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Jarrett Stidham, Welcome to Auburn

I was in Tampa, Florida when I got the news that Cam Newton had chosen Auburn as the school where he would take his formidable football skills. My wife and I were in town for the 2010 Outback Bowl which would pit my Auburn Tigers against the Northwestern Wildcats.

Typically, I don’t follow recruiting with the passion and fervor that many college football fans do. I do keep a close eye on it, but I don’t have time to worry about a high school player’s stats, 40 time, strength numbers, film clips, etc. Cam Newton was an exception.

I was bug-eyed at all of the info I was getting on Newton. He was 6’6”, 250, with a cannon for an arm and he could run like a deer. Then I watched his video highlights. I watched them again. It was very difficult to contain myself.

And, with the offensive line, skill players, and a defense that would feature Nick Fairley, amongst many others, coming back at Auburn, my expectations soared.

11-1! That was one of the first things that popped into my mind. I thought going undefeated was a possibility, but accomplishing a task of that order is tough, indeed, in the SEC West.

Later, in the spring of 2010, we were attending the Wanee Music Festival at the Spirit of the South Music Park in Live Oak, FL. I was strolling across the field where the main stage was set up. A voice, out of nowhere, shouted, “War Eagle!” I must have had on something with an interlocking AU on it or another form of Auburn identification.

I quickly looked around, and seated in lawn chairs near me, were two male Auburn students. We exchanged further greetings and began to discuss the high hopes for the Tigers in the upcoming 2010 season.

One of the young men worked in the banquet facilities at the Auburn Hotel and Convention Center and he told me about a conversation he had with Gus Malzahn, who was then the offensive coordinator on the Plains, when Gus was a guest at a holiday season fête at the hotel just before Cam signed with Auburn.

They were chatting about the upcoming 2010 football campaign and the possibilities of this Auburn team. During the course of the conversation the young man asked Gus, “What if we get Cam Newton?” Gus replied without hesitation, “We go to Atlanta.”

You know the rest of the story.

When JUCO quarterbacks wind up at Auburn, good things happen. Championships happen.

Gus also inherited a JUCO quarterback, in his first year at Auburn under Gene Chizik, from the Tommy Tuberville era. That was Chris Todd.

Todd was a Kentucky native who was recruited from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. All he did in 2009 was set the Auburn single season-record with 28 touchdown passes and wound up with 2,612 yards, a 60.4 completion percentage, and a QB rating of 145.7. He threw only six interceptions.

Malzahn was named the head coach at Auburn in December of 2012 and soon added another JUCO quarterback to his roster. That was Nick Marshall, a Georgia native, who was then playing for Garden City Community College which is also in Kansas.

Marshall led Auburn to within 13 seconds of a BCS National Championship in his first year, 2013. In two seasons he passed for 4,508 yards and rushed for 1,866. He was voted team MVP in 2013. Here is the complete skinny on his time with the Tigers.

John Franklin III was next in the succession of JUCO signal callers. A Florida native, Franklin played at East Mississippi Community College and enrolled at Auburn in January of this year. He is on the current roster. Find his data here.

And that brings us to… Jarrett Stidham, the 5 star Baylor transfer. He could very well be a game-changer. I expect him to be, just like Newton and Marshall before him.

If you are an Auburn fan, or even follow college football at all, you are familiar with Stidham’s route to becoming an Auburn Tiger. He was enrolled at McLennan Community College, in Texas, but did not play football this year.

Stidham is the type of dual-threat quarterback that thrives so well in Malzahn’s system. The sky should be the limit with him behind center. His info.

Now, if you are a fan of Auburn, don’t run out and make reservations for Atlanta just yet…ohhhhh,  on second thought, go right ahead and do just that.

Auburn and JUCO transfer quarterbacks are a matches made in football heaven.

Big Improvement on the Plains Starts with Defense

2015 was a big disappointment for the Auburn faithful. The team that was picked to win the conference at SEC Media days finished the season with a 7-6 record overall and went 2-6 in SEC play. That landed them last in the West.

