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Days to kickoff: 28

Our THT's Auburn Minute is brought to you by the number:


We have a few guys to review ...

Born in Cullman and raised in Birmingham, Larry Willingham was a consensus All-American during his senior season at Auburn in 1970. He has a .667 Iron Bowl winning pct. He played professionally with the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals and the Birmingham Americans/Vulcans of the World Football League. With his Auburn degree in hand, Larry has pursued a successful career in real estate. Last I heard, you could buy your dream home from him in Gulf Shores.

David Langner needs no introduction. He'll be forever immortalized in Auburn football history thanks to his performance in the 1972 Iron Bowl. He returned two punt blocks for touchdowns and drove a stake in Alabama's heart with a game-clinching interception. Langner contributed in many other facets of the game. He led Auburn with a 13.8 yd punt return average in 1972 and still Auburn's all-time single-season leader with a 28-yard kickoff return average that year. In fact, no one -- not Brent Fullwood, not Alexander Wright, not Tristan Davis -- with a minumum of 10 kickoff returns has been able to best Langner's 1972 average. He also is tied for 5th on Auburn's all-time interception list with 12 and has the highest career interception-return avg of 23.9 yards. Langner was not voted All-SEC until his senior season.

Bob Harris was born in Everett, Washington and graduated from Cedar Grove High School in Decatur, Ga. He was a key player in Auburn's 1982 Iron Bowl win. In 1979, Auburn trounced Georgia between the hedges, 33-13. Although James Brooks' 200 rushing yards and Joe Cribb's 167 yards may have been more apparent, one could easily state a case for true freshman Bob Harris for MVP of that game. The youngster had an interception and two fumble recoveries -- all in the 3rd quarter as Auburn overcame a 10-9 halftime deficit. Just like Larry Willingham, Bob played professionally for the Cardinals and the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL.

Let's hear some shout outs for our other 28s!!!

First Post: Saturday

Hey everyone. Happy Saturday morning to all the HOTTIES. The weather looks great down here in the Southeast. I the sun is shining where you are.

Here's the Auburn situation at this moment:




Practice is expected to start around 4:50 p.m. I will not be attending. Tomorrow will be the 12th anniversary of my best-ever ploy: To coax Wifey into marrying me. We're celebrating today because, well, tomorrow's football practice is more important (and more accessible) than today's.

Also, please pick up the Advertiser's print edition if you live around here! Our fine Auburn coverage is only one element of our award-winning product.

Post-practice reaction, 8/7

Hey everyone. Let's get to it:

  • Gus Malzahn isn't ready to make a decision at quarterback, though he made it clear tonight that he's seeing some trends. ``We've seen some improvement. Some have improved more than others."

  • I have no idea whom Malzahn is identifying there.

  • Trooper Taylor to WR Travante Stallworth during practice: "Are you tired? I'm out here doing this longer than you are. Do you think they feel sorry for you in Tuscaloosa? How about in Athens, Ga.?"

  • LB Eltoro Freeman on his approach to football: ``I’m going full-speed. If the pads are on, it doesn’t matter. I’m going full speed. That’s it. Full-speed. Even with them off, even when we’re tracking, where we slow down when we get close to the ball, I’m full-speed, downhill."

  • Asked what part of his game has improved most since the Iron Bowl, QB Kodi Burns said: ``My overall game. Just going out there and taking charge of the offense. Confidence. Accuracy. Just different things. I feel like it's a total rebound from the spring."

  • Today's Up-Down Brigade included K Wes Byrum and WR DeAngelo Benton.

  • Gene Chizik on today's practice: ``We did some team stuff today. We did an inside run period, which we haven’t been able to do without shoulder pads. That was really good. We had a chance to get down there and really get physical. We added about 10 minutes of that to the flavor of practice."

  • Freeman said he unloaded a big lick on RB Mario Fannin, which wasn't corroborated yet seemed credible coming from Freeman's mouth. He could sell ShamWOWs without a problem.

  • Asked if any players have stood out to him so far, Chizik said: ``Everybody is pretty much status quo."

