Online Now 340

Phillip's blog: Ramblin' around

I wondered after Auburn's 42-14 loss to Alabama in the Iron Bowl how excited Auburn players would be for their Dec. 31 game against Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. I wondered more after defensive coordinator Ted Roof left for Central Florida and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was named head coach at Arkansas State.

Senior Editor Phillip Marshall

I don't wonder now.

Head coach Gene Chizik took over as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. That seems to have provided a real spark of enthusiasm for the defense. Malzahn, greatly respected by Auburn's offensive players, returned to coach one more Auburn game.

And Chizik has done a good job of selling the players on the importance of winning their 30th game in three seasons.

Unless I miss my guess, it will be a motivated and excited Auburn team that takes the field at the Georgia Dome. ...

Could Southern Mississippi's decision to name Ellis Johnson head coach, open the door for offensive coordinator Blake Anderson to move to Auburn? Anderson was Chizik's first choice if Malzahn had left for Vanderbilt last year.

If Chizik wants Anderson, he can almost certainly get him, but he doesn't have a lot of time. Larry Fedora, who is leaving USM for North Carolina, will coach the Golden Eagles for the last time in the Hawaii Bowl. He wants Anderson to go with him. ...

Auburn's basketball team has a 7-1 record, but Monday's 76-69 victory over Florida A&M leaves you wondering if the Tigers are going to make much noise in the SEC. Florida A&M was 2-9, did not have a win over a Division I team and was ranked dead last among Division I teams in RPI. A win is a win, but that one wasn't pretty. ...

If the Auburn football program is in turmoil, as so many seem to insist that it is, coaches and players are doing a remarkable job of hiding it. ...

Nobody is saying who will play how much at quarterback in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but my guess is sophomore Clint Moseley will start and freshman Kiehl Frazier will get plenty of playing time. ...

Interesting that the SEC has expanded he tournament field to 10 teams, presumably because of the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri. Coaches have wanted the field expanded for years. If it's possible now, why wasn't it possible then? ...

Until next time. ...

Already have an account? Sign In