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May 28, 2012

The Week in Review: Big Cats, baseball ends another season and Dufner’s still on a roll

Photo by Todd Van Emst

Before everybody heads out to their Memorial Day cookouts — and honestly, most of you are probably on the grill or in the pool already — it’s time to take a look at the week that was in Auburn athletics.

Now that the summer is fully upon us, the tidbits are getting a little less substantial, but there’s still plenty of noteworthy news floating around the athletic complexes at the Plains, beginning, of course, with Auburn’s initial summer recruiting push at Big Cat Weekend.

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The Week in Review

  • Auburn landed one commitment on Big Cat Weekend — tight end Arshad Jackson offered his verbal — but there were a couple of awfully big fish that Tigers fans should pay attention to as the recruiting cycle continues. Defensive tackle Montravius Adams, a five-star tackle from Dooly County High in Vienna, Ga., and possibly the best defensive tackle prospect in the country, told AuburnUndercover.com that the Tigers would be a finalist for his services. Linebacker Rueben Foster, the No. 2 prospect in the country and a recent transfer to Auburn High, was also on the Plains, according to commit Carl Lawson’s Twitter account.
  • Interesting to see Reese Dismukes already added to the Rimington Award watch list. Given Auburn’s inconsistent line play last year, the Tigers have to be happy about having an anchor in the middle of the line who has already played and played well enough to earn national recognition. Filling the spots around him will be key.
  • In retrospect, Auburn’s SEC Tournament in Hoover went about as expected. The Tigers got beat by two of the SEC’s best teams in Florida and South Carolina and squeaked out a win over Georgia to avoid going winless. For Auburn to make a move up the standings next year, the Tigers have to improve their talent base. None of Auburn’s pitchers have overwhelming stuff, and the lineup needs to do a better job of producing runs. Playing small ball and getting on base can only get a team so far. Somebody has to bring those runners across the plate.
  • Even though the projections said Auburn was a bubble team at times last week, the overwhelming feeling in Hoover was that Auburn was a longshot to have an NCAA Tournament berth. With an RPI of 56 and teams across the country stealing berths — for instance, Missouri won the Big 12 Tournament despite a mediocre season — the Tigers always faced a long shot to get in.
  • Former Auburn golfer Jason Dufner is on one heck of a roll this season. After winning the New Orleans Open and the Byron Nelson his last two times out of the gate — he took a break to get married — Dufner finished second at the Colonial to move up to eighth in the World Golf Rankings. For those of you who watch PGA golf on a regular basis, keep an eye on Dufner, a former walk-on at Auburn who seems to be coming into his own.
  • Basketball players Willy Kouassi and Bernard Morena have chosen to transfer to Kennesaw State, according to a report from Al.com. Given Morena’s lack of buzz and the two players’ desire to stay together, transferring to another big school was always a long-shot. At Kennesaw State, both players will likely get plenty of playing time.
  • Tigers sophomore Marta Sanz was named to the NCAA honorable mention All-America team for her performance as the best player on the women’s golf team this season. Sanz averaged 74.3 strokes per-round, posted six top-20 finishes and two top-fives to help Auburn win the SEC Tournament.
  • Auburn’s track and field team had a good showing in Jacksonville at the NCAA East Preliminary. Harry Adams (100/200), Keenan Brock (100/200) and Marcus Rowland (100/200) all pulled the double in the sprints to qualify for the NCAA Championships at Drake in Iowa in June. Women’s sprinter Kal Selvon also qualified for the double. In addition, shot putter Stephen Saenz, the sprint relay, high jumper Maya Pressly, 400-runner CeCe Williams and Saenz again in the discus all qualified.
  • Former swimmer Erica Meissner was awarded the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and plans to attend Cambridge University in the fall.

 

7 Comments

  1. Good report, thanks. It’s disturbing to me that Auburn’s baseball team, in Coach Pawloski’s fourth season, finishes 10th in the SEC and most folks have a “ho-hum”, wait ’til next year attitude about it. If you haven’t succeeded in four years, it’s time to move aside and give the next guy a crack at it.

    Comment by MikeP — May 29, 2012 @ 8:18 am

  2. Mike P. Agreed. Alosing record in the SEC? C’mon, man.

    Comment by easyedwin — May 29, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

  3. “Playing small ball and getting on base can only get a team so far. Somebody has to bring those runners across the plate.” –> You mean bunting with two strikes and fouling out won’t get the job done?! [Sarcasm - but I almost threw up when I watched that at Arkansas.]

    In all seriousness, this year’s team was loaded with underclassmen and inexperience. Forgive me for my “ho-hum” attitude, but I think next year’s team will be vastly improved IF the draft doesn’t take away guys like Dahl and Russell from our recruiting class (#11 class nationally), and we stay healthy. If we don’t make the postseason next year, I’ll help escort Mr. Pawklowski out the door myself.

    Comment by Hunter-Gatherer — May 29, 2012 @ 11:18 pm

  4. C’mon, man! Experience? All baseball players have experience. On defense, you do not have to think about what you do when you get the ball in your hand. On offense you hit for run production. Pitching, pitching and pitching are thrown in to make a good team great.

    Sammy Dunn come on down. [when you finish the NCAA's].

    Comment by easyedwin — June 1, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  5. Checking the roster, I see six, count ‘em six, senior pitchers including the three leaders in innings pitched plus the top reliever. No youth excuse there.

    The starting position players include 2 seniors, 2 juniors and 4 sophs. Slightly on the young side but not much considering many of the best leave after their junior year.

    I’m not expecting any more out of Pawloski’s teams than what we’ve seen over the past four years, which is disappointment.

    Comment by MikeP — June 1, 2012 @ 11:31 pm

  6. Did we not have the best team batting average in the SEC at some point this season? Joel? Anyone??

    Comment by easyedwin — June 2, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

  7. Yes, we finished with the best batting average in the SEC. I’m pretty certain that was padded by all the low-quality opponents we scheduled, but it’s still the statistic.

    One reason we didn’t make the NCAA tournament is our low RPI, a direct result of playing too many teams with RPI’s below the 200 level. Playing those teams hurts you even if you win. We’d have been better sitting some mid-week games out than we were playing the weak sisters Coach Paw scheduled.

    Comment by MikeP — June 3, 2012 @ 8:57 am

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