Sen'Derrick Marks gets his wish
Hey everyone. Former Auburn DT Sen'Derrick Marks watched his best-case scenario unfold tonight when the Tennessee Titans picked him in the second round of the NFL Draft.
The Titans were the only team to fly Marks in for an in-person visit. He had a great time talking with Tennessee officials -- particularly head coach Jeff Fisher -- and really hoped things would work out that way.
So it happened.
Here is some reaction from Marks:
- On being surprised about where he was drafted: A lot of people had me in the second or third round. But I saw a lot of guys go ahead of me that I didn’t expect, but it really didn’t matter to me. It just feels great."
- On his reaction: ``Oh man, I just went crazy….I went crazy. When I went to visit the Titans, I asked Coach Fisher how it all works on draft day and he asked if I really wanted to know and he told me. When he just called me, he said, 'Didn’t I tell you that it was going to be a great feeling?'”
OT: Aaron's 312 at Talladega
Hey everyone. I'm at Talladega Superspeedway for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race this afternoon. It's good to break away from Auburn coverage every now and again because, you know, there's not much going on there right now.
I thought it would be prudent to let you all know what I am doing.
I'll post a few pics here. Otherwise, I gotta pay attention to this race ...
A look-ahead to recruiting
FRIDAY AFTERNOONPost No. 1,198
Hey everyone. Thanks for being patient with me today. It's my daughter's birthday and I was in charge of present procurement. Some recent revisions rendered my (hard-fought) Wii Fit moot. Other merchandise was considered more coveted and useful.
That's where I come in.
Anyway, we'll probably spend plenty of time this summer talking about recruiting. A lot of that talk will surround Auburn's needs and how closely the team's top targets dovetail with those needs.
So let's take a look at where Auburn's current scholarship allocation chart, which (theoretically) will give us some clarity when it comes to identifying the Tigers needs.
Here is where Auburn is right now. New signees aren't yet included.RED
is for players who won't play next season.PURPLE
is for players whose status is in doubt for whatever reason.QUARTERBACK (4; 4 in '09)
QB Kodi Burns
QB Chris Todd
QB Neil Caudle
QB Barrett TrotterRUNNING BACK (7; 6 in '09)RB Tristan DavisRB Brad Lester
RB Ben Tate
RB Mario Fannin
RB Eric Smith
RB John Douglas
RB Onterio McCalebbRECEIVERS (16; 10 in '09)WR Rod SmithWR Chris SlaughterWR Robert DunnWR James SwintonTE Brent SlusherTE Gabe McKenzie
WR Montez Billings
WR Tim Hawthorne
WR Derek Winter
WR Darvin Adams
WR Quindarius Carr
WR Terrell Zachery
WR Phillip Pierre-Louis
WR Harry Adams
TE Tommy Trott
TE Bailey WoodsOFFENSIVE LINE (14; 10 in '09)OL Tyronne GreenOL Jason BosleyOL Kyle CoulahanOL Chaz Ramsey
OL Lee Ziemba
OL Ryan Pugh
OL Bart Eddins
OL Andrew McCain
OL Mike Berry
OL Byron (Lee) Isom
OL Jared Cooper
OL Darrell Roseman
OL A.J. Greene
OL Vance SmithDEFENSIVE LINE (13; 9 or 10 in '09)DL Sen'Derrick MarksDL Raven GrayDL Tez DoolittleDL Andre Wadley
DL Antonio Coleman
DL Antoine Carter
DL Michael Goggans
DL Mike Blanc
DL Zach Clayton
DL Jake Ricks
DL Jomarcus Savage
DL Derrick Lykes
DL Cam HendersonLINEBACKER (10; 6 in '09)LB Tray BlackmonLB Courtney HardenLB Merrill JohnsonLB Chris Evans
LB Craig Stevens
LB Josh Bynes
LB Spencer Pybus
LB Adam Herring
LB Da'Shaun Barnes
LB Eltoro FreemanDEFENSIVE BACK (14; 11 in '09)DB Jerraud PowersDB Ryan WilliamsDB Jonathan Vickers
DB Zac Etheridge
DB Mike McNeil
DB Walt McFadden
DB Neiko Thorpe
DB Mike Slade
DB D'Antoine Hood
DB Drew Cole
DB T'Sharvan Bell
DB Christian Thompson
DB Marcus Jemison
DB Aairon SavageSPECIALTY (3; 3 in '09)
K Wes Byrum
P Ryan Shoemaker
DS Dax Dellenbach
OVERALL TOTAL: 81
2009 RENTURNING: 59 or 60, depending on Andre Wadley.
2009 SIGNEES: 26, including Nick Fairley.
THE MAXIMUM REAL NUMBER: 85 or 86.
