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Reminiscin’ in high Cotton

Tubs taking the time to make Auburn fans smile on a chilly night in October 2008. The firing of Tony Franklin was behind him and a loss to West Virginia was on the horizon. Photo by Thomas Jones.
Tubs taking the time to make Auburn fans smile on a chilly night in October 2008. The firing of Tony Franklin was behind him and a loss to West Virginia was on the horizon. Photo by Thomas Jones.

When you type the name “Ray Cotton” into the Google search engine, my little blurb from the old TWER stomping grounds from last year is the first thing that pops up. It was a comparison of Meade High School’s Raymond Cotton to Auburn alum QB Jason Campbell.

Ouch.

It’s a reminder of failure. On Tommy Tuberville’s part. On Auburn’s part. On my decision to write about the wooing. Ah yes, the failed wooing.

Didn’t John Steinbeck write an entire novella about those “best laid schemes”?

Ol’ Ray Cotton, full of promise. The quarterback recruit that went to Ole Miss instead of Auburn when the firing/resigning of Tommy Tuberville went down last year. I guess he’s coming with his fellow Rebels to Jordan-Hare this weekend? I hope he doesn’t make it on the field.

Please, please, please, please for the love of all things holy and good don’t let the score allow him make it out on the field, Tigers.

I haven’t really addressed it, but I thought last year when I went with two friends to hunt down Tommy Tuberville on his recruiting trip in Maryland, well, I thought I had reached the pinnacle of bloggerdom: With my head in the clouds, I talked with the coach and saw him in action on the recruiting trail. Tuberville was in Maryland on a Friday night during the Tigers’ off week. He was there, down the sideline a bit, watching the heralded QB. It happened a year plus a few days ago. At the time, Tony Franklin had just been fired and the FAILURE of the West Virginia game was a week away. Things were already unraveling

(Here’s Part One, Two and Three of that series from last year.)

Tuberville didn’t know that I was writing anything for TWER about our interaction. It was a little dumb/shady on my part. I don’t think I did anything really underhanded or anything. I just used my access as an Auburn fan, approaching the coach to shoot the breeze. I just took mental notes. Lots of mental notes with fingers twitching for a keypad. Why shouldn’t I be able to relate to you, the reader, what I experienced that night?

Anyway, looking back at that night now, I feel a little foolish. But how was I to know about what would transpire in the months ahead? No one did.

The guys that I saw that cool October evening? James Willis, Tuberville and Cotton. I thought I was looking at Auburn’s past, present and future all combined into something wonderful. But all those three were later to be pushed away from Auburn, left on their own or traitorously slid away into the arms of Nick Saban. You can call it whatever you want to call it.

But I am writing about this just to make note of how quickly and violently things can change. I thought I was there at the start of something special. But little did I know that what I was really seeing was the end of it.

I don’t blame Cotton at all for his commitment switcheroo. Without any allegiance to the Tigers, would you throw your hat into the chaos and that was Auburn football in December and January? Things looked scary.

Cotton could very well be a bust. And his fortunes are tied with Houston Nutt now.

But our quarterback of the future is Tyrik Rollison and not Cotton. And Rollison is definitely the bigger catch.

Give me Gus Malzahn directing Rollison’s charge.

Maybe it will all work out for the better, just not the way that it was envisioned. Actually, it turned out to be about as far from that original vision as one can get. It’s weird how that works.

mouse-377x270But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

— from “To A Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest, with the Plough” by Robert Burns

About J.M. Comer

J.M. graduated from Auburn in 1998 and again in 2000 with bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. He is currently a copy editor in Washington, D.C., and lives in Baltimore, Land of Pleasant Living. If you find yourself in beautiful Baltimore, he recommends Faidley's crab cakes, a stop at Atomic Books, an O's game at Camden Yards and plenty of Natty Boh.

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