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January 20, 2013

Auburn notes: Blake plays Shrine Game, Denson & Price knock off rust, Cal supports Barbee


Former Auburn wide receiver Emory Blake salvaged a tough year in the Tigers’ woeful passing offense by putting up some respectable numbers.

In Blake’s lone appearance in a postseason all-star game, Blake had one catch for eight yards Saturday in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Blake’s reception was the first completion by Heisman finalist Collin Klein out of Kansas State.

The Austin native had 50 catches for 789 yards and three touchdowns in 2012. No other Tiger exceeded 18 catches or 139 yards. Blake completed his Auburn career ranked fifth in school history in three major categories: 128 receptions, 2,022 receiving yards and 16 touchdown catches.

Blake tweeted pregame, “Last game playing in an Auburn helmet, it’s been a great college career and it’s truly an honor to represent Auburn #WDE”

Online mock drafts suggest Blake would be a long shot to be selected in the NFL Draft April 25-27. The NFL currently employs two former Auburn receivers: Devin Aromashodu of the Minnesota Vikings and Ben Obomanu of the Seattle Seahawks.

Playing for Reeves

Former Carver standout offensive lineman Chris Hubbard enjoyed the opportunity to suit up for the Stripes squad in Saturday’s inaugural Raycom College Football All-Star Classic at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.

His team was coached by Dan Reeves, who has participated in nine different Super Bowls as a player, assistant coach and head coach. The owner of two championship rings, Reeves led the Atlanta Falcons to its first Super Bowl in franchise history in 1998.

“Coach Reeves is a cool guy, nice laidback dude,” Hubbard said. “Seeing other coaches come together and put this thing together was a great idea.”

One goal in mind

Following his Stripes squad’s 31-3 demolition of the Stars Saturday, former Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson was all smiles as he posed for pictures with his all-star teammates.

The week of practice was humbling for Robinson – who had a 28-yard interception return in the game – as he learned how everybody else is training just as hard as himself chasing the same dream.

“You don’t have to motivate anybody,” Robinson said. “Everybody’s out here trying to get the same recognition, but we’re on a team at the same time.”

Denson, Price knock off rust

Chris Denson and Jordan Price played 19 minutes combined Saturday night, and neither scored in Auburn’s 75-53 loss to Kentucky at sold-out Auburn Arena.

Their participation was a slight surprise, considering each had missed the past three weeks – each had a stress fracture in his foot, which normally takes four to six weeks for recovery.

“The doctors told me they were cleared and ready to go,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. “They looked good in practice the last two days, so I was confident they would be able to help us.”

While two of the Tigers’ top five scorers in terms of points per game couldn’t bolster Auburn’s offense Saturday, they may have knocked off some rust heading into Wednesday’s road game at Vanderbilt.

Asked if he thought that was a possible silver lining, Barbee only said, “Hopefully.”

Cal: “They are fine”

It’s natural for a mentor to console a friend after a tough defeat, and Kentucky coach John Calipari went to great lengths to commend Barbee, his former player at UMass, for a continued turnaround job at Auburn.

“He has well-defined each guy and how they are playing. That’s why they went to South Carolina and won, that’s why they had Arkansas beat,” Calipari said. “That is why they will won a ton of games. They hit us on a bad night, and they couldn’t make a shot.

“It’s nothing more than that. They are fine.”

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