Friday, November 13, 2009

Four-star WR Reed commits to Auburn

A week after Auburn landed one of the nation’s top tailbacks, the Tigers also grabbed a commitment from a top receiver on Friday.

Trovon Reed, a receiver from Thibodaux (La.), announced his attentions to play for Auburn on Friday after agreeing to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game. ranks Reed as a four-star prospect and the No. 5 receiver nationally.

Reed’s commitment gives the Tigers 21 this year. Auburn plans to count five signees in the 2009 class, enabling the Tigers to sign a total of 33 players this year – five more than the maximum of 28.

Auburn has now gotten four commitments from receivers – Reed, Jeremy Richardson, Antonio Goodwin and Shaun Kitchens.

Before Reed’s announcement, listed Auburn as having the No. 10 recruiting class. Reed’s decision will likely give the Tigers a boost in the rankings. Five SEC teams, including Alabama, are currently ahead of Auburn in the team rankings.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Game ball and helmet stickers from Auburn's 63-31win over Furman

QB Chris Todd
Line: 17-18, 256 yards, 4 TDs
Todd's one incomplete pass sailed between Kodi Burns' hands. Saturday's game could have been huge for confidence and momentum heading into next week's game at Georgia. If Auburn's passing game is clicking the way it did this week, the Tigers will be in good shape next week. They will need something from Todd, though. Auburn won't be able to line up and just run right at the Bulldogs.

WR Darvin Adams
Line: 6 catches, 115 yards, 3 TDs
All year, Adams has proven to be the receiving presence Auburn had in Rod Smith for the past few years. Only Adams has been even more productive than the former walk-on. In a league full of high-profile receivers, Adams, a no-name to start the season, ranks fourth in receiving yards per game. He can emerge as a real presence if he finishes with good games against Georgia and Alabama. Though Adams has had a few huge games, he hasn't always produced in Auburn's biggest games. He has a chance to dispel that thought this week.

RB Ben Tate
Line: 12 rushes, 75 yards, 2 TDs
The senior didn't top the 100-yard mark during his one half of play, but he performed very well when he was in the game. His two touchdowns give him eight on the season -- just two shy of what seemed like especially lofty preseason goals. Tate has established himself as the next in line for Running Back U and has almost certainly improved his draft status significantly.

CB/WR/RB Anthony Gulley
Line: 5 rushes, 77 yards, 2 TDs, 1 tackle
All year, Gulley had lined up exclusively at receiver. That's a change from his high school days at Brantley, when he played tailback and cornerback. Now he's playing all three spots. Gulley only had one tackle, but gives Auburn some depth at corner, which it desperately needs. He also proved capable of playing running back at the next level. Gulley broke TD runs of 14 and 50 yards, helping Auburn run out the clock in the second half.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dyer commits

Auburn landed a huge commitment Friday when RB Michael Dyer announced his intentions to play for the Tigers next year.

Dyer has already set an Arkansas state record with 7,566 career rushing yards playing with Little Rock Christian. ranks the 5-foot-8, 200-pound back as the 17th overall prospect in the country and the third-best running back. Both Rivals and rate him as a five-star recruit, which is the highest ranking given by both scouting services.

Dyer told that offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, an Arkansas native, played a pivotal role during his recruitment.

With Dyer’s commitment, Auburn now has 20 players that have pledged to play for the Tigers next season. Dyer is the first tailback to commit.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Looking at the bowl possibilities

Bowl eligible
No. 1 Florida, 8-0
Remaining schedule: vs. Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, vs. Florida International, vs. Florida State
Best-case scenario: Florida runs the table, beats Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and goes to the BCS National Championship Game.
Worst-case scenario: Florida flops at South Carolina and loses to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. The Gators would still probably go to the Sugar Bowl.
Prediction: 12-1, Sugar Bowl

No. 3 Alabama, 8-0
Remaining schedule: vs. No. 9 LSU, at Mississippi State, vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga, at Auburn
Best-case scenario: The Crimson Tide runs the table, beats Florida in the SEC Championship Game and goes to the BCS National Championship Game.
Worst-case scenario: Alabama drops games to LSU and either Mississippi State or Auburn and doesn’t qualify for the SEC Championship Game, landing instead in the Capital One Bowl.
Prediction: 13-0, BCS National Championship Game

No. 9 LSU, 7-1
Remaining schedule: at No. 3 Alabama, vs. Louisiana Tech, at Ole Miss, vs. Arkansas
Best-case scenario: LSU finds more stability from the offense and runs the table, starting with an upset win at Alabama. A 4-0 finish would put LSU in the SEC Championship Game. LSU then gets a BCS bid.
Worst-case scenario: QB Jordan Jefferson returns to erratic form and LSU can’t get any more production out of its run game. The Tigers lose three of their last four and fall to Cotton Bowl.
Prediction: 9-3, Capital One Bowl

Auburn, 6-3
Remaining schedule: vs. Furman, at Georgia, bye, vs. Alabama
Best-case scenario: Auburn’s defense plays like it did against Ole Miss, QB Chris Todd keeps defenses honest and the Tigers find a way to win out. That situation would put Auburn in the Cotton Bowl, maybe even the Capital One Bowl.
Worst-case scenario: The Tigers drop both remaining SEC games and end the season 7-5. Auburn then goes to the Gaylords Hotel Bowl.
Prediction: 8-4, Cotton Bowl

South Carolina, 6-3
Remaining schedule: at Arkansas, vs. No. 1 Florida, vs. Clemson
Best-case scenario: South Carolina finds a way to sneak out of Arkansas and beats Clemson in a rivalry game to finish 8-4. That would put the Gamecocks back in Tampa for the Outback Bowl.
Worst-case scenario: The Gamecocks drop all three games and barely qualify for a bowl game. That would put South Carolina up for possibly the Independence Bowl or the Bowl.
Prediction: 7-5, Liberty Bowl

