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September 2, 2013

Auburn football: Robenson Therezie named SEC Defensive Player of the Week

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra | Like the blog on Facebook

AUBURN, Ala. — No one can say Robenson Therezie didn’t make the most of his first career start.

Junior Robenson Therezie had the best game of his career on Saturday, intercepting two passes (one seen above) and tallying seven tackles in Auburn's 31-24 victory over Washington State on Saturday night. On Monday, the SEC selected him as the league's Defensive Player of the Week.

Junior Robenson Therezie had the best game of his career on Saturday, intercepting two passes (one seen above) and tallying seven tackles in Auburn’s 31-24 victory over Washington State on Saturday night. On Monday, the SEC selected him as the league’s Defensive Player of the Week.

Replacing the injured Justin Garrett at Auburn’s “Star” hybrid linebacker/safety spot, the junior snagged two interceptions against Washington State. Not only did they mark the first two pickoffs of his career, but they matched the Tigers’ total from all of last season.

On Monday, the SEC recognized Therezie’s accomplishment, selecting him as the league’s Defensive Player of the Week.

Therezie’s first interception came on a tipped pass at Auburn’s 48-yard line in the opening period. He returned it to Washington State’s 24-yard line, and four plays later, the Tigers scored their first touchdown of the season.

His second interception was an even bigger grab, as he made a leaping catch of Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday’s pass from the Tigers’ 8-yard line with 4:46 to play to maintain Auburn’s seven-point lead.

Therezie had seven tackles (six solo, one assisted), tied for second-most on the team with Ryan Smith.

It’s the first time an Auburn defender has been honored as the SEC Defensive Player of the Week since defensive end Corey Lemonier was honored for his performance against Florida in October 2011. In that game, Lemonier had a team-best six tackles, three tackles-for-loss, two sacks and four quarterback hurries, helping the Tigers hold the Tigers to just 194 yards of total offense. He shared the award with South Carolina free safety D.J. Swearinger, who had 12 tackles and an interception.

August 22, 2013

Auburn football: Six Tigers selected to coaches’ All-SEC preseason teams

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra | Like the blog on Facebook

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn had six players named to the SEC coaches’ preseason all-conference teams released Thursday, led by running back Tre Mason and center Reese Dismukes.

The pair was selected to the all-conference second-team offense. They were joined by kicker Cody Parkey and punter Steven Clark, who also earned second-team honors, while tight end C.J. Uzomah and defensive end Dee Ford were named to the third-team.

Junior running back Tre Mason was named to the SEC coaches' preseason all-conference second-team on Thursday. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)

Junior running back Tre Mason was named to the SEC coaches’ preseason all-conference second-team on Thursday. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)

Auburn was one of three teams — along with Kentucky and Missouri — to have no players voted to the first-team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.

Mason, a junior, rushed for 1,002 yards along with eight touchdowns last season. Dismukes is a mainstay on the offensive line, making 23 starts in the past two seasons.

Clark, who hails from Kansas City, Mo., averaged 39.8 yards per punt last season, with 15 of his attempts being downed inside the 20-yard line. Parkey was Auburn’s leading scorer in 2012, converting 11 of his 14 field goal attempts and hitting all 27 of his extra-point tries.

Uzomah had seven receptions for 136 yards last year, but is expected to take on a more prominent role in the Tigers’ offense this season. Ford is the team’s top returning pass-rusher after totaling six sacks last year, but according to defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, he will miss the season opener to continue recovering from a knee injury suffered during fall camp.

July 18, 2013

Auburn running back Tre Mason named to Doak Walker Award watch list

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra

Tre Mason can put another preseason feather in his cap.

Auburn's Tre Mason was named to the Doak Walker watch list on Thursday, which is given to the nation's top running back every year.

Auburn’s Tre Mason was named to the Doak Walker watch list on Thursday, which is given to the nation’s top running back every year.

