Thursday, March 29, 2012

Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.29.12: Kenny Gabriel in Dunk Contest, Track in Texas Relays

Kenny Gabriel laying the law
Photo via Opelika-Auburn News


Spring football has started and Kenny Gabriel is in a dunk contest. I don't think the day could get any better at this point. If spring football doesn't get the blood flowing, some nasty dunks will.

The Tigers have a light day for athletics Thursday as the track team is the only Tigers squad in action. The team will take to the Texas relays today.

Auburn has a packed weekend, but more of that to come tonight on the Shug Jordan Parkway radio show. You can catch it here at 5 p.m. CT live, or for all archives you can visit here. You can also snatch up archives for your daily run on iTunes, just search Shug Jordan Parkway or Auburn Tigers Daily.

Kenny Gabriel Bringing the Windmills 


Kenny Gabriel has gotten himself into something that he never expected, a college basketball dunk contest. Gabriel told Auburntigers.com in an interview that "it is an honor because I never thought that I would be able to be in a dunk contest in college...I hope I go down there and win it."

We hope you do too Kenny. If you are an active Auburn Tiger, you can make a difference. The fifth voting judge in the contest will be fans. The dunk contest will air on ESPN at 8 p.m. CT in the Fogelman Arena on the Tulane University campus.

To join in the voting, simply tweet #CollegeSlam, then #Gabriel 10. So, for those that do not want to think too much this early about twitter speak, tweet #CollegeSlam #Gabriel 10. The number is based off of the score that you give the dunk, but honestly, would you put anything other than a 10 in the tweet? Doubtful.

So tweet away tweeps.

***Voting Update***


To simplify your voting, I have provided you with a hash-tag button to vote for your favorite Tigers dunk master. No excuses.




Spring Update


There have been a few injuries that the Tigers have had to overcome at the defensive line position, but that has opened the door for some very talented Tigers on the defensive front.

As much of a concern it may seem to be to lose Gabe Wright and Kenneth Carter this spring, guys like Angelo Blackson and DeVaunte Sigler are filling in nicely.

As I wrote just days ago, Kiehl Frazier appears to be taking the lead in the quarterback race. A shoulder injury to Clint Moseley that hampered his throwing on Monday further drove home my point in my opinion. More on that later today.

The "80 for 80" campaign for Emory Blake is something that I think will be attainable. Opposite of Blake, Travante Stallworth and DeAngelo Benton look to be the starters. They are talented and if they stay healthy, both should be studs this season, helping Blake get free more often than not.

I will bring a more in depth spring update later today. Also look for a Gene Chizik profile piece as well.

Happy thirsty Thursday, War Eagle.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Auburn Spring Football Coverage: Three Tigers To Watch for 2012

Ian Berg | Shug Jordan Parkway Photo Archives


It's no secret that the Tigers start spring training with a ton of returning talent. Digging through the roster, I want to focus on three players specifically. One offensive player, one defensive player and one special teams contributor.

The Tigers return starters at virtually every position, but with the new coordinators, every position is up for grabs. This spring will be used to find the strengths and weaknesses of the Tigers, with the chance for players to make a name for themselves before summer workouts.

There will be a number of players that will make waves this spring, but I foresee some surprises that will bring a wealth of attention by the time that fall rolls around. Let's get the party started.


Angelo Blackson, DT
Photo via Auburn University


Angelo Blackson - Defensive Line


Angelo Blackson came to Auburn with little fan-fair when he appeared on the Plains from Bear, Delaware. He was not highly rated, but he had the size and athleticism that could make a difference for the Tigers on the defensive front.

As a freshman, Blackson saw some limited action, finishing last season with six total tackles. Heading into the spring, Blackson was one of many along the line that would battle for a look from new DC Brian VanGorder, hoping to land a starting position heading into the summer and fall.

With the recent foot injury to Gabe Wright, and the undisclosed injury to Kenneth Carter before spring, the doors of opportunity have swung wide open for Blackson and the rest of the defensive front.

Looking at the guys that are left to finish spring, Blackson jumps to the top spot on the depth chart on the interior line. Blackson has the strength and athleticism that could lead to elite production, now he has the chance to receive a ton of attention and reps to develop that raw talent.

Blackson was a recruit that I thought would prove to be the most underrated of the recruiting class a year ago. His ability to perform at a high level in his limited action last season extended that belief. There is no longer a doubt that Blackson will be special this season.

With the new defense comes a new mentality, and according to Blackson it is a good fit for the defensive line. In an interview following Monday's full-pad practice, Blackson said "Coach VanGorder places and emphasis on not being much of a thinker...This defense isn't much thinking, just coming off of the ball man to man."

Blackson will play well in the new aggressive defense, and with his injured teammates watching from the sideline, Blackson will likely snag a starting spot this spring.


DeAngelo Benton, WR
Hal Yeager | The Birmingham News


DeAngelo Benton - Wide Receiver


The Tigers are in a tough spot at receiver heading into the 2012 season. There really is no true second threat for the Tigers that will line-up opposite of Emory Blake this year. Trooper Taylor made it known in interviews Monday that he wants to see "80 catch 80."

For Emory Blake to be able to make an impact like that, the Tigers have to find a true second option on the outside that can draw the attention of the opposing defenders. That threat has to show up game one.

DeAngelo Benton will be that guy in my opinion. Benton has failed to meet expectations so far in his career, being lauded by the Tigers coaches from day one as the next best thing for Auburn.

Benton has 14 total catches in his career. He won't be drawing a ton of attention from opposing defenses. That's actually a good thing.

Benton has the size - 6'2", 208 - and the athleticism to be a game-changer. There is no rhyme or reason behind the lack of success for Benton, but he needs to turn it on this season, and I think that he will.

Out of high school, Benton was one of the most highly sought after receivers in the country. He went to prep school and maintained his star status, landing at Auburn after twice being committed to LSU.

Given the new offensive system, and restart that this team has with new OC Scot Loeffler, there is no better time than now for Benton to reach expectations. Benton has shown his ability to get open and make plays in space, but in the Malzahn offense he fell behind Emory Blake.

In the Loeffler offense, Benton may find himself in a different position with a chance to shine. The play-action was built for guys like Benton, he will come out of nowhere this fall.


Robenson Therezie, DB
Vasha Hunt | Opelika-Auburn News


Robenson Therezie - Special Teams


Robenson Therezie was a stud on special teams last year. Therezie laid some bone-chilling hits on special teams, and will look to continue with that trend this season.