  • Auburn's fourth practice will be held Saturday afternoon. I will not be attending.

Video practice report, 8/7

I have disabled auto-play for this video.

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Early practice notes, 8/7

Hey everyone. Here's a quick look at what's happening on the practice field at this hour:

  • Gene Chizik said the team's two practice groups are split up randomly, but the first group today sure looked like the top guys. Ben Tate, Mario Fannin, Chris Todd, Kodi Burns, the entire projected starting offensive line are all working together today.

  • WR DeAngelo Benton had a few drops during the first five drills. That seemed unusual to me. Gus Malzahn must have agreed; he made a few remarks to Benton about it.

  • Todd was more accurate today -- through the first five drills.

  • If you look closely at the Ben Tate and Fairley pictures below, you'll see that players are wearing what looks like Saran Wrap on their helmets. These are their game helmets and the clear wrapping prevents collision-induced scuff marks from facemasks. Gotta keep those helmets clean for the Louisiana Tech game.


The team huddling before practice begins.

Nick Fairley in the flesh.

Ben Tate during the first drill.

Mario Fannin, aka Mario Speedwagon, hauling in a pass from assistant coach Curtis Luper.

Kodi Burns preparing for a pass during the second drill.

Chris Todd.

Remember when Trooper Taylor said: ``You can't make the club in the tub"? Here they are -- the tubs.

Post-practice video, 8/7

I have disabled auto-play for this video.

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Days to kickoff: 29

Our THT's Auburn Minute is brought to you by the number:

Duke Donaldson, a native of Cairo, Ga., native arrived on the Plains in the fall of 1984 ... along with fellow Georgian Kevin Porter. Though Duke was generally overshadowed by fellow receivers Lawyer Tillman and Freddie Weygand, he lead the Tigers in receptions during the 1987 season.

Honorable No. 29 mentions to LB Derrick Graves and RB Chris Linderman.

Any other 29 shout outs?

First Post: Friday

Hey everyone. Top o' the mornin' to you on this Friday. I had a fairly late stay at Auburn last night. Thanks to the HOTTIES who were still with me late ... Scottie, SteveFC, Michael, wtc, RK, DL, ehyou and others.

Here are the basics:




Practice is expected to start around 4:50 p.m. I'll be doing a practice-footage video. I'm probably going to hold post-practice video until Saturday morning.

I am taking Saturday off.

Also, please pick up the Advertiser's print edition if you live around here! Our fine Auburn coverage is only one element of our award-winning product.

Post-practice reaction, 8/6

Hey everyone. I didn't hear a lot of interesting stuff tonight. It happens.

Here's a roundup:
  • WR DeAngelo Benton and CB Demond Washington spent the entire practice on the field today. You know how the team has been splitting into two groups -- one on the field and one in the weight room? Not for those two. Gene Chizik said he's just trying to give assistant coaches more time to assess those two guys.

  • OL Aubrey Phillips confirmed that his friend (and Auburn signee) Daren Bates has been cleared by the NCAA. Bates is supposed to begin his college career tomorrow.

  • Auburn moves to "shells" (shoulder pads and helmets) for practice tomorrow. Chizik didn't seem dead-set on getting his team into full pads ASAP. ``We'll just wait and play it by ear and see what the health of our team is," he said.

  • LB Joshua Bynes on fellow LB Eltoro Freeman, who now is working with the No. 1 defense at weak-side linebacker: ``He’s still about the same to me. He’s still the type of guy who doesn’t like to mess up. He likes to be perfect. He’s still fast. He’s electrifying to watch and every drill he does, he likes to be full speed."

  • Bynes had some not-so-nice things to say about former defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads' defensive approach. Rhoads now is head coach at Iowa State. I hear that's a plum job; a place for winners.

    Anyway, here's how Bynes described the difference between Rhoads and current Auburn defensive czar Ted Roof: ``Roof is the type of guy who will let us go full speed. If you miss, at least you miss full speed. Rhoads was the type who wanted us to break down and make sure we make the proper tackle."