If the 2016 season is to be a successful one for the Auburn Tigers, then a number of things are going to have to come together for them. It is a must that they improve on both sides of the ball. The Tigers are also going to have to navigate, what is considered by many, one the most brutal schedules in all of college football.

Auburn opens with the second-ranked team in the country, as voted in the USA Today Coaches Poll, Clemson. That’s just for starters. Texas A&M and LSU will also come calling in the month of September. At least these games will be played in the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The road games include Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama. Ouch!

Oh yeah! The Arkansas Razorbacks come to the Plains in October. Vanderbilt makes its first trip to Auburn since 2007. And don’t write off the Commodores. They are playing some very good defense under head coach, and defensive coordinator, Derek Mason.

Now, let’s check what’s going on with the Tigers as they seek to improve enough to become a contender in the SEC West again.

First, defense.

It was defense that used to be Auburn’s calling card. From Shug Jordan, to Pat Dye, to Tommy Tuberville, Auburn fielded some of the best defenses in the SEC and in the country. Under Jordan, the 1957 unit yielded a mere 28 points. That’s 2.8 points per game. They recorded six shutouts in that National Championship season. Players like lineman Zeke Smith and linebacker Jackie Burkett led that sterling aggregation of defenders.

Dye’s best group was in 1988. Tracy Rocker, a tackle, and Benji Roland, a nose guard, were both All-Americans that year. Auburn won the SEC. The defense gave up only 7.7 points per game. That was first in the country and no SEC defense has allowed fewer points per game since then.

The 2004 Tiger defense was Tuberville’s most formidable. They yielded but 11.3 points per game. That, also, was tops in college football. Gene Chizik, later to become the head coach on the Plains, was the coordinator. And who can forget such names as Carlos Rogers, Junior Rosegreen, and Travis Williams, who is now coaching linebackers at Auburn?

Defense wins championships and defense will be the strength of the 2016 Auburn Tiger team from the looks of things. The starters comprise an all five-star line, which could be three deep at every position.

Click here to get a good idea of what coach Rodney Garner has to work with.

What about the offense? If it is to be more productive than it was in 2015, the wide receivers are going to have to step up and make much more of a contribution. Former Tiger, Kodi Burns, is now the position coach and he has some excellent young talent to work with.

Here is an update on his group.

Who is going to be Auburn’s starting quarterback? That is the question Tiger fans and those all across the college football landscape are asking as we fast approach the start of the 2016 season. In my humble opinion, Sean White will take the first snap when Auburn faces Clemson on September 3. Yet, much of the talk during fall practice has been about John Franklin III. We have heard about his strong throwing arm, but he must continue to hone his accuracy skills. His speed is another thing that the JUCO transfer has going for him.

This article from AL.com expands upon that subject.

Speed. Franklin might not even be the fastest player on Auburn’s team.

Take a look at defensive back Javaris Davis, right here.

Improvement, big improvement. Yes, you will see it, on both sides of the ball, when Auburn takes the field the first in Saturday in September. And, I think a great many “experts” are going to be surprised. Count on it!

E-mail Bird at bird.lecroy@campuspressbox.com or follow him on Twitter @Autull.

Auburn Links: The Latest From The Plains

The first SEC football news I saw this morning was in the form of a tweet. It was another tale of two more young, and very talented, players being arrested. This time it was for illegal possession of a firearm and, you guessed it, marijuana. The team the young men play for is the University of Alabama, but, that’s not the point. The point is that you could fill in the blank with the name of any team from any conference, at any level, in any sport.

This type of thing has, sadly, become commonplace.

I find myself at a loss for words, except for three… WTH? That’s it. That’s all I’ve got on the subject today. More later? I don’t know. We are scheduled to record a podcast this afternoon and I’m sure that this story will be a prime source for our conversation.

Today? In this slot? I’m going back to Auburn, and I’m going to do a twist of my Friday column format, links, Auburn links.

