OK, not a lot of time to split the various links and newsbits into their various posts, so here’s me throwing a lot of stuff from this week against the wall and assuming it’ll adhere into something worth reading …
Much ado about nothing. Probably. Both Gus Malzahn and Trooper Taylor took the time this week to halfheartedly disavow reports that they could be candidates for the Memphis head coaching position–and, in Taylor’s case, Western Kentucky’s vacancy as well–but both also stopped short of saying “I’m not going to Memphis.” Malzahn didn’t leave himself a whole lot of wriggle room by saying “I’m committed” to his “big dreams” at Auburn, and if Taylor was a little more evasive he also repeatedly emphasized his focus on his current job and maybe sorta kinda implied Memphis wasn’t “the right job” for him.
What I’m taking away from these responses is that both Malzahn and Taylor will listen if a job they’re interested in comes open … but that Memphis (and WKU) probably doesn’t interest them quite enough.
Reed: the news looks good after all. So after the WBE’s freak-out earlier this week–prompted by a Reed advisor claiming that Oregon had become Reed’s No. 1 in the wake of a visit to Autzen–it looks like Trovon Reed will be committing to Auburn at tomorrow’s scheduled announcement after all:
Reliable sources have indicated that ESPNU 150 wide receiver Trovon Reed (Thibodeaux, La./Thibodeaux) is likely going to commit to Auburn. The Tigers have been the favorite for the talented receiver for some time and Reed has even mentioned making a verbal commitment later this month. Oregon and LSU also are in the mix, but Auburn has been the strongest team throughout the course of his recruitment.
Phillip Marshall is also confident; Rivals is offering up a freebie with some nonspecific information. It still won’t be a given until Reed actually offers the words “Auburn University” at his announcement, and even if that happens it seems like Auburn will have to fend off a stiff challenge from the Ducks down the stretch … but if Reed does in fact commit and sign with Auburn, it’s going to be another huge pull for Chizik and Co. Reed is a top-50 overall player to both Rivals and ESPN and one of the top handful of receivers in the country to all three services; between Reed and Antonio Goodwin, Auburn will bring in one of the best classes of wideouts in the country. Maybe most impressive is that Reed is the consensus top player in Louisiana–the kind of player that if he doesn’t go to LSU, traditionally goes to USC or Florida or some other recruiting powerhouse. This year, it looks like he’s going to Auburn.
Hoop it up. I’d hoped to get some kind of Auburn hoops preview done before the season tipped off, but oh well: both the men and women will get things started tonight in a rare home doubleheader, the last season-opener (thank goodness) in Beard-Eaves history. The women should cruise against Troy, but the men will have to be on their guard: Niagara is a potential NCAA Tournament team, a talented and well-coached bunch that graduated one player from a team that won 26 games last year. The Purple Eagles play a unique up-tempo style that could put Auburn in a deep hole if they don’t come out with some defensive intensity in the early going. It’s a dangerous game for Auburn, but it’s also a great opportunity–it’s highly likely Niagara will finish the year in the RPI top 100 or even the top 50, making a victory Friday a potentially big step in Jeff Lebo’s pursuit of his first NCAA Tournament berth.
Lebo has already gotten some good news this week as he’s gotten some solid-looking recruits to sign, including ex-Tide commitment Shawn Kemp Jr.
McCalebb? He could play against Georgia … but frankly, finding out it’s been one of those horrible high-ankle sprains he was running on vs. Arkansas, Kentucky and LSU doesn’t bode well, and neither does Gus Malzahn sounding like he’s already moved on. With Fannin looking as sharp as he has, still don’t think we see McCalebb until the Iron Bowl.
Punt return. We’ll find out Saturday who’s going to be fielding punts, and not one second before.
Vote Ben Tate. For the Doak Walker. Or those of you who have All-SEC votes, for All-SEC. At least.