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Auburn beats LSU, 74-59

Hey everyone. Frankie Sullivan, the Tigers' shooting guard, did not play today. He is not in uniform. Announcers from FSN report that Sullivan suffered a concussion in practice yesterday.

G Speed Reed
G Earnest Ross
"SF" Tay Waller
"PF" Lucas Hargrove
F/C Johnnie Lett

In this spot was a campfire. Now it's gone.

Thanks to Stupup, 360, norm and SteveFC for going the distance.

Looking at: LSU @ AU men

Hey everyone. Your Auburn Tigers square off against LSU this evening inside The Beav. It's a game pitting two below-average SEC teams. Think there's nothing to see here?

Wrong. Tay Waller has been unspeakably hot lately and intends to keep that going.


WHEN: Today, 6 p.m. CST

WHERE: Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, Auburn

RECORDS: LSU (10-17, 1-12); Auburn (13-15, 4-9)

ON THE AIR: TV — FSN; Radio — WMSP-AM 740, WLWI-FM 92.3

G Chris Bass (6-1, 185), 2.5 ppg
G Bo Spencer (6-2, 185), 14.5 ppg
SF Storm Warren (6-7, 230), 11.9 ppg
PF Tasmin Mitchell (6-7, 245), 17.6 ppg
F/C Garrett Green (6-11, 230), 2.2 ppg

PG Dewayne Reed (6-1, 175), 16 ppg
G Frankie Sullivan (6-1, 195), 12.9 ppg
G Tay Waller (6-2, 193), 14.2 ppg
F Lucas Hargrove (6-6, 220), 13.5 ppg
F Johnnie Lett (6-8, 210), 2.1 ppg.

NOTES: Auburn won at LSU in January, 84-80 … This will be the next-to-last men's game at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, which is being replaced by Auburn Arena next year … Auburn beat LSU, then led by Pete Maravich, in the coliseum's first game 41 years ago … Sullivan currently leads the SEC in free-throw shooting with a 85.9-percent mark.

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

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

Ben Tate holds his ground

Hey everyone. Remember how Ben Tate told a reporter in Georgia a few months back that he was better than Mark Ingram?

Yeah, the Mark Ingram who won the Heisman Trophy?

Tate seemed to back off those comments a tad prior to the Iron Bowl, but he's not hiding anymore. Tate told the Birmingham News on Friday -- for the newspaper's first-person reportage from the NFL Combine -- that he's not confused about who's the better back.

"If you go back and break down film, he's a great running back," Tate said. "Don't get me wrong ... but I just feel I'm a better running back. Of course you're going to get more publicity. That's the way it is when you're on an undefeated team, a team's that's been undefeated for the last few years."

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

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

Radio Appearance (No Longer) Forthcoming

Hey everyone. I will be participating in my weekly segment on SuperSport 930 out of Jackson, Miss., in a bit. That extravaganza began around 9:07 a.m. CST and has ended. There will be a podcast later in the day in case you missed the fun.

We barely discussed Auburn.

The segment included a difficult moment when I realized two of my ex-girlfriends have Facebook pics that involve guns. Here is proof:


Shotgun (thanks, Pete!)

A-Day (possibly) coming to a TV near you

Hey everyone. Just a quick note to say that Auburn's A-Day game, scheduled for April 17, has been picked up by ESPNU. I'm sure this is great news to the 2% of you who have ESPNU in HD and can watch America's Game as it should be watched.

To the other 98% of you, I say: Come to Jordan-Hare.

This is big-time news for the HOTTIES who live a long way from here. That group includes AK (aka 61 degrees), Scottie in Tucson, Jimmy, THT and his proteges, AU1, Peter, jhag and others.

The game starts at 1 p.m.

A little chat with Gus Malzahn

Hey everyone. As the Hard-Core HOTTIES® know, I have been trackin' and chasin' Gus Malzahn for a few days. I finally caught that rascal last night.

I turned most of our chat into a Q-and-A piece that ran in Thursday's editions of the Montgomery Advertiser.