ESPN just released it opening weekend TV schedule.

I can hear the collective moans and groans, from the Auburn Family, up here in north Georgia. If I’m honest, I have to include myself in that company. 9 PM EDT is the time the Tigers vs. Tigers matchup will kickoff. That means the game will not conclude until around 12:30 or 1 AM EDT on Sunday,  September 4th.

It is what it is. As Auburn fans, let’s just embrace the moment and get good and “prepared” for the conclusion of the ESPN tripleheader. Let’s see this as an opportunity. Jordan-Hare Stadium, at night, is an exceptionally tough place to play. Auburn fans should make it doubly so and give Dabo’s group of highly-ranked felines all they can handle and more.

Auburn’s win total, including a bowl game, has been set at 7.5. This number comes from the good people at 5Dimes. I disagree, slightly. I would put that total at 8.5, but I’m an optimist. We will get into the specifics of all of this when August rolls around. The only other thought I’ll share, at this point, is that Auburn will be much improved, in my humble opinion.

We now have info on what Auburn’s participation in satellite camps will be. Gus revealed that Tiger coaches will, probably, be involved in three of the the gatherings that Jim Harbaugh, directly or indirectly, foisted upon the college football world. Good! That’s the given. Embrace it just like you should that late kickoff with Clemson.

Auburn’s new linebacker coach, Travis “T Will” Williams speaks up on the subject of the position that he oversees. I love Coach Williams. He was an undersized player when he made his way to the Plains and he made the most of it in spades. His tenacity and work ethic will rub off on his steads and I expect the group will be a big part of that much improved equation.

Speaking of linebackers, Auburn got a big commitment from one this past Friday. He is Chandler Wooten from North Cobb High School which is right here in Acworth, GA. My wife, Melodye, teaches math at NCHS, but she doesn’t know Wooten. She hasn’t taught him. Everything I hear about him is positive. Here’s thinking that Coach Williams should develop Wooten into a very good outside linebacker.

Also last Friday, in My SEC Links blog, I featured a story on Auburn quarterback John Franklin III working out with Michael Vick. My immediate thought was how head coach Gus Malzahn would react to this bit of news on one of his signal callers who is in the thick of the quarterback battle. We have that reaction here. I am pleased with the news on Franklin and Malzahn’s response to it. I think it shows how focused and committed Franklin is in his pursuit of the starting job and, it seems, that this could only help him toward that goal.

105 days remain until Auburn and Clemson kick it off on September 3rd.

SEC Links: Ramblin’ Down That Coaches Highway (and a Bit of Lagniappe)

This week in SEC Links we will focus on coaches, their opinions, their salaries, and their preparation techniques. Also, we will take a look at the buzz around a former NFL legend who could, possibly, be jumping into the coaching ranks.

Bret Bielema (known as “Bert” here at Campus Pressbox) has never been one to shy away from controversial topics and he is keeping true to form this off-season. Bielema is gathering information toward, potentially, allowing undrafted college underclassmen to return to their alma maters if they are not chosen in the NFL draft, which is held each spring. The initial idea strikes me as a good one but there are potholes in that road back to State U as this piece from NFL.com outlines. It will be very interesting to see if this notion takes legs and winds up in the lap of the inept NCAA.

Just down the road in Oxford, MS, the Laremy Tunsil debacle and the oncoming NCAA issues continue to take center stage. As gifted an athlete as Tunsil is, you wonder if Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze rues the day he signed Laremy to a scholarship. Freeze now finds himself right square in the middle of this swirling chaos and is taking steps to try and protect himself, and the Rebel program, from potential problems in the event that he is deposed in the lawsuit between Tunsil and his stepfather.

Jump on I-55 and head further down the SEC coaching highway to Baton Rouge, LA where new LSU defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda, is installing his system. Aranda is switching schemes from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Summertime is upon us and this is a critical season in terms of a football team bonding, developing chemistry, and working hard toward the dogs days of August, when fall camp begins. LSU is, most-assuredly, loaded with talent on the defensive side of the ball, and how well Aranda is able to get those defenders on the same page and playing together, will be critical to the success of the Tigers this fall.

