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Auburn def. MSU, 91-76 (men)

Welcome to Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum for the Auburn-MSU men's game.

In case you were wondering from the picture above, I am sitting in the stands today. Space along press row was limited because I arrived a bit late today. So it goes.

    Auburn 91-76.

  • FOURTH TO @ 2:24, 2nd half
    Auburn leads, 83-75. The Tigers are hitting free throws. Yes, I'm serious. Eight of their past 11, in fact. That makes a difference, too.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:56, 2nd half
    Auburn leads, 73-67. Waller is back at it. He scored on a drive, a three and now has three free throws awaiting after a savage mauling along the perimeter.

  • SECOND TO @ 13:20, 2nd half
    Auburn leads, 60-54. The Tigers have scored on seven of their last nine possessions. They've made some defensive stops, too. It makes a big difference.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:50, 2nd half
    MSU leads, 52-51. Auburn hasn't made many defensive stops today. It didn't seem like a big deal when Waller was going off earlier. Now the Tigers have cooled and MSU is still rolling along.

    Auburn leads, 42-40.

  • FOURTH TO @ 1:19
    Auburn leads, 40-38. MSU is sitting in a 2-3 zone and the Tigers are having some trouble getting the shots they want. The Bulldogs aren't having those kinds of problems. They're basically firing away from outside and hitting.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:20
    Auburn leads, 32-20. The Tigers haven't really scored since the last update. The one point was Knox hitting the free throw on the and-one referenced earlier. That's a six-possession span of scoring futility. The good news for Auburn is that MSU seems similarly messy right now.

  • SECOND TO @ 11:10
    Auburn leads, 31-15. This hot start hasn't abated. I just saw Brendon Knox score an and-one on an alley-oop pass from Speed Reed. How about that?

  • FIRST TO @ 14:53
    Auburn leads, 18-10. Great start for Tay Waller. He already has five baskets from three-point range. Incredible.


More from T. Taylor (not the Toolman) and T. Roof

Hey everyone. The HABOTN, along with other credible news-gathering organizations, spent time Thursday discussing football and life in general with Auburn assistant coaches Trooper Taylor and Ted Roof (aka Rüf).

I provided an overview yesterday. Here is another dose of less gripping comments, though you may enjoy them more. We'll see.


  • On how Auburn's recruiting effort should be better in 2010: "The expectations are always going to be high because I think when you're at a place like Auburn, the expectations should be. When you're going to play in a league where if you don't play your best every week, you're going to get beat. We're going to fit our needs. If that puts us in the top 10 or the top 5, that's good."

  • On Auburn's specific 2010 goals: "We might have four senior offensive linemen (in 2009). Next year, offensive linemen better be a big deal for us. We might have three DBs that are graduating. Whatever that need is, we've got to make sure we're fulfilling that need. I think some schools get in trouble and you'll see them dip off because they'll go and try to get the highest-ranked kid or just the highest-ranked player regardless of position and then you stack them up. You fall short somewhere else."

  • On how esprit de corps affects recruiting: "We watch tape together. I want to know what Ted Roof is looking for when he's looking for a linebacker. What is Tracy (Rocker) looking for when he's looking for a defensive lineman? At most places, most coaches, the offense watches their players and the defense watches theirs. Well, I'm going to recruit a defensive player in my area. I'd better know what (the coach) is looking for. I think those things are important. We have really put our egos in our pocket in being able to do those things."

  • On pursuing (and signing) two-time LSU signee DeAngelo Benton: "I knew his coaches well. We were recruiting another kid from his school and I saw (Benton) working out still. I was like, 'Is that…?' and his coach was like, 'Yeah, that's still him.' I said, 'Well what's he got going?' 'Well he's going back to this school (ie LSU).' I said, 'Oh, he is, huh? Well, let's see if we can do something about that.'"

