Thursday, April 28, 2011

White House trip delayed

AUBURN — The Auburn football team’s visit to the White House on Friday has been postponed, the White House announced Thursday.

A makeup date will be scheduled at a later time.

President Barrack Obama instead will spend Friday visiting areas of Alabama that were damaged by Wednesday's storms.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fairley, Newton in New York for draft

Courtesy of Auburn sports information
NEW YORK – Auburn’s Cam Newton and Nick Fairley joined a group of 25 top NFL prospects in New York City on Wednesday, one day ahead of the start of the NFL Draft.

The prospects participated in a youth football clinic, posed for pictures atop the world-famous Radio City Music Hall Marquee and closed the day’s trading on the New York Stock Exchange by ringing the famed bell.

Newton, widely projected to be one of the first players selected in Thursday’s primetime NFL Draft, participated in an NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival at Chelsea Waterside Park on Wednesday morning.

Fairley, also projected to be a first-round draft pick, said he enjoyed the day’s activities in the Big Apple.

“It’s been a great experience for me,” Fairley. “We took a photo on top of the (Radio City Music Hall) building. That was pretty sweet.”

Fairley particularly enjoyed the closing bell ceremony in the heart of New York’s Financial District.

“It was crazy,” Fairley said.

Fairley, Auburn’s Lombardi Trophy winner, said he and other top draft prospects planned to visit with pediatric patients at the Mount Sinai Medical Center Kravis Children’s Hospital on Thursday morning. He, along with Newton, will then wait for their names to be called by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the First Round of the NFL Draft, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Thursday. It will be televised live on ESPN and the NFL Network.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Auburn has day of community service

AUBURN - More than 100 Auburn Athletics Department staff members spent the day giving back as volunteers in Auburn and Opelika on Monday.

Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs, who pruned bushes and limbed up trees at Dean Road Elementary School in Auburn as part of the Third Annual Tigers Give Back Community Service Day, said the day is about giving back to the community and supporting Auburn student-athletes who volunteer thousands of hours each year.

“Our student-athletes have been leading the way for the past several years in community service, and we’re just trying to follow their example,” Jacobs said. “It is really important to us to reach out to the Auburn and Opelika communities as a way to thank them for their support of Auburn University and our student-athletes.”

Head football coach Gene Chizik spent the morning visiting with cancer patients at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, and women’s basketball coach Nell Fortner visited with patients at EAMC’s Skilled Nursing Facility. Women’s golf coach Kim Evans, equestrian coach Greg Williams and soccer coach Karen Hoppa spent the day cleaning out closets and playing with club members at the Boys & Girls Club in Opelika.

Men’s golf coach Nick Clinard worked at Dean Road Elementary, and gymnastics coach Jeff Graba and members of the Auburn basketball coaching staff volunteered at Cary Woods Elementary School. Staff members also volunteered at the Women’s Hope Medical Clinic and the Lee County Youth Development Center.

Auburn Athletics Director of Community Relations Latisha Durroh, who organized the event, said the day was a big success.

“We had great participation from the athletic department today, and the community was so appreciative,” Durroh said. “This is what being a part of the Auburn family and this community is all about.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

Smalley, Strain honored

AUBURN - Auburn senior guard Alli Smalley and freshman guard Courtney Strain were honored Thursday night at the Women's Basketball Awards Banquet.

Smalley, who led the Tigers with 12.3 points per game, was selected as the Tigers' MVP.

Strain, who played at Woodland High School, earned the "Eye of the Tiger" Award. The award is given to the athlete who is the total team player and who has strong work ethic both on and off the court.

Both awards are voted on by the players.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tigers going to the White House

AUBURN — Auburn’s 2010 BCS National Champion football team will be guests of President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday, April 29, White House officials announced Thursday.

Coach Gene Chizik and the Auburn team will be honored by President Obama at 9 a.m. at the White House. President Obama will make remarks about Auburn’s 2010 national title team and take a photo with the group.

Following the ceremony, the Tigers will participate in a Let’s Move! South Lawn Series Youth Football Clinic on the South Lawn.

