NFL training camps opening with question marks for some state players

The Arizona Cardinals will become the first NFL team hold a full team practice at training camp this year on Saturday in Glendale, Arizona. Over the next eight days, all the other NFL teams will join them as they begin the countdown to the 2017 regular season.

The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 42

There are 42 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 42 in SEC football history is Tennessee guard Bob Suffridge.

Ole Miss preps for spoiler role

No matter how many games the University of Mississippi wins, the Rebels know this season is ending Thanksgiving night in Starkville, Miss.

Freeze disgraces what he stood for

If Burt Lancaster lived today he would be bombarded with Elmer Gantry remake scripts converting the disgraced, Bible-thumping evangelist to a disgraced, Bible-thumping college football coach.

Hogs counting on Randy Ramsey to impact

The move to the 3-4 defense gives the junior a chance to shine.

Robinson Announces for Mississippi State

While the news may have come as no surprise, Devon Robinson's decision to commit to Mississippi State was welcomed in Starkville. The 6-6, 260 pound Whitehaven High School product (TN) chose the Bulldogs over a host of other college options.

Olive Branch corner Jaylon Reed is set to be a Bulldog. – Scout


Scout

Olive Branch corner Jaylon Reed is set to be a Bulldog.
Scout
2018 three-star defensive back Jaylon Reed of Olive Branch (MS) High School committed to the Mississippi State Bulldogs following Big Dawg camp. The top corner ... Heading into his senior season, Reed hopes to aid in the rebuild of Conquistador football.

10 big questions: How much will the safety play improve?

Arkansas will likely play the same cast of safeties this year, making their improvement a vital part of whether the defense takes a step forward.

Spivey Senses: Florida Gators recruiting notes post FNL

GatorCountry was live at Friday Night Lights for the biggest Florida Gators recruiting event of the year and a lot of big time players attended the event.

The Gators had two big time quarterbacks on campus for the event and one of those guys competed at the event.

GatorCountry brings you a new edition of our Spivey Senses insider report as we bring you the latest buzz surrounding the 2018 class.

Here's some things you will learn in this article

-How the quarterback is shaking out for the Gators right now.

-Which running back really stood out during the Friday Night Lights...

Read the rest here: Spivey Senses: Florida Gators recruiting notes post FNL

Reed Commits to State

Mississippi State hosted its annual Big Dawg camp on Friday night. Over the course of the evening, a pair of Memphis area stars elected to join the Bulldog fold. Olive Branch High School (MS) corner Jaylon Reed shard the good news with Coach Dan Mullen before leaving Starkville.

State of the Hogs: 'Radio Gold' Hammerin' Hank still missed

It's been a year since the passing of Hank French. Hammerin' Hank was and still is 'Pure Radio Gold.' There is still a void in local sports talk radio.

Clement sees special things ahead for Florida Gators

The Florida Gators had their big recruiting event on Friday night in the Swamp where a lot of players gathered to take part in Friday Night Lights.

Several current Gators commits were in town including running back commit Iverson Clement (5-11, 199, Mount Holly, NJ Rancocas Valley) who enjoyed the atmosphere in Gainesville.

“It feels amazing,” Clement said of being back at Florida. “Everybody is down here. We got Justin Fields, Matt Corral, Jacob Copeland; we had a lot of people. We all get together just chill, just talk and the biggest part of it all is just the relationship. A...

Read the rest here: Clement sees special things ahead for Florida Gators

Florida Gators making Jacob Copeland a priority

The Florida Gators welcomed several top recruits to Gainesville this weekend for Friday Night Lights. Among those players was the No. 9 ranked wide receiver in the 2018 class, Jacob Copeland (6-0, 192, Pensacola, FL. Escambia).

Copeland did not compete on Friday, but he got a chance to watch and experience the new atmosphere that Jim McElwain and his staff have brought to the event over the last two years. He was happy to be able to relax on a visit instead of work out.

“Feels good just to come back here and enjoy the time,” said Copeland. “Just chill, relax and not really have to...

Read the rest here: Florida Gators making Jacob Copeland a priority

Justin Fields works out and updates recruitment at Friday Night Lights

Justin Fields tweeted he was in Gainesville and the buzz started growing. A crowd started to gather around the northwest corner of the Florida Gators indoor practice facility on Friday Night as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback made his entrance to Friday Night Lights.

