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Notes from the beat, 11/8

No. 14 doesn't seem too bad with the ball in his hands, right?
No. 14 doesn't seem too bad with the ball in his hands, right?

Help Wanted. Knowing how little Gene Chizik prefers to give away in his press conferences, you can just feel the teeth-gnashing frustration he’s dealing with in regards to the punt returning situation in this quote:

Just really disappointing. It just really is disappointing and we’ve invested a lot of time in it. We’ve got to get somebody back there that we can count on to do that. Obviously, we don’t have anybody at this point we feel like can.

Oy. Hopefully Frenchy will keep plenty of distance between himself and the Chiznick’s eye lasers this week. No surprise that Anthony Gulley and Demond Washington had already taken over punt returning duties in Sunday’s practice. I’ve been saying it all season: Washington’s experience and success in JUCO mean he’s the WBE Official Suggestion back there.  Then again, Washington’s pretty busy these days, what with the learning safety in two weeks before the secondary takes on A.J. Green and all.

We’re No. 25! Hey, look who’s snuck into the very last slot of the Coaches’ Poll. On the one hand, you want to congratulate them on correctly realizing Auburn’s put together one of the 25 best seasons-to-date, and on the other, you realize Auburn’s two slots behind a West Virginia team who 1. Auburn beat and 2. hasn’t beaten anyone better than UConn, currently 1-4 in the Big East. (Not to mention the fact that Oregon is six places behind the USC team they absolutely destroyed just two weeks ago.)

Tidbits. As usual, there’s a ton of info in Andy Bitter’s daily notes. Highlights:

— Adam Herring’s status for Amen Corner is “up in the air.” If Herring can’t go, Jonathan Evans will once again be the only scholarship linebacker on the bench. Hooray.

— Speaking of “only scholarship such-and-such on the bench,” D’Antoine Hood now holds that honor at cornerback. Gulley and Frenchy each saw some second-half snaps at corner in the second half against Furman, but I have to think Washington will get moved back to corner and Slade take over at safety if Auburn needs another corner.

— Travante Stallworth and Onterrio McCalebb are both–say it with me–“day-by-day.” I’m guessing we’ll see McCalebb this Saturday after two weeks of rest, but not Stallworth.

— Ben Tate doesn’t want to go to the Chik-Fil-A Bowl:

“I don’t want to go back to the Chick-fil-A Bowl.” (See?–ed.) We asked him why? “It’s just that Atlanta is right there. You want to go somewhere that’s a little different — or that you can’t get to easily. We can get to Atlanta any time. It’s only an hour away.”

Anonymous comment FTW: “Tate must drive really fast.”

More chatter. From Jay G. Tate’s Sunday post, it sounds like Mario Fannin might actually like playing h-back?

He’s willing to do what is asked of him, but it’s clear that Fannin’s career goals don’t involve him lining up at tailback all the time.

“Being able to show that versatility, I’ve been told helps out in the long run. Being able to play both (positions) is great for me.”

Hey, cool, if the coaches can leave Fannin at h-back next year that’s one less position to fill. Also worth reading at that post: Darvin Adams might have gone to high school in Marietta, but he doesn’t care much for the Dawgs.

Fun facts. I probably should have been pulling out some nuggets from the AUfficial site’s weekly breakdown all year. Oh well. At least I can give you these:

* Ben Tate ranks 12th nationally in rushing (114.2), and has six 100-yard rushing games this season.
* Tate ranks fifth in school history in rushing (3,101 yards) and has posted the 18th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history, now with 1,142 this season.
* Sophomore Darvin Adams leads the SEC with nine receiving touchdowns, which is tied for third most in a single season in school history.
* Antonio Coleman leads the SEC with 12.5 tackles for loss and is tied for second with 6.5 sacks. His 21.0 career sacks is tied for third in school history.
* Walter McFadden is tied for the SEC lead in interceptions (four) and passes defended (11).

I swear, I’m going to invent a time machine just so I can go back to last December and tell my former self, “Darvin Adams will be tied for the SEC lead in touchdown receptions with two games to play,” and then my former self would say “Darvin who? That Adams guy who Derek Winter had passed on the depth chart? Him?” and current self would say “That’s him,” and former self would say “Really? And so, like, have dogs grown wings? Is the sky aqua? Tell me more!” and then the current self would say “What’s that behind you?” and run away.

In other player news, Ryan Pugh is getting an academic nod from ESPN. 3.45 GPA in building science? Not bad at all, sir, not bad at all.

Sports that are not football. Both hoops teams got their first exhibition outings under their belts last week, and fortunately there was no Le Moyne (or, for those of you with a couple years’ worth of Auburn mens’ memories, AUM) moments: the women beat Georgia College and State University 73-50 and the men saw off Miles 87-40. No major eye-popping developments or red flags, although 3 points for Frankie Sullivan is a little surprising.

In non-exhibition action, the Auburn soccer team lost in the second round of the SEC Tournament to No. 13 LSU, 1-0. Shame. But Auburn could still make the NCAA Tournament; the brackets are announced this afternoon.

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