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Plainslinks’ fancy turns to love

And they're off! Sort of.

Spring is in the air! For a given definition of spring. The Official Residence of WBE got three-quarters of a foot of snow last night … and from what I can tell, we’re getting off light.

But there’s two telltale signs that things should be getting all wildflowery and tree-buddy on us soon:

Beisbol! Not that I’m telling you anything you don’t know, but Auburn’s baseball team dropped their season opener for the first time in years, falling 13-8 to Southeast Missouri St.. They recovered, though, downing the ex-Indians 9-8 in 10 on Saturday and then getting a big debut outing from JUCO pitcher Cole Nelson to win 6-1 on Sunday. PPL wraps it up for us:

[The opener] was just one game, right? Just a slip up. On Saturday however, it looked like same story different verse. Auburn saw SEMO rally to tie the game and honestly, could have given up hope. Just packed it in. Something changed though. The Tigers had were messing around, got slapped in the face, and finally woke up.

Kevin says “a sweep would have been better,” but he’s satisfied, in large part because Auburn’s dealing with oodles of injuries and lineup shakeups. My take: one game really isn’t going to ruin an entire baseball season. If the losses to the likes of SEMO get to be a habit, then we’ll talk.

Item no. 2: talkin’ bout’ spring practice. Gene Chizik came out of his brief hibernation to discuss Auburn’s upcoming spring camp and the raises for his assistants. Highlights:

— Unsurprisingly, he’s thrilled to have the administration shell out to keep the staff intact, but is also worried that with the increased salary will come increased pressure. There might be slightly increased grumbling in some corners, I guess, but for the most part I think the equation is simple: lose = pressure, win = no pressure. Anything else is just shading around the egdes.

— Big news at the tailback position: Fannin is confirmed to start the spring at RB, while Dontae Aycock will move around, i.e. do “what Mario did last year.” I’d be tempted to call this a knock against Aycock … except that Fannin his own self has already (seemingly) gone from H-back back to challenging for the tailback job, so it hardly rules it out for Aycock. (Also: if you’re Aycock, better to touch the ball 5-10 times a game like 2009 Fannin than just wasting away on the bench.)

— As expected, Cam Newton is in the mix at quarterback, but so are Caudle, Trotter, Rollison, and Mosley. Chizik actually said “may the best man win.”

— And it naturally follows, then, that there’s no change in Burns’ status. No specific challengers to his Wildcat role are mentioned.

— Tentative start date: March 24. So another month before getting any kind of hard news regarding our football team. Thanks a lot, winter.

Krootin’. Auburn seems on the cusp of getting their second major commitment for the class of 2011: Leeds corner Jonathan Rose, who’s already carrying offers from Alabama and Florida St. How close on the cusp? Just check the header. Why? Rose’s father Charles earned four varsity letters at Auburn and Rose grew up rooting for the Tigers, so it seems like it really will be something of a shock for Rose to go elsewhere. Not a commitment yet, but the news: good.

Lots of other tidbits from what ended up a busy last week for Auburn krootin’:

— Georgia LB Demarcus Sherod really, really likes Auburn.

— Spencer Region apparently means business with his Auburn commitment and may be able to sway his pal Reese Dismukes, another alleged ‘Bama lock not too long ago.

Auburn’s offered Georgia guard Thomas O’Reilly, as have Duke, Georgia Tech, Vandy, and Wake Forest. I’m guessing he’s a smart one. Call it a hunch.

— Auburn is one of five finalists and will likely be battling Georgia for OL Watts Dantzler. NEED MOAR LINEMEN.

Etc. Chris Low profiles what each SEC team is looking for in the spring, and if the Auburn content isn’t revelatory it’s (surprise!) a worthwhile overview of what’s going on across the rest of the league … JRS responds to the U.S.’s big hockey win with the appropriate Nuck-hate. Which reminds me, if you haven’t seen this

now you have. You’re welcome.

Photo by Leffie Dailey.

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