Fields owns offers from just about every Division I program in the country and his reputation precedes him. He didn’t need to work out, but the five-star quarterback from Kennesaw, Georgia couldn’t imagine coming and just watching from the sideline.

“It’s just the competitive nature in me. I just like to compete. I...

Read the rest here: Justin Fields works out and updates recruitment at Friday Night Lights

Florida football recruiting: 2019 OL Wardrick Wilson commits to Gators – Alligator Army


Alligator Army

Florida football recruiting: 2019 OL Wardrick Wilson commits to Gators
Alligator Army
The Florida Gators have had significant success recruiting Miami's Norland High School since hiring notable alumnus Randy Shannon as Jim McElwain's co-defensive coordinator and South Florida consigliere in 2014. And that trend has now continued into ...
3 recruits on commitment watch at Florida's Friday Night LightsSECcountry.com

Boca Raton's Dante Lang commits to Florida Gators | High School ...Palm Beach Post (blog)
Names you need to know for Florida Gators football's 2017 Friday ...OnlyGators.com
GatorCountry.com -Garnet And Black Attack -247Sports
all 48 news articles »

Decatur linebacker Josh Marsh commits to Auburn

Auburn landed its second commitment of the day Friday

Hoover junior receiver George Pickens commits to Auburn

Auburn added a class of 2019 commitment on Friday

Who was the worst coach at each SEC school and who replaced them?

Every SEC school has had good coaches and bad coaches. But who followed the worst hire at each of the SEC's 14 football programs?

Promising Auburn D-lineman Jeff Holland has made big gains in weight room, on bench press

"He's made a lot of progress. His neck is huge. His thighs have gotten bigger. He's a fully grown man now."

How close is Rodney Garner to identifying Auburn’s desired 10-man DL rotation?

Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner updates the status of his defensive line rotation ahead of fall camp.

Auburn’s Daniel Carlson named to Walter Camp Award watch list

Daniel Carlson landed on a third preseason watch list.

Alabama Roots: Who’s where as NFL opens training camps

The Arizona Cardinals become the first NFL team to bring their full roster to training camp on Friday. They have four of the 164 players with Alabama football roots who'll be reporting to NFL training camps this year.

Auburn opponent early scouting report: Mississippi State

An early look at Auburn's first SEC home game of the season.

The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 43

There are 43 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 43 in SEC football history is Alabama cornerback Antonio Langham.

4 former Auburn players rank among Cincinnati Bengals’ all-time best

Four former Auburn players are among the top 21 in the history of the Cincinnati Bengals, according to the NFL team's fans.

Alabama, Auburn recruiting can only benefit from Hugh Freeze resignation

Remember when Ole Miss burst onto the national recruiting scene and signed high-profile recruits Laremy Tunsil, Robert Nkemdiche and Laquon Treadwell?

Devaroe Lawrence starts New Orleans Saints’ training camp on NFI

Former Auburn defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence reported for his first NFL training camp on Wednesday, but he won't be able to practice with the New Orleans Saints' other rookies.

Ole Miss Announces Football Coaching Change

Ole Miss Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze has resigned his position effective immediately. Assistant Head Coach Matt Luke has been named Interim Head Coach.

Markaviest Bryant showing physical, mental traits Auburn wants at Buck

In his first two months on campus, Markaviest Bryant is displaying the physical and mental traits Auburn seeks at the Buck position.

Trial for man who killed former Auburn football player Jakell Mitchell set for September

The murder trial for the man charged with the murder of former Auburn H-back Jakell Mitchell over two and a half years ago has been continued until September.

Rodney Garner pleased with progress of freshman tackles Tyrone Truesdell and Alec Jackson

Defensive line coach Rodney Garner has been pleased with the progress

Why Auburn rising star Marlon Davidson is viewed as such a special talent

"That kid's going to be a really good player. He was a good player last year, but imagine him in a couple years. That's going to be really scary."

Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway named to Doak Walker Award watch list

Kamryn Pettway was named to a second preseason watch list.

Auburn opponent early scouting report: Missouri

An early look at Auburn's first ever trip to Missouri

Rested Tigers Travel to Texas (Previewing Auburn vs. Texas A&M)

TAMU Preview Kirk

Who will throw to Christian Kirk?