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

Some pics from late practice

Just a few shots...
DeAngelo Benton making a nice snag.

Tyrik Rollison.

Practice video: 8/6

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Early practice report

Hey everyone. The Tigers' second practice is underway.

Here is what I saw:
  • Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle are grouped together today. They're working primarily with DeAngelo Benton, Emory Blake, Terrell Zachery and Darvin Adams.

  • The two quarterbacks didn't seem especially sharp with their accuracy, but I was only able to watch them for 10 minutes or so.

  • K Chandler Brooks now is wearing No. 29.

  • Gene Chizik is much more involved than his immediate predecessor, though I typically see him mixing with the defensive guys.

That's all I have at the moment. I'm going to produce a practice video, but it won't be long. I hung around the QBs and WRs exclusively today.

Interesting tidbit

The Advertiser's own Tim Gayle reports that Petey Smith, former Auburn recruit and 2009 Alabama signee, is not listed on the Tide's official roster.

Speculation is that Smith is headed for a grayshirt season.

Remember the mild uproar that ensued when Smith committed to Alabama during the winter?

Recruiting ... a journey into the absurd.

Days to kickoff: 30

Our THT's Auburn Minute is brought to you by the number:

Mr. Agee probably grew up eating Chilton County peaches -YUM!!!-if not, he missed out on a golden opportunity. The Maplesville native is the youngest of 4 brothers. He arrived in Auburn in the fall of 1982.

After a redshirt year, he was Auburn's fullback during the 1983-86 seasons. His primary responsibility was clearing holes for the likes of Bo Jackson and Brent Fullwood, but he was also pretty darn good at toting the pigskin. Although tailbacks got most of the carries, Mr. Agee averaged a healthy 4.9 yards/carry and accumulated 1,735 yds rushing in his Auburn career. That's good enough for 17th on Auburn's career rushing list. He also led Auburn in kickoff returns in 1986.

Two games in particular stand out in my memory, both of which were during his redshirt freshman year. Late in the 1983 season, Auburn faced and defeated top 10 teams in 3 consecutive games. The second of those games was against the Maryland Terrapins, led by Boomer Esiason. Mr. Agee gutted the turtle defense for 219 yards and 2 TDs in a 35-23 Auburn win.

In the Sugar Bowl against Michigan, a team with one of the nation's top defenses, Mr. Agee piled up 93 yards on 16 carries, accounting for half the real estate on Auburn's 63 yd game-winning drive late in the 4th quarter.

In 1987, Mr. Agee graduated from Auburn with a degree in Criminal Justice and Youth Services, and was drafted in the 5th round by the Seattle Seahawks. Before he retired from the NFL, he had won two Super Bowl Rings as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

For the past decade he and his lovely wife and 3 children have lived in Opelika. He is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association (are you?). He is Director of the Covington Recreation Center and Ass't Director of Opelika Parks & Recreation Department. In 2010 he will assume the prestigious post of President of the Alabama Recreation & Parks Association. He has also served as a Deacon of the Greater Peace Missionary Baptist Church where he has been Director of the Youth Connection Ministry.

How about some shout outs for other #30s? The floor is open ...

--Compiled capably by TarHeelTiger

Thursday: First post

Hey everyone. Happy Thursday. I'll be running this thread throughout the season to keep you apprised of the stuff I write for the Advertiser's print edition.

Yes, it still exists.




Practice again is expected to start around 4:30 p.m. I'll be doing a practice-footage video for sure, but post-practice video is going to be a post-practice call. I didn't get home until after midnight on Wednesday. I'd like to avoid that.

Also, please pick up the Advertiser's print edition if you live around here! Our fine Auburn coverage is only one element of our award-winning product.

Post-practice video, 8/5

I have disabled auto-play for this video.

Want to see it again? Missed it the first time?


Late notes, 8/5

Hey everyone. Practice has ended. Here are a few items of interest:

  • Gene Chizik said Justin Albert is off the team. That's a wrap.

  • Chizik said Pierre-Louis is on the team, but won't return until Aug. 16. That's when school starts. Chizik noted that Pierre-Louis' issue is not physical.

