Progress. Still no word on whether he’ll be able to make a return to the football field or not, but Zac Etheridge is out of the hospital:
“Our medical staff is optimistic he will make a full recovery,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said in a statement from the school …
He was taken to the East Alabama Medical Center for further evaluation before being transported to a Birmingham-area hospital Saturday night.
Chizik said Sunday night the junior would miss the remainder of the season but offered little else about his condition. It was announced during the game that Etheridge had use of his extremities, and AuburnSports.com reported Sunday that he has been able to walk.
Walking out of the hospital this soon after the injury seems like a hell of a good sign, not that I know from neck injuries. Still, hope that we’ll see Zac on the field again next fall can definitely still be held out, right?
Thanks. Auburn owes Rebel freshman tailback Rodney Scott a huge debt of gratitude–as you know by now, Scott was the Rebel who laid motionless under Etheridge while the trainers reacted to the situation. Chizik on Scott:
“I don’t know how he knew. He knew (Etheridge) couldn’t move. He sat as still as the night lying right underneath him. It was one of the most phenomenal things I’ve witnessed in doing this.”
You can read Scott’s take here. It sounds from here some unreal perceptiveness and patience on his part (especially for a freshman), and when you consider how much worse the damage could have been, it makes it all the more remarkable. Nothing but thanks and more thanks for Mr. Scott from this end.
PotW. We’ve already seen how much the SEC Player of the Week voters love them some defensive touchdowns, so no big surprise that Walt McFadden was named this week’s SEC Defensive PotW, while Antonio Coleman was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. The slight irony here is that I think Coleman had the better week top-to-bottom, but eh, they both deserved recognition and got it. Works for me.
TV. Furman: PPV, 12:30 Central kick. Georgia: ESPN or ESPN2, 6 p.m. Central kick. The WWL is deciding between the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry and Alabama’s trip to Starkville for the main attraction; seeing as how they already skipped Auburn-LSU for Florida’s visit to the same venue, we’ll probably wind up won the Deuce with Davie and Jones again.
Antoine Carter. He’s back, and if you think it’s a coincidence Antonio Coleman finally went off with a guy of Carter’s quicks on the other side on the side line … wait, you wouldn’t think that. I’ve got more respect for my readers than that. Anyway, this Andrew Gribble article has a bunch of great quotes from Walt McFadden and Chizik on Carter’s swaggerous impact.
In other personnel developments, McCalebb doesn’t sound to me like a guy who’s going to test his sore ankle against the likes of Furman. It’s probably either Mike Slade or T’Sharvan Bell in Etheridge’s place Saturday, but Roof hasn’t ruled out moving Demond Washington over. (Click that link–it’s Andy Bitter–for an awesome quote from Tate about the delay-of-game-by-not-delaying-the-game penalty.)
This is crazy old, but … I never got around to linking up this Andy Bitter post from last week and there’s two things I want to point out about it:
1. Yeah, it can’t help but seem like Taylor’s blowing hot air when he says that a player who hasn’t even caught a pass yet will “light the record books up” at Auburn, but a) it’s more encouraging than what he’s saying about, say, Derek Winter or Quindarius Carr b) you’ve got to know Benton’s frustrated at the way the season has turned out for him so far–not catching a pass against the LSU team that by many accounts dumped him on Signing Day eve must have been especially painful–and maybe it’s reached the point Taylor feels going to bat for Benton in the press could help his confidence a little.
In short: maybe it’s hot air, maybe it’s not, but I’m happy to read it all the same.
2. This, however, I’m not happy to read:
“Did you hear Trindon Holliday’s name called once on a return Saturday?” [Jay] Boulware said. “The head coach said don’t kick it to him, so we didn’t. We didn’t want them to beat us on the return game. Our game plan was simple: punt away from them and kick away from them. [T]he punter (Clinton Durst) did a great job. I kept hearing the fans [gasping sound] every time, thought he shanked it, but he was punting it out of bounds. He wasn’t shanking it, he was punting over there. I thought he did a good job.”
This made sense when Durst was punting from his own 45 or further back, when a punt that stays in play against a guy like Holliday (as Auburn’s punt coverage team so deftly illustrated against Marshay Green last Saturday) is a major threat. But if the punter is any closer than that, I don’t care if the opponent has an Island-of-Dr. Moreau-style Tim Brown/Desmond Howard hybrid back there–our guy ought to be able to pull off a skyball or a coffin corner or something to keep the ball inside the 20 without risking a return. Twice Auburn punted from LSU’s side of the 50, and both times Dursts’s punts went out-of-bounds before they even crossed the 20; if you’re OK with that, why not just tell him to boot it straight out the back of the end zone? Sorry, but there’s a point at which caution gives way to gutlessness, and I think believing your punter has done a “great job” after a 19-yard kick that takes the ball from your opponent’s 44 to their 25–because, hey, at least that scary guy who almost gave away the ball inside his own 5 last year didn’t touch it!–kind of reaches that point. [/rant]
Etc. Charles Goldberg with the weekly “Auburn’s going to have to line up a cardboard cutout they stole from J&M on defense” update … Chris Todd can do it all … Mike Slade describes what it was like watching Etheridge’s injury and replacing him … also a little old, but this Andrew Gribble pre-Ole Miss article on how Auburn was responding differently to adversity is both a little prophetic and has some cool Trott quotes at the end about fans-with-keyboards … Cadillac and Carlos Rogers were on hand Saturday.