Therezie is a talented defensive back that will earn time in the defensive secondary this season, but I also think that his special teams play will bring a wealth of attention.

Therezie loves to strike and has the speed that makes his hits game-changing. He may not get to make plays with the leg of Cody Parkey making field-goals on the kickoff, but on punt return he will be a beast.

There will also be the added threat of Therezie returning kicks. Therezie is one of the fastest players on the team. Add his speed and aggressive play to a return game and there is a recipe for explosive plays. Therezie and Tre Mason would be studly returning kicks.

Chizik Profile Piece Coming Soon


I will be taking a look at HC Gene Chizik and his success and failure since becoming a head coach. I really think it is an interesting transition that he has made in his time at Auburn, most recently with the hiring of OC Scot Loeffler and DC Brian VanGorder.

Chizik is returning to the Auburn football philosophy of old. One that called for nasty, tough defense, and hard running, play-action offense. Chizik will have his first season with "his" guys this fall, the success of this team will show what has been built in the past four years at Auburn.

Chizik has the Tigers on track to be special this season. This spring is when the chemistry comes together.


Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.26.12: Men's Golf Hits the Links, Top D-Lineman Commits to the Tigers

Blayne Barber
Todd Van Emst Photo


The No. 2 Auburn men's golf team continues tournament play today in the Hootie at Bulls Bay tournament. No other Tigers teams are in action Monday, but there is a busy week ahead for Tigers Athletics.

Spring football is in full swing, and baseball is on a winning run heading into this week. As the week progresses, the Parkway will bring you updates on all of the action.

Looking ahead to today, here is what to expect from the Tigers as they swing the sticks in the Carolina's.

Men's Golf
Hootie at Bulls Bay Tournament
Awendaw, South Carolina | All-Day event
Bulls Bay Golf Club

The No. 2 Auburn Tigers men's golf team heads into the second day of tournament play tied for the lead with the Kentucky Wildcats. The Tigers and Wildcats are both at 3-under 285 for the first day of competition.

The Tigers saw sophomore Niclas Carlsson tie for second on the day with a score of 2-under. He starts today one stroke behind the current tournament leader.

The Tigers also saw strong performances from juniors Dominic Bozzelli and Blayne Barber, and senior Will McCurdy.

The Tigers will tee-off at 9:40 a.m. CT with LSU and Kentucky. You can follow live stats at Golfstat.com.

Auburn lands Carl Lawson, Major Defensive Line Prospect


Carl Lawson was a huge defensive line pickup for the Tigers as he is one of the best defensive ends in the country. Below is a video breaking down the Rivals/VTO camp in Atlanta by Chris Nee and Keith Niebuhr discussing the camp that Lawson had this past weekend. Lawson talk begins at the 2:50 mark.






Carl Lawson had mentioned his intent to wait until January to officially announce his commitment at one of the many All-Star games. Instead Lawson decided to pull the trigger and commit to the Auburn Tigers.

Lawson told Auburnsports.com "I love the people at Auburn. It's just a great place and I'm excited I will be able to call it home."

Lawson is a highly rated defensive end who was named the Rivals/VTO Georgia camp MVP. Lawson is rated as the No. 91 overall recruit according to Rivals.com, the No. 149 overall recruit according to 247sports.com and is a member of the ESPN.com ESPNU150 watch list.

Auburn continues its push toward an extremely talented 2013 class.

Tigers to Watch


Look out for my three player profiles that will come later today. I will pick one player from offense, defense and special teams that I believe will make major impacts this fall.

Don't forget to check out the Shug Jordan Parkway radio archives now on iTunes. The archives are also available here, where you can catch the shows live and listen to all the past archives.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Parkway Radio Hits the iTunes Store

Samford Hall
Ian Berg | Shug Jordan Parkway Photo Archives

In case you can't catch the Parkway on the radio when it streams from here on a regular basis, you now can listen to the Parkway on your favorite mp3 player.

The Shug Jordan Parkway Radio, Auburn Tigers Daily Radio feed is now up on iTunes. You can search the iTunes store for the show with either key word and you will be able to download the podcasts for free. Just one more way that the Parkway is coming through for the Auburn faithful. I kid, sort of.

Enjoy the downloads.


Auburn Tigers Football Spring Coverage: Auburn's Starting Quarterback, Tigers Will Be Tough in the Trenches

Kiehl Frazier, QB
Vasha Hunt | Opelika-Auburn News

Kiehl Frazier will be the starting quarterback this fall. No, I am no soothsayer, but I can see what is blatantly obvious. Frazier has a presence on the field that grew throughout the season a year ago, and is now exploding in spring.

Don't misunderstand the matter-of-factness that I apply to the quarterback race. I believe OC Scot Loeffler when he says that it is an open competition with all three quarterbacks getting an opportunity to succeed.  That being said, the Tigers need a quarterback that brings a ton of confidence to the position.

Parkway Reasoning Points to Frazier

Last season I was on the Clint Moseley bandwagon. I called for Moseley to start from day one actually. Barrett Trotter won the job, and showed just why he did in the bowl game. For what it's worth, Trotter fell victim to a bum shoulder and a terrible line when he was relieved of his duties in the Florida game. 

Rumor has it, he injured his shoulder as early as the Clemson game. Looking back, there was a marked difference in his play from the first half to the second half in that game, but I digress. 

Point being, Moseley came into the Florida game against a mediocre defense and looked studly. One of his first tosses was a huge gain to Quindarius Carr on the outside. It looked like Moseley had found his way and was prepared to take over. 

As the season progressed and Moseley began to take hits, he looked erratic with his throws. Well, more erratic than usual. One of the biggest knocks on Moseley is his consistency and accuracy with the football. The guy has great size and an All-American arm, but it seems like he just can't quite put it all together.

Frazier hasn't had the extended platform that Moseley has, but I feel like Frazier will show his accuracy when the time comes. 

Another knock on Moseley is the extreme emotional ups and downs that he rides with his success and failure on the football field. In no way is it wrong to put emotion into the game that you love, but Moseley has a propensity to let the down times effect him a little too much.

Frazier took some serious hits as a running quarterback last season. He was an 18-year-old kid facing men four and five years older. He took some lumps, but he continued to take the snap and run through the hole.

It would have been easy to hand the ball to the passing slot back, but Frazier made the read and took the ball into the heart of some of the best and toughest defenses in the country. He showed a poise that was surprising for a young freshman quarterback.

Frazier has had a year of growth at the college level in a college weight training program. He is also on level playing field with Moseley as far as scheme knowledge and coaching confidence. Loeffler has repeatedly stated that all the quarterbacks are on level playing field this spring.