More spring analysis
THURSDAY MORNINGPost No. 1,197
Hey everyone. I saw a Lamborghini Gallardo convertible during my morning commute. It was registered in Montgomery. I am beyond shocked because, you know, I expected to go my entire life without seeing a Lamborghini Gallardo convertible with a "3" tag.
You Facebook people can peep my latest domicillian calamity. My favorite tree went down in the wind event
we had in Montgomery the other day. Damn pear trees. No staying power.
(Putting that one on the tee.)
You want Auburn information. I know. Here we go.THINGS GLEANED FROM SPRING PRACTICE
- Gene Chizik represents a major shift in attitude: This is not Tommy Tuberville Jr. Chizik, who spent three seasons working under Tuberville, reminds nobody of the Tigers' former head coach. Practices were closed. Player access was somewhat restricted. Injury information was limited. OK, all information was limited. People seemed to enjoy Tuberville for his provincial ways. They won't be saying that about Chizik. I'm not saying he won't be successful. I'm saying he won't be a crowd charmer. Do you care? Probably not as long as the team wins.
- I know why Gus Malzahn has been successful: He works smarter. The guy is a bookworm who constantly is examining defenses and other offenses for ideas he can implement into his own paradigm. Offensive coordinators typically are happy, chatty, carefree guys (ie Al Borges, Tony Franklin, Noel Mazzone) who approach the game like art. It's organic. Malzahn has a more calculating nature, which I typically associate with defensive coordinators. I expect Auburn's offense to be surprisingly intuitive next season.
- The new coaches are very hands-on: You have the theatrics of Trooper Taylor, the raw vitriol of Jay Boulware, the abrupt stylings of Curtis Luper and the minute-by-minute oversight of Ted Roof when he's with the linebackers. The days of sideline coaching are over. This group has more energy than their predecessors. It's a more intense experience for the players without a doubt. Will that affect major changes? We'll see.
The Let's-Do-Spring-Practice-Again (LDSPA) team
WEDNESDAY MORNINGPost No. 1,196
Hey everyone. Nice work on yesterday's thread. We closed in on the HABOTN comment record before I succumbed to comment anxiety. They make stuff for that. I don't have any.
Since we spent (some) time yesterday talking about spring practice "winners," let's talk about some guys who may not have fond memories of the past month.
- Barrett Trotter: Days after learning he wasn't a finalist for The Job, Trotter tears an ACL during a non-contact drill. That's a double whammy only Philip Pierre-Louis can fully appreciate. Trotter has a bright future, but that clearly won't begin until 2011. Surely the top 2009 quarterback will keep his job into 2010. Right?
- Ryan Shoemaker: The team's only scholarship punter was hoping to get his job back. Clinton Durst punted better last season, became the starter and acted a fool in January by trying to strong-arm the coaching staff into giving him a scholarship. Shoemaker's window of opportunity slammed on his fingers, though, because Durst apparently was the better kicker again this spring. He also is still here despite not having a scholarship. The depth chart can change in a heartbeat, but Shoemaker clearly is losing relevance.
- Mario Fannin: Did he perform poorly? No. Did he sulk about not being a tailback? No. Still, I don't think Fannin is thrilled about his (apparent) role on this team. He spent most of spring ball working at inside receiver and only moonlighted at tailback once Eric Smith was lost with a leg injury. Fannin was productive as a receiver at A-Day, so this story could have a happy ending. I just don't think this is what Fannin was hoping to see.
- Chris Todd: Shoulder surgery limited him throughout spring practice. I never saw him throw a single pass. The senior became a bystander as Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle made meaningful first impressions with new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Can Todd get back in the race? It's possible. He's supposed to be "healthy" in time for summer workouts and will have a chance to prove himself in two-a-days. Is it too late? I think it is.