The junior was selected to the Doak Walker Award preseason watch list on Thursday, which is given annually to the nation’s top running back. The announcement came on the same day he was named to the All-SEC second-team by voters at SEC Media Days.

Mason ran for a team-high 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He started six games, running for a career-best 181 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama A&M. One of those touchdowns went 86 yards, making it the fourth-longest rushing play in school history and the seventh-longest play from scrimmage. Mason finished last season leading the Tigers in total offense, becoming the first non-quarterback to pull off the feat since fellow running back Bo Jackson in 1985.

Mason was listed as a Co-No. 1 on the running back depth chart coming out of the spring, as Auburn coach Gus Malzahn placed him alongside Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant.

DOAK WALKER AWARD WATCH LIST

  • Ameer Abdullah (Jr.), Nebraska
  • Michael Alisa (Sr.), BYU
  • Antonio Andrews (Sr.), Western Kentucky
  • Dri Archer (Sr.), Kent State
  • Brendan Bigelow (Jr.), California
  • Beau Blankenship (Sr.), Ohio
  • Alfred Blue (Sr.), LSU
  • Dominique Brown (Jr.), Louisville
  • Ka’Deem Carey (Jr.), Arizona
  • B.J. Catalon (So.), TCU
  • Orleans Darkwa (Sr.), Tulane
  • Kenneth Dixon (So.), Louisiana Tech
  • Trayion Durham (Jr.), Kent State
  • Jahwan Edwards (Jr.), Ball State
  • David Fluellen (Sr.), Toledo
  • D.J. Foster (So.), Arizona State
  • Melvin Gordon (So.), Wisconsin
  • Marion Grice (Sr.), Arizona State
  • Todd Gurley (So.), Georgia
  • Joe Hill (Jr.), Utah State
  • John Hubert (Sr.), Kansas State
  • Carlos Hyde (Sr.), Ohio State
  • Waymon James (Sr.), TCU
  • Duke Johnson (So.), Miami
  • Storm Johnson (Jr.), UCF
  • Matt Jones (So.), Florida
  • Henry Josey (Jr.), Missouri
  • Ben Malena (Sr.), Texas A&M
  • Raymond Maples (Sr.), Army
  • Venric Mark (Sr.), Northwestern
  • Keith Marshall (So.), Georgia
  • Glasco Martin (Sr.), Baylor
  • Tre Mason (Jr.), Auburn
  • Lyle McCombs (Jr.), Connecticut
  • Adam Muema (Jr.), San Diego State
  • David Oku (Sr.), Arkansas State
  • Branden Oliver (Sr.), Buffalo
  • Jordan Parker (So.), Middle Tennessee
  • LaDarius Perkins (Sr.), Mississippi State
  • Senorise Perry (Sr.), Louisville
  • Christian Powell (So.), Colorado
  • Darrin Reaves (Jr.), UAB
  • Silas Redd (Sr.), USC
  • Bishop Sankey (Jr.), Washington
  • Lache Seastrunk (Jr.), Baylor
  • David Sims (Sr.), Georgia Tech
  • James Sims (Sr.), Kansas
  • Kiero Small (Sr.), Arkansas
  • Jeremy Smith (Sr.), Oklahoma State
  • Jerome Smith (Jr.), Syracuse
  • De’Anthony Thomas (Jr.), Oregon
  • Zurlon Tipton (Sr.), Central Michigan
  • Trey Watts (Sr.), Tulsa
  • Mark Weisman (Jr.), Iowa
  • James White (Sr.), Iowa State
  • James White (Sr.), Wisconsin
  • Andre Williams (Sr.), Boston College
  • Damien Williams (Sr.), Oklahoma
  • Jamaal Williams (So.), BYU
  • Jonathan Williams (Sr.), Arkansas
  • Storm Woods (So.), Oregon State
  • T.J. Yeldon (So.), Alabama
  • Zach Zwinak (Jr.), Penn State

SEC Media Days, Day 3: Tigers picked to finish fifth in West, place six players on All-SEC teams

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra

HOOVER, Ala. — Prior to the final teams making their appearance at SEC Media Days on Thursday, the conference released the predicted order of finish by the media.

