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Plainslinks goes to work

It’s time. The Iron Bowl is eight days away, which means we’ve reached the point of the season where we start remembering all the reasons Auburn fans hate Alabama and all the joy Auburn fans have felt whenever our team has beaten their sorry unbearable asses. And yesterday’s Photo of the Day here at TWER is an awesome start:


That’s James Joseph and friends at a pep rally for the ’89 “Grand Slam Alabam'” Iron Bowl (still my favorite Tiger Rags shirt ever, ever ever ever), for any of you under the misguided notion that Tuberville somehow invented the idea of finger-raising or that it might stop with his departure. We’ll get ’em raised again soon enough.

Tate. As you’re well-aware by now, our resident Doak Walker semifinalist has also gotten his ‘Bama-hate on, beating the rush by calling himself a better back than the Tide’s Mark Ingram. I’m with K-Scar: as duty-bound as I am to agree with his points,  that’s not really a boat I’d prefer to see rocked at this stage of the year. The less attention Auburn calls to itself and the more they can let the Tide give into the natural urge to start worrying about Florida, the better.

But it also has to be said: it’s not like Tate’s engaging in some kind of Ochocinco-style out-of-control trash talk when he’s also saying things like this:

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: he’s a very good running back,” Tate said. “He’s having a great year. Their team is undefeated. He’s a great running back. I hope he wins the Heisman. Honestly, I’m serious when I say that because he’d be the first running back to win it since Reggie Bush, and I think he’s got the opportunity to do that.”

The Tide and their fans can turn this little molehill into a mountain if they want to, but anyone trying to portray Ben Tate as some kind of loudmouthed pro wrestling villain is a fool.

Elsewhere on the football beat, there’s a ton of great quotes from yesterday’s sessions: most intriguing is Walt McFadden’s revelation that David Gibbs and Tubby were definitely not on the same page when it came to coaching corners. Jay G. Tate looks at Auburn’s efforts to cut down on penalties. Onterrio McCalebb feels better after some rest.

It just wouldn’t be basketball season … if the Auburn men weren’t suffering various injury casualties, would it? This time it’s Kenny Gabriel joining Tay Waller on the sidelines after a hernia surgery. Not good.

You can probably nevermind about that. Thankfully, Memphis appears to be going in a direction with their coaching search that isn’t “current Auburn assistant.” Eddie Gran has interviewed, but the front-runner appears to be LSU assistant/Memphis alum/high-profile recruiter Larry Porter. So, good news there.

Auburn in the news. Will pointed me towards this Auburn-centric recent (and rather unflattering) Wall Street Journal piece on SEC fraternities, their pledges’ dates, and the role they’re playing in SEC student sections. Fairly interesting reading, I guess, but the highlight is unquetionably the tidbit from the sidebar:

One of the most perplexing traditions dutifully carried on by students around the SEC is the perpetuation of the myth that LSU fans smell like corndogs. Some suspect this began years ago when some confused fans in Alabama misapplied an insult normally reserved for fans of teams in states more famous for growing corn, like Nebraska.

That’s a LOL and a half right there. Also worth a gander: ESPN’s story on in-stadium security texting.

I like where you’re going with this. K-Scar compares and contrasts Gene Chizik’s first season at the Auburn helm with the coachbot’s in Tuscaloosa, as plenty of Auburn fans have done this season. I think the rough comparison works–the point is that a coach can go through a rough patch his first season and go on to win big his second season, and there’s no reason Chizik can’t do exactly that. But past that, Scarbinsky’s right that the task is much taller for Chizik now than it was for Saban, not least because that first Tide team unlucky in the turnover department and better than its record.

But the most important part of the article for Auburn fans is this one:

Saban’s debut season in Tuscaloosa featured a defense that gave up more points than all but two teams in Alabama history.

Yup: even the coachbot had to take a season to get in schemes in place. Better luck on the injury front, another year of experience for every one who’s coming back, and familiarity with Chizik and Roof should all equal a much, much better defensive outing in ’10. I know the numbers suck, but it’s still not worth panicking over.

BlAUgosphere. Lots to recommend here: Will can’t handle Auburn’s inconsistency; Rob Pate is encouraged for the years to come despite the loss; Acid provides the blueprint for the ‘Bama game; Jay calls this Auburn team special, a sentiment I agree with (as you know); WarBlogle caught up with Kenny Irons in Athens; and J.D. hits on the most frustrating aspect of the Georgia loss: Auburn’s wins over our biggest rivals are few and far between these days. Four straight failures against the Dawgs, three vs. LSU, one (and very possibly two) vs. ‘Bama. I can live with it this season, but Priorities Nos. 1, 1A, 1B, and 1C for 2010 are snapping a couple of these streaks.

Stuff you’ve seen. Yes, it looks like this is Mike Blanc coming out of an impromptu sideline bathroom in Athens. Even provided that’s the case 1. is Auburn really the only team out there doing this? I doubt it 2. not to be too indelicate, but if we’re only talking about going No. 1 here and there’s something more advanced than a bucket inside that tent, I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. Would I be bother if some other team did this on the J-Hare sideline? If there’s no spills involved, not particularly.

Secondly, this Red Cup Rebellion breakdown of what was supposed to be happening on the now-infamus Lee Ziemba reception is enlightening for a coupel of reasons: first, for showing that the basic premise of the play is both functional and another connection to draw between Nutt and his former OC, and second, for proving why this was such a terrible play-call. If the play is predicated on the opponent getting distracted by Ziemba, what are the odds on it working when Auburn’s already run it twice this season? Slim. Slim, slim, slim. You got one shot at that one, Dr. Gustav, and you used it way back in Week 2.

Etc. Auburn is 7th in this week’s SEC Power Poll … Beaver rounds up some bowl projections.

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