Though I implore you to follow the link above, here is a snippet for the link-impared:

Q: Do you ever add plays or ideas from outside sources or do you formulate new elements from scratch?

A: If there's something out there that fits our talent and could make us better, we're always going to look at it. We want to get better, but it's more about evaluating the defenses, the SEC defenses. I evaluate the defensive coordinators. I try to get in their minds and understand how they think.

The main opponents, the teams where you really want to win, are the ones I watch all year. I search for ways to exploit them all the time. You need to know everything about these coordinators. I want to know how they think so I can predict what they'll do in a certain situation.

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

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

Rollison really is gone

Hey everyone. Just a quick update that Tyrik Rollison's father, Michael Kelly, told Jeffrey Lee over at that a transfer to Sam Houston State is imminent.

I have a call in to Kelly as well.

Rollison, as you'll recall, was the presumed crown jewel of Auburn's 2009 signing class. He ran into trouble in November, though, and was suspended indefinitely prior to Auburn's game in the Outback Bowl. Rollison didn't make the trip to Tampa. He won't make any trips now.

Sam Houston State has seen this before. Former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar, who was busted in a pay-for-play scam, played for the Bearkats in 2007 and '08. He was selected in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He plays for the New York Giants.

Auburn now has four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster:
Neil Caudle, senior
Cam Newton, junior
Barrett Trotter, sophomore
Clint Moseley, redshirt freshman

UPDATE @3 p.m. CST: I spoke briefly with Rollison's father, who was far more reluctant to talk than I expected. ``I wouldn't say it was an easy decision. It was tough, but it was time to move on," Michael Kelly said. After that, though, Kelly said he'd have no additional comment.

Is Tyrik Rollison out?

Hey everyone. So we were talking yesterday about the quarterback situation. I told you all that I thought Clint Moseley would make it, that he appeared to be the most likely successor to Cam Newton/Neil Caudle.

This came as a surprise to some of you. Tyrik Rollison? you wondered.

Here's what was posted on Tyrik Rollison's Facebook page late last night:

Here's what was posted this morning:

Kids sometimes say things they don't mean. We'll see what happens.

UPDATE @9:57 a.m. CST: Both posts have been removed.

Looking at: AU @ Ole Miss men

Auburn at Ole Miss

WHEN: Today, 7 p.m. CST

WHERE: C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum, Oxford, Miss.

RECORDS: Auburn (13-14, 4-8); Ole Miss (17-9, 5-7)

ON THE AIR: TV — SEC Network; Radio — WMSP-AM 740, WLWI-FM 92.3

PG Dewayne Reed (6-1, 175), 16 ppg.
G Frankie Sullivan (6-1, 195), 12.9 ppg.
G Tay Waller (6-2, 193), 14.2 ppg.
F Lucas Hargrove (6-6, 220), 13.5 ppg
F Johnnie Lett (6-8, 210), 2.1 ppg

Ole Miss
PG Chris Warren (5-11, 170), 16.4 ppg.
G Eniel Polynice (6-5, 225), 10.5 ppg.
G Terrico White (6-5, 215), 14.5 ppg.
Terrance Henry (6-9, 200), 6.1 ppg.
F/C Murphy Holloway (6-7, 230), 9.6 ppg

NOTES: Ole Miss earned a 10-point win Auburn in January … The Tigers beat Arkansas last weekend and are attempting to build their first winning streak since early January … Waller is averaging 19.1 points during the past seven games … He has connected on 39 percent of his shots from three-point range this season … "With him healthy and and playing with confidence out there, we are a different team," coach Jeff Lebo said … The Rebels have lost five of their last six league games.

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

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

Looking at: Kodi Burns' senior season

Hey everyone. I had a conversation yesterday with a friend and he was interested in Kodi Burns, who appears headed into another wave of uncertainty in 2010.

So here's what I have to say about it.

Kodi Burns is in a difficult spot.

The quarterback-turned-wideout is three years into his college career and the path to playing time seems more clouded than ever. Former coach Tommy Tuberville ventured into Arkansas and said he'd discovered Auburn's version of Vince Young; a runner and a passer and a fighter all rolled into one neat package.