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s time now for another Auburn football preview! The Tigers take a bye in week 9 of the 2017 college football season, then head to College Station, Texas to take on Texas A&M. On paper, this is a very favorable situation for Auburn. Texas A&M has been notorious the past 3 seasons for November slides, and this one will be played on November 4th. It seems Auburn typically plays the Aggies early or at midseason in Auburn and isn’t ready. The College Station games have usually been played later in the year, and Auburn has come out on top both times. Auburn is widely expected to contend for the SEC West title this year, while lofty predictions such as that have been few and far between from the Aggie camp where head coach Kevin Sumlin is reportedly on the “hot seat” this season. I thought it was quite telling when Sumlin skipped the post-game press conference after the Aggie spring game.

     This year, The Auburn Tigers will have opened the season with Georgia Southern, then traveled to Clemson. Auburn will then enjoy an early homecoming game against Mercer before traveling to Missouri prior to a home clash with Mississippi State. The Rebels follow at Jordan-Hare Stadium, the following week before a road trip to LSU. Auburn then travels to Fayetteville to fight Arkansas before a well-earned bye week. Texas A&M opens at the Rose Bowl, taking on UCLA. Home tuneups follow against Nichols State and Louisiana-Lafayette. The Aggies then head to Arlington Texas to take on Arkansas. September finishes at home against South Carolina, then the first week of October, Alabama comes to College Station. The Aggies then travel to Florida before a bye week on October 21st. Texas A&M finishes October hosting Mississippi State before Auburn comes to town.

     Every spring and summer since Texas A&M joined the SEC, it seems that there’s a question of who will start at quarterback in the fall, and this year is no different. There is a three-way race once again this year, although my guess would be that as talented as he may be, the coaches will try to redshirt true freshman Kellen Mond. Mond appears to have the most upside of the candidates, but I can’t see an embattled head coach rolling the dice with a true freshman in the SEC West, unless there’s no choice. Mond and redshirt freshman Nick Starkel did make a play or three during the Aggie spring game, but also had long stretches where neither was very accurate. The most experienced candidate, senior Jake Hubenak, had only 47 passing yards on 13 attempts and really didn’t try to throw it downfield.

     The past couple of years, a list of Texas A&M receivers tended to make one’s eyes bug a bit at the huge collection of talent and speed present. Names like Ricky Seals-Jones, Speedy Noil, Jeremy Tabuyo and Josh Reynolds kept defensive coaches awake at night. Opposing coaches will sleep better this year as all 4 guys are headed to the NFL. That said, junior Aggie receiver Christian Kirk is at the top of a lot of preseason all-star lists. Still, teams will double cover Kirk and try to pressure the Aggie quarterbacks until it is proven dangerous to do so.

     With a lot of unknowns in the passing game, I expect the Aggie offense to be more balanced. The Aggies should have a solid offensive line, great running backs, and an emerging tight end group with a lot of promise. I expect the offense to start out featuring sophomore running back Trayveon Martin, who led the team in rushing last season with 1057 yards.

     The defense took some massive blows during the off-season, and this was a unit that basically collapsed down the stretch last year. Star defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall headed to the NFL, and the top two tacklers in the back seven, Shaan Washington and Justin Evans, are gone as well. A few weeks ago, it was revealed that junior starting cornerback Nick Harvey will miss the upcoming season after knee surgery. I did not see much in the Aggie spring game but cushion coverage. Still guys got open and occasionally gashed the patchwork secondary. The Aggies do have a good starting defensive tackle rotation but will have to find a lot of answers before the season begins in September.

     The Aggie special teams were surprisingly decent last season, and with nearly every piece of the puzzle returning, I would not be surprised if the Aggies are great this year. One thing that stood out to me was that Texas A&M returned 4 punts for touchdowns, 3 by Christian Kirk. The Tigers will have to punt away from him!

Unit matchups, after the jump!

Auburn defensive line vs. Texas A&M offensive line: Auburn brings a big, athletic defensive line back this season. Likely starters at tackle are junior Dontavius Russell and sophomore Derrick Brown. Sophomore strong-side end Marlon Davidson was a beast on A-Day. The buck side will likely be manned by a combination of junior Jeffery Holland and senior transfer Paul James III. Auburn has a good bit of depth behind the starters, as well. Texas A&M shuffled some pieces around this spring, moving sophomore Colton Prater to center. Former center Erik McCoy has been moved to left guard after some high-snap issues last season. Junior Connor Lanfear at right guard should give the Aggies a solid interior line. At the tackle spots, junior Koda Martin should be solid on the left, and the Aggies will try junior Keaton Sutherland. Advantage: Even.