  • Chizik said Terrance Coleman and Joshua Jackson, a pair of DT signees, have opted for junior college.

  • Our friends at say S Daren Bates has gained quaification and will report on Thursday. That leaves DB Taikwon Paige as the only signee lacking firm plans for the fall.

  • Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said he will choose a quarterback, one guy, to be The Man during the fall. He is not a two-quarterback guy.

  • Practice was split into two shifts. Half the team spent 90 minutes on the field while the other half worked indoors on conditioning and weightlifting. At the half-way point, the two groups switched.

    ``Don’t read into it – there was no rhyme or reason," Chizik said of the personnel groupings. ``We split the squad up so we could basically have two practices and really focus on reps. We were just trying to be a little bit creative in the ways we can give guys reps, especially to find the young guys that might be able to help us."

  • Malzahn said he'll start implementing the Wildcat formation stuff soon -- ie later this week.

  • Robert Cooper, the 2009 signee from Daphne who was expected to grayshirt this season, has been moved to tight end. He is a receiverish tight end if you know what I mean. He now is on scholarship.

  • OT Aubrey Phillips is a big boy, no doubt, but I was surprised by his (relatively meager) size. If you recall, FSU complained about Phillips' weight during the summer in Tallahassee. He looks like a standard, thick offensive lineman to me.

Video practice report, 8/5

I have disabled auto-play for this video.

Didn't see it? Want to see it again?


Early practice report

Hey everyone. Here are some quick observations from practice:
  • TB Justin Albert and WR Phillip Pierre-Louis are not on Auburn's official roster and weren't at practice. We'll have to see what that means later today.

  • Also not on the roster: DL Terrance Coleman, DB Taikwon Paige, DB Daren Bates, DB Reggie Taylor, DB Izauea Lanier, DL Josh Jackson, RB Brandon Jacobs, WR LaVoyd James.

  • (Almost) final newcomer tally ... 28 signed, 20 in school.

  • On the roster: OL Aubrey Phillips.

  • Four newcomers were working with the varsity today: TE Phillip Lutzenkirchen, DT Nick Fairley, WR DeAngelo Benton and WR Emory Blake.

  • The remaining newcomers were tucked inside the indoor facility with Kevin Yoxall, the team's conditioning coach.

  • Newcomer numbers:
    Aycock -- 28
    Benton -- 3
    Blake -- 80
    Eguae -- 94
    Evans -- 35
    Fairley -- 90
    (Freeman -- 21)
    Ford -- 95
    Gaston -- 58
    Gulley -- 24
    Harris -- 70
    Lutzenkirchen -- 43
    (McCalebb -- 23)
    Moseley -- 15
    Phillips -- 54
    Rollison -- 17
    Stallworth -- 85
    Sullen -- 71
    Travis -- 74
    Washington -- 32

Schedule update

Hey everyone. Heavy rain in the Auburn area has postponed practice until 5:10 p.m.

Videos and blogs have been pushed back accordingly.

Days to kickoff: 31

Our THT's Auburn Minute is brought to you by the number:

"Fast Freddie" Smith was the greatest linebacker ever to suit up in an Auburn uniform. You disagree? I'm sorry, let me explain the rules for today: It ain't open for debate!

Freddie Smith was a high school All-American in Athens, AL, where he played RB and LB. On offense, he had nearly 5,000 yards rushing in his high school career, including over 2,150 as a senior when he led Athens to a state championship. He also had 385 tackles in his 3 year H.S. career. He chose Auburn over numerous other major college offers, including that other school, because Auburn was a friendly place and he felt at home there (don't we all!).

When he arrived in Auburn in the fall of 1976, Fast Freddie didn't care if he was on offense or defense (or both), he just wanted to be on the field helping Auburn win football games. The coaches decided he was needed more on defense, which was OK with Freddie. He decided it was better to give than receive. How quickly did Freddie Smith adjust to the college game? Well, they didn't call him Fast Freddie without reason.

