The right-hander, who transferred from Chattahoochee Valley Community College, allowed only four baserunners against Radford, none of which advanced past second. His 13 strikeouts were the most by a Tigers pitcher since Chris Bootcheck struck out 15 against West Virginia in 1999.
- It was Cam Newton‘s day to perform at the combine and the former Auburn quarterback had mixed reviews.
- The good: his workout numbers. Newton ran an unofficial 4.58-second 40-yard dash (officially counted as a 4.59), third fastest among quarterbacks. He had a 35-inch vertical jump (third) and a 10-foot, 6-inch broad jump (tied for first). As Tigers fans well know, he’s a physical beast.
- But Newton’s throwing day wasn’t as good as his training session for the media in San Diego earlier this month. He completed 11 of his 21 throws, overthrowing a few. Even Newton said he was a little frustrated.
- But onlookers didn’t think it was all bad. ESPN’s John Clayton wrote that Newton’s powerful arm is just what NFL teams are looking for.
- What did Cam think of his day? Here’s video of him talking about it. And if you’re into watching the actual drills he did, click here.
- Cam’s quarterback coach, George Whitfield, says the quarterback has room to improve.
- Nick Fairley arrived and had his turn at the microphone. CBS’s Pete Prisco brushes off all the “dirty player” talk and says Fairley is the best player in the draft.
- A full note about Fairley’s day in front of the media by Pro Football Weekly (scroll down). Fairley was adamant that he doesn’t take plays off.
- Some stuff on Fairley in the middle of this Don Banks article from Sports Illustrated. A shoulder injury to his AC joint suffered against Georgia prevented Fairley from bench pressing this weekend. We’ll see if he does it at Auburn’s Pro Day on March 8. I’d assume he would have to. (Oregon State’s Stephen Paea, by the way, repped 225 a combine-record 49 times. Sweet fancy Moses that’s a lot.)
- Thought it was interesting that Fairley measured up at 6-foot-3, 291 pounds. He was listed as 6-5 and over 300 at Auburn.
- Fairley is getting a lot of comparisons to Alabama tackle Marcell Dareus.
- The day’s big workout winner for Auburn? Running back Mario Fannin, who clocked a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, second best of the running backs and fourth-best for the weekend so far (defensive backs have yet to run). His time was .05 seconds faster than Ben Tate last year. Fannin, who measured in at 5-10, 231 pounds, also had a 37.5-inch vertical jump. Will it be enough to get Fannin drafted? I’m still skeptical. His fumbling problems are an issue that won’t go away. But NFL teams love speed, so this figures to at the very least increase his chances of signing a free agent deal somewhere if he goes undrafted.
- Did not see a lot out there on Darvin Adams, but SI still listed him as one of the rising receivers. Adams didn’t have a great 40 time (mid-4.5s) but did catch the ball well, which is where he’ll make his money at the next level.
- Up today: Fairley and the defensive linemen take the field for drills.
The SEC women’s tournament field is set. Auburn is the sixth seed and will play 11th-seeded Mississippi State on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
- Thursday: #9 Arkansas vs. #8 Florida, FSN, 1:00 p.m. ET
- Thursday: #10 Alabama vs. #7 LSU, FSN, 3:30 p.m. ET
- Thursday: #12 Ole Miss vs. #5 South Carolina, FSN, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Thursday: #11 Mississippi State vs. #6 Auburn, FSN, 10:00 p.m. ET
- Friday: Winner Game 1 vs. #1 Tennessee, FSN, 1:00 p.m. ET
- Friday: Winner Game 2 vs. #2 Kentucky, FSN, 3:30 p.m. ET
- Friday: Winner Game 3 vs. #4 Georgia, FSN, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Friday: Winner Game 4 vs. #3 Vanderbilt, FSN, 10:00 p.m. ET
- Saturday: Game 9, ESPNU, 4:00 p.m. ET
- Saturday: Game 10, ESPNU, 6:30 p.m. ET
- Sunday: (SEC Championship Game), Game 11, ESPN2, 5:30 p.m. ET
- This big show Saturday was Cam Newton, who went through interviews with the media and a few teams. As it is every time Newton talks, everything he said was under the microscope. He clarified his “icon” statement from earlier this month.
- Watch video of Newton’s opening statement at the podium here. (Honestly, sounded kind of wooden. He’s better when he’s not reading from a piece of paper.)
- Cam takes his turn asking some questions to Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.
- Watch Steve Mariucci, Brian Billick and choir boy Michael Irvin talk about character issues and how it affects how teams approach players in the draft here.
- The Carolina Panthers have said they might consider Newton with the No. 1 overall pick. Here’s a Panthers beat writer’s story on Newton by friend of the blog, Joe Person.
- A question about attempting a quarterback sneak instead of just taking a knee at the end of the BCS title game reportedly flustered him.
- Defensive tackle Nick Fairley had some travel complications that prevented him from getting there for interviews Saturday.
- Alabama’s Marcell Dareus, a fellow defensive tackle, said he respects Fairley’s game, despite the rivalry between the schools.
- Here’s another article by Person about the history of defensive tackles going No. 1 in the draft and how it’s a risky proposition.
- Offensive lineman Lee Ziemba finished up his combine Saturday. Had a tough time finding stuff on how Ziemba fared. Only numbers I saw were on the HABOTN. Ziemba ran a 5.47-second time in the 40-yard dash and had a 7-foot, 11-inch broad jump. The leaders among offensive linemen were 4.97 seconds in the 40 (Nate Solder, Colorado) and 9 feet, 6 inches for the broad jump (Jarriel King, South Carolina).