Auburn linebackers vs. Texas A&M backs: The Auburn Tigers have a good cross-trained quartet of upper echelon SEC-caliber linebackers. Junior Deshaun Davis, senior Tré Williams, junior Darrell Williams and junior Montravious Atkinson can play all three positions, and we might see any combination of these players out on the field at a given time. Sophomore Trayveon Williams headlines this group, and he’ll be spelled by senior journeyman Keith Ford. Last year, a tired Auburn defense gave up a late 89-yard run to Trayveon Williams. Before that, the defense held Williams and Ford to 66 rushing yards on 19 carries. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn corners vs. Texas A&M receivers: Auburn has a fairly good combination of starting corners in junior Carlton Davis and sophomore Javaris Davis. The Tigers are hoping that Jamel Dean will be healthy this fall as he is one of the fastest players on the team. Sophomore Jeremiah Dinson could move over from nickel back, if needed. Last season, Auburn blanketed star A&M receiver Christian Kirk, allowing him only 22 yards on 5 catches, and figures to do so again. The Aggies once again have some top-end talent at wide receiver, but none of it is proven. After strong springs, we’ll pencil in senior Damion Ratley, redshirt freshman Quartney Davis and sophomore transfer Kirk Merritt on the outside. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn safeties vs. Texas A&M secondary receivers and quarterback: Auburn’s starting unit features seniors Tray Matthews and Stephen Roberts at safety and sophomore Jeremiah Dinson at nickel back. There’s not much depth here, beyond senior Nick Ruffin, who’ll probably see as much playing time as the starters. The Tigers are solid here as long as no one gets hurt. In the slot Texas A&M is young, with freshman Jharmon Ausbon and redshirt freshman Clyde Chriss appearing in the spring game. Senior tight end Kalvin Cline and sophomore Aaron Hansford are solid blockers and are an emerging threat in the passing game. Advantage: Auburn.

Punting: Sophomore Ian Shannon will likely get the nod as Auburn’s starting punter after a couple of years of waiting in the wings. Shannon looked good on A-Day a year ago in warmups. The Tigers gave up only 19 punt return yards last season on 6 punts for a stifling 3.2 yards per return. The Tigers are still auditioning for the punt-returner job. It’s thought that senior Stephen Roberts has the inside track after returning 6 punts last season for 100 yards. Senior punter Shane Tripucka was good for the Aggies last season, averaging 42.9 yards per punt. Texas A&M gave up 5.2 yards per return. In the return department, Christian Kirk was electric, averaging 21.69 yards per return on 13 returns. Teams really didn’t want to kick it to him as the season progressed. Advantage: Texas A&M.

Kickoffs: Daniel Carlson was very good kicking off last season, notching 57 touchbacks on 72 kickoffs. When Auburn did allow returns, opponents averaged only 18.0 yards per return. Junior Kerryon Johnson is Auburn’s most experienced return man returning, and he averaged 22.2 yards per return last season. Few kickers can come even close to Carlson’s ability to kick touchbacks, but the Aggies have sophomore Braden Mann, who booted 55 touchbacks on 76 kickoffs. Texas A&M gave up 19.8 yards per return. The Aggies were also one of the better kick-return teams in the SEC last season, averaging 23.6 yards per return, although the leader, Justin Evans is gone. I would expect Trayveon Williams and Christian Kirk to spend time here this season, and the Aggies will be just as explosive. Advantage: Texas A&M.