Auburn cornerback Chris Davis was one of six Tigers named to the media's preseason All-SEC teams. Media members also picked Auburn to finish fifth in the Western Division.

Auburn cornerback Chris Davis was one of six Tigers named to the media’s preseason All-SEC teams. Media members also picked Auburn to finish fifth in the Western Division.

And according to media pundits, Auburn will finish in fifth place in the Western Division, behind predicted champion Alabama, second-place Texas A&M, third-place LSU and fourth-place Ole Miss. Auburn was picked ahead of Mississippi State and Arkansas, respectively. In the East, Georgia was picked to repeat as the SEC Eastern champion for the third consecutive season, followed by South Carolina, Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky.

As for the overall conference champion, the Crimson Tide were favored to capture it once more, picking up 182 first-place votes, with Georgia (38), South Carolina (18), Texas A&M (4) and LSU (1) being the only other teams to snag a pollster.

Despite being picked to finish fifth in the division, the Tigers were well-represented on the preseason All-SEC teams, with six players earning recognition. On the second-team were running back Tre Mason, center Reese Dismukes, defensive end Dee Ford and kicker Cody Parkey. The Tigers also had two members on the third-team in cornerback Chris Davis and punter Steven Clark.

The preseason All-SEC teams and the media’s predicted order of finish is listed below.

PRESEASON ALL-SEC

OFFENSE

First-Team
QB – Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (119)
RB – T.J. Yeldon, Alabama (221)
RB – Todd Gurley, Georgia (206)
WR – Amari Cooper, Alabama (194)
WR – Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (106)
TE – Arthur Lynch, Georgia (148)
OL – Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (193)
OL – Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (176)
OL – Anthony Steen, Alabama (109)
OL – Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State (88)
C – Travis Swanson, Arkansas (92)

Second-Team
QB – AJ McCarron, Alabama (67)
RB – Tre Mason, Auburn (15)
RB  – *LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State (12)
RB – *Keith Marshall, Georgia (12)
WR – Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss ( 46)
WR – Mike Evans,  Texas A&M (33)
TE – Rory Anderson, South Carolina (33)
OL – Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (76)
OL – Jon Halapio, Florida (51)
OL – Chris Burnette, Georgia (50)
OL – Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee (50)
C – Reese Dismukes, Auburn (33)     

Third-Team
QB – Aaron Murray, Georgia (52)
RB – *Matt Jones, Florida (5)
RB – *Jeff Scott, Ole Miss (5)
RB – *Alfred Blue, LSU (5)
WR – Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (28)
WR – Jarvis Landry, LSU (19)
TE – Brian Vogler, Alabama (18)
OL – La’el Collins, LSU (37)
OL – Josh Williford, LSU (30)
OL – Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt (18)
OL – *A.J. Cann, South Carollina (14)
OL – *Zach Fulton, Tennessee (14)
C – *James Stone, Tennessee (30)
C – *Jonotthan Harrison, Florida (30)

DEFENSE

First-Team
DL – Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (223)
DL – Dominique Easley, Florida (162)
DL – Anthony Johnson, LSU (127)
DL – Chris Smith, Arkansas (56)
LB – C.J. Mosley, Alabama (231)
LB – A.J. Johnson, Tennessee (107)
LB – Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (94)
DB – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama (203)
DB – Craig Loston, LSU (135)
DB – Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida (117)
DB – Deion Belue, Alabama (77)

Second-Team
DL – Xzavier Dickson, Alabama (49)
DL – Ed Stinson, Alabama ( 39)
DL – Dee Ford, Auburn (38)
DL – Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama (31)
LB – Adrian Hubbard, Alabama (66)
LB – Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (64)
LB – Lamin Barrow, LSU (29)
DB – Damian Swann, Georgia (70)
DB – Andre Hal, Vanderbilt (69)
DB – Marcus Roberson, Florida (50)
DB – Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama (36)