Work to do
Ole Miss, 5-3*
*-Since Ole Miss has two Division I-AA teams on its schedule, only one of those wins will count toward its bowl eligibility. That means the Rebels need to get to seven wins to become bowl eligible.
Remaining schedule: vs. Northern Arizona, vs. Tennessee, vs. No. 9 LSU, at Mississippi State
Best-case scenario: Ole Miss gets more consistent play out of QB Jevan Snead and wins out to put itself in great bowl position.
Worst-case scenario: The Rebels manage to beat only Northern Arizona and miss out on a bowl game altogether.
Prediction: 7-5, Gaylords Hotel Bowl

Georgia, 4-4
Remaining schedule: vs. Tennessee Tech, vs. Auburn, vs. Kentucky, at No. 10 Georgia Tech
Best-case scenario: The Bulldogs continue their dominance over both Auburn and Kentucky and pull off an upset against Georgia Tech to finish the season 8-4.
Worst-case scenario: Georgia drops home games to both Auburn and Kentucky, loses to Georgia Tech and misses a bowl game altogether.
Prediction: 7-5, Chick-fil-A Bowl

Tennessee, 4-4
Remaining schedule: vs. Memphis, at Ole Miss, vs. Vanderbilt, at Kentucky
Best-case scenario: QB Jonathan Crompton continues his strong play and the UT defense only grows stronger. The Volunteers win out.
Worst-case scenario: Tennessee loses its two road games and finishes 6-6, going to the Liberty Bowl.
Prediction: 7-5, Outback Bowl

Kentucky, 4-4
Remaining schedule: vs. Eastern Kentucky, at Vanderbilt, at Georgia, vs. Tennessee
Best-case scenario: The Wildcats find stability from one of their two quarterbacks and find ways to upset both Georgia and Tennessee. That could result in Kentucky going to the Outback Bowl or at least the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Worst-case scenario: Kentucky loses its last two games and finishes the season 6-6, landing in the Bowl.
Prediction: 6-6, Bowl

Arkansas, 4-4
Remaining schedule: vs. South Carolina, vs. Troy, vs. Mississippi State, at No. 9 LSU
Best-case scenario: The Razorbacks defense plays like it did against Auburn and Florida, lending enough support to a potent offense to help Arkansas win out and go to the Cotton Bowl.
Worst-case scenario: Arkansas drops a game it shouldn’t and finishes the season 6-6 and playing in the Liberty Bowl.
Prediction: 7-5, Liberty Bowl

Tough road ahead
Mississippi State, 4-5
Remaining schedule: bye, vs. No. 3 Alabama, at Arkansas, vs. Ole Miss
Best-case scenario: The Bulldogs steal two wins and play in the Bowl.
Worst-case scenario: State loses out and finishes 4-8.
Prediction: 4-8

Game ball and helmet stickers from Auburn's 33-20 win over Ole Miss

DE Antonio Coleman
The senior turned in easily his best performance of the season, recording five tackles, four for loss, two sacks and a blocked extra point that Demond Washington returned for a defensive 2-point conversion. Coleman also had four quarterback hurries and a forced fumble, though Ole Miss recovered the loose ball. Auburn's pass rush was a big reason the Tigers turned in their best defensive performance of the season. Coleman played a critical role in the turnaround.

RB Ben Tate
Line: 25 rushes, 144 yards, 1 TD
The senior workhorse went for 100-plus yards for the sixth time in nine games this season. He again carried the load for the Auburn offense and averaged 5.8 yards per carry while doing so. Tate knew he would get an extended role in the offense this season and has risen to the challenge. He has established himself as a likely first-team all-SEC back this season and topped the 1,000-yard mark on Saturday.

WR Terrell Zachery
Line: 2 catches, 83 yards
Zachery only made two plays on Saturday, but both gave Auburn's offense the spark it lacked throughout the three-game losing streak. He proved he can be the big-play threat Auburn's offense has lacked since Onterio McCalebb suffered an ankle injury during the Tennessee game. Neither of Zachery's catches went for touchdowns, but they both set up touchdowns and helped focus more Ole Miss attention on the passing game.

CB Walt McFadden
Line: 2 INTs, 1 TD
Auburn coach Gene Chizik knew the key to his team reversing its recent fortunes rested in creating more turnovers. McFadden had a pair of interceptions. His first came in spectacular fashion when an Ole Miss receiver bobbled a ball into the air and McFadden picked it out of midair and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. His second interception sealed the game for Auburn.

Etheridge update

Zac Etheridge’s season is likely over a day after he suffered a neck injury from colliding with a teammate, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Sunday.

Chizik said he is “very hopeful” for the junior safety’s full recovery from the neck injury Etheridge suffered Saturday.

Chizik didn’t shoot down talk that Etheridge’s football-playing career could also be over.

“I don’t know where that goes,” Chizik said. “We’re talking about full recovery as a person.”

Chizik said he did not feel comfortable going into further detail on Etheridge’s injury.

Etheridge suffered the injury when his head collided with DE Antonio Coleman’s shoulder.

Etheridge lay motionless on the field for several minutes before medical personnel immobilized him. He was carted off the field, but gave a thumbs-up sign to the crowd on his way to the locker room.

An injury update later in the game said he was being taken to a local hospital for examinations on his neck. The same report said Etheridge had movement in all his extremities.

A picture on Etheridge’s Facebook page showed him wearing a neck brace in a hospital bed with a couple that might be his parents. ...

More to come in tomorrow's Anniston Star.