“Plainslinks”: your new regular dose of quality Auburn-centric (or sometimes other thing-centric) content from around the Web.
Thank you for your optimism. Over the past eight months, I’d say no pastime has become more popular with Auburn fans (yours truly included) than coming up with reasons why Gene Chizik’s 5-19 record at Iowa St. means–as Dark Helmet once said—ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! about his future record at Auburn. Why I haven’t yet received an e-mail forward that’s already passed through 274 inboxes listing 100 of them, I don’t know. Regardless, just in case someone out there is stuck on 98, we got two more yesterday.
- From Kevin Scarbinsky: Hey, look, Chizik is a hell of a motivational speaker!
- And from SI’s Andy Staples: Hey, look, the reaction to Chizik‘s hire is like the reaction to Pete Carroll’s hire at USC! (Staples also calls Chizik D-I’s “most fascinating coach,” which, like, hey, I’m not gonna disagree, but do you really think that?).
In either case, as reasons go, they’re not exactly “Gus Malzahn” or “seriously, he wouldn’t be the first guy with questionable credentials to win at Auburn,” but we’ll take them.
(Another quick aside: yes, that’s me getting quoted in the Staples article as That Angry Guy On The Internet, and yes, as much as I appreciate the shout-out, it’s a little irksome to have a position re: Chizik I’ve spent all of 2009 refining reduced to a handful of sentences I wrote within 10 minutes of hearing the news. But hey, I wrote it, I’ll live with it.)
More from the Chiznick. There’s never too much to glean from a Chizik presser, but yesterday he did actually answer the question “What’s your team’s greatest strength?” with “team speed.” Maybe the Tubby era’s not entirely behind us yet, huh? Elsewhere, he was honest on Tuesday about not really knowing where his team stands until it’s under the lights on Saturday. Just like us! (That several of the questions asked in that presser focus on how Chizik’s freshmen or ex-QBs converted to WR/Wildcat specialist probably has something to do with that.) Chizik’s also not sold on the suggested pregame handshake for logistical reasons. (My personal take: sportsmanship is important enough to find a way around the logistics. But it’s not the end of the world.)
Personnel developments. There’s a ton:
— We know this much: you’re going to see Zachery, Burns, Benton, and Blake at WR Saturday. But Darvin Adams is nicked-up, and Taylor said flatly Anthony Gulley and Travante Stallworth would play, so it seems likely at this point the two freshmen will fill out Taylor’s preferred six-man rotation. Between those guys, Burns, and Blake, that’s a lot of slot jitterbug types–maybe we’ll see more short stuff than we normally would from Malzahn?
— Rocker’s sending every d-lineman he’s got out there–Nosa Eguae, Dee Ford, and Derrick Lykes included–except for poor Cameron Henderson, who gets specifically called out as a kid who won’t play. Can’t accuse Rocker of coddling his player’s feelings or not being straight with the press, can you? (Freshman DT Jamar Travis also won’t play, but after being as anonymous as any freshman in the class in fall camp, no one was expecting him to, I guess.)
— Bart Eddins, John Sullen, and Vance Smith are your first three guys off the bench along the offensive line. The guess here is that Eddins is the backup center, Sullen’s at guard, and Smith’s a tackle.
— Interesting report on Auburn’s nickel package, which will apparently feature Mike Slade entering at safety while Zac Etheridge slides to the third corner slot. Meaning that the pecking order in the secondary currently appears to be 1. Daren Bates 2. Slade 3. Backup corners (i.e. Demond Washington and Harry Adams). Looks from here like a pretty substantial endorsement for Bates and Slade, and a bit of a knock on Adams and Washington. (Remember, too, that with Auburn’s situation at linebacker, we’re going to see a lot of nickel. This is a big deal.)
Quotefest. Auburn’s assistants nearly all got a turn at the mic yesterday; Andy Bitter has your most comprehensive transcript of what was said, with the usual insightful stuff from Taylor, Grimes, and Thigpen (who also has a succinct-but-effusive bit of praise for Bates here). Taylor also lets his gift for metaphor loose here, and Eguae wants to “knock a head off.”
Speaking of Taylor … he may be headlining the Friday night Toomer’s pep rally. If so, I will be very, very envious of those of you who can be in attendance.
Banners. Are awesome.
Etc. Taking the “house divided” thing to an entirely new level … if you need a little lunch pick-me-up, check out the YouTube memory available in this Wyoming preview, of all places … and if you haven’t seen this story yet, you should.
Chizik photo via.