Place kicking: Auburn sophomore Daniel Carlson is the man for Auburn. Carlson was 28 of 32 on field goals and perfect on extra points. One of Carlson’s misses was a block by Vanderbilt. Texas A&M returns junior kicker Daniel LaCamera, who hit on 17 of 24 field goal attempts. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn offensive line vs. Texas A&M defensive line: It’s still not settled who’ll start for Auburn on the line, although the starters looked pretty good on A-Day. It seems the tackle spots are set with seniors Darius James and Braden Smith. Senior Austin Golson will likely start at center, although Auburn is bringing in senior transfer center Casey Dunn from Jax State. If Dunn starts, Golson could move to guard. Also transferring in this fall is former Florida State starting guard, Wilson Bell. Bell is expected to start at one of the guard spots. If Dunn does not beat ou Golson out, the other likely starting guard would be sophomore Mike Horton. The Aggies return some beef in the middle, led by senior Zaycoven Henderson, and junior Kingsley Keke, who appears to be on the verge of breaking out as a star. Junior Daylon Mack provides depth. Defensive end is a work in progress. Our guess at the end of spring is seniors Jarrett Johnson and Qualen Cunningham will hang in as starters with some experience. Behind those two, JUCO transfer Michael Clemons is expected to contribute early. Beyond that, things get thin. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn backs vs. Texas A&M linebackers: Auburn features junior H-back Chandler Cox blowing open holes. Running behind the big H-back will be massive junior Kamryn Pettway, and the shifty junior Kerryon Johnson in reserve. The Aggies do return some talent at linebacker, but much of it is unproven. The depth chart right now looks like either junior Otaro Alaka or sophomore Tyrel Dodson in the middle, with junior Richard Moore and freshman Anthony Hines outside. Depending on whether Dodson starts, or Hines doesn’t live up to his billing, Alaka could move to an outside linebacker spot. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn receivers vs. Texas A&M: At the end of spring, it looked like Auburn’s two starting outside guys were sophomore Nate Craig-Myers and sophomore Darius Slayton. Both guys can fly and have good height and great hands. Redshirt freshman Marquis McClain had a great A-Day and is someone to watch out for on the outside, as well. Texas A&M was shaky at corner last season and is now down a starter. Senior Priest Willis will start at one spot. The other side is a guessing game. I’m guessing we will see sophomores Charles Oliver and Roney Elam. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn secondary receivers and quarterback vs. Texas A&M safeties: Auburn has potential threats here, starting with wickedly fast junior slot receiver Will Hastings. Sophomore Eli Stove can also fly. Tight ends Jalen Harris and Sal Cannella are expected to be a big part of the passing game as well. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham is likely the starter. In 6 games as a freshman at Baylor, Stidham was electric. That trend continued during A-Day this spring as Stidham was deadly accurate and showed great mobility. Texas A&M is fairly strong at safety, and this should be a big help against the run. Seniors Armani Watts and Donovan Wilson have been around the block and are very capable. Watts is the leader of the defense. Advantage: Even.

     Every SEC team suffers attrition because of tough schedules and is limping a bit in spots by November. The past 5 seasons both Auburn and Texas A&M have stumbled in November, so it’s hard for me to see any advantage there. Likely, this game will feature a couple of programs going in opposite directions. If either team doesn’t win most of its games coming into this contest, the result will likely be lopsided.

     On paper, I like Auburn’s chances. Auburn seems to be set at most spots, and where there are questions, it is typically because Auburn has really good options still competing. There are several spots on the Texas A&M starting lineup where the coaches are still trying to find SEC-caliber players to plug in. On the other hand, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has been known to field dangerous offenses over the years, no matter who he has to plug in at midseason.

Prediction: A rested Auburn team takes on an Aggie team that has a brutal October with Alabama, MSU and Florida. Auburn has too much on both lines of scrimmage for the Aggies. Tigers win it, 27–13.

The post Rested Tigers Travel to Texas (Previewing Auburn vs. Texas A&M) appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

When 52nd is better than 15th

The AJC shared over the weekend a letter from a former baseball letterman calling for a change of leadership for the athletic department. The letter doesn’t break much new ground in its litany of complaints against the athletic department. It wasn’t a great year for some of Georgia’s more visible programs, and Greg McGarity isn’t a popular athletics director these days. Fine.

I couldn’t let this line pass without comment though. Which program would this informed letterman have Georgia emulate?

“Look at Clemson and what their athletic department has done with great leadership and a plan for high success.”

Clemson finished a lofty 52nd in this year’s Directors’ Cup standings. Lest you think that was an off-year, the Tigers were 42nd in 2016 and 57th in 2015. When I say “it’s about the football“, this is what I’m talking about. Clemson’s overall program can barely break into the top 50, but success in the most visible sports creates the perception of “great leadership.” Meanwhile it’s a crisis that Georgia nearly fell out of the top 20.

I don’t bring that up to diminish the concerns expressed in the letter. Success in football won’t eliminate customer service issues, and it won’t make the volleyball program any better. It might be enough that perception matters here: as the AJC notes, the letter gives “an on-the-record voice to the concerns that others have expressed behind the scenes.” Whether it’s based on football (or, in this case, baseball), those shortcomings invite us to find others. The athletics administration doesn’t have many defenders, at least not in the public space. Is that perception recoverable?