In his 2nd game as a true freshman, Freddie Smith led Auburn's defense with TWENTY-TWO tackles in a 15-14 loss to the Baylor Bears. The following week, he decided he needed to step up his game for SEC play as he recorded TWENTY-FOUR tackles in Auburn's 38-28 bashing of the Vols. Fast Freddie finished his Auburn career with 528 tackles, averaging 13.2 tackles/game. No one else is even close.

After his stellar Auburn career, Mr. Smith played with the Vikings in the NFL and starred for the Winnipeg Bombers in the CFL. In 1983 he teamed up with several former Auburn players on the roster of the B'ham Stallions of the USFL. As of 2008, Mr. Smith had been employed by Brasfield & Gorrie in Birmingham for 20 years. He was also inducted into the Limestone County Hall of Fame last year.

We've got some other 31s we should honorably mention: I'll start with Antarrious Williams. Talk about a lunch pail guy that put in a full shift every day - dude could play. And 3 cheers to Rob Pate. The floor is now open for more 31 shout outs.

--compiled capably by TarHeelTiger

Wednesday: First Post

Hey everyone. Happy Wednesday. I'll be running this thread throughout the season to keep you apprised of the stuff I write for the Advertiser's print edition.

Yes, it still exists.


(We just started yesterday)

Practice starts around 4:30 p.m. I'll be doing a practice-footage video and probably another video starring newcomers. Blog updates as needed -- during practice and after practice. And, of course, pick up the Advertiser if you live in the tri-county area for all the latest news.

Video report, 8/4

Hey everyone.

Click here for some aural and visual goodness: AUBURN VIDEO REPORT, 8/4

(ps: I forgot to add the opening music! I'll get that right tomorrow.)

Please enjoy.

News of the day

Hey everyone. I have arrived here at the Athletic Complex and things are happening.

Here is the latest information from Reporting Day:
  • Information about S Aairon Savage's Achilles injury is scarce. After talking with his roommate, Walt McFadden, I'd say Savage's chances for playing time are small.

    ``I really don’t know what he’s going to do. I just know he’s been praying," he said.

  • TB Ben Tate is noticeably leaner. He's not lighter ... just leaner.

  • Gene Chizik said he has decided to practice during the evening because of his relatively limited number of players.

    ``You’ve got to be smart and there’s got to be some methods to the madness on when you’re doing what. You always want to beat the heat to the best of your ability, and you’ve got to be smart because you’re going to play some games in the heat, so they’ve got to have enough of it. But too much right now, you don’t want a player to go down with body cramps and they’re out for three or four days. There’s a fine line in there."

  • TE Gabe McKenzie is back with the team after his spring respite. Fellow tight end Tommy Trott said McKenzie has been a consistent performer during voluntary summer workouts.

  • S Mike McNeil is still out with his broken leg. S Zac Etheridge said McNeil was "like a coach" during voluntary summer workouts and isn't ready to play.

  • That leaves your current safety group as Etheridge, sophomore Drew Cole, junior Mike Slade and redshirt freshman T'Sharvan Bell.

  • Antonio Coleman had little information to offer about his nephew (and Auburn signee) Terrance Coleman, who still hasn't been cleared by the NCAA.

  • QB Neil Caudle said he spent his summer almost exclusively in the Athletic Complex or on the fields out back. As for doing fun things, he said he was too tired to do much after football work. Bummer.

  • OT Lee Ziemba said he feels better than ever right now.

  • Several players, most notably Terrell Zachery and Tate, identified newcomer WRs DeAngelo Benton and Emory Blake as freshmen to watch.

From earlier in the day:
  • DB Demond Washington has been cleared by the NCAA and will participate in the Tigers' first practice tomorrow.

  • WR LaVoyd James, DB Izauea Lanier and DB Reggie Taylor are headed for junior college.

  • DL Terrance Coleman and DB Taikwon Paige are in limbo. I don't expact them to qualify, but a small percentage of kids in this situation actually earn clearance. (ie Chris Slaughter 2007)

  • Just saw DE Cam Henderson and WR Darvin Adams. I think it's safe to say Henderson is still on the team.