That being said, the poise and athletic ability that Frazier brings to the position will give him the edge in the competition. 

Frazier is a Natural Passing Quarterback



This is one of many highlight videos that is on the web showing the arm strength and accuracy from Kiehl Frazier. This is a high school highlight film I know, but it is the strength and placement of the passes that is so impressive, no matter the competition level. 

Frazier showed his ability to find open lanes in the ground game last season as his primary, and virtually only role for the Tigers was Wildcat quarterback. Frazier did toss 12 total passes last season, but only completed five of them with two interceptions.

While those aren't very good numbers, and there really isn't a way to argue a 5-of-12 mark with two picks as good or promising, I would contend that the stats are misleading for two reasons. Gus Malzahn did not like his quarterbacks to make checks, forcing a quarterback into one or two options. 

Frazier was also likely only given one option to throw to when he entered the game in a passing situation. Sure, he made some bad throws, but when the body of work is extremely controlled and limited, it comes as no surprise. 

Frazier shows in his old highlight films his ability to make plays with his feet, but he also shows a poise in the pocket that is impressive. He also will make plays with his feet to wait for plays to open up down-field for his receivers. 

If you asked Kiehl Frazier today if he wants to pass or run first, my bet is that he says he wants to throw. Loeffler may not be looking for a starter this spring, but he will take notice to the natural leadership and poise that is carried by Frazier throughout spring and well into the fall.

Whitaker Guarantees Tough Defense




Take a look at the above video closely. That is a newly formed, baby-fat free - his words, not mine - Jeff Whitaker. Whitaker mentions that he has dropped from 325-pounds to 303-pounds in the off-season.

Looking at the weight gains and losses of the Auburn Tigers this off-season, it is easy to see that this team has taken ownership over its training program. Whitaker is one of many that has reformed, with guys like DeVaunte Sigler - 295-pounds - and Anthony Swain - 245-pounds - making some of the most impressive gains.

Auburn has grown not only in maturity but physically in the past year. The young guys that filled the roster a year ago have a year of experience under their belts and have developed well. Auburn will be a force this season on the defensive line. Jeff Whitaker guarantees it.

Auburn has talent returning on the edge, and experience on the inside that will rival the defensive front of the 2010 team. I know that it is a lofty comparison, but this team will surprise a ton of folks this fall with the presence that it carries up-front.

As Whitaker mentions, it all starts up-front for a defense, and this squad wants to be the best in the country. If the effort that has been put forth in the off-season is any indication of future success, quarterbacks better beware when they face off with this newly matured Auburn defensive front this season.

Players to Watch Up Next


I will be taking a look at players to watch as Auburn heads into the heart of spring practice this week. I will highlight one member of the offense, defense and special teams that I think will have break-out seasons. This Auburn team has the chance to be very special, this spring will be huge in finding the path to success.

Radio Time


Don't forget stop in later today for the Auburn Tigers Weekend Review. The Parkway will hit the radio waves yet again to discuss the past weekend in Auburn Athletics, as well as spring football developments.


Back to the Airwaves: The Parkway Brings You the Auburn Tigers Weekend Review Tonight at 5 p.m. CT

Ian Berg/ Shug Jordan Parkway Photo Archives


The Parkway will be back on the radio waves tonight taking a look at the past weekend in Auburn Athletics. The Tigers had a host of teams in action, so there will be plenty to discuss. The Parkway will be live at 5 p.m. CT, so call in with your thoughts: (347) 539-5996.

Auburn Tigers Weekend Review 03/25 by Shug Jordan Parkway Radio | Blog Talk Radio


Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.25.12: Baseball Snags Series Win Over LSU, Men's Swimming Finishes 6th

Toomer's Corner
Ian Berg/Shug Jordan Parkway Photo Archives

The Auburn Tigers men's swimming and diving team took to the pool for the final day of competition Saturday, finishing sixth overall. The Tigers battled through a tough field of competitors, but fell short of a national title. The Tigers did finish as the top SEC team in the meet.

To close out the final day of competition, the Tigers saw sophomore Zane Grothe set an Auburn record in the 1650-yard freestyle. For more details surrounding the meet and all the final results, visit Auburntigers.com.

Looking ahead to Sunday competition, baseball, softball, men's golf, men's and women's tennis are all in action.

Baseball


LSU Tigers (17-6,2-3) vs. Auburn Tigers (15-8,4-1)
Auburn, Alabama 1 p.m. CT
Plainsman Park

Auburn won their second conference series of the season Saturday with a win over LSU. The set of Tigers battled back and forth in the early innings, seeing LSU take a lead at 2-1 in the third inning. It was the Bayou Bengals first lead of the weekend.

Auburn tied the game in the eighth inning 2-2, after Garrett Cooper knocked in Ryan Tella. After two big defensive innings for the Tigers, Auburn saw Dan Glevenyak hit a sacrafice fly in the 10th inning pushing in the Tigers winning run.

Sunday the Tigers will put freshman ace Daniel Koger on the mound to face off against Aaron Nola. Auburn will look to earn a sweep over LSU for the first time since 1988.

Softball


Kentucky Wildcats (15-15, 2-3) vs. Auburn Tigers (24-9, 2-5)
Auburn, Alabama 1 p.m. CT
Jane B. Moore Field

The Auburn softball team has continued its descent from the top of the softball world with another loss to Kentucky on Saturday. The Tigers have had issues with getting the bats active in the past few weeks.

The Wildcats took the series with a 5-2 win over the No. 21 Tigers, taking over the game with a big fifth inning. The Tigers have consistently given big run innings away to the competition backing themselves into a corner in the past few weeks.

The Tigers will look to stop the sweep today with a win over the Wildcats. Auburn will need to get a win today if they want to head into a double-header against Alabama on Tuesday with some confidence.

Tennis


Men's Tennis
Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Auburn Tigers
Auburn, Alabama 1 p.m. CT
Yarbrough Tennis Center

The men's tennis team heads into competition Sunday looking for a win over the Commodores. Vanderbilt has shown their ability to win as they come off of  a 5-2 win over No. 61 Alabama this week. The Tigers traveled to No. 7 Kentucky earlier in the week, falling 4-0.

The Auburn men are ranked No. 19 in the country, and will be looking to solidify their national standing with a win Sunday. For live updates of the action go here.