We then take I-10 east, to I-65 north, to I-85 north, and find ourselves on the Plains of East Alabama, where the success of the 2016 edition of the Auburn Tigers will depend, to an enormous degree, on the play of these Tigers’ quarterback. John Franklin III is very much in the center of that conversation, and guess who has been tutoring Franklin as of late? Unless you were already privy to this information, I’ll bet you didn’t guess Michael Vick. Well, boys and girls, that’s exactly who, along with his personal quarterbacks coach, Lionel Bozeman, has been tutoring JF III. Does Gus know about this? The thick plottens.

Yes, SEC coaches, be they assistants, or the top dog, have a mind-numbing array of moving parts to piece together in building a football team, and the approaching summer months are no exception. Now, with the whole satellite camp scramble in full swing, it gets even crazier.

So, just how well do the of SEC head men get compensated? Stan Chrapowicki, of Bleacher Report, has taken the SEC head football coaches salaries, and combined them with the compensation of their fellow head basketball coaches, to reveal what SEC schools are shucking out on their revenue-producing sports’ CEOs. The results might surprise you.

I recently alluded to the insane wages that FBS football coaches demand, and when you couple that with the basketball salaries, it becomes truly eye-popping. One could feed a small country with that kind of money. When you throw in how poorly paid the professors of these “student-athletes” are, something is badly amiss.

Lastly, there is a, now retired, NFL quarterback with time on his hands. Will he be joining the staff of an SEC team soon? Hmmmm… Andrew Olson, of Saturday Down South, pries into the matter. I, personally, love the idea. Let’s wait impatiently and see what happens.

110 days remain until Vanderbilt and South Carolina kick it off on Thursday, September 1.

Photo taken by Bird himself

SEC Links: Finding Gunslingers in the Wild, Wild West

Former Auburn football head coach, and College Football Hall of Fame honoree, Pat Dye once stated, “It all starts at quarterback.” It does. The quarterback is the the leader of the offense and, often, the face of the football team. He usually receives an over-abundance of praise if the team is doing well, and he gets more than his share of the blame if his team is performing poorly.

A quarterback needs to take command of the huddle, gain the confidence of his teammates, and inspire his fellow warriors to have confidence in themselves. He needs to know not just what his assignments are, but also the particulars of those who surround him.

If the quarterback works as hard, or harder, than anyone else on the team by staying after practice to throw with his receivers or just do a little extra work on the details of his job, then that could make the difference as to how the team finishes the season in terms of wins and losses. It could determine whether that teams wins a championship or finishes lower in it’s conference standings.

In short, the quarterback is the man.

Spring practice has, for all intents and purposes, wrapped up across SEC country, and the burning question in the minds of fans is who will serve as the signal-caller for their beloved squad.

Let’s take a look at how some of the crucial races for field generals are shaping up in the SEC.

We will first turn our eyes to the best division in all of college football, the SEC West. Let’s begin with SEC and national Champion, Alabama.

It appears that Nick Saban and his offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin, have their hands full in deciding who will be at the helm of the Crimson Tide offense. They have strong candidates but there is not an abundance of experience at the position. Kiffin worked magic with Blake Sims in 2014 and also with Jake Coker in 2015. I don’t have any idea who will emerge from what looks like a four-man pack, but I do think Kiffin will find the right guy. His track record points to that scenario.

Bama, more often than not, winds up with someone who can manage the offense. They don’t tend to find an all-world type of guy like Johnny Manziel or Cam Newton. History tells us that Bama will be just fine at the position.