2017 Kentucky Wildcats Football Season Preview: Missouri Tigers – A Sea of Blue


A Sea of Blue

2017 Kentucky Wildcats Football Season Preview: Missouri Tigers
A Sea of Blue
2017 Kentucky Wildcats Football Season Preview: Missouri Tigers. We are creeping closer to football season so I am continuing my look at the opponents that the Wildcats will be facing this season. by Paul Jordan@PJordan_FL Jul 19, 2017, 9:59am EDT.
College football rankings: Kentucky WildcatsOrlando Sentinel

Kentucky Football: Players get added motivation from interesting weight room signWildcat Blue Nation
LOOK: Kentucky has College Football Playoff banner hanging in weight roomSECcountry.com

all 8 news articles »

Shea Patterson Named to O’Brien Award Watch List

Sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson is one of six SEC signal-callers named to the Davey O'Brien Award watch list, honoring the nation's best quarterback.

Women’s Camp Makes the Game Real Life for Female Fans

A couple of months ago, the Auburn Commons e-mail showed up in my inbox. I try and read them whenever they are sent, but sometimes they slip between the cracks. This particular e-mail, though, caught my eye. It was advertising a women’s football camp to be offered on July 16th, making it within a month of my wife’s birthday. What better birthday gift? I thought it was tailor made for her, and I quickly signed her up.

Here are some basics on the camp: It costs $100 and includes lunch, a picture with head coach Gus Malzahn, and an autographed picture of him. Now, this is basically the same thing that you would get at any of the Tiger Trek speaking engagements which are much closer to your home. 

However, things are just getting started for the campers. 

After checking in at 12:30, the campers get to mingle with the assistant coaches until everyone is checked in and lunch is served at the Indoor Practice Facility. Since my wife follows Auburn football closely, she tracked down a few specific coaches

lindseyburns

JJ

 

 

First on her list was first-year offensive coordinator, Chip Lindsey, who was my position coach at Sparkman High School in the 1999–2000 and 2000–2001 seasons. He also taught my wife at Sparkman.

Second on her list was receivers coach, Kodi Burns. As many fans know, Burns was a special player for Auburn, having played both quarterback and receiver before joining Auburn’s staff as a GA. While his football career was anything but stellar, Burns has become a very promising coach and has risen quickly though the ranks. Burns has now had successful stops at Auburn, MTSU, Arizona State, and back at Auburn as the receivers coach.

She also ran into Athletics Director, Jay Jacobs

After a lunch from Chicken Salad Chick, the campers had their photos taken with coach Malzahn before being split into two groups, Orange and Blue. They alternated between the following: Defense—Team Meeting Room, IPF with Defensive Overview/Install—Weight Room, Sports Performance/Character Development Overview, Offense—Rane Room, and IPF with Offensive Teaching with Coaches and Offensive Overview, Coach Malzahn and Rules Overview—Team Meeting Room. 

Finally, the entire camp reconvened and bused to Jordan-Hare for a tour of Tigers Den and Locker Room. Coach Malzahn gave closing remarks and a group picture was taken.

When asked about the camp, my wife had some interesting thoughts and comments. We had both assumed that this camp would go one of two ways: it would be a glorified meet-and-greet with no real substance, or it would be an intense, hands-on camp. It ended up being somewhere in the middle. 

The coaches were engaging and went through actual drills and concepts with the campers. The more interested the camper was with the concepts, the more the coaches were willing to go in- depth. In other words, some campers were satisfied just understanding the names of the different positions while others were hungry to understand alignments and coverages.  

The coaches did a fantastic job identifying the types of campers and tailoring the experience to everyone. My wife was assigned to defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and assigned the role of defensive back. He would call a play, set an offensive play into motion and after the play, quiz the campers on whether or not they had responded correctlyly. Just when campers thought they understood how it worked, he would then translate it to game speed with his own players to show just how fast and hard the game really is. 

Due to time constraints, she was unable to have the same experience with the offensive side of the ball, though the offensive coaches and as all four quarterbacks were introduced by coach Lindsey. For many of these campers, it was the first time that a face was put to a number. 

What did my wife have to say about the camp?

First, it was well worth the $100 charge, just for the lunch and meet-and-greet. Keep in mind that Auburn charges 10 times that amount for the men’s camp. 

She really enjoyed that the assistant coaches were made available and that they would listen and talk as long as campers wanted. 

Of course, she was particularly interested in the schemes, play calling, and execution. Though she only did the defensive portion, she was able to learn a lot that watching games on TV would never provide.