Women's Tennis
Auburn Tigers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
Nashville, Tennessee 1 p.m. CT
Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center

The Auburn Tigers women's tennis team will be in Nashville Sunday taking on the Vanderbilt Commodores. The 'Dores are coming off a loss to Alabama earlier this week. Auburn is coming off of a third straight SEC victory as they defeated the Kentucky Wildcats this week.

Auburn will be looking to extend the winning streak against Vanderbilt, but a win won't come easy. For live stats of the competition go here.

Men's Golf
Hootie at Bulls Bay Tournament
Awendaw, South Carolina All Day
Bulls Bay Golf Club

The No. 2 Auburn Tigers men's golf team heads into tournament play Sunday in a 15-team competition. The Tigers are coming off a good showing in the E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational and will look to build on that success in this tournament.

The Tigers by junior Blayne Barber, who was the SEC Golfer of the Week for his 15-under 201 performance last week. The Tigers will be in the tourmanent from March 25-27, facing off against three other Top 25 teams. Those teams are No. 15 Texas A&M, No. 18 LSU and No. 24 Virginia.

Spring Football Update


I know, where is the football update? I am working finishing up the update for the Parkway. I am taking a couple of different angles, looking at possible position moves that could still happen as well as video compilations to save you search time. While you wait, below is a video to hold you over.




Check back this afternoon for the first spring update.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.24.12: Baseball Wins Game 1 Against LSU, Men's Swimming in 6th Place Overall

Ian Berg/Shug Jordan Parkway Photo Archives


The Auburn Tigers have a host of teams in competition this weekend. The baseball team moves into game two of their series with LSU, softball enters game two with Kentucky, swimming looks to surge past the competition, gymnastics continues in the SEC championships and the track and soccer teams are looking for victory.

It's a very busy day on the Plains and abroad for Auburn, looking at the day that was and the day that will be, here is a breakdown of the teams in competition.

Baseball

LSU Tigers (17-5,2-2) vs.Auburn Tigers (14-8,3-1)
Auburn, Alabama 3 p.m. CT
Plainsman Park

Auburn faced off against LSU on Friday for the second SEC series of the season. LSU entered the contest ranked as the No. 8 team in the country, looking to extend their national standing, and earn an SEC win. Auburn had another plan.

The two sets of Tigers battled back and forth throughout the game, finishing it in Sportscenter worthy fashion with a tag out at the plate to end the game. Auburn stood victorious at the end of the contest, winning the game 4-3, carrying a one game lead into the series as it continues through Sunday.

Derek Varnadore pitched a great game, only surrendering one earned run in 7 1/3 innings. The Tigers were able to take a one game lead into the series, looking to win the series today over LSU.

Will Kendall will get the start today for the Tigers, while LSU will start Ryan Eades.

Softball


Kentucky Wildcats (14-15,1-3) vs. Auburn Tigers (23-8,2-4)
Auburn, Alabama 1 p.m. CT
Jane B. Moore Field

Auburn softball started the season on fire. The lady Tigers were plowing through the competition. Lately, the lady Tigers have hit a bit of a skid. Friday, that skid flew out of control as the Tigers allowed a four-run lead disappear at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats.

Kentucky battled to fill the gap on the Tigers throughout the game after Auburn took a 4-0 lead in the third inning. The Wildcats took over the game in the eighth and final inning, scoring four unanswered runs.

Auburn will look to put the wheels back on today when they take on the Wildcats in the second game of the series. The Tigers are riding a four game losing streak as they head into today's game.

Men's Swimming and Diving


Men's 2012 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships
Federal Way, Washington 1 p.m. CT
Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center
Finals on ESPN3

The men's swimming team enters the third day of competition in sixth place overall. The Tigers are battling to finish in the top five, while leading all SEC teams as Florida trails the Tigers by 53.5 points heading into today.

Auburn is not likely to close the gap and secure a national title, but they look to continue to compete competitively and build their standing. For all updates and detailed recaps of the competition, go here.

Gymnastics


2012 SEC Gymnastics Championships
Duluth, Georgia 3 p.m. CT
ESPN2, March 29th 7 p.m. CT (tape delay)

Auburn gymnastics will head into the SEC Championships today looking to push to the top of the competitive field, but it won't be easy. Auburn is ranked No. 15 in the country, but they come in as the fifth best team in the competition.

The Tigers have never finished better than they did in 1993, with a runner-up finish in the SEC championships. For updates follow along at auburntigers.com.

Spring Football Update


And so it begins. Spring football is among us. The Tigers took to the field for the first time Friday morning leaving a ton of things to uncover. Check back this afternoon for updates surrounding the Tigers football team.








Thursday, March 22, 2012

Auburn Tigers Athletics Weekend Preview 03/22 by Shug Jordan Parkway Radio | Blog Talk Radio

Ian Berg/Shug Jordan Parkway Photo Archives


Join the Parkway tonight as I talk Auburn's big weekend. The Tigers will have a host of teams in competition. The Parkway will focus on the Tigers baseball team as they continue SEC play against the No. 11 LSU Tigers starting Friday.

Callers are welcome to chime in with their thoughts. You can reach the Parkway by dialing (347) 539-5996. I look forward to the calls. Showtime is set for 5 p.m. CT.

Auburn Tigers Athletics Weekend Preview 03/22 by Shug Jordan Parkway Radio | Blog Talk Radio




Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.22.12: Swimmer's in the Water, Auburn Begins NCAA's Today

Sr. Adam Brown
Todd Van Emst Photo


The Auburn men's swimming and diving team enters the pool today in search of a championship with 12 team members in competition in the next few days. Before we get deep into pool discussion - pun intended - let's take a look at the day that was for the softball team.

Auburn Softball Review

The Auburn softball team took a bit of a step backwards yesterday when they got thumped by Troy 7-1 at Troy's softball complex. The Tigers couldn't get the bats moving, but Troy did early.

The Trojans took advantage of two errors by the Tigers in the second, putting five runs on the board. The Tigers put both of their star pitchers out against the Trojans, but Jennee Loree and Angel Bunner could not find the right mix to stop the Troy offensive attack.

Auburn fell to 23-7 on the season. The Tigers continue with SEC play this weekend when they host the Kentucky Wildcats at Jane B. Moore Field.

2012 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships
Federal Way, Washington 11 a.m. CT
Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center
Finals on ESPN3


The Auburn men are coming off of their 16th consecutive SEC title as they head into the NCAA Championships today. The Tigers men will have 12 swimmers and divers that will be in competition, looking to add to the already impressive history that is Auburn men's swimming and diving.

The Tigers have won eight team national titles, most recently hitting a five year streak with consecutive titles from 2003-07. The Tigers last title was in 2009.

