Standing on the sideline early in Auburn's practice Tuesday, I chatted with strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall. And, as always, it was fun.
I've known Yoxall for 13 years, since he came to Auburn to join Tommy Tuberville in 1999. He's a a good man and a fascinating man, a mixture of fierce intensity, toughness and compassion.
I told Yoxall I thought this Auburn team is as impressive physically as any I've seen.
"They had a good summer," he said. "Could have been better."
I mentioned a specific player who has significantly changed.
"He did a good job," Yoxall said. "He figured it out. Now he needs to take it to another level."
Yoxall loves the young men with whom works to the point he'll come to tears talking about them. He treasures the days when they come back and bring their children to meet him. But, when they are at Auburn, he's never satisfied and won't let them be.
Yoxall, as is his way, waved off his role in the gains made by Auburn football players. "Still a lot to do," he said. Then it was time. He went to the field as the players lined up for stretching, his voice loud as rain fell outside the indoor practice facility.
Later Tuesday, wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor talked about Yoxall and his impact on the Auburn football program.
"Thank goodness for Coach Yox," Taylor said. "He's a difference-maker and the glue on this football team."
So now a handful of Penn State trustees say they are appealing the NCAA's program-destroying sanctions. And a group of former players say they are appealing.
Like the Paterno family, they all need to shut up.
The NCAA is run by presidents. Trustees getting involved usually only makes things worse. Former players have no more standing to appeal than you or I do
The fact is the Penn State president signed a consent decree. It's over. Everyone at Penn State needs to focus on the victims of Jerry Sandusky's horrific crimes. Their screaming and wailing only further points to the outsized importance football had at the highest levels at Penn State. ...
Former Auburn coach Pat Dye said in Huntsville that the Tigers are still a year away from having a full deck of cards. He said he expects them to beat some teams they shouldn't this season and lose to some teams they shouldn't.
I don' know about the losing to teams they shouldn't. If you look back over the three seasons Chizik has been at Auburn, the loss to Kentucky in 2009 is the only one that I would put in that category. ...
One of the more interesting positions to watch going into the first game will be wide receiver. Clearly, Emory Blake is the bellcow, but there are lots of other talented guys. Will Taylor find a way to use them all? He hasn't in the past, but things could be different with new coordinator Scot Loeffler in town. ...
Until next time ...
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