Well, it’s a start. Jay Boulware in the wake of Auburn’s special teams meltdown last Saturday:
“You guys know I’m (angry),” he told reporters Wednesday night in an interview that was both feisty and humorous. “You guys know my mentality by now. I’m (angry). And I’ve been (angry). And I’ll be (angry) for a long time. I hadn’t had a punt blocked in about six years — and two years with coach (Gene) Chizik. So I was (angry). And I’m still (angry).”
I’d say that’s the appropriate response from a coach whose unit “performed” the way Auburn’s special teams did against Miss. St. At least we know the problem’s being addressed with the correct level of … I don’t know … seriousness?
But (profane) talk is cheap. Boulware needs results two days from now.
More coaches talking. Bunch of stuff from the latest Andy Bitter rundown:
- Injury update: Tim Hawthorne’s made some progress, Antoine Carter’s been out with a knee injury and is working his way back, Trott was moving OK (but still seems unlikely for Saturday), Drew Cole is out.
- Grimes has some experience preparing for a three-man front thanks to his days at BYU. This is good news.
- Mike Blanc is your starting DT alongside Ricks for the time being. Rocker on why Nick Fairley saw so little time after his big Week 1: “In the second game, the thing was to get those twos (i.e. the second-stringers–ed.) in there early but the deal is when you have a couple of three and out early, and that’s the way it went, and there was nothing we could do about it,” Rocker said. “All of sudden it was ‘Here we go.’ Guys it’s your turn and everything. But we had three and out, three and out. You’d like to get them in there early but hey, I’m all for three and out too. Ones are ones, that’s the way it works. If you’re a one, you play. Twos are going to come in at the time of the rotation.”
- According to Trooper Taylor, DeAngelo Benton and Emory Blake will “be involved when they earn it.” Oh snap. Plus, it sounds like the two of them may have to fend off a challenge from Anthony Gulley from the other end of the depth chart.
Sounds like Gulley might also be threatening to get back into the mix at punt returner. I’d personally like to see Demond Washington earn that job–muff or not, he had a ton of success as a returner in JUCO and it’s no secret he’s got ball skills. Fannin’s got other things to worry about and I’ll be surprised if Gulley’s already as shifty as Washington.
Their injury news isn’t great, either. One of the anchors of West Virginia’s defense is junior defensive tackle Scooter Berry, 2nd-team Big East last year and a thorn in Auburn’s side up in Morgantown. He might not do much anchoring Saturday, though: he injured his shoulder against East Carolina, had an MRI on the shoulder and missed Tuesday’s practice, and was still questionable as of yesterday. Senior middle linebacker Reed Williams is also hurt, although Coach Stew makes it sound like he’s further along.
Missing Berry would be a big blow for WVU; playing with just three down linemen means that the ‘Eers place a particular premium on space-eating, run-stuffing tackles, and Berry’s their best one … not to mention, you know, that Auburn’s offensive line appears to present a pretty stiff challenge for them.
The rankings that (kind of) matter. Signing Day team recruiting rankings are one thing, but obviously the more accurate picture is the re-ranked version in the fall, after we find which players cleared the NCAA’s academic hurdles. Rivals released theirs this week, and with seven of our 28 signees unable to make it to campus it’s not surprising Auburn slipped from 19th to 23rd. Still: this is 10 spots higher than Tubby’s final class finished in the fall re-rank, despite, you know, Chizik getting hired a month before Signing Day and the team coming off of a 5-7 season rather than a 9-4 season.
Hey, that’s cool! Well, that’s less cool. NFL-focused site Football Outsiders have a new college football computer rankings system up and running, and Auburn checks in at No. 16 after the first two weeks. Sweet.
Less sweet: West Virginia ranks all the way up at No. 6. (Via MGoBlog.)
TWER. New colleague Thor Burk has a couple of quality pieces up that can’t wait for the next edition of “This Week in TWER”: first, a comprehensive (and I mean comprehensive) review of how our beloved former Auburn players fared in last weekend’s NFL, and then a new weekly college football viewing guide, complete with picks. Consume, enjoy.
Etc. Ben Tate is And the Valley Shook’s SECOSPPOW (that’s a good thing) … Rob Pate previews West Virginia at Eyes of Auburn … Wondering if Meyer would put the Tebow Child in harm’s way in the effort to humiliate the Vols … and it might surprise you who cast the sole first-place vote for Auburn in this week’s SEC Power Poll.