Yet Burns hasn't become that dominant threat.

It's not a function of personal failure. Burns is a bright kid, a tough kid, and has worked diligently to improve his most glaring weakness. His accuracy wanes because of inconsistent and sometime awkward footwork, which is exactly what offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn doesn't want.
He craves accuracy.

Burns, at least to this point, can't provide it consistently. That's why he conceded to Chris Todd during two-a-days last season and accepted new assignments at wideout and Wildcat.

Burns endeared himself to everyone associated with the program by the way he implored teammates to unite behind Todd. The emotional speech, held during a team meeting, was taped by the university's "Auburn Football … Every Day" cameras.

From that moment forward, Burns became a legend.

Those good vibes didn't transfer well to the field. He scored touchdowns in three ways -- five as a runner, two as a passer and one as a receiver -- but never emerged as the every-down element many expected. Burns struggled to acclimate at receiver, though his challenge was nearly impossible from the beginning.

Learning a new position requires more than two months of training.

Where does Burns go from here?

Auburn signed junior-college phenom Cam Newton, who is considered the favorite to start the team's season-opening game against Arkansas State. Senior Neil Caudle also is in the mix.

Burns looks overmatched there.

Auburn also signed four wideouts including a pair of blue-chip guys in Trovon Reed and Antonio Goodwin. The depth chart at receiver was reasonably thick last season and will include the program's most competitive position battles this fall.

Burns looks overmatched there.

His work out of the Wildcat position, a tailback/quarterback hybrid, was average at best. He averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Tailbacks Ben Tate, Onterrio McCalebb and Mario Fannin averaged at least 5.2 yards apiece.

Burns looks overmatched there as well.

He's now preparing for his senior season without a clear shot at playing time anywhere. Burns' popularity is undeniable. Everyone wants to see him succeed somehow.

Still, his window of opportunity is closing fast and this saga appears headed for a low-key ending.

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

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

Gene Chizik speaks

Here we go.

  • Overview on spring: ``The tentative plan ... is to go the first Wednesday after spring break. I'd like to make it a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule with, if we're ready, a scrimmage day on Saturday."

  • Second time?: ``It's much easier for everybody. There are a lot of variable in there that a year ago we didn't know. Your second go-round is so much easier for everyone -- as you'd expect."

  • On differences between now and a year ago: ``There's nothing new. The difference is that we went to a bowl game this year, so there were some discretionary period we had to adhere to. The class schedule is going to let us practice in the mornings. Other than that, nothing is really different."

  • They are planning to practice in the mornings.

  • On the raises: "It's not about me. It's really important that there was a vote of confidence there in our administration in the importance of continuity in the coaching staff. When you have very talented guys as assistant coaches, a lot of people are going to be interested in hiring them. Also don't forget the huge impact is has on your kids when they don't have to change coaches."

  • More on that: ``It's supply and demand. It starts with the coordinators. People understand the importance of the leaders or your offense and the leaders of the defense -- and the impact they can have on your football team. People are willing to pay that money to get the best people in the trade."

  • "Anytime you don't have change, it's a big deal."

  • ``The patience level out there, when you get paid a lot of money, is shorter."

  • On Aairon Savage and his future position: ``I'm really, really proud to have him back on the football team. I know he can play either/or ... because he's done it."

  • On Zac Etheridge: ``I feel very encouraged about the progress he's made in the past couple months."

  • He isn't expecting anyone to miss spring drills ... including Daren Bates, who had shoulder surgery a few weeks ago.

  • ``We're not going to place any expectations on him that we don't place on everyone else. He's really no different from anyone else. May the best man win."

  • On the situation at tailback: ``Mario is somebody we're looking at. We feel like Eric Smith can do it because he's done it. Those are the guys we're looking at. Dontae is a guy we can more around and do some different things with. He can bring some different options to the table -- a guy in the slot, a guy like Mario last year. Whether he can play tailback or not -- he could be in that mix. We're still feeling him out."

  • On Auburn signing so many high-school QBs with the idea of moving them: ``I like quarterbacks. Sometimes they have a different way of seeing the game -- just because of what they did in high school. When they've done that in high school, they have a great feel for the game."