The strength and conditioning aspects, including nutrition, were really eye-opening. This, coupled with the character building and all of the resources given to these players, provides the football players with an amazing opportunity. She said the involvement in their personal lives, whether it is the graduate assistant who checks on them every evening or the mentoring they receive, is particularly great. That’s especially important considering that many of these young men never had a father figure nor anyone that has ever said, “I care about you.”

Auburn is making sure these men are prepared for a life outside of football by taking care of the young man first and the athlete second. “It was an awesome thing to see what Auburn does for these men and something I wouldn’t have known otherwise,” she said.

What would she like to see improved? 

Since she was the youngest of the fifty or so campers, she felt the camp needs to be marketed to a younger crowd.

More emphasis needs to be placed on bathroom facilities and breaks. Obviously, there aren’t a lot of women inside the IPF and team rooms and, as such, there are few bathrooms. Campers missed a lot of time and instruction because there were no dedicated bathroom breaks. 

If the camp could be broken up into multiple groups, it would benefit  both those just happy to be there but aren’t truly interested in learning the game and those who really want to learn the intricacies of the game. It is difficult for both to co-exist and, many times, my wife felt like the presence of the former really shorted the latter. There is nothing wrong with just wanting to meet coaches and take a tour, but it left something lacking for the other type of camper. 

It is possible that this caused some of the time constraints that resulted in missing half of the camp. As noted, my wife missed the offensive install portion, something she would really enjoy. Perhaps the camp needs to be a two-day event. While it might cost a little more money, I don’t think potential campers would complain. 

All in all, this was a terrific camp, and Auburn should continue it. Although there are some improvements that could be made, I’d encourage any lady who loves Auburn football to spend $100 and attend the next one. 

The post Women’s Camp Makes the Game Real Life for Female Fans appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Gates Lands on Butkus Award Watch List

Ole Miss senior DeMarquis Gates has been named to the 51-man watch list for the 2017 Butkus Award®, which honors the best linebacker in college football.

Javon Patterson Makes Wuerffel Trophy Watch List

Ole Miss junior offensive lineman Javon Patterson is an active volunteer in the Oxford/Lafayette County community. On Tuesday, he was recognized for his service, earning one of 108 spots on the 2017 Wuerffel Trophy watch list.

Tigers Have Placed Eight on Preseason Award Watch Lists

Sep 26, 2015; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Kerryon Johnson (21) carries against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the first quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

‘Tis the season for college football awards watch lists, and Auburn has placed eight Tigers on awards lists thus far. The latest two players to be honored came today with the announcements that Tré Williams and Kerryon Johnson had been selected for consideration by prestigious awards.

Williams was added to the list for the Butkus Award, which is presented to the nation’s top linebacker, and Johnson has been honored by a nomination to the Paul Hornung Award watch list.

The Hornung, named after Green Bay Packer great Paul Hornung, recognizes college football’s most versatile player. And the Butkus Award is named after the Chicago Bears’ Hall of Famer, Dick Butkus.

Williams had 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and 67 tackles last season while Johnson has amassed 2,078 all-purpose career yards, including 1,103 rushing, and he has a career kick return average of 25.12 yards, the seventh best in Auburn history.

It’s great to see all these guys get the recognition they deserve. And it’s also great because it means the best time of the year is just around the corner. Auburn football is only 46 days away.

War Eagle!

A list of the players that have been placed on watch lists is after the jump.

 

1. Running back Kerryon Johnson – Paul Hornung Award.
2. Linebacker  Tré Williams – Butkus Award.
3. Safety Tray Matthews – Bednarik Award.
4. Running back Kamryn Pettway – Maxwell Award.
5. Center Austin Golson – Rimington Trophy.
6. Kicker Daniel Carlson – Lou Groza Award.
7. Offensive Lineman Braden Smith – Outland Trophy.
8. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham – Maxwell Award.

