Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brewin’ the ‘do’

In a recent post-practice media session, Auburn tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen was asked about what appeared to be a new hairstyle.
He was very candid in his response.
“I worked out, went home, didn’t shower, practiced, still didn’t shower,” he said. “That’s the deal I’m working with right now. All grease.”

Hard to get to
The Rebels do a good job of protecting the quarterback.
Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks first in the SEC and 17th nationally in fewest sacks allowed with seven.
Looking for omens
Ole Miss is 3-4, and the last time the Rebels started 3-4, they finished strong.
In 2008, Nutt’s first season at Ole Miss, the Rebels started 3-4 but won their last six games to finish 9-4.

Close to home
The Rebels will play all of their games in Mississippi this season or in a state that borders Mississippi.
Their four road games this season are at Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Tulane (Louisiana).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Power of the polls

Auburn ranks third in this week’s Associated Press top 25 and has beaten four teams currently ranked in this week’s poll.
Only one other ranked team (Wisconsin) has beaten as many as two.

What a rush
Auburn is averaging 321 yards rushing against SEC competition and has rushed for at least 300 yards against four consecutive SEC teams, the first time that has happened since available data in 1967.
Newton leads the nation with 14 rushing touchdowns and 27 combined touchdowns rushing and passing. He’s only player in the nation who has rushed for 170 or more yards five times this season.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Worth watching

Dyer on the mend

Freshman tailback Mike Dyer has been bothered by a sore knee, and even though he showed up for post-practice media interviews with his right knee incased in ice, he say’s he’s fine.
“It’s better,” Dyer said. “I’ll be ready to go on Saturday.”

Tale of the Tigers
Auburn and LSU have been two of the most successful teams in the SEC during the past decade.
Since 2000, the winner of the LSU-Auburn game has represented the SEC West in the league title game six times.
LSU won national championships in 2003 and 2007, while Auburn went undefeated in 2004.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In good hands with Cam

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton ranks second in the nation in “touchdown responsibility” with 21 points per game.
Newton has had a hand in 21 of the Tigers’ 28 touchdowns this season and the 21 combined rushing and passing touchdown are eighth most in a single season at Auburn.

Revenge no factor
Arkansas has beaten the Tigers each of the last two seasons, including 44-23 last season in coach Gene Chizik’s first season at Auburn.
Chizik says he never preaches the revenge angle.
“No, we don’t operate off the word ‘revenge,’” he said. “2009 is 2009 and 2010 is a different year. This is a very important game to us, obviously. Any one of our players would tell you that. It is as important as last week’s conference game and two weeks ago our conference game. They’re all extremely important and it’s another Tuesday. We have to get better and we have to prepare and we know that,
again, this is a very good football team. For us to be able to win, we have to be better than we were the week before. That’s really the way we approach it, it’s not anything about the year before or whatnot.”

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Newton keeps avoiding tacklers, Heisman talk

AUBURN – Auburn quarterback Cam Newton continues to play well for the Tigers, and he also continues to deflect questions about being a Heisman Trophy candidate.
The question surfaced once again Sunday, with No. 7 Auburn preparing to play 12th-ranked Arkansas, led by quarterback Ryan Mallett, another Heisman contender.
“I can't just say that I'm going to embrace the Heisman talk because I really don't like me being singled out in front of everybody,” Newton said. “As far as this team, we have some warriors on this team that I would be willing to die for. We've got the defenders on defense that don't get the recognition.
"...For me to just say, 'I'm just going to be selfish this week' or be selfish this day and say, 'I'm the Heisman' or I'm being noticed as the Heisman Trophy winner, that's not fair to everybody else that's doing the same thing that I'm doing and not getting credit for it.”
Newton isn’t buying any “Newton vs. Mallett” hype either.
“No, it's just do your job and win the football game,” Newton said. “That's it.”

Light fuse, clear area
Saturday’s game between the Razorbacks and the Tigers will match two of the nation’s most prolific offenses.
Arkansas is ranked No. 1 in the SEC and third nationally in passing offense, averaging 354 yards per game.Auburn ranks No. 1 in the SEC and eighth nationally in rushing offense, averaging 276 yards per game.
In total offense, Arkansas ranks No. 1 in the SEC and 10th nationally with 483 yards per game, while Auburn is No. 2 in the SEC and 19th in the nation at 462.8 yards per game.

Highs and lows of the AP poll
Auburn’s ranking of seventh in the latest Associated Press poll is far too low according to at least one voter, and far too high according to another.
Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review Journal has the Tigers ranked at No. 3, the highest ranking Auburn received in the poll.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has the Tigers ranked 14th, the lowest ranking among the voters in this week’s poll.
Condotta actually had the Tigers ranked 12th heading into the weekend, but dropped them two spots after their 37-34 victory on the road against Kentucky.