  • On what Auburn is seeking at wideout: "You can't ever get caught up in your own pride and say: I'm going to go get me a guy that's 6-4 and fits what I'm used to having. Dez Bryant would be different in this offense than anybody else. The things (Gus Malzahn) looks for in this offense is guys that can wiggle and make people miss. That's what we're going to do."

  • On Auburn recruiting more versatile kids with multi-positional backgrounds: "You have to find guys who are not locked in and say: Well, he's a Mike backer. That's all he's going to do is play Mike backer. What if he busts? Now you're stuck with a kid that – you're not going to run him off; he's somebody's family – but you're stuck with a kid that can't play and that doesn't help you. You'll be planting fruit for a living really fast. I don't want to be on the grapes. I like doing the football, myself."


  • On promising playing time to recruits: "We talk about opportunities. I think you get into some real deals when you start promising kids jobs because if they come to your school you sure don't want them thinking you're out in a living room next year promising their job to somebody else. There will certainly be opportunities and then whatever is earned, players are going to get exactly what they earn."

  • On which players can contribute early in their careers: "I think the closer you are to a football, the tougher it is to play as a freshman. The reaction time is cut down, where if there's a bunch of blades of grass between you and the ball, you've got maybe a better chance of playing as a freshman. Not that it's easier to play away from the ball, but from a reaction standpoint, you've got a little bit more time."

  • On if he'll be headbutting players like Will Muschamp: "I don't know if you'll see that. I got a few more gray hairs than I used to. Maybe 10 years ago you might have seen that."

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

Questions? Comments? Post directly to the blog below or email me at

Reaction from Chizik's pre-game speech

Hey everyone. As we discussed in an earlier thread, football coach Gene Chizik provided a pre-game pep talk to the Auburn women's basketball team Thursday.

The team beat Kentucky, 81-69.

Here is what the Tigers had to say about Chizik's chat:

"That was so cool when he came in. He gave us a really good speech and I don’t if he practiced that before he gave it, but it was really good. I was fired up. That might have had something to do with that first half, but man, that was good stuff. He was just talking about how you can’t look past anyone. You have to take it one game at a time and he was talking about the triple a’s: anyone, anywhere, anytime."


"He was so gracious to do that and I appreciate it so much. Our team and me personally and our staff, we go to every home football game. We love football and we are at all of the Tiger Walks. We know the football players. We love that part of Auburn. I knew the kids would get very excited to have him in the locker room and it was just a typical coach speech. We all say about the same thing, but it was really nice to hear some things come out of his mouth that they hear come out of our mouth all the time and he’s got a lot of fire in him. I just really appreciate him doing that; I know the team really enjoyed it. It was good."

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

Questions? Comments? Post directly to the blog below or email me at

Auburn def. Kentucky, 81-69

Post No. 1,054

We're live at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coluseum tonight for women's basketball. My camera battery is dead, so today's photo is actually from a game played earlier this season. So it goes.
    Auburn wins, 81-69.

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:51, 2nd half
    Auburn leads, 73-63. Kentucky keeps running the same play on offense and it works. They're lobbing the ball in to Eleia Roddy. Auburn is front guarding her. Nobody is in the back. So the ball sails over that front defender, Roddy catches the pass and it's an easy bucket. Over and over and over.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:10, 2nd half
    Auburn leads, 68-55. Kentucky was in complete control there for a bit. They built an 11-0 run, cut the home team's lead to eight points. Since then, though, Auburn has scored on five consecutive possessions.

  • SECOND TO @ 11:33, 2nd half
    Auburn leads, 59-47. The Tigers have made several passing mistakes than have ended possessions. Kentucky is playing with much more conviction on offense now. They're getting second-chance points because of aggressive rebounding. Looks like a different team.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:36, 2nd half
    Auburn leads, 57-37. Kentucky changed its offensive approach and now is trying to score inside. It's working. They're scoring. The problem remains: UK can't stop Auburn. The Tigers are transitioning the visitors to death.