- Wide receiver Darvin Adams spoke to reporters Friday, when he said he thinks Auburn supported his decision to turn pro. Adams said he turned pro because he had two good seasons, won a national championship and has to take care of his family.
- Not sure if you can spot Mario Fannin in this video, but it’s pretty funny. Gorilla suit gags never fail to entertain.
- Big workout opportunity for Newton, Adams and Fannin today, when quarterbacks, receivers and running backs go through drills. Fairley and the defensive linemen take the field Monday.
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn guard Varez Ward has perfected the waiting game.His college debut was delayed a year for prep school. His first chance to shine was delayed because of a bad attitude. And his opportunity to start has been delayed by a quad tear and transfer from Texas to Auburn, where he won’t be eligible to play until next season.But patience is exactly what is needed by the Tigers (9-18, 2-11 SEC), who continue to play out the stretch today against Arkansas (17-10, 6-7) at the Auburn Arena starting at 1:47 p.m.“It’s hard to sit there and watch because I know I can be out there helping out my teammates get wins,” Ward said. “I think I’ll be able to come in and compete.”With Ward, 6-foot-6 Clemson transfer Noel Johnson and injured guard Frankie Sullivan all joining the rotation next season, there appears to be brighter days on the horizon for Auburn, which needs to win one of its final three league games to avoid its worst conference mark since going 2-16 in 1988-89.
“This is part of the process in building a national program at Auburn, and it will be a wonderful experience for our players both on the court and off,” Tigers head coach Tony Barbee said.
AUBURN, Ala. — The poking, prodding and endless questions that potential NFL players must endure is nothing new for Lee Ziemba. The former Auburn offensive tackle went through the circus at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last month.He will face Round 2 this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in what is essentially the most important job interview of his life.“I’ve always been told it’s a very strenuous three days and that it really wears you out,” he said. “But I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get to the next level.”
Ziemba is one of five former Auburn players who will participate in the combine, joining quarterback Cam Newton, defensive tackle Nick Fairley, wide receiver Darvin Adams and running back Mario Fannin.The weeklong event, which runs from today until March 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium, will feature more than 300 prospects put through a ringer of drills and interviews by scouts, coaches and general managers from every team in the NFL.
- Wednesday – Group 1, (PK, ST, OL), Group 2 (OL), Group 3 (TE). Media interviews are Thursday, on-field drills are on Saturday.
- Thursday – Group 4 (QB, WR), Group 5 (QB, WR), Group 6 (RB). Media interviews are on Friday, on-field drills are on Sunday.
- Friday – Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL), Group 9 (LB). Media interviews are on Saturday, on-field drills are on Monday.
- Saturday – Group 10 (DB), Group 11 (DB). Media interviews are on Sunday, on-field drills are on Tuesday.
“It’s very tough to sit on the sideline and not be able to contribute,” Auburn guard Earnest Ross said of his vantage point for the final four minutes. “I wish we could have pulled it out.”
Allen Payne‘s desperation, fullcourt heave hit the backboard and rim for the Tigers (9-18, 2-11 SEC) but bounced out, although it was later confirmed that the shot would not have counted.
It only added more sting to a game that, had Auburn won, would have been the most gratifying moment of Tony Barbee‘s long first season on the Plains.
“This loss is on me because I did an awful job of teaching these guys how to win,” Barbee said. “Because that’s a game even in this environment that as bad as we played, we’ve got to figure out a way to win. And we lost it, so that’s on me.”
Alabama (19-8, 11-2 SEC) shook off a 26 percent shooting night — its worst of the season — to avoid a loss that would have devastated its already borderline NCAA tournament credentials.
“I’m still trying to find out how we did it,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said, looking at his team’s woeful offensive numbers. “”When you look at the numbers, it equates to a loss. …
“I told them that this was a near-death experience. You’ve got to understand how close you came to losing some opportunities that are in front of us.”
Auburn started hot, using a 17-2 run to lead by as many as 15 in the first half. The Tigers led for 19:15 in the first half in a building where that usually doesn’t happen. Crimson Tide opponents had led for only 48:01 of 580 minutes in the Coleman Coliseum this season.
Alabama, meanwhile, couldn’t have struggled more. The Tide went 5-for-22 from the floor (22 percent) but managed to put together a 9-0 run just before the break to go into halftime trailing 31-25.
The Tigers kept it going in the second half, however, taking a 41-29 lead with 11:52 on a 3-pointer in the corner by Ross, who was the team’s only double-figure scorer with 10.
But fouls and the usual offensive shortcomings proved to be Auburn’s Achilles’ heel. The Tigers would score only two points in the next nine minutes.
Meanwhile, the fouls piled up. Auburn had 29 in the game, watching center Rob Chubb foul out with 9:19 left, a questionable call that prompted Barbee to earn his third technical in as many games. Ross picked up his fifth foul minutes later followed by Gabriel and Adrian Forbes, three-fifths of the Tigers’ starting lineup and the majority of the team’s offense.
The Crimson Tide took a 49-47 lead with 28.4 seconds left after Green and Trevor Releford both split a pair of free throws. Auburn’s Tony Neysmith answered with a shot off the glass that tied things at 49 with 13 seconds to play.
That set up the final play, with Green, who finished with a game-high 17, darting to the hoop to clean up Mitchell’s miss with little resistance.
“Give them credit,” Barbee said. “They made the plays down the stretch and we didn’t.”
Auburn returns to action Saturday at home against Arkansas starting at 1:47 p.m. ET.