  • On Gus' salary bump: ``Some guys on our staff were offered, potentially, were off head coach jobs. We did what we needed to do to keep everything together. With some of our guys being sought after, we did what we needed to do."

  • What does potentially offered mean?:``They were interested in them."

  • ``It's been good to have them all year. It's been a great transition of those five (players)."

  • On Roszell Gayden: ``He's working really, really hard to get into the swing of what we do. At the tackle position right now, there will be some young guys we'll potentially try to play out there. You still have Brandon Mosley there. He can do both (tackle and tight end). There are some young guys we may try out there -- like John Sullen. We feel good from left tackle to right guard. That's the spot that's open."

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

Coaching football at auburn is a lucrative endeavor

Hey everyone. So during my furlough, details were revealed surrounding salary revisions that (positively) affected the football staff.

Key theme: People gettin' rich

Most folks received a 10% bump. Here are the details.

GENE CHIZIK receives a raise of $200k per year ($1.9 million ---> $2.1 million)

GUS MALZAHN receives a raise of $150,000 per year ($350k ---> $500k)

TED ROOF RUSTED receives a raise of $37,000 per year ($370k ---> $407k)

TROOPER TAYLOR receives a raise of $32,000 per year ($320k ---> $352k)

TRACY ROCKER receives a raise of $30,000 per year ($300k ---> $330k)

JEFF GRIMES receives a raise of $29,000 per year ($290k ---> $319k)

CURTIS LUPER receives a raise of $26,000 per year ($260k ---> $286k)

TOMMY THIGPEN receives a raise of $25,000 per year ($250k ---> $275k)

JAY BOULWARE receives a raise of $21,000 per year ($210k ---> $231k)

PHILLIP LOLLEY receives a raise of $21,000 per year ($210k ---> $231k)

**My thoughts on this: Now, understand that I am someone who just ended my third one-week, mandatory, unpaid furlough during the past calendar calendar year. Many people in my tax bracket are feeling the sting of the country's economic depression recession in similar ways.

In that sense, throwing around 10 percent raises seems untoward.

There is justification. Surely this past football season stoked enthusiasm among the fan base. That leads to an increase in money raised, earned and gathered. So, in that sense, it's reasonable to give the football coaches a salary bump.

We all knew Malzahn was due. His alleged interest in jobs at Memphis and Louisiana Tech was far less serious than I expected, which led me to believe a lucrative financial package was being formulated behind the scenes. And that happened.

Still, a 42-percent raise? Seems unnecessarily steep to me.

Chizik now makes $2.1 million, which is reasonable given SEC context.

I always get skittish about re-upping contracts so soon. He signed the original deal a year ago, which provided him plenty of protection in the event Auburn elected to fire him before the contract's expiration. Had Auburn been awful last year, Jay Jacobs would not have approached Chizik to negotiate a lower buyout or salary.

Yet when Auburn plays (reasonably) well, Jacobs feels the need to sweeten Chizik's deal. It's reckless in a sense. Chizik isn't going anywhere. You know that. I know that. Jay Jacobs should know that.

Summary: Mostly reasonable. I don't think Malzahn deserves this kind of money yet.

Furlough Advisory Has been lifted

Hey everyone. My week in professional purgatory has ended, which means the HABOTN is back in business.

I know you're excited. Please save your applause until the end.

So what did I miss?

**Charles Goldberg was the first to snag information about the huge raises given to Gene Chizik and his staff. I have an opinion about that and I'd like to share it in time.

**The Auburn men beat Arkansas last night after some road struggles.

**The Auburn women can't stop losing.

**Men's swimming and diving won another SEC championship on Saturday. The women finished third, which is their worst finish in a long time.

Sunday mornings are booked here at the Tate household. We'll jump back on this afternoon and get this place back where it belongs. I am truly sorry that the HABOTN went dormant for a week. The only way we can maintain our heat is to keep the information flowing 24/7, which obviously didn't happen last week.

It was out of my hands. I'm working on a permanent solution.

See you a little later.

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