Third-Team
DL – Garrison Smith, Georgia (26)
DL – Daniel McCullers, Tennessee (23)
DL – Alvin Dupree, Kentucky (23)
DL – C.J. Johnson, Ole Miss (22)
LB – Ronald Powell, Florida (24)
LB – Tahj Jones, LSU (20)
LB – *Trey DePriest, Alabama (16)
LB – *Avery Williamson, Kentucky (16)
DB – E.J. Gaines, Missouri (34)
DB – Charles Sawyer, Ole Miss (25)
DB – Jalen Mills, LSU (22)
DB – Chris Davis, Auburn (20)

SPECIALISTS

First-Team
P – Kyle Christy, Florida (108)
PK – Carey Spear, Vanderbilt (100)
RS – Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (74)
AP – Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (69)

Second-Team
P – Cody Mandell, Alabama (54)
PK – Cody Parkey, Auburn (71)    
RS – Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (62)
AP – Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (44)

Third-Team
P – Steven Clark, Auburn (33)
PK – Zach Hocker, Arkansas (39)
RS – Andre Debose, Florida (53)
AP – Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida (36)

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

SEC CHAMPION
Alabama – 182
Georgia – 38
South Carolina – 18
Texas A&M – 4
LSU – 1

EASTERN DIVISION
Georgia (149) – 1570
South Carolina (75) – 1474
Florida (19) – 1300
Vanderbilt – 858
Tennessee – 694
Missouri – 577
Kentucky – 331

WESTERN DIVISION
Alabama (225) – 1681
Texas A&M (11) – 1333
LSU (7) – 1324
Ole Miss – 883
Auburn – 579
Mississippi State – 516
Arkansas – 488

NOTES (provided by the SEC league office):

* – Official attendance at 2013 SEC Media Days is 1,239, a new high for the event. The previous high was 1,085 in 2012.
* – 243 voters is an all-time high for SEC media days.  The previous high was 222 voters in 2012.
* – The top two vote-getters were defensive players: C.J. Mosley, Alabama and Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina.
* – Since 2000, Arkansas’ Darren McFadden is the only unanimous selection to the SEC Media Days Team, collecting all 80 votes.
* – Alabama had the most first-team selections this season with seven.  Since 1992, the most players on a first-team were nine by Alabama in 2011 and eight by Alabama (2010) and Florida (2009).

July 10, 2013

Steven Clark, Cody Parkey selected to preseason watch lists

Auburn’s skill players took center stage on preseason watch lists on Monday and Tuesday.

LSU Auburn

Steven Clark

It was the specialists’ turn on Wednesday.

Senior punter Steven Clark was named to the Ray Guy Award watch list, while senior kicker Cody Parkey earned the same honor on the Lou Groza Award watch list. Neither of them are strangers to these watch lists, as both Clark and Parkey have made multiple appearances.

Their specialists’ selections put the Tigers in a class by themselves, as no other team in the SEC placed both their punter and kicker on the preseason watch lists.

The nominations of Parkey and Clark followed three other Tigers who had already been added to watch lists earlier this week. Senior defensive end Dee Ford was named to the Bednarik Award watch list on Monday, while junior center Reese Dismukes (Rimington Trophy) and junior tight end CJ Uzomah (Mackey Award) were selected to watch lists at their respective positions on Tuesday.

Clark, one of three punters chosen from the SEC and one of 25 overall, has been a fixture on the Guy Award watch list, finishing as a finalist (to eventual winner Ryan Allen of Louisiana Tech) in 2011 and a semifinalist last year. The Kansas City, Mo., native averaged 39.8 yards per punt last season, with 15 of his attempts being downed inside the 20-yard line. Even more impressive, just five of his 70 punts were returned. His season-long attempt went 54 yards against LSU.

Parkey was Auburn’s leading scorer in 2012, converting 11 of his 14 field goal attempts and hitting all 27 of his extra-point tries. During his Tiger career, Parkey has missed just one (71 of 72) PAT, and enters this season having made 51 in a row. He also ranks fourth in school history in field goal percentage (.750), putting 24 of his 32 kicks through the uprights.