    AUB -- 62% (21-of-34)
    KEN -- 33% (11-of-33)

    3 shooting
    AUB -- 33% (1-of-3)
    KEN -- 37% (4-of-11)

    FT shooting
    AUB -- 100% (4-of-4)
    KEN -- 50% (1-of-2)

    Fast-break points
    AUB -- 8
    KEN -- 0

  • From Auburn women's basketball publicist Matt Crouch:
    Prior to Thursday's Auburn women's basketball game against Kentucky, Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik spoke to the team in the locker room.
    Auburn leads, 47-27. The Tigers' shooting percentage has to be out of sight. It was 70% with three minutes remaining in the half. I'll update when I get the information.

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:18
    Auburn leads, 41-20. You can see where this is going. The Tigers are on a 27-5 run. Kentucky can't defend anything tonight ... particularly in transition.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:40
    Auburn leads, 29-17. The Tigers scored on six of the seven possessions since we last spoke. You get the picture. Not sure what to tell you beyond ... Auburn players are open everywhere.

  • SECOND TO @ 11:53
    Auburn leads, 16-12. The Tigers were sloppy during those first few possessions. Not so much now. Auburn has scored on seven of its last nine possessions. Kentucky looks pretty small to me. Bonner already is going up over their front-court players for rebounds. Gotta be frustrating.

    PG -- Whitney Boddie of Alabama
    SG -- Alli Smalley of Alabama
    SF -- Sherell Hobbs of Alabama
    PF -- DeWanna Bonner of Alabama
    C -- Trevesha Jackson of Alabama

Ted Roof speaks

Here's a quick gander of what defensive coordinator Ted Roof discussed this afternoon.
  • NEW @ 5:35 p.m. On filling out the Tigers' coaching staff (two vacancies remain): "It's more important to get it right than getting it done for the sake of getting it done. I have every confidence. (Chizik) is in the process of doing that. When it's right, it'll get finished. You want it to happen sooner rather than later. Any time you bring a new staff together, (you want to get) everybody on the same page as far as a schematics, playbook, ways of doing things. It'll happen when it's supposed to happen, when it's right."

  • NEW @ 4:20 p.m. On his game-day personality: "I am who I am and what I am, and I'm going to compete and want to win. I want to see our guys play a hard-nosed physical style of defense that Auburn's known for and the Auburn people deserve."

  • NEW @ 4:15 p.m. On his specific defensive plans: "We use (4-3) some. We're pretty multiple in what we do. You have to have a system that's adaptable to different types of people -- especially if you're coming into a new situation. It's one thing if you've been at a place several years and you recruit to a specific system. It's another thing when you come in, you're new and you have a system that's broad enough and diverse enough to handle whatever personnel."

  • NEW @ 4:10 p.m. On his defensive approach: "This league, you don't trick people. You have to out-hit people. There won't be much tricking going on."

  • NEW @ 4:10 p.m. On how he learned about his current players: ``The first thing I did the first day was put on three games and watch three football games. Then I had quality control, our graduate assistant, to make a 10-play highlight tape of each kid. I wanted to see what they could do. As a coach, you want to have assistants flexible … not just stuff something in there like a square peg in a round hole."

  • His defenses at Minnesota were multiple. He thinks his defenses at Auburn will be more standard because, he said, the SEC is a "hit 'em in the mouth" league.

  • He claims to be the only person in Atlantic Coast Conference history to draw a personal foul/unsportsmanlike conduct call as a player, assistant coach and head coach. Assistant coach? "It was an inappropriate comment at an inappropriate time."

  • He doesn't like discussing his personnel. That means we have no idea what he's thinking in terms of lineups, etc.

  • He hasn't discussed Gabe McKenzie. Looks like he'll be a tight end.

  • He said recent signee Demond Washington is "an offensive player." There was some talk that Washington, a 2007 Tallassee High graduate, would emerge as a cornerback.

Trooper Taylor speaks

Hey everyone. Trooper Taylor, one of the Tigers' assistant coaches, spent 35 minutes speaking about a variety of topics. Here is an overview of the most intriguing things I heard.