Across the state, Auburn is also, desperately, in search of the player to lead the Tigers’ offense. Jeremy Johnson did not become the quarterback that he was highly-hyped to be. Sean White was serviceable but certainly not dynamic. John Franklin III, a JUCO transfer, has the skill set to become the dual-threat type of player that has succeeded in Gus Malzahn’s system at Auburn, but he needs a great deal of development to step into the role. He has a great arm and blazing speed but needs to really work on his accuracy. As much as I want Franklin to succeed, I don’t see him taking the SEC by storm and leading Auburn back to, or near, the pinnacle of the West… in 2016… 2017, maybe?

Les Miles and LSU fans are hoping Brandon Harris will finally emerge as the answer down on The Bayou. Harris has the tools to do this and his friend, former Mississippi State star, Dak Prescott, thinks the third year will be the charm for Brandon. I tend to agree with Dak on this matter. Harris will have a big year and LSU will be very much in the thick of it in November.

Speaking of Dak. What’s going on in Starkville? Mississippi State is in the unenviable position of replacing, arguably, the most outstanding player in Bulldog history. That will not be an easy task. When you throw in the factor of State’s residence in the West, then one finds little reason to believe that it will be a contender in the West. In my initial SEC column I picked the Bulldogs to finish last, and basically, having to sort through four inexperienced hopefuls at quarterback will make that a reality.

Let’s make the obvious transition to the hated in-state rival of the Bulldogs, Ole Miss. Up in Oxford things are much less complicated when it comes to quarterback. They have one. His name is Chad Kelly. Kelly had a great year in 2015 and, barring injury, he could find himself the the top quarterback in the SEC and beyond. The sky is the limit for him and Ole Miss. They will be in hot pursuit of the University of Alabama for the West crown.

Bret Bielema has an Allen returning to lead the Razorbacks in 2016. The problem is, it’s not Brandon Allen. Over the course of his career, Brandon Allen became the player and leader that everyone hoped he would be and had a very good senior campaign in Fayetteville. It’s his brother, Austin, who will now be given the reigns to help Bielema continue to build the type of program he envisions for Hawg fans. The younger Allen may be the chosen one but it will take a year of getting a true feel in the starter role before Arkansas can make a move upward.

College Station, TX will be our last stop on this tour of quarterbacks in the SEC West. Kevin Sumlin’s fanny is definitely getting warm out there in Aggieland and he needs a great signal-caller to relieve that pressure. Trevor Knight, a transfer from Oklahoma, is the man Sumlin has chosen to lead the Aggies. He had his ups and downs throughout his career in Norman and he needs his upside to assist in cooling his head coach’s backside. I don’t think it will happen. There is too much turmoil in College Station.

So, will there be an known comodity to emerge from the West and lead his team to the SEC  promised land? Could another Newton or Manziel come out of nowhere and shock the football world? Or will the SEC East produce a quarterback?

That will wrap it up for this week. Next week we take a gander at the SEC East and the interesting battles that are in progress for starting quarterbacks in that division.

Auburn: Corso’s Take and Clemson’s Coming

On College College GameDay, September 7, 1996, Lee Corso picked Fresno State to beat Auburn in an upset at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Anyone remember the final score on that one? Let me jog your memory. The Auburn Tigers defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs by a score of 62-0. There were signs at dining establishments around the Loveliest Village chiding Corso for his blunderous pick and rightly so.

Things have changed since that day, at least they have for me. I hope they have for the rest of the Auburn Family. Move on. I now find Corso to be a lovable figure. He brings some great humor to his job with his antics and, at times, some pretty good insight on the game of college football. He has become somewhat of a grandfatherly figure in his role.

In short, I like him.

I actually began to truly warm up to “Coach” back in 1995 when GameDay came to Auburn for the Iron Bowl. Our family went by the tent where their crew was stationed, it’s nothing like it is today, and we had a chance to shake Corso’s hand. He could not have been more gracious. He was very friendly and complimentary of Auburn. He mentioned how great the atmosphere was, as good as he’d ever seen. Hey, it’s the Iron Bowl. There is no atmosphere that beats that.

A few minutes after we left the GameDay tent we ran into Craig James on Donahue St. near the stadium. He also complimented Auburn on the atmosphere.