Parkey was one of 30 placekickers named to the preseason watch list, joining Vanderbilt’s Carey Spear as representatives from the SEC.

Links to the full watch lists for both awards are included below.

WATCH LISTS

Lou Groza Award

Ray Guy Award

July 9, 2013

Reese Dismukes, CJ Uzomah named to preseason award watch lists

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra

For the second consecutive day, Auburn players found their names on various preseason award watch lists.
Auburn Vanderbilt Football

CJ Uzomah

On Tuesday, CJ Uzomah was named to the Mackey Award watch list, while center Reese Dismukes was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list. This followed Dee Ford’s selection to the Bednarik Award watch list on Monday.

Dismukes was one of 44 players named to the watch list, marking the second straight year the Spanish Fort, Ala., native garnered a nomination for the Rimington, which is annually awarded to the top center in college football. The junior has been a key piece of the Tigers’ offensive line the past two years, starting 23 games during that span.

Uzomah’s selection — one of the 37 participants nominated by the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and one of five representatives from the SEC — could be considered a bit of a surprise. The junior from Suwanee, Ga., notched seven receptions (including one touchdown) for 136 yards in 10 games last season. Uzomah was inserted into the lineup and started three games following Philip Lutzenkirchen‘s season-ending hip surgery last October. Uzomah then dealt with an injury of his own after breaking a bone in his right hand late in the season.

Uzomah will likely split time at tight end with Brandon Fulse, a player noted more for his blocking than his pass-catching abilities.

Links to the full watch lists for both awards are included below.

WATCH LISTS

Mackey Award

Rimington Trophy

7 at 7: A new beginning at War Eagle Extra (and links)

Hello, I’m Ryan Black.

OK, maybe it doesn’t have the same gravitas as, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.” OK, it definitely doesn’t. That being said, I extend my greetings to all readers of War Eagle Extra. I’m glad to be here, and thankful for the opportunity, to — as my predecessor, one Aaron Brenner, put it last year when he started this job — “maintain the solid reputation of Auburn beat writers for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.”

He obviously did that, and that’s one of the reasons I’m continuing Brenner’s popular “7 at 7″ format here in my debut post.

Ryan Black

As you may note below in the story highlighting my hire, yes, I graduated from the University of Georgia. Yes, if you “Google search” my name, it will come up with hundreds upon hundreds of stories I wrote about the Bulldogs. But not one of them is “slanted” toward Georgia. I pledge no allegiance to the Bulldogs, the same thing I’d say about the Tigers or any other team I’m assigned to cover. It’s not my job to “cheer” for a team, or be “against” one. I’m a journalist. All I want to see is a good, competitive game, folks. If I’m rooting for anything, it’s for a good story. (And please, pardon that cliché if you like.)

I’m going to report the news, good and bad. I’ll deliver analysis, too. Will we always agree? No. Besides, where is the fun in that? Do you really only talk to people you agree with? I don’t think so. If I ever criticize the Tigers, which — and I’m going out on a limb here — will probably happen at some point, don’t let your immediate reaction be, “There it is. Exactly what I was expecting. What a Georgia homer. He hates Auburn.” Put down your pitchforks. Reporters cover “rival” schools of their own alma maters all the time. It’s the nature of the business.

I don’t profess to be perfect. I’m quite open to criticism. (And quite open to praise, too.) So if you have any questions about the team or other feedback you’d like to send along, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can tweet to @wareagleextra or shoot me an email at rblack@ledger-enquirer.com.

The season is getting ever closer, and I know you readers are as ready for it as I am.

1. Before delving into other links of more recent vintage, I figured I could share a pair of my older stories, one showing my willingness to criticize Georgia (here) and another being a feature centered around Auburn’s struggles last season, told from the Bulldogs’ perspective (here).

Enjoy.