  • NEW @ 4:45 p.m. On recruiting: "I like the ones that my wife can pick out. That's pretty good, you know, when she can put the tape on and say, 'Sign him, baby.' We're good."

  • On how difficult recruiting was: "I used to have an afro."

  • On DeAngelo Benton: "You don't go to bed a circle and wake up a square. If you can play ball, you can play ball."

  • He said Benton is fully qualified and will report to campus this summer.

  • He said Curtis Luper is the team's recruiting coordinator.

  • He said as assistant head coach, he handles team matters when head coach Gene Chizik is away. Taylor indicated that Chizik already has brought in outside experts to help Taylor (and perhaps other coaches) with their leadership and interview skills. Not media interviews. I think he meant job interviews.

  • He said Chizik, who projects an all-business aura, isn't duplicitous. He really is all-business, even behind closed doors.

  • He apparently turned down other offers, including a coordinator job, to work at Auburn. His primary Auburn contact was fellow assistant Curtis Luper, who already knew Chizik from his days at Stephen F. Austin. Luper warmed Taylor to the Auburn idea and Chizik took it from there.

  • He wants to be a head coach within five years.

  • He doesn't seem real geeked about recruits who wait until after NSD to make a decision. He's OK with the general concept, but clarified his position with an anecdote. Taylor said each player is the CEO of his own career and has vice presidents (ie family members or school/athletic contacts) who help. Once "other members of the board get in there," the situation can get murky.

  • Asked to assess his current players, Taylor's first dose of praise went to Montez Billings.

  • He seemed unsure about what to expect from PPL ... and when.


Auburn def. Arkansas, 75-62

Post No. 1,051

Welcome to Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, where your Auburn Tigers are playing basketball against students from the University of Arkansas.

    Auburn 75, Arkansas 62

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:46, 2nd half
    Auburn leads, 67-60. The Tigers are on an 8-0 run that may have sealed this bad boy. Arkansas' point guard, Courtney Fortson, fouled out with 4:23 remaining. He earned a technical foul while leaving the floor. Auburn hit three free throws (two for the technical, one for the foul) and now is in good position.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:36, 2nd half
    Auburn leads, 57-54. Auburn went on a nice run there (15-2) and climbed back into this game. They did it in transition ... steal, run, score. This is going to be a close one. I've got the feeling.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:38, 2nd half
    Arkansas leads, 47-38. This is a physical basketball game. The officials aren't calling anything questionable. Auburn has started the second half sloppily ... not finishing on the offensive end.

    Arkansas leads, 39-31. Auburn had the deficit down to two points with 2:40 to go. Then it all went awry. Arkansas scored on four of its final five possessions to close the half. The Tigers lost all defensive control.

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:57
    Arkansas leads, 30-26. Auburn is playing better defense now. The problem is offense. Barrett seems off, but they're still feeding him the ball. Waller is totally off. Looks like it'll have to be Barrett, Hargrove and Barber ... for Barber's 5 field-goal attempts. He can't create.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:11
    Arkansas leads, 25-19. That was an evenly played segment. Not much to discuss.

  • SECOND TO @ 11:17
    Arkansas leads, 18-14. Auburn got its act together, started defending the perimeter and playing some offense. Looks like Barrett is off tonight. Someone else will have to score for the Tigers. Luke Hargrove had a nice alley-oop jame earlier from DeWayne Reed. It was gnarly.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:44
    Arkansas leads, 11-5. The Tigers already are a mess at the free-throw line. They're 1-for-4. They're 2-of-7 from the floor. Arkansas is dead-set on letting its guards fire away from three-point range.

    PG -- DeWayne "Speed" Reed of Houston, Texas
    SG -- Tez Robertson, on time
    "SF" -- Tay "With The Tray" Waller of rural middle Georgia
    "F" -- Rasheem Barrett of suburban Atlanta
    F/C -- Korvotney Barber of rural middle Georgia

Looking ahead to Wednesday night and Thursday

Hey everyone. I don't have much to share at the moment, but there is good news. We'll have some relatively juicy stuff for you tonight. Tomorrow will bring you journalistic riches.