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

Today's schedule

Hey everyone. Today begins the slow trek toward The Season Opener because it's Reporting Day.

(Pictured is the cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon album. It includes my theme song for today: "Time.")

Veterans will be made available around 4 p.m. for chats about tackle football and other things. I'll provide a video and plenty of blog notes afterward. I expect the written word to appear here around 6.

Video around 8:30.

I gotta write for the newspaper, too, so I put video last on my list.

Stop by and check us out.

Days to kickoff: 32

Today is brought to you by the number:

The “Phantom of Union Springs” was Auburn’s very first ALL-AMERICAN in football and Auburn’s very first ALL-AMERICAN in baseball! Did he wear jersey #32. Uh, nope. He wore #18 as a junior and #20 as a senior. Since he was ALL-AMERICAN on Auburn’s 1932 undefeated football team, I thought #32 was a great time to honor him. Besides, #20 is already too crowded, and Mr. Hitchcock is far too important in Auburn football history to take 2nd place on day 18 (sorry for the tease!).

Jimmie Hitchcock played tailback, quarterback and punter. He reportedly was listed in Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” for punting 232 times and not having a single punt blocked. He led the Southern Conference in scoring as a senior and also led Auburn to the Southern Conference championship.

Those efforts earned him a spot on the Walter Camp All-American Team. Duke coach Wallace Wade called Hitchcock “the finest all-around back ever to play against any of my teams.” After graduating, he had a brief major league baseball career during which he married the daughter of a former Yankee pitcher and manager. Jimmie served in the Navy during World War II.

Best as I can tell, he and his wife, Dorothy, lived their post-war years in Auburn and/or Montgomery. He was a member of the AU Board of Trustees when his former teammate, Shug Jordan, was hired to be Auburn’s head football coach. Jimmie Hitchcock was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. According to the Montgomery YMCA, Hitchcock’s interest in and devotion to youth athletics (perhaps his two sons were a catalyst), led to the introduction of Little League Baseball in Montgomery.

Since his death in 1959, deserving high school students in the Gump have been honored with the Jimmy Hitchcock Memorial Award.

Other actual 32s: Carl "Hollywood" Stewart, Stacy Danley, William Andrews, Adlai Trone and Rudi Johnson.

--compiled by TarHeelTiger

Radio Appearance Forthcoming

Hey everyone. I'll soon be heading downtown for another round of The Roundtable on WMSP-AM 740 here in Montgomery.

Yes, the station streams on the interwebs.

I promise to discuss football issues.

Gene Chizik isn't exactly poor

Hey everyone. Was just browsing the interwebs this evening and found some swell research done by the Orlando Sentinel.

(As an aside, that fine publication is commanded by former Auburn beat hack Tim Stephens ... formerly of the Birmingham Post-Herald.)

The Sentinel revealed the salaries of all FBS head coaches.

Chizik, who makes $2 million, is tied for 21st. Not too shabby.

Here's all the people above Chizik. Click this link for the whole thing.

NOTE TO SELF: Find Kirk Ferentz's agent and convince him to represent me.

Le Schedule is released

Hey everyone. I'm relaxing this weekend because, as you know, we have a big month ahead.

Auburn has "released" its "practice schedule," though there isn't a ton of information to glean from the document.

Aug. 4--Reporting Day
*Aug. 5--First day of practice
*Aug. 6--Practice
*Aug. 7--Practice
Aug. 8--Practice
*Aug. 9--Practice (First Day in Pads)
*Aug. 10--Two practices
Aug. 11--Practice (FIRST SCRIMMAGE)
Aug. 12--Two practices
*Aug. 13--Practice
*Aug. 14--Two practices
Aug. 15--Practice
Aug. 16--OFF (Fan Day, 2-4 p.m. Jordan-Hare Stadium)
Aug. 17--OFF (First Day of Class)

Reporters will be allowed to shoot portions of several practices. I have identified those practices with a *.

ALSO: I wrote this story that appeared in today's editions of the Advertiser. Check it out and tell me what you think.

SteveFC already has.

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

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