2. Now, on to the Tigers. Auburn defensive end Dee Ford was named to the Bednarik Award preseason watch list on Monday. The award is given annually to the nation’s top defensive player. Ford, a senior, is the Tigers’ top returnee on the defensive line, as he led the team in sacks last season with six, as well as tallying 34 total tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss.

Along with Ford, 75 other players were named to the watch list, which is presented by the Maxwell Football Club. The semifinalists will be announced Oct. 29, and the three finalists for the award will be released Nov. 19. The winner will be named during the Home Depot College Awards show on Dec. 12.

3. Former Auburn running back Michael Dyer hasn’t given up on playing in Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision. Far from it. All he’s looking for right now is a chance, according to USA Today. After washing out of both Auburn and Arkansas State due to myriad issues, Dyer is immediately eligible to play this season and would be classified as a junior. He graduated with an associate’s degree from Arkansas Baptist College last month.

To read the whole story on Dyer, check out George Schroeder’s piece on the USA Today website.

4. If you’ve got $10,200 to spend in one lump sum — a luxury I can’t afford, unfortunately — there is one-of-a-kind opportunity awaiting you, Auburn fans. Want to have all 17 letters that once graced the entrance welcoming you to Jordan-Hare Stadium? Well, you’re in luck. The letters are for sale.

Thanks to the folks over at The War Eagle Reader, we know an Ebay seller in Lewisville, Texas is willing to part with the letters for $10,000. (The additional $200 is the cost to ship it to your home.)

The description on the Buy It Now Listing is as follows:

“We are offering something very special for vintage sports collectors and Auburn football fans! In 2011, the entrance to the stadium got a new sign. Through another dealer we were able to purchase the entire sign that was removed! It is big, it is heavy, and it is one of a kind! These have seen Heisman winners and National champions!

“The letters are heavy cast aluminum, 8-12 pounds each and two foot tall! These were on the northeast side of the stadium, or to orient yourself, they overlooked the intersection of Donahue Dr & Heisman Dr. If you go on Google Maps Streetview, you can see these on the stadium! Google: 251 S Donahue Dr, Auburn, AL”

The 17 letters would be quite an addition to any person’s collection.

If nothing else, they would make for a great conversation starter at your next party.

5. Love him or hate him, Paul Finebaum knows how to stir the pot. He did so once more on Monday during a radio interview with ESPN personalities Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo. Widely-regarded as one of the biggest games of the coming season, the Alabama/Texas A&M tilt didn’t get high marks in Finebaum’s book, since he’s predicting a one-sided affair.

“I think Alabama is going to win that game and I think they’ll win it easily, Finebaum said. “That doesn’t make A&M a bad program. I mean they’re in the top five in the country and Manziel is certainly on everyone’s list to repeat, although we both know he won’t.”

“Even though it’s a revenge game for Alabama, I think the pressure’s on A&M. They’re still newbies with all this fame and fortune and I think there’s just going to be too much pressure.”

“This is the biggest game maybe in Texas A&M history and I just don’t think they’re quite there yet in spite of everything they did last year.”

I’m sure those comments will go over just fine in College Station. Don’t be surprised if Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin responds to Finebaum in kind. It wouldn’t be the first time “The Prez” gets the better of an exchange with Finebaum, after all.

6. Speaking of the Crimson Tide, there’s a new writer joining the beat in The Anniston Star’s Marquavius Burnett. My colleague tipped me off to the “great reporting” in this article by Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, as New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft broke his silence on Aaron Hernandez.

Regardless of how this case eventually unfolds, it is a tragedy for all involved.

7. And to make sure we end my initial posting on an upbeat note, check out a couple of lighthearted links I came across on Monday.

The first came from a Cleveland Browns fan named Scott Entsminger, who died on July 4 at the age of 55. According to his obituary in The Columbus Dispatch, the accomplished musician and longtime season ticket holder had one last favor to ask of his beloved team: “He respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.”

Zing!

