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July 12, 2013

7 at 7: Malzahn’s coaching staff, media guide madness … and Bill Murray?

I’m going to be on the move today.

Between meetings in both Auburn and Columbus, I’ll be on the road a good bit. Originally, I brought this up to mention I was going to do an “abridged” version of “7 at 7.” But then, with the words I wanted and needed coming so easily to mind, I decided to make it a full-length post, as per usual.

Anyway, before we delve into today’s seven items, what can you say about the Freddie Freeman story? I never thought he would be able to beat out Los Angeles Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig for the last spot on the National League All-Star team. It appeared the ESPN hype machine had already guaranteed the Dodgers’ rookie slugger a place in the Midsummer Classic weeks ago. Puig can blame his absence on an impassioned push from Atlanta Braves fans to get their first baseman into the All-Star Game; Twitter was flooded Thursday with tweets containing the hashtag #VoteFreddie until voting ended at 4 p.m. EDT, and it paid off for both Freeman and his supporters. It’s just another example of the power of social media — much to Puig’s chagrin, I’m sure.

Without further ado, I give you Friday’s “7 at 7.”

1. No, there may not have been as much new content added to the blog Thursday as there was the day prior, but sometimes “quality over quantity” is the way to go, right? If you didn’t have a chance to check them out, we continued our series previewing every team Auburn will take on this fall, posting at a rate of two per day. That meant Thursday was reserved for Mississippi State and LSU, the Tigers’ first two foes in SEC play in 2013. Keep your eyes peeled for the eight remaining previews in the series.AUBURN FOOTBALL

2. Phillip Marshall of AuburnTigers.com tells how Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s staff came together. He knew the qualities he wanted his future assistants to possess. And when he called, they listened.

3. One of the country’s top dual-threat quarterbacks in the Class of 2014, Brandon Harris, is set to make his decision next Thursday at 3 p.m. EDT in Bossier City, La. The signal-caller at Parkway High School will choose between Auburn, Ohio State, and the flagship school in his home state, LSU. AL.com’s Joel Erickson spoke to the rising senior to see how Harris felt about Auburn one week before his big announcement.

4. Speaking of announcements, the Tigers’ athletic department made a pair of its own on Thursday. First, Jordan-Hare Stadium is getting brand-new televisions on the concourse, which fans will undoubtedly appreciate. Auburn also unveiled the cover of its 2013 football media guide, with a certain coach standing front and center.

Auburn wasn’t the only entity that decided to reveal the cover of its media guide on Thursday. The SEC, staying true to its blunt approach to media guide cover art, tweeted out a picture of the 2013 edition’s front cover. But the league office wasn’t done disseminating media-related news on Thursday, as it was announced later that this year’s SEC Media Days will be the final one where hard copy media guides from each school will be available. (Most sports writers rejoiced, while I let out a yawn. I didn’t care either way. Maybe because I’m “young and dumb,” but the hard copy media guides never bothered me. I’ve spent enough time getting mad at how long it takes to download the HUGE PDF versions off each school’s official athletic websites that I don’t mind taking the old-fashioned route once in a while. You know, opening a book. What a thought.)

And since we’re still on the topic of the media, the Poynter Institute published an unfortunate story on Thursday for those of us in the news business. It cited a Pew Research Center poll noting that 27 percent of Americans “say journalists contribute little or nothing to society’s well being.” The only two occupational groups held in less regard than journalists were business executives and lawyers. “Not a good look,” as some would say, for journalism.

5. How about two general articles about the SEC? Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report’s lead SEC football writer, penned a primer on what to expect at next week’s annual Media Days in Hoover, Ala. Meanwhile, John Pennington, who goes by the Twitter handle @MrSEC, ranked the SEC’s coaches from top-to-bottom. The coach who grabbed No. 1 should go without saying, but where do you think he placed Malzahn? I’ll let you click to find out.

6. To repeat the theme of item No. 5, how about two articles with trouble at the center? It seems that the school NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders co-founded, Prime Prep, is starting to run afoul of the NCAA. (Hmm.)

And in other news, The Wall Street Journal reported Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson was pulled over in May for speeding. Once stopped, Henderson handed over a small bag containing marijuana. A search by a police dog then turned up another small plastic, which held “a small amount of what appeared to be cocaine,” said a report from one of the officers at the scene. (Sigh.)

7. It has become commonplace in the first three editions of “7 at 7″ that the final item be set aside for something fun or off the beaten path in sports. Well today, good readers, you get both. The Charleston RiverDogs will be giving away free T-shirts to the first 1,000 fans who show up for Saturday’s game against the Augusta GreenJackets. The T-shirts will feature a picture of the RiverDogs’ co-owner across the front. Who is this mystery man (or possibly woman), you ask? Why none other than comedic legend William James Murray, better known as Bill.

As far as which iteration of the famous comedian is emblazoned on the shirt — as posed in the link — there is little doubt in my mind that this is the spitting image of John Winger, Murray’s character in one of my favorite movies, “Stripes.”

(And if you don’t believe me, compare the picture on the shirt to the official “Stripes” movie poster. Murray’s facial expression is the same in both photos; the only thing that’s different is the five o’clock shadow and the RiverDogs hat he dons on the shirt.)


Props to Scott Scroggins for tweeting out a link to Bo’s performance in the 1989 MLB All-Star Game, which saw him take home the Most Valuable Player award.

(And no, I didn’t feel there was a reason to put his last name; like a soccer player, Bo should be able to stand on his own merit.)

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