The Auburn men have also won 30 individual championships and have appeared a total of 38 times in the NCAA Championships.

The Tigers will begin the day in the pool at 11 a.m. CT in the preliminary competition, following up with the finals on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. CT. The Tigers will be in competition through Saturday.

Today's prelims and finals will include the following competitions:

200 freestyle relay
500 freestyle
200 individual medley
50   freestyle
400 medley relay
1-meter diving

Auburn Tigers Daily Radio Hits The Waves Again Today


After the success of yesterday's first show, the Parkway will begin a Thursday night series to cover the weekend sports that will be in SEC competition throughout the spring. You can follow along tonight when the show airs at 5 p.m. CT here.

The Parkway has also submitted a podcast request into iTunes, with the assumption that past shows will be available for download through iTunes within the next few days.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.21.12: Softball Back in Action, Baseball Destroys The Jaguars

Ian Berg/Shug Jordan Parkway Photo Archives

The Auburn Tigers have had a lighter week for athletics with only the baseball team taking to the field so far this week. Today, softball will be the only Tigers team in action as they face off against Troy.

The Tigers baseball team had no problems earning a win as the Tigers hosted South Alabama at Plainsman Park yesterday, winning the game 7-0. Jon Luke Jacobs had a huge game for the Tigers striking out 11 batters in the game.

Jacobs has become a stud mid-week pitcher for the Tigers, moving to the 4-0 mark on the season. The Tigers moved to 13-8 on the year with the win. Auburn will prepare for their second SEC series of the season this weekend when they host No. 8 LSU at Plainsman Park, Friday at 6 p.m. CT.

Softball


Auburn Tigers (23-6) vs. Troy Trojans (18-7)
Troy, Alabama 6 p.m. CT
Troy Softball Complex

Auburn will head to Troy today to take on the Trojans in what looks to be a tough in-state battle. The Trojans are on a bit of a skid as they have lost five of the last seven games that they have played. The Trojans return to their home stadium for the first time in a month when they host the Tigers today.

The Tigers are coming off of a losing series as well as they battled Georgia this past weekend, losing two of the three games in their first SEC series of the season.

The Tigers are one of the best teams in the country this season, winning 21-of-24 non-conference games. The Tigers will be looking to come away with a win to push them back into SEC play the right way as they host Kentucky this coming weekend.

Auburn Tigers Daily Radio, The Parkway Hits the Air Waves


Are you ready? I didn't think so, but you will be. Prepare for the first ever Shug Jordan Parkway Radio show airing tonight at 5 p.m. CT. This will be an addition to the Parkway so that more fans can be reached by not only type, but voice as well.

As the show develops the Parkway will cover all things Auburn, as well as things surrounding the sports world as a whole. I will have call-ins, special guest spots and hosts. I am very excited about the opportunity to expand the reach of the Parkway. Join me tonight on the show. You can go here to check out the show.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Auburn Tigers Daily Online Radio by Ian Berg | Blog Talk Radio

Auburn Tigers Daily Online Radio by Auburn Tigers Daily | Blog Talk Radio

Auburn Tigers Basketball: Past Success, Future Expectations

Ian Berg/Shug Jordan Parkway Photo Archives


Auburn basketball has seen success. The Tigers have been to the tournament and have seen future NBA All-Stars play on the Auburn courts. The Tigers have been in a decade long slump as of late, something that has begun to breed an uneasiness on the Plains.

Auburn has just poured $92.5 M into the state of the art Auburn Arena. They have dumped a lot of money into the lap of relatively new head coach Tony Barbee. Barbee just finished his second season with the Tigers where some improvement was shown, but nothing that was overly impressive.

Auburn fans are beginning to question if the Tigers really can have success. What will it take for that to happen?

It can't be money, as the Tigers have dumped millions into the program. It isn't necessarily passion from a fan-base, as teams with relatively no following find themselves in the tournament consistently. Auburn has built success in the past, and it all starts with the coaches.

Success Follows Great Leadership

The Tigers program began in 1905 by coaching legend Mike Donahue, of which Donahue Drive is named in Auburn, AL. Donahue also served as the Tigers football coach at the time.

Auburn had its first major success on the hardwood in 1933 under then head football coach Ralph Shug Jordan. Jordan finished his 10 season coaching stint with a 95-77 record.

After Jordan stepped down as head basketball coach, it took only two years of losing seasons before the Tigers found Joel Eaves, Auburn's winningest head basketball coach.

Eaves finished his career with a 213-100 record. He also mounted a 124-75 conference record. Eaves served as the Tigers head coach for 14 seasons. Despite the success that Eaves was able to have at Auburn, the Tigers never appeared in the NCAA tournament under his watch.

After Eaves, the Tigers had moderate success until 1978 when Sonny Smith was hired as the Tigers head basketball coach. Smith coached the Tigers for 11 seasons, leading Auburn on a five year NCAA tournament streak from 1984-88. He was also named the SEC coach of the year twice in 1984 and 1989.

Smith also coached both of the Tigers most famous professional basketball players, Charles Barkley and Chuck Person.

The Tigers were very successful on the hardwood during the early years of the program as is apparent, but Auburn has had trouble replicating that success consistently in the past 20 years.

The Modern Era of Auburn Basketball


Auburn faced five more years of mediocrity before Cliff Ellis came to town. Ellis came to Auburn in 1994 and rejuvenated a fan-base with his coaching and electric teams on the court. The "Cliff Dwellers" was a name given to the student section as they were loud and proud at home games.

Ellis led the Tigers to the tournament three times, the second most appearances in school history by a coach. The Tigers were even picked to win the national title under Ellis during the 1999-00 season. The Tigers fell short, getting knocked out of the tournament by eventual national champion Syracuse.

After the 2004 season, Ellis was fired in lieu of an NCAA investigation surrounding his assistant coaches and improper recruiting practices. The Tigers were in search of a young and upcoming name to bring the Tigers back to the top of the college football world, and they hired Jeff Lebo.

Jeff Lebo battled probation and player defection in his first few years with the program, but was unable to turn around the program in his six seasons with the Tigers. There was a sign of growth during the 2008-09 season, but the Tigers were unable to build on that success.

In 2010, the Tigers were on the hunt for a new coach yet again. Enter Tony Barbee.

Barbee came to Auburn with a very impressive winning pedigree. Barbee played and coached under current Kentucky head coach John Calipari, being a part of some very successful programs at UMass and Memphis.