As you know, I have no problem being critical of Auburn when I think Auburn makes mistakes. I don't think this UCLA thing is a big deal. ESPN tried to make a love connection there and the Auburn administration wasn't feeling it. So what? Auburn deserved all the hell it endured back in 1999 when it
bought out its game against Florida State. This is a completely different deal. Plus, when did UCLA become so prestigious that no program in its right mind would turn down a home-and-home invitation?Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University
TUESDAY MORNINGPost No. 1,195
So that's another spring practice period in the books. All in all, it unfolded how I expected: Not much access, not much substance. That doesn't mean I'll keep my opinions to myself, of course, because a blog with no slog is a bore.
How do you feel about that?
I sometimes stroll down the avenue as people approach and ask: Mr. Tate, who surprised you this spring?
My first instinct is to look for my dad, the real Mr. Tate, but he doesn't know anything about Auburn football. He's a Louisville graduate and a Tulsa fan.
You talkin' to me? Of course. Let me dish.
Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University
- Neil Caudle: Duh. Here's a kid whom many skeptics believed should be playing at Samford. Instead, he endured his season in exile and now appears to have become a serious contender for the starting job. It's important to note that the interceptions Tony Franklin hated so much really did occur. Still, the word I'm getting is that Caudle wasn't prone to interceptions this spring. He has a chance.
- Onterio McCalebb: He was supposed to be extremely quick and he is extremely quick. What I saw of him matched exactly what the scouting reports indicated. He looks like a future star to me. How far into the future? I think Auburn needs that home-run potential right now.
- Christian Thompson: I had a high opinion of him out of high school (he's a 2008 grad), but the safety driftd from my consciousness last year. That's what the scout team will do for you. I have heard surprisingly enthusiastic chatter about Thompson's refinement throughout the spring. I didn't get much of a chance to see him perform -- I spent most of my practice time watching offensive skill players -- but I expect Thompson to be a useful performer this fall.
- Clinton Durst: I'm not a football coach, but I know me and I know I'd have sent Durst packing this winter. He appeared to have left the team in January. He was upset that Auburn's new coaching staff hadn't yet offered him a scholarship. After the new coaching staff reaffirmed its position that Durst needed to prove himself in the spring, Durst lost his leverage. He came crawling back and did exactly what he said he wouldn't do: Competed for a spot without a scholarship in hand.
He had a good spring. He's a good punter. He'll likely earn that scholarship, but he should be grateful that Gene Chizik doesn't hold grudges.
Getting back in gear
Hey everyone. It's been a few days, I know. It happens sometimes.GAZING INTO THE DISTANCE:
Thanks, as always, for making the HABOTN one of your stops on the Interwebs. As Auburn's athletic season winds down and there is less SUBSTANCE to what I can write here on a daily basis, I'm open to ideas about what we can do for the next two months or so.
I plan on doing player-by-player scouting reports on the team's top 25 players as we get into late June and July. Until then, though, it's all negotiable.A-DAY THOUGHTS:
I haven't had a chance to talk with coaches about how things went Saturday. While I believe Neil Caudle
has a real shot at this job, his superior performance at A-Day doesn't change much. This is at least a two-player race and, in my opinion, will remain that way until late August. Don't yet forget about Chris Todd
I was interested to hear that Mario Fannin
played wideout last weekend. He's been discussed as this hybrid player, but I think Onterio McCalebb
is the preferred player for that role. When McCalebb told me last week that nobody else was being groomed for a TB/WR role, I figured something was up.
BASEBALL LOSES TWO AT USC:
Auburn (25-15, 8-10) played well at times, but again struggled on Sunday because of pitching problems. The bottom line is that a third weekend starter doesn't exist. Grant Dayton
is consistently good and Jon Luke Jacobs
oscillates between good and below average. Without a third guy, though, the Tigers will struggle to finish .500 in the league.WOMEN'S GOLF WINS THE SECs:
It was Auburn's seventh league crown. The Tigers opened the final day three strokes back, but pulled away with an eight-stroke win. Arkansas and Alabama finished second. Auburn, currently ranked No. 6, will play in the NCAAs beginning May 7.Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn UniversityQuestions? Comments?
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