Changing of the guard
Auburn made a change of punters against Kentucky.The Tigers went with freshman Steven Clark in place of senior Ryan Shoemaker.
Clark punted twice for a 34-yard average with a long punt of 36 yards.
Shoemaker has punted 16 times this season for an average of 38.9 yards per kick.
“We're going to go with who we think is the best guy,” said Auburn coach Gene Chizik. “And we just felt like he's been making a lot of progress in practice, and we felt like it was time. And we want a guy who's going to be able to get some better distance and hang time and things of that nature.”

CBS picks Auburn-Arkansas game
Auburn’s game against Arkansas will kick off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium and will be televised by CBS.
It will mark Auburn’s first appearance on CBS this season, and will
be the first Auburn-Arkansas game to be televised by CBS since 2006.
The contest will also mark the first time in the history of the Auburn-Arkansas series that both teams will be nationally-ranked entering the game.
Auburn (6-0, 3-0 SEC) is ranked seventh in the Oct. 10 USA Today Coaches Poll, while Arkansas (4-1, 1-1 SEC) is ranked 12th.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hit ‘em where it hurts

Kentucky has passed for more than 200 yards in all five games this season, and although the Wildcats have the most passing attempts in the SEC (168) the Wildcats are tied for the fewest interceptions (3).
Auburn is 11th in the SEC in pass defense.
Conversely, Auburn leads the SEC in rushing offense, while Kentucky is 11th in run defense.

Not easy to forget
Even though quarterback Cam Newton wasn’t here last year, he says it’s not hard to pick up on the fact that Auburn would like to erase the memory of last year’s 21-14 loss to Kentucky at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“You feel everybody's energy on the football field,” Newton said. “It's kind of personal for all those guys who were here last year. Looking at the film — it's disgusting to look at. When we watch film from last year, we usually go play after play after play.
"This past week, we've been skipping plays because it's so hard for (offensive coordinator Gust Malzahn) to even look at it. He mentions the bad stuff about it. Just seeing him like that – I don't like that. A lot of guys are taking it personally this week.”

Trotter still on the mend and other stuff

The status of backup quarterback Barrett Trotter for Saturday’s game at Kentucky remains unknown.
“I’d like to say it’s all great, but it’s going to be a day-by-day thing still,” Chizik said. “Hopefully, he’ll be ready, but the evaluation process will continue for the next week.”

Numbers worth noting
Auburn is ranked eighth nationally in rushing offense (269 yards per game), 11th in total offense (475.4 yards per game) and 20th in scoring offense (36.6 points per game).
Auburn’s 24 touchdown plays this season have averaged 25.7 yards, including nine plays of 35 or more yards.

Long off the tee
Freshman Joe Mansour has handled most of the kickoffs for Kentucky and has a league-leading 12 touchbacks this season.
Even so, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips has concerns about Mansour’s accuracy.
“We’ve got John Daly kicking off for us,” Phillips said. “He’s got a strong leg, but you don’t know where it’s going to go. But some day he’ll be Greg Norman. He’ll be a guy who can hit it a long way and keep it in play. He was telling me he’s second in the country in kickoffs in the end zone. But he’s first in the country in out of bounds and that’s the thing we can’t do.”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Goodbye, good luck

AUBURN – Auburn wide receiver Jay Wisner has left the team for personal reasons.
“He is a great young man and he has done everything we've asked him to do," Chizik said. "And we're going to try to help him in any way, and we wish him well. But last week he decided to leave the team.”
Wisner, a senior walk-on, caught three passes for 56 yards during his Auburn career, but was considered a solid blocker.
In Auburn’s game against South Carolina, he threw a block on a bubble screen that proved instrumental in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Newton to Emory Blake in the Tigers’ 35-27 victory.

Fairley a one-man sack attack
Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley continues to lead the SEC in sacks (five) and tackles for loss (11.5).
He was asked Sunday about the importance of playing tough up front.
“You've got to be angry,” Fairley said. “You can't be nice playing in the trenches. If you come up being nice, they're going to bully you around. I just think about something to motivate you. Just what I'm doing this for, something like that.”
Fairley also says the players take note when an offensive player is slow to get up after a hit.
“Oh yeah, when you see them getting up real slow, you're like, 'We've got them right where we want 'em,' he said. “Just keep on tackling him. It won't be long before he gets out of there.”

At home at Kentucky
Although Kentucky won 21-14 last year at Auburn, the Tigers have a 7-0 streak going in games played at Kentucky.
Auburn hasn’t lost at Kentucky since 1966.