Barbee went to UTEP for his first head coaching job in 2006, staying with the Miners for four seasons before leaving for Auburn. At UTEP, Barbee had one losing season - his first - and won over 40 games in his final two seasons with the Miners.

Barbee has a proven track record of success, with the Auburn family looking for that success to spark a resurgence at Auburn, especially with the new investment that has been placed into the program.


Can Barbee Succeed


Auburn has had success on the hardwood in its history. Not surprisingly, that success has been overshadowed by the Tigers football program.

With the new Arena and focus that is being placed on the program, the Tigers are at a pivot point in the programs history. Looking at the history for the Tigers there are gaps in the success, but the slumps don't last long.

The longest period of losing basketball that Auburn has faced was in-between the tenures of Sonny Smith and Cliff Ellis. The second longest down period for the Tigers program came most recently, during the Lebo years.

History shows the Tigers can win and if it is any indication of what is to come, Tony Barbee will lead the Tigers back into the spotlight in the SEC, and the country.

Barbee has faced player transfers and attrition in his first two seasons, but appears to have the program moving in the right direction. The Tigers have a long way to go but looking at the past success, the future could breed the same results.

Is Barbee the answer for the Tigers? I think so as I pointed out here a few weeks ago. Time will tell however, but as long as he continues to bring along the talent currently found on roster, and continues to recruit nationally, the Tigers will return to prominence in short order.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.19.12: Tigers Baseball Wins First SEC Series

Samford Hall
Ian Berg/Shug Jordan Parkway Photo Archives


The Auburn Tigers athletics teams will be taking today off after a very successful weekend.

The Tigers baseball team won their first SEC series of the season this weekend with their win on Sunday over the Ole Miss Rebels. The Tigers will take on South Alabama tomorrow for their regularly scheduled non-conference Tuesday game. The Tigers will host the Jaguars in Auburn.

It will be a relatively light week for the Tigers overall with Softball on the docket for a Wednesday game, and the men's NCAA Swimming and Diving championships set to begin on Friday.

The Parkway will keep you up to speed on all things breaking as the week progresses.

Today will be the launch of the history and future that surrounds the Tigers Basketball team. I know, I have mentioned it before, but that was merely to build the suspense surrouding what will be a great look into why I think the Tigers can be successful during the Tony Barbee regime.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.18.12: Baseball, Softball and Golf In Action

Photo via Auburn University Athletics 


Happy day after St. Patrick's Day! I would stand to assume that Goodys and BC see their stock rise leaps and bounds today. Good for them. Good luck to those that have to choke that stuff down.

Looking at the Tigers day yesterday, there was a lot of good news on the Plains. For one Tiger, it was an especially good day.

The Auburn Tigers saw one of the best women swimmers in school history take to the pool for the last time Saturday. Fittingly, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace finished the 2012 season with a first place finish in the 100-yard freestyle swim, defending her national title.

The Auburn women's swimming team finished tied for seventh overall with Tennessee.

Looking at the day ahead, here is the breakdown of the teams that are in action today.

Baseball

Auburn Tigers (11-8, 1-1) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (15-4, 1-1)
Oxford, Ms 1:30 p.m. CT
Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field

Will Kendall moved to 3-0 on the season with yesterday's 10-4 win over the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford. The Tigers had two big innings, scoring five runs in the first and the eighth.

Zach Alford sealed the win for the Tigers with a grand-slam in the eighth inning, putting the Tigers up 10-4. The Tigers are now split in the series with the Rebels, with today's game determining the winner.

Daniel Koger will get the start for the Tigers today, looking to extend the Tigers record and help seal the first conference series win of the season.

Softball


Auburn Tigers ( 23-5, 2-2) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (22-5, 3-2)
Athens, Ga 12:30 p.m. CT
Jack Turner Stadium

The Tigers went into Saturday looking for a series sealing win, but fell short to the Bulldogs 6-3. The Tigers and Bulldogs were tied heading into the fifth inning when Georgia took the lead from the Tigers and never looked back.

Today's game will conclude the series in Athens with Auburn needing a big win over the Bulldogs. The Tigers are currently ranked No. 20, while the Bulldogs are No. 8.

Men's Golf


E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational
Statesboro, Ga

The No. 2 Tigers men's golf team landed in third place yesterday after finishing the day 11-under-277. The Tigers relied on a strong performance from Blayne Barber who finished the day at 5-under 67 and Will McCurdy who finished 3-under 69 for the day.

The Tigers head into the day one stroke behind second place Virginia, and 22 strokes behind first place Alabama.

To follow the Tigers action live, go to Golfstat.com.

Women's Golf


SunTrust Women's Gator Invitational
Gainesville, Fl

The lady Tigers head into the final day of the SunTrust Invitational sitting at seventh. The Tigers sit at 33-over 593 heading into today.

Marta Sanz and Haley Wilson are leading the Tigers charge for the weekend and will look to finish Sunday strong, hoping to climb the leader board.

To follow along with the Tigers in competition today, go to Golfstat.com.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.17.12: Baseball, Softball, Swimming and Golf All in Action

Photo via New Haven, CT
 St. Patrick's Day FB Page


Happy St. Patrick's Day! An unbeatable celebration will occur today in cities like Chicago and Boston. If you haven't caught the green Chicago river before, you should. Get there.

Unfortunately, the south does little besides eat green ketchup at McDonald's. Shame on you deep southern states, whose very heritage is rooted in Irish-ness. Oh well, onto the Tigers.

The Auburn Tigers have a host of teams in play today with swimming leading the most important charge of all the sports as they finish up the NCAA championships today. Baseball, softball and both golf teams are also in action today.


WIll Kendall, P
Missy Hazeldine/Auburn University file photo


Baseball

Auburn Tigers (10-8, 0-1) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (15-3, 1-0)
Oxford, Ms 1:30 p.m. CT
Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field

The Tigers fell short in Oxford last night 2-1 in their first conference game of the season. The Tigers were unable to produce runs consistently as Bobby Wahl pitched a very tough game for the Rebels.

Both bullpens did a great job holding the opposing teams offensive attempts at bay, with the Tigers scoring their lone run off of the bat of Ryan Tella when he drove in Creede Simpson in the third inning. The Tigers battled but fell short in Oxford. 

Today the Tigers will start Will Kendall who is currently 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA on the season.

Softball

Auburn Tigers (23-4, 2-1) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (21-5, 2-2)
Athens, Ga 1:30 p.m. CT
Jack Turner Stadium

Jenee Loree continued her dominance from the mound when she tossed a one-hit shutout yesterday against the Georgia Bulldogs. The Tigers only scored two runs in the game - both coming in the first inning - but that was all that was needed.