But back to Coach Corso. Last week he was a guest on a radio sports show in Mobile and he had high praise for Auburn and Gus Malzahn.

I tend to agree with Lee on most points but Gus is on the hot seat. I do agree with him in that he shouldn’t be. I think Gus is still learning to be a head coach and that he will learn from his mistakes of the past two years, well, since November of 2014. He had no control over the quarterback woes in 2015. He has taken a much more hands on approach in spring practice and with the offense. He has been seen personally coaching up JUCO quarterback transfer John Franklin III.

I love the fact that Gus is getting back in a more involved manner and, hopefully, that will pay great dividends.

Corso also makes a good point on being in the same state with Saban. Too many teams in the SEC, including Auburn, are measuring their success against Alabama and that is not a good thing. Look at Les Miles and LSU as a prime example. Don’t worry about Alabama. Sure, they are in the same division but you’ve just got to be the best you can be. The best LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss (two in a row versus Saban, by the way), Miss State, Arkansas or Auburn.

Corso thinks Auburn could make a lot of noise this year. They very well could. Auburn has been known to come off a bad year with a special season. The best examples of that would be the 2003-2004 and 2012-2013 seasons.

The 2003 team was thought of, by many, as a national championship contender with Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, Jason Campbell and company. They promptly lost their first two games to Southern Cal and Georgia Tech and for all practical purposes, it was over. They finished 8-5 with a Music City Bowl win over Wisconsin.

The 2004 team with, essentially thew same cast of characters, went 13-0 and should have played Southern Cal for it all. The AP and Coaches Poll geniuses, of course, put Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game and they were drubbed. The 2004 unit is ,arguably, the best team in Auburn football history.

The 2012 aggregation was one of the worst in Auburn football history. They went 0-8 in the SEC, last in the West, en- route to a 3-9 season. Sheer and utter misery. Coach Gene Chizik was fired just two seasons removed from the BCS National Title.

Then the 2013 (12-2) squad came along, under new head coach and former offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, and came within thirteen seconds of winning it all. One of the greatest turn-arounds in college football history.

That could happen in 2016 but it is highly unlikely. Living in the SEC West is murderous, suicidal, brutal, or excruciating. Pick a word or come up with one yourself. It ain’t no place for sissies (drawing on my inner Coach Pat Dye).

Me? I’m taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude. I know by the time the 2016 campaign gets here I’ll be buzzing like a bee. It’s tough to contain oneself now. But I am definitely working on curbing my enthusiasm ($1 to Larry David).

The opening game with Clemson, pre-season number one?, was mentioned by Corso. You can look at that game a couple of ways. You can take the attitude of, “Hey, it’s a non-conference game and, whatever the outcome, if we play well then that’s a good start. Or you can say, “Beat Clemson and take a quantum leap in the eyes of the committee, pollsters, and the college football world in general.” If you know me, you know which course I’m plotting. 😉

But you know the good thing about all of this? We are talking college football! That is a good thing. The sun is shining. It feels like spring. And, yes, we are talking college football.

Bring it on!

Here are some more tidbits to chew on:

E-mail Bird at bird.lecroy@campuspressbox.com or follow him on Twitter @Autull.

Auburn: These Are The Times That Try Men’s Souls

The Crisis by Thomas Paine
December 23, 1776

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the…”

Fill in the blank.

The souls of Auburn men and women were tried, once again, this past Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. You know the result. You also know just how that result came down.

2015 has been a trying season, and that is putting it politely.

There are many positives (defense for one) and negatives (quarterback play for one) to be taken from the, 20-13, loss to the the Georgia Bulldogs. I am not going to expound on those here. If you are even a “summer soldier” or a “sunshine patriot”, you probably have seen or heard the takes on the defeat, ad infinitum.

But this is not 2012 (3-9).

This Auburn team has not quit and it has fought, tooth and nail, in EVERY game it has played, thus far, this season. I have every reason to think that that type of effort will continue in the final two games of the regular season and in the, highly probable, bowl game.