While the last link isn’t a story, it doesn’t need words. Pictures sometimes speak for themselves, right? This photo of Larry Brown while he was coaching at North Carolina in 1975 does just that. Take a second and let it sink in. Or take a look at it, walk outside and come back to it later.

Let us all be grateful that wardrobe is exactly where it should be: in the past.

March 12, 2013

Auburn shut out of SEC coaches awards

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@ledger-enquirer.com

@WarEagleExtra

Billy DonovanAUBURN, Ala. — Thirty names were listed with the SEC men’s basketball coaches postseason awards, honoring the league’s top players, freshmen, defenders, sixth man, scholar-athlete and head coach. Not one represented Auburn.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (18.0 points, 2.1 steals) becomes the first Georgia Bulldog named SEC Player of the Year by the coaches, while Florida’s Billy Donovan earned head coach honors for the second time in three years. The league’s dean as Florida’s coach since 1996-97, Donovan hadn’t won the award in his first 14 years in Gainesville.

The SEC champion Gators had a league-leading six representatives, including Donovan, on the coaches’ postseason honors. Forward/center Erik Murphy was one of eight first-teamers, while Patric Young was named scholar-athlete of the year.

Kentucky equaled Florida’s total of five players, including four on the all-freshman team. Nerlens Noel (10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks in 24 games before a season-ending knee injury) was named SEC Freshman and SEC Defender of the year, while sophomore Kyle Wiltjer is Sixth Man of the Year.

Auburn, who finished last place in the SEC standings, did not have a player ranked in the top seven in any major individual category. The Tigers’ top statistical player, senior guard Frankie Sullivan, was 10th in overall scoring (but 19th when factoring out non-conference games) and eighth in free-throw shooting.

The entire SEC coaches postseason awards for 2012-13:

First Team All-SEC                                                                          

Trevor Releford, Alabama – G, 6-1, 195, Jr., Kansas City, Mo.

Erik Murphy, Florida – F/C, 6-10, 238, Sr., South Kingstown, R.I.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia – G, 6-5, 205, So., Greenville, Ga.

Nerlens Noel, Kentucky – F, 6-10, 228, Fr., Everett, Mass.

Johnny O’Bryant III, LSU – F, 6-9, 256, So., Cleveland, Miss.

Phil Pressey, Missouri – G, 5-11, 175, Jr., Dallas, Texas

Jordan McRae, Tennessee – G, 6-5, 178, Jr., Midway, Ga.

Elston Turner, Texas A&M – G, 6-5, 209, Sr., Sacramento, Calif.

Second Team All-SEC                                                                    

Marshawn Powell, Arkansas – F, 6-7, 240, Jr., Newport News, Va.

BJ Young, Arkansas – G, 6-3, 180, So, St. Louis, Mo.

Kenny Boynton, Florida – G, 6-2, 190, Sr., Pompano Beach, Fla.

^Mike Rosario, Florida – G, 6-3, 183, Sr., Jersey City, N.J.

^Patric Young, Florida – C, 6-9, 249, Jr., Jacksonville, Fla.

Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss – G, 6-2, 175, Jr., Hurst, Texas

Murphy Holloway, Ole Miss – F, 6-7, 240, Sr., Irmo, S.C.

Laurence Bowers, Missouri – F, 6-8, 227, Sr., Memphis, Tenn.

Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee – F, 6-8, 270, So., Memphis, Tenn.

SEC All-Freshman Team                                                               

Michael Frazier II, Florida – G, 6-4, 200, Fr., Tampa, Fla.

Charles Mann, Georgia – G, 6-4, 205, Fr., Alpharetta, Ga.

^Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky – F, 7-0, 244, Fr., Olathe, Kan.

Archie Goodwin, Kentucky – G, 6-4.5, 198, Fr., Little Rock, Ark.

Nerlens Noel, Kentucky – F, 6-10, 228, Fr., Everett, Mass.

^Alex Poythress, Kentucky – F, 6-7, 239, Fr., Clarksville, Tenn.