The post Tigers Have Placed Eight on Preseason Award Watch Lists appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

EJ Price picks Kentucky Wildcats Football: Highlights and scouting report – A Sea of Blue


A Sea of Blue

EJ Price picks Kentucky Wildcats Football: Highlights and scouting report
A Sea of Blue
The Kentucky Wildcats have picked up a massive football commitment, though this one comes via transfer. According to Rivals and Cats Pause, offensive tackle E.J. Price has committed to UK. It was actually UK commit Jarren Williams who broke the news ...
Former prep All-American and USC Trojan EJ Price joining Kentucky WildcatsScout

Trojan transfer EJ Price to Kentucky247Sports

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After breakthrough season, Kentucky tries to avoid a letdown – The State


The State

After breakthrough season, Kentucky tries to avoid a letdown
The State
The simmering pan under Mark Stoops' Kentucky tenure was boiling into a grease fire. After yet another promising season began with an awful start, the familiar refrains erupted, even in a place where football is usually just a water-cooler chat until ...

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Monday Musings From The Plains

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With SEC Media Days in the rear view mirror, we can officially say football season is here. Auburn football camp begins in less than two weeks. And Gus Malzahn said he’s excited about his fifth team.

That in itself is not surprising, but the fact that he compared this bunch to a SEC Championship Team is: “They’re hungry and they’ve got something to prove,” said Gus. “The last time I felt this was 2013. So that’s a good comfort for me.”

The reason for his enthusiasm may be more than just a coach’s preseason optimism. With an experienced roster and the addition of  Jarrett Stidham, the Tigers have their best depth since Auburn played in the Coliseum for the national championship.

Maybe that’s why Nick Saban dissed the Tigers in Hoover when he named nine different SEC teams as some of the league’s best while omitting Auburn. He even had Miss State and Vandy on his list but no Auburn. Don’t believe for a moment it wasn’t intentional. Nick’s a smart guy and he knows what Gus has to work with this year—despite the omission.

***

When the Tigers take the field against Georgia Southern on September 2, there will be a new coach on the sideline. Well not actually new, but one with a new responsibility.

Strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell will be charged with  grabbing Gus Malzahn’s belt, preventing him from going on the field to argue with refs during the game. And it will be an important assignment too! SEC Coordinator of Officials Steve Shaw said last week a new rule goes into effect this year calling for a 15-yard penalty against coaches who storm the field to argue officials’ calls.

As probably the strongest coach on the staff, Russell is the right guy for the job. Malzahn has certainly had to be restrained before, but it will be interesting to see how evenly the new rule is applied. What will happen the first time Saban argues with a ref? No one has been more guilty of the practice than the Tide skipper.

***

Last week’s statement by Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick saying he would like to schedule a game with Auburn is good news. If it could happen, it would be an historic occasion as the two power-five schools have never met on the gridiron.

According to Gary Stokam, president of the Peach Bowl and the Chick-fil-A game, bowl officials came close to matching the two in the 2018 Kickoff Classic before scheduling conflicts brought about a contract with Auburn and Washington.

While a Tigers-Irish match up would be a welcome event for the fans, it would also be a one-and-done game, something that has all too often become the norm in recent years.

Programs just don’t want to commit to home-and-home series. That’s a shame because it would be cool to play the Fighting Irish in South Bend and then have Notre Dame make the return trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium a year later. It now looks like the two may get together, but it could take three to four years (or more).

Who knows what each program will look like four seasons from now. Let’s hope the coaching staffs remain the same—four seasons is an eternity in football years.

Until next time…

The post Monday Musings From The Plains appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Meet The Rebels on August 12

Ole Miss fans will want to clear their calendars for Saturday, August 12, for the 2017 Meet the Rebels Day on campus. The annual event will take place from 1-3 p.m. at the Manning Center.

Four Rebels Voted Preseason All-SEC by League Media

A quartet of Ole Miss Rebels were selected to preseason All-SEC teams in a vote by media members at the 2017 SEC Media Days this week. Senior DE Marquis Haynes was named to the first team defense. Sophomore Greg Little and junior Javon Patterson were third-team picks on the OL, and senior K Gary Wunderlich was also a third-team choice.

Football Wraps Up 2017 SEC Media Days

Head Coach Hugh Freeze along with student-athletes Javon Patterson, Shea Patterson and Breeland Speaks took turns addressing the national media at SEC Media Days.

Haynes Named to Nagurski Trophy Watch List

Entering his final season as a Rebel, Ole Miss senior defensive lineman Marquis Haynes found his name on the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy announced Thursday morning. Haynes has made the watch list for the second straight year for the award given annually to the best defensive player in college football.

Little Lands on Outland Trophy Watch List

Following a breakout freshman season in 2016, Ole Miss offensive lineman Greg Little has been named to the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List released Thursday morning. The Rebel is one of 81 players on the list for the award given to the nation's top interior lineman.
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