Birmingham in December. There’s the making of a poem in those three words, no?

The leaves, having fallen, are now crushed under foot, and pilgrims tread forth, approaching the Old Gray Lady…

Nah, not today. But MAYBE, if Auburn does play in the Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field.

My! How the mighty have fallen, just like the leaves of autumn here in the Deep South.

But our cause is not hopeless. Gus and company will continue to pour every ounce of their being into preparing this edition of the Auburn Tigers to compete in three more football games. And they will will scour the countryside to recruit young men to join them in this rebuilding effort.

I never, in my wildest nightmares, had any idea that 2015 would become a rebuilding job. But that, my friends, is exactly what this season has become. And I am of the opinion that our coaching staff needs at least two more years to rebuild the Gus Bus.

“Love is patient…” 1 Corinthians 13:4 begins. We, as Auburn fans, are going to have to practice that if we do love our Tigers as we say we do.

Auburn WILL be back. Patience Grasshopper.

Now, let us continue in 1 Corinthians 13:7. “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” This is the attitude that true Auburn fans will have to adopt to see this thing through.

And here, Auburn Family, is some inspiration. It is one of my favorite songs from my favorite band that is out there, playing live today, Gov’t Mule.


When you just can’t find the light
That guides you through your cloudy day
When the stars ain’t shining bright
And it feels like you lost your way
When the candle lights of home
Burn so very far away
Well you got to let your soul shine
Just like my daddy used to say

He used to say soul shine
It’s better than sunshine
Better than moonshine
Damn sure better than the rain
Hey now people don’t mind
We all feel this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine till the break of day

Grew up thinking that I had it made
Gonna make it on my own
But life can take the strongest man
And make him feel so alone
But now and then I feel a cold wind
Blowing through my aching bones
I think back to what my daddy said
He said, “Boy, it’s darkest before the dawn”

Let your soul shine
Oh, it’s better than sunshine
Better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain
Yeah now people don’t mind
We all feel this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine till the break of day

Sometimes a man can feel this emptiness
Like a woman has robbed him of his very soul
Woman too, God knows, she can feel like this
And when your world seems cold
You got to let your spirit take control

Talking about the soul shine
Better than sunshine
Better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain
Lord, now people don’t mind
We all feel this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Yeah, shine on and on and on and on

Oh, it’s better than sunshine
Better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain
Yeah, now people don’t mind
We all feel this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine till the break of day


If THAT won’t get you fired up, then your wood’s wet!

Where Do We Go From here?

Auburn is also going to have to have another very strong recruiting class that is loaded with defensive linemen and linebackers.

Also, it appears that dual threat quarterbacks are the best option to make this, now toothless, offense click. Two have committed to the upcoming, 2016, recruiting class. They are Woody Barrett and John Franklin III.


And Franklin:


There are some hard decisions Coach Malzahn will have to make in the off-season. They may involve making assistant coaching changes. I don’t know what those decisions will call for, but they, surely, will have to be made.

BUT… before that off-season arrives there are three football games to be played in the 2015 season.

The first game is this Saturday. The opponent is the Idaho Vandals. Their coach is Paul Petrino. Yes, THAT Petrino. He is Bobby’s brother. Auburn will win this game.

The last game will, likely, be played in late December in the aforementioned Birmingham Bowl or in Shreveport, LA  in the Camping World Independence Bowl.

There is another game sandwiched between these two games. It is also a “bowl” game.

The Iron Bowl.

That little contest will be played in Jordan-Hare Stadium at 2:30 CT on CBS.

Yes, all you rabid fans of Verne and Gary, we will get to do it one more time.

And so, these ARE the times that are, most assuredly, trying our collective souls. But, NO, our cause is NOT hopeless. Three games remain to be played by the Auburn Tigers.

So let’s ALL do our part! And whether you are going to attend these games, watch them on television, or listen to them on the radio, you will get to do it thrice more…