Craig Sword, Mississippi State – G, 6-3, 189, Fr., Montgomery, Ala.

^Gavin Ware, Mississippi State – F, 6-9, 270, Fr., Starkville, Miss.

Michael Carrera, South Carolina – F, 6-5, 212, Fr., Anzoátegui, Venezuela

SEC All-Defensive Team                                                              

^Trevor Releford, Alabama – G, 6-1, 185, Jr., Kansas City, Mo.

Scottie Wilbekin, Florida – G, 6-2, 176, Jr., Gainesville, Fla.

^Patric Young, Florida – C, 6-9, 249, Jr., Jacksonville, Fla.

Nerlens Noel, Kentucky – F, 6-10, 228, Fr., Everett, Mass.

Anthony Hickey, LSU – G, 5-11, 178, So., Hopkinsville, Ky.

Reginald Buckner, Ole Miss – F, 6-9, 235, Sr., Memphis, Tenn.

^-Ties are not broken

SECCoach of the Year: Billy Donovan, Florida

SECPlayer of the Year: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia

SECScholar-Athlete of the Year: Patric Young, Florida

SECFreshman of the Year: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky

SECSixth-Man of the Year: Kyle Wiltjer, Kentucky

SECDefensive Player of the Year: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky

February 26, 2013

Blanche Alverson one of five named to first Allstate WBCA Good Works Team

1_JDE8742AUBURN, Ala. — Blanche Alverson isn’t just one of the most charitable student-athletes at Auburn. She’s now recognized as such around the country.

Auburn’s Miss Homecoming and senior basketball player – who leads the Tigers in rebounding, 3-point and free-throw shooting – was named to the inaugural Allstate WBCA Good Works Team Tuesday, just one of five NCAA Division I women to receive the honor.

According to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, “the award recognizes a unique group of women’s college basketball student-athletes who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of volunteerism and civic involvement including building homes for the elderly, leading basketball clinics, reading to students and working with children with hearing disabilities.”

If the Good Works Team sounds familiar, it should. Former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen was among the 11 football players named to that Allstate squad this past fall for his involvement with sick children in the hospital.

Alverson is the only SEC woman named to the Good Works Team. She’s joined by Oklahoma’s Whitney Hand, Brown’s Caroline King, Purdue’s Drey Mingo and Penn State’s Cizelle Studevent.

A member of Auburn’s exclusive 1000-point, 500-rebound club, coordinated Auburn’s latest “Ballin’ for Books” effort, which last year gathered more than 1,100 book donations for local literacy programs from Auburn fans and the community in its first year.

At this past weekend’s home victory against Missouri, more than 400 books were donated, with two more opportunities for fans to contribute coming at the men’s basketball game against Vanderbilt Saturday and the women’s home finale vs. Mississippi State on Sunday.

The Allstate WBCA Good Works Team will be recognized during the 2013 WBCA Convention and at the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans, where it will conduct a local community project.

AUBURN BASKETBALL

February 8, 2013

Garner named Top 50 recruiter

AUBURN, Ala. — Luring Montravius Adams and Elijah Daniel with late pitches and beefing up his defensive line, Auburn assistant head coach Rodney Garner was undoubtedly Auburn’s MVC (most valuable coach) on Wednesday.

Garner was rewarded for the results of his efforts Friday when he was listed as one of 247Sports.com’s Top 50 recruiters in 2013.

Garner has been a recruiting coordinator continuously since January 1998, when he was with Georgia. Garner was officially hired away from the rival Bulldogs on Dec. 21, returning to his alma mater Auburn.

247Sports.com’s National Recruiter of the Year is Alabama wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Groh. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and outside linebackers coach Lance Thompson also represented the Crimson Tide on the list, while Georgia landed tight ends coach John Lilly.

In the national signing day aftermath, Alabama currently has 247Sports.com’s No. 1-rated class, while Auburn and Georgia are ranked 11th and 12th, respectively.