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July 14, 2013

7 at 7: A sleepy Saturday before the coming storm at SEC Media Days

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com


I’m a straightforward person.

If I say something, I mean it. Not that it should set me apart from anyone else. I’d hope people would be direct with me, the same way I would treat them. Why might I bring up my blunt nature, you ask? Because of a comment I made at the end of Saturday’s “7 at 7″ edition, of course. To wit, I promised today’s version “will return to its normal length” after a compressed variation ran Saturday.

Thankfully, it looks like I’m going to be able to hold up my end of the bargain. At the same time, there was an unfortunate paucity of news coming out of the Auburn beat Saturday. (And yes, there were more important matters unfolding in the non-sports world, such as the jury reaching a verdict in the George Zimmerman trial and a fire engulfing Trinity Presbyterian Church in Opelika.)

So why the slow news day on the Plains?

One could point to the most obvious reason: It’s still the summer. But we’re just two days away from the season starting full-blast, with the circus that is SEC Media Days making its annual pilgrimage to the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.

Just call Saturday a calm day before the coming storm of the season close at hand.

(And as luck would have it, AUTigers.com’s Jason Caldwell happened to tweet out a perfect picture on Saturday that captures this feeling.)

On to the links!

1. As was noted a couple of times above, Tiger-related happenings were scarce on Saturday. War Eagle Extra, however, still delivered two more opponent previews in Texas A&M and Florida Atlantic. If you were busy, get caught up and give ‘em a read today.

2. I thought AL.com’s Brandon Marcello was done with his series chronicling Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s time in Arkansas, where he was a high school coaching savant. I was wrong. Marcello penned another entry to the series on Saturday, and as every other one has been, it’s a read worth your time.

3. The AuburnTigers.com duo of Charles Goldberg and Phillip Marshall hit Malzahn’s induction into the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame hard. Goldberg deftly handled a nice feature from the ceremony, while Marshall gave his own perspective on Malzahn’s accomplishment with a column.

4. SEC Media Days has had quite a few memorable moments since it first began in 1985. But since those humble beginnings, it has, shall we say, grown just a bit? Colleague Seth Emerson of The Telegraph in Macon looks back at five of these unforgettable moments from recent years.

5. Staying with an SEC theme, some of you may remember Isaiah Crowell. Some of you may not. The Columbus native and Carver High School alumnus was the SEC’s Freshman of the Year in 2011 at Georgia after rushing for 850 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story; Crowell ran into trouble on the field (seemingly a new, nagging injury every week of the season) and off it (reportedly failing a drug test which caused him to be suspended for Georgia’s game against New Mexico State that year) after arriving as the crown jewel of the Bulldogs’ 2011 recruiting class, which was dubbed “The Dream Team.”

Of course, Crowell is an afterthought to most now.

He was dismissed from Georgia in June 2012 following an arrest in Athens, Ga., on three weapons charges, two of which were felonies. (The charges were dropped in April, with Athens-Clarke County assistant D.A. James Chafin stating in the dismissal document that  “the state would be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant actually possessed the weapon or even knew it was there.”) Georgia moved on — the Bulldogs had a pretty talented pair of freshmen running backs last season, you may have heard — but so has Crowell. He enrolled at Alabama State last season and joined the Hornets’ football program. After starting slowly, he finished last season rushing for 842 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow, who was in Columbus on Saturday for a Coaches Caravan event, told the Ledger-Enquirer’s David Mitchell that he has been pleased with what he has seen from Crowell since the running back first stepped foot in Montgomery.

6. I know it seems like the various members of the Robertson clan of “Duck Dynasty” fame are everywhere — and I mean everywhere — these days. Needless to say, it’s understandable if some of you are sick and tired of hearing about the bearded duck callers. But if you’re not, check out Jase Robertson’s (he’s the one who isn’t in charge Duck Commander, and as such, the more laid-back of the two more highly-visible brothers) two-day visit to Huntsville, Ala., on Friday and Saturday. If you prefer to just read some highlighted quotes, you have the option. If you want the meatier story version, well, that can be arranged, too.

7. You already know the drill. As has become custom — inasmuch as something can become a custom after only five articles — we end today’s “7 at 7″ with a fun story in the sports world. And this is one of my favorite so far. It even has an Auburn angle!

Tigers assistant sports information director Wes Todd got married on Saturday. But instead of going with your typical program, he put his SID cap on and got creative: He printed out a “game notes package” any person who has frequented a press box would recognize immediately.

I mean, just look at this thing:

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Tell me that isn’t the coolest wedding program you’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely glorious. In fact, it went semi-viral (at least among college football writers and others heavily invested in the sport) and was picked up by CBS Sports’ “Eye on College Football” blog.

Ironic that on one of the slowest-moving news days you’ll ever see for Auburn, one of its SID steals the headlines.

How apropos.


  1. Doing a nice job so far! Love honesty. JayGTate is a good one to follow as he always tells it like it is…….

    I come from a long line of Dawgs so I know what it feels like to be an outsider! Keep up the good work!

    Comment by War Eagle Girl — July 14, 2013 @ 9:40 am

  2. Very nice. Looking forward to reading your work this season.

    Comment by Stan — July 14, 2013 @ 10:15 am

  3. So far, only comments from dog and Bama fans. You are doing great.

    Bama and Georgia fans will love your anti Auburn diatribes if you follow suit as to what the ledger has done in the past.

    Rest assured if you do you will make the dog fanmily at the Ledgher happy while running off customers and making advertsising in the ledger only very local.

    Comment by Wt — July 14, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

  4. By the way I didn’t sent in the Sunday POD on soundoff, so I must not be the only one who thinks the Ledger’s attempt to cover Auburn is just a chance to write negative commentary. And chase off customers in East Alabama.

    You will note that often the Ledger will noit even get an invite to certain things going on at Auburn. Wonder why? And students there don’t even know Columbus exists…Columbus Ohio?

    Comment by Wt — July 14, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

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