HOUSTON - My tour of the state of Texas is about over. I spent a delightful evening at the Greater Houston Auburn Club on Thursday, a day after an equally enjoyable visit with the Dallas Auburn Club.
It was especially gratifying to meet numerous AuburnUndercover.com subscribers at both stops. I'm going to hang out with my son and daughter-in-law on Friday and head back east on Saturday. By the time I get back, the time for football will be at hand.
Players on Gene Chizik's fourth Auburn football team officially report (even though they've never really left) Tuesday and take to the field for the first time Wednesday. Five weeks from Saturday, Auburn plays Clemson in the Georgia Dome as the sound and fury of another football season is unleashed.
Soon, we'll know who will start at quarterback, who will get the first chance to be the featured running back, who will be the starters on the offensive line, what the playing rotation will look like on the defensive line, who will provide depth at linebacker, all those things people have been wondering pretty much since time ran out on Auburn's victory over Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Seven weeks from Saturday, after games have been played against Clemson and at Mississippi State, we'll know a lot more about what the 2012 Auburn football team faces.
Winning two won't mean that a great season awaits, but winning two will mean that a great season is possible. Two losses won't mean that a disaster awaits, but two losses will certainly mean a major disappointment is possible.
For now, those two games will have to wait. Players must first deal with the physical and mental challenges of August.
If I was a coach, I wouldn't recruit Penn State's players. At least I wouldn't pursue them like they were the latest high school phenoms. If one or more called me, we'd talk. Otherwise, I'd leave them alone.
The NCAA says it's OK, but sending assistants to State College and openly recruiting players already on another team doesn't sit well with me. ...
A football autographed by Auburn Heisman winners Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Cam Newton went for $800 in an auction at the Greater Houston Auburn Club meeting on Thursday. The money helps fund the club's scholarships that help Houston-area students attend Auburn. After giving away one $500 scholarship two years ago, the club gave away two $10,000 scholarships Thursday night. Very impressive. ...
Perhaps the question I am asked most often is about the status of freshman quarterback Zeke Pike, sent home to Kentucky by head coach Gene Chizik after being charged with public intoxication. We should have an answer soon.
When Chizik was asked about Pike and defensive back Jonathan Rose at SEC Media Days, he sounded more positive about Rose. And it has now been confirmed that Rose will not return. ...
ESPN.com's KC Joyner recently raised some eyebrows when he included LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray in a list of the nation's most overrated players.
Joyner actually has a point about Mathieu and Lattimore. Mathieu made a bunch of big plays last season, enough some thought him to be a worthy Heisman candidate. But he is not a consistent cover guy. In the biggest games, Lattimore hasn't always come up big. Auburn neutralized him twice in 2010 and again last season in Columbia.
Murray? I don't get that one. I think he's a heck of a player.
Until next time ...