reliable element of a defense that was unstable for most of the season. Sure, he used free time to groom some of the Tigers' young defensive backs and share the lessons taught to him by his predecessors.
What you may not know is how valuable McFadden has been in other ways.
Talking with reporters isn't easy. Questions sometimes get difficult, answers become confusing. A balance exists between what players want to say and what they should say. Identifying that balance and manipulating it comfortably turns a normal player into a ambassador.
And that's exactly what McFadden became: An ambassador.
The senior on Tuesday was awarded the inaugural "Good Guy Award" from writers who cover Auburn on a daily basis. After years of watching players duck interviews in the craziest ways -- Kodi Burns has nothing on David Copperfield when it comes to escaping a closed elevator -- we wanted to reward the guys who take the time to stand up when it's not easy.
McFadden did it time and again. When Auburn was askew during the 2008 season, he strolled in for his weekly powwows with the same enthusiasm he exhibits these days. If stories about the Tigers' defense were out of style, McFadden adapted by discussing anyone on the team.
He is a social guy. He pays attention. The comments he provided about teammates were insightful, thoughtful and often novel.
All this from a guy who was a sullen mess during his first season at Auburn.
He has our respect. He deserves your as well.