The Tigers are one of the best teams in the country and will look to extend their winning ways today by sealing a series win in Athens. 

Swimming and Diving

2012 NCAA Women's Championships
Auburn, Al 11 a.m. CT
James E. Martin Aquatics Center

The Tigers move into the final day of championship competition today in Auburn, the Tigers are currently eighth overall.

The Tigers have not had a top finish in the competition with the strongest finish coming from  Olivia Scott who ended with a No. 2 finish in the 100-yard butterfly. 

As it stands the Tigers have a lot of ground to make up if they intend to win another championship. The finals will be live on ESPN3. The begin at 7 p.m. CT. 

Women's Golf

SunTrust Women's Gator Invitational
Gainesville, Fl All Day

The Tigers enter the second day of competition today sitting in the No. 5 position on the leader board. The Tigers are sitting at +13 for the tournament after the first day. 

The Tigers are set to tee off between 8:45-9:21, as the Tigers are paired with Kentucky and South Florida for the day.

Men's Golf

E-Z-GO Schenkel Invitational 
Statesboro, Ga

The Tigers men will head into a second day of competition in the No. 4 position at -6. They are 13 strokes behind the current leader, Alabama. The Tigers tee off at 8:45 today and are paired with Virginia and Kentucky. 

For live updates of both men's and women's golf, go here, Golfstat.com.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Basketball Article Update, Why Loeffler Fits Auburn

Photo via cbssports.com

Good evening ladies and gents. I have been punching out March Madness coverage over at Bleacher Report for the better part of the week. I am still working on the basketball piece that will bring to light the extreme highs that Auburn basketball has reached. 

Despite the recent downward spiral, the Tigers have had positive results in the past, and I believe will have them in the future shortly. Tony Barbee is building a great class and is developing the guys on roster better than anyone could have expected. 

The article will shine on Auburn success, as well as why Barbee is going to take the Tigers back to the tournament, next season. This guy will be a big help. Auburn commit Brian Greene Jr.



In the meantime, check out my latest hit on the studly B/R Auburn page here

Auburn Graduate Programs Rated Highly by U.S. News

Samford Hall
Ian Berg/Shug Jordan Parkway photo archives

Auburn announced today that four of its colleges were recognized by the U.S. News as being among the top 100 graduate programs in their fields.

The Harrison School of Pharmacy, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, College of Education and College of Business were the schools that were honored. 

The industrial systems and aerospace engineering programs landed at the No. 15 and No. 25 spots for public university programs, respectively. Auburn University continues with its focus on academic excellence and it shows with the recent rankings.

For the official Auburn University release, go here


Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.15.12: NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships Begin In Auburn Today

Photo by Todd Van Emst


The NCAA women's swimming and diving championships will begin in Auburn today. There will be three days of intense competition, with the finals on Friday and Saturday landing on ESPN3.

Swimming

2012 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships
Auburn, Alabama 11 a.m. CT (prelims)
James E. Martin Aquatics Center
Finals on ESPN3

Auburn will host the NCAA women's swimming and diving championships this weekend with action starting  today. The Tigers will have a total of 13 competitors in the competition with senior Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace   leading the charge for the Tigers in the pool. 

Vanderpool-Wallace holds the NCAA record in the 100-meter freestyle. Wallace is also an 18-time All-American, finishing her Auburn career as one of the most decorated swimmers in Tigers history. 

For a detailed schedule of events go here.

Tigers Review

Auburn softball traveled to LSU yesterday, splitting a double-header with the Tigers. Auburn now sits at 22-4, and 1-1 in the SEC. Auburn is having one of the best seasons in school history on the softball diamond. 

Angel Bunner  pitched a one-hit shutout helping the Tigers overcome the Bayou Bengals in game two of the competition. 

Auburn will head to Athens, Georgia this weekend continuing with SEC play as the Bulldogs will host Auburn in a three game series. 

Auburn women's tennis was also in competition yesterday battling Georgia Tech at the Yarbrough Tennis Center in Auburn. The women started strong earning a doubles point win to start, but fell short overall 5-2.

The Tigers return to action this Friday as they are set to host Kentucky.

Auburn Basketball History and Future

As mentioned yesterday, I am currently compiling an article looking back at Auburn basketball history and a look at what the Tigers could do in the future. Tony Barbee has the Tigers on track to get back to a winning groove, the article will show why you should keep the faith in the vision and direction of Barbee and the Tigers.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Auburn Football: Bencmarks for Spring Success



Today I dropped an article on Bleacher Report about the 10 benchmarks for the Tigers success this spring. Of course a lot of the commentary is based off of collective information and past tendencies. Such as my Daren Bates to SS belief, I really think that will happen.

Outside of that, take a look at the article here, and come back later today as I will bring a piece that will look back at Auburn basketball and the success and failure of the past. It will also be an extremely early look at what could come in the 2012-13 season.

I have not been able to dump a lot of content this week due to my March Madness team coverage on B/R as well, so bear with the Parkway as we balance the schedule. So much to do and so little time. I kid, well sort of.

Until next time, War Eagle.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Auburn Tigers Tidbits 3.13.12: Baseball Trips to South Alabama



The Auburn Tigers athletics programs have entered a bit of a lull early this week with only one team in action in the past two days. The Tigers athletics teams do have a long weekend as a number of teams will be in action, but until then let's talk baseball.

Baseball

Auburn Tigers (10-7) vs. South Alabama Jaguars (4-12)
Mobile, Alabama 6:30 p.m. CT
Eddie Stanky Field 

The Auburn Tigers head to Mobile, AL today to face off against the South Alabama Jaguars. Auburn is coming off of a series victory over Belmont while the Jags are coming off of a series loss to the University of North Florida. 

Auburn will look to break a three game winning streak that the Jaguars hold over the Tigers in the last three outings. The Jaguars hold the all-time series lead with a 47-22 mark.

Auburn will enter the game with Jon Luke Jacobs on the mound. Jacobs has had a great start to the season as he is 3-0 and carries a 1.37 ERA on the season. The Jaguars will Dillon Buhrkuhl who is 0-2 on the year with a  7.71 ERA.

The Tigers will travel to Ole Miss this weekend for their SEC opening series of the year. They will return to Auburn next Tuesday to face off against the South Alabama Jaguars for the second time in a week.