• The Auburn men play Arkansas tonight at 7 CST. I'll be live blogging, of course.
HABOTN value: 3 briquets out of 10.

• Football assistants Trooper Taylor and Ted Roof Rusted (B-52s reference) will be discussing pigskin matters tomorrow afternoon around 4 CST. You know I'll beeline to the HABOTN immediately afterward.
HABOTN value: 8 briquets out of 10.

Taking a look at: Offensive line

Hey everyone. Though basketball will be picking up tomorrow, there isn't much going on today ... yet.

So we'll start an occasional series on positions along the football depth chart. We can examine what went well in 2008, what went awry and what you can expect in 2009.

  • LAST YEAR: It was a mess. The Tigers' initial offense was flawed because, as we discussed many times last season, nobody seemed to take ownership of it. Tony Franklin said it wasn't his. Hugh Nall said it wasn't his. You know Tommy Tuberville had no role in offensive administration.

    Once Franklin was dismissed on Oct. 8, Auburn's offense became an amalgam of different ideas that assembled into a confusing array of nothingness. The team had no identity. The line didn't know how to play anymore. It had been conditioned during the off-season to be a leaner group ready to handle an 85-play day. Now they were being asked to be bulldozers again -- without their standard weight. You know how that ended.

  • WHAT WENT RIGHT: Not much. Guard Big Snacks Berry played fairly well when thrust into full-time duty at West Virginia and beyond. Center Ryan Pugh doesn't quit.

  • WHAT WENT WRONG: Lee Ziemba was injured (a torn meniscus in his left knee has been repaired), Jason Bosley was injured, Byron Isom lost his job and, for reasons I can't explain, Tyronne Green didn't play well.

  • WHAT'S NEW: Everything. New offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn will have ownership of Auburn's 2009 offense, which means there probably will be a singular vision of how the line should execute. New OL coach Jeff Grimes, hired from Colorado, accepted this job because he believes in what Malzahn is teaching. A united front among the coaches should prompt significantly better performance.

    Ziemba will be ready by summer. He was very good as a freshman.

    Auburn added two signees -- guard Andre Harris and tackle John Sullen. Harris could push for playing time. Sullen is expected to redshirt in an effort to re-build his body.

    • LT: Lee Ziemba, A.J. Greene
    • LG: Byron Isom, Bart Eddins
    • C: Ryan Pugh, Big Snacks Berry
    • RG: Berry, Kyle Coulahan
    • RT: Andrew McCain, Jared Cooper

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

Questions? Comments? Post directly to the blog below or email me at

... and so recruiting begins anew

Post No. 1,048

Hey everyone. Our friends at are reporting that the Tigers already are making offers for Class of 2010 prospects. Remember how we all wondered why Auburn signed DT Josh Jackson out of Gainesville (Ga.) High on NSD?

Here's an answer: Gainesville is home to top-rated junior wideout Tai-ler ("Tyler") Jones.

I particularly liked this quote from GHS assistant coach Todd Wofford:
"(Jones) said he knows they are going to need guys in that offense. He said that he knows they are going to need 6-7 receivers," Wofford said. "He said that Trooper asked him who was the biggest-named Auburn receiver he knew. Tai-ler said he didn't know any. Trooper said that's what he wanted to change."

Photo credit:

Questions? Comments? Post directly to the blog below or email me at

Peepin' the weekin' advance

Post No. 1,047

Hey everyone. We're sliding into what I expect to be a slow path for the next few weeks. Spring football won't start until mid March and these Auburn basketball teams are grinding their way through the second half of their schedules.

I will be on furlough from Feb. 15 through the 21st. What does that mean for you? The HABOTN will exist only as a daily thread -- posted around 9 a.m. each day and relying exclusively on your input for content.

It is my sincere hope that you'll stick with the HABOTN through this week of inactivity. I'll return on Sunday the 22nd with the Auburn coverage and analysis you've come to expect.