Monday, March 12, 2012

The Eric Smith Interview: "I will always be an Auburn Tiger, War Eagle"

Eric Smith
Photo via www.gulfeast2.com

Eric Smith is a worker. He is a grinder. Eric Smith is the type of football player that every running back wants to follow through a hole, knowing that the hunting linebacker will get a snot bubble in his nose from the strike that Smith was about to lay.

Smith believes in contact on the football field and never is one to shy away from a big hit. He was constantly asked to do the jobs on the field that most can't, and some aren't willing to do. Eric Smith is a player that is proud of not having big, lofty stats because he sees his teammates excelling around him. He knows he paved the way for the long run. That was his job.

As was well documented in print and on the inter-webs, Smith was dismissed from the Auburn Tigers football team last February stemming from his second arrest in two years while in school at Auburn. After his dismissal, Smith went on about his business working on his degree and himself, a degree which he is set to receive at the conclusion of this spring semester in Sociology, with the same fervor he carried on the football field.

Smith was not a player soon forgotten as this season could have used his power in the running game and pass protection. Smith's name was constantly in the discussion of what could have been if he was still on the team. There were even rumors aflutter during the preseason that he may return to the team in 2011.

Unfortunately for Smith and the Auburn backfield, that didn't happen. What has happened however is continued rumor about who Eric Smith is or what he could have been at Auburn. There was even a recent blog entry by a local beat writer that eviscerated his words to the media at the Auburn Pro Day, going into why using the word "mistakes" to label his arrests was misguided and showed a lack of personal growth.

Is this guy running for political office or trying to make a pro roster? Smith was a fun player to watch, and yes has made his share of mistakes, but what if he has grown? Surely he would not have been invited back to a Pro Day put on by the university if he hadn't.

Sadly, Smith hasn't been asked how he feels about the situation. Until now.

I had the opportunity to speak with Eric Smith recently at length about a number of things that I felt the Auburn family would like to know. Eric Smith had a lot to say and, in my opinion, deserved the opportunity to relay his thoughts on his future, detractors and his time at Auburn.

Ian Berg: What is the most important takeaway you will have from your time at Auburn?
Eric Smith: “The most important thing to my mother was me getting my degree. I wanted to better myself and put a smile on her face. I will be the first person in my family to graduate college which is important to me. Its not all about football, you have to have something outside of that.”
IB: What would you consider to be the best memory you will have from the Plains?
ES: “I'm going to say the National Title. That is something great. Not a lot of people can say they won a title, not a lot of people can say they went undefeated and (won a title) too. Even winning the SEC, that was just a great experience for me.”
 IB: What is your favorite Auburn eatery?
ES: “El Derado.”
 IB: How do you feel about your Pro Day performance?
ES: “I feel alright about it. I am not a combine type player that will blow you away with high scores or times, but it felt good getting back out there in the swing of things.”
IB: Have you been in contact with any NFL Teams?
ES: “My agent is talking with the Vikings, Falcons and the Rams.”
IB: What position are you looking to play?
ES: “It’s whatever anybody asks me to do. I don’t care what they ask me to play I will do anything. Special Teams, H-back, fullback, tight end. I am not always a guy in the spotlight, I do the work behind the scenes helping my team be successful. Whatever they ask I will do 100% I will keep working hard, all I need is someone to give Eric Smith a chance.”
IB: How will you respond to the questions that will surely come about your arrests at Auburn?
ES: “I may have had a lot of off the field issues that I had in my life, but when it comes down to football Eric Smith is a football player and I will do whatever I can to help my team win. I have learned a lot at Auburn University, I love Auburn and I love the coaching staff. Strength and conditioning staff, everyone that has helped me. They have been a fan of mine and I am a big fan of theirs. I will take those lessons and that work ethic to the next level.”
 IB: Are you looking at leagues outside of the NFL?
ES: “CFL, IFL, there is always a plan. I have a workout with the Toronto Argonauts set up so things are happening.”
IB: How do you respond to the idea that you haven't learned or grown from your mistakes?
ES: “My whole college experience has been a learning experience, I don’t care who feels if I have learned anything, there are people that don’t know half of the things I have faced in my life. Most people don’t know all the details of the situation so them passing judgment doesn't bother me.”
IB: How do you feel about your past and how it effects your future?
ES: “I am not one to sit here and cry about it or have a pity party, it was my fault, I could have prevented it. But we all make mistakes and learn from them. I have gone to anger management classes and counseling with my girlfriend. I am a better man for all of this and as long as I can provide for my son and be good for him, I’m good. If someone gives me a shot, the skies the limit, I am just praying to God that I can keep my head down and be humble when given opportunity.”
IB: What are your predictions for the 2012 Tigers?
ES: “I believe they will be real good, I know they are young but they have a lot of talent. Tre Mason is real good and I also have heard Mike Blakely is doing very well. I talked to Onterio (McCalebb) and he said they look real good, I think they will shock a lot of people.  I say 10 wins.”
IB: What would you like to say to the Auburn Family?
ES: “I apologize for all the distractions I brought to Auburn, and the bad memories that I may have had in Auburn, but I will always be an Auburn Tiger no matter what, War Eagle.”
Maybe it's just me, but I believe Smith has grown. People do make mistakes, some more than others, but when they do their family helps give them hope and guidance. That's what this coaching staff has done for Eric Smith. They had rules and limitations, and lived by them by dismissing him from the team.

Smith showed growth and maturity however, and as he continued to grow and gain his degree, the staff welcomed him back to participate in the Auburn Pro Day. Eric Smith considers himself an Auburn man, and I do too.

We all make mistakes, it's what we do with the new opportunities that defines us.

Auburn Tiger Tidbits 3.12.12: No Teams in Action Monday, Exclusive Later Today

Getty Images


Today there are no Auburn teams that are in action. Auburn Baseball will travel to Mobile, AL for a Tuesday game against the South Alabama Jaguars and the women's softball and tennis teams will return to competition on Wednesday.

The Auburn baseball team finished their series with Belmont yesterday, losing the series finale 3-1 after a ninth inning rally from Belmont. Auburn won the series winning two of the three games, but the Tigers were unable to seal the sweep in the series.

The Auburn softball team finished off the War Eagle Classic tournament with a big 8-0 win over Presbyterian. Jenee Loree  pitched her second no-hitter of the season helping the lady Tigers blank the Blue Hose.

The women's tennis team lost by a thin margin to LSU on Sunday while the men's team was able to earn a victory over the Bayou Bengals.

Much more to come today as I finish up the Eric Smith interview piece and a new logo is in the works. Can you say T-shirts? I can. It may happen, who knows, it's a crazy start to March Madness.