Here are things you need to know about what's happening around Auburn.

  • The Fightin' Chiz: The team still is "searching" for a pair of assistant coaches. With recruits saying defensive coordinator Ted Roof is planning to coach linebackers, it's unclear exactly how coach Gene Chizik will distribute these final two coaches. One new hire will handle defensive backs. The other new guy? No idea just yet. The thing to remember is that the team's overall direction already is settled. These new hires will be supplemental people.

  • The Fightin' Fortners: The team is 23-1 overall, 8-1 in the league. It is loaded with experienced, savvy players who give Auburn an advantage almost every time fingertips meet leather. The Tigers' lone loss came two weeks ago at Georgia. It happens.

    Last game: W, 81-54 at Alabama

    Next game: Thursday vs. Kentucky (at home)

  • The Fightin' Lebos: The team is 14-9 overall, 3-5 in the league. This team also is loaded with experience, but it doesn't create a daily advantage. So it goes.

    Last game: W, 77-76 vs. Tennessee

    Next game: Wednesday vs. Arkansas (at home)

Auburn def. Alabama, 81-54

Hey everyone. Welcome to Coleman Coliseum. We (were) live blogging the game.

HABOTN Player of the Game®

PG Whitney Boddie: 12 points (6-of-8), 12 assists, 0 turnovers in 27 minutes

  • FINAL (media timeout)
    Auburn 81, Alabama 54

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:36, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 78-47. Same ol' stuff. This hasn't been a competitive game since the 15:00 mark of the first half. Auburn's reserves have played better than I expected. (I'm reaching, I know.)

  • THIRD TO @ 7:17, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 70-39. Not close. Auburn has pulled all five starters.

  • SECOND TO @ 11:42, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 60-32. Fortner is just playing around with her lineups now. Parrisha Simmons is in with Smalley at the point. How did Alabama get so bad? I mean, Rick Moody used to win a lot.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:07, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 55-32. Same old stuff. Alabama is playing better by virtue of hitting a few shots, but they're still confused in general. Auburn is not.

    Auburn leads, 47-21. This is ugly. Auburn has twice as many rebounds, four times as many steals and one-quarter as many turnovers. One item of interest for Auburn: Smalley didn't play much during the first half because of foul problems. Had she been available, perhaps the Tigers could have built a more comfortable lead ...

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:45, 1st half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 39-21. Nell Fortner, in an unusual move, has subbed in several reserves. They're still finding their way. I'm talking about Reneisha Hobbs, Morgan Jennings and Chantel Hilliard.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:56, 1st half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 32-16. Yep, that's a 10-0 run for the visitors. Alabama is not a good team. Weird passes, slow-to-react defense, no sense of purpose on the offensive end. Auburn is eating them up.

  • SECOND TO @ 11:24, 1st half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 22-16. Just to give you an idea of how confused (confusing?) Alabama is ... they just let Bonner miss a three, get her own rebound and drive in for an uncontested layup. As you can imagine, that took a while. Nobody was paying attention.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:28, 1st half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 11-9. Alabama doesn't have an offensive plan that I can detect. They made a few nice defensive plays so far. Auburn is working hard -- just not hitting a lot of shots left.

  • Your Auburn Starters
    PG -- Whitney Boddie
    SG -- Alli Smalley
    SF -- Sherell Hobbs
    F -- DeWanna Bonner
    F/C -- Trevesha Jackson

Schedule update

Hey everyone.

I soon will depart Montgomery headed for Tuscaloosa in search of the nation's No. 5 basketball team. The Auburn Tigers are playing at Alabama this afternoon. Fingertips meet leather at 2 p.m. CST.

I will be live blogging the event, so please join in if you are inclined.

ALSO: I penned a little analysis of Auburn's 2008-09 recruiting effort, which ended Wednesday. Strikes and gutters from my perspective. The Tigers' effort; not my writing.

LINK: Late surge helps boost AU's class

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