Auburn will travel to Washington D.C. on Thursday evening and return Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Auburn gets QB commitment

Zeke Pike, a 6-5, 220-pound quarterback rated as one of the best in the nation, gave a verbal commitment to Auburn on Wednesday for the 2012 signing class.

Pike, who will be a senior at Dixie Heights High School in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., was recruited by more than 30 schools and chose the Tigers after visits to Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee.

As a junior, Pike threw for 2,218 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 1,072 yards and 17 touchdowns.

He is rated the No. 3 quarterback prospect in the nation by

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tigers conclude spring practice

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN – While Auburn coach Gene Chizik says the Tigers made a lot of progress over the course of 15 spring practice days, what becomes critical is how much more they get done on their own between now and when the team reports in late summer.
“We’ve got a whole summer in front of us which our expectation is that our whole team is working extremely hard to build on what we’ve started to accomplish these 15 days,” Chizik said Monday after the 15th and final practice of the spring. “So a lot is going to depend on what they do voluntarily. But overall, very pleased. Got a lot of room to grow still, plus we’ve got a lot of young guys coming in as you know that we’ve got to count on to play for Auburn next year. It’s going to be a very interesting summer.”


Friday, April 15, 2011

Thrills may be lacking from Auburn spring game

By Charles Bennett
AUBURN – There’s no arguing that Auburn coach Gene Chizik knows his football, but there’s evidence to suggest he wouldn’t make much of a promoter.
A true promoter would hype the gate for the A-Day spring game at 2 p.m. today at Jordan-Hare Stadium by labeling it an “Orange and Blue Armageddon,” or perhaps "a war where future All-SEC players will be forged from the crucible of competition."

Chizik basically says it’s just another day of spring practice, and he emphatically states that today’s game carries no more weight in player evaluation than any other practice.

“Historically, our spring game is going to be another scrimmage,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of base offense, a lot of base defense. Fundamentals of the game is really what we’re looking for here. Blocking and tackling and angles of blocks and angles of tackles. So it’s going to be more of an evaluation tool in that regard than anything else. But it would be viewed upon by us as no different than any other practice.”

So much for the “Wow” factor.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Auburn to honor Heisman winners

AUBURN — Auburn will honor Heisman Trophy winners Pat Sullivan (1971), Bo Jackson (1985) and Cam Newton (2010) with statues of their likeness to be placed on the entry plaza on the east side of Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The bronze statues, which are one and a half times life size and weigh more than 1,900 pounds each, were designed and sculpted by Ken Bjorge of Big Fork, Montana. Pedestals for each of the statues will be installed this spring.

A bust of John Heisman has also been commissioned and will be located at near the statues at the east entry plaza. Heisman, for whom the famed trophy is named, was Auburn’s head coach from 1895-99. Auburn is the only school where Heisman coached that also has a Heisman Trophy winner.

The statue unveiling is slated to occur during the 2011-12 academic year.

"Auburn University has a rich Heisman heritage and we felt like it was time to recognize the lasting contributions of our Heisman Trophy winners that span four decades," Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. "The statues on the east side of Jordan-Hare Stadium will forever capture the greatness of Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Cam Newton so generations to come will know and understand what these former greats mean to Auburn football."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Auburn settles on spring game format

AUBURN - Auburn will use an offense vs. defense format for Saturday's A-Day spring game, with a point system determining the winner.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Wednesday the Tigers don't have enough players participating in spring practice to make it practical to divide into separate teams.
The game is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Tickets are $5 for general
admission and free for Auburn students with an Auburn Ignited card.
Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line on
Tickets can be purchased at the Auburn Ticket Office located at Auburn Arena from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and at various locations in the
Auburn-Opelika area.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bates a big hit at linebacker

By Charles Bennett
AUBURN – At 5-11, 210 pounds, Auburn’s Daren Bates figures he’s a bit undersized at outside linebacker.
Barring a late growth spurt, there’s nothing he can do about his height, but he’s doing all he can to bulk up – eating four meals a day, chugging multiple containers of “Muscle Milk” and drinking smoothies at every opportunity.
“Sometimes coach (Ted) Roof has us over for steaks,” said Bates, who would like to add approximately 10 pounds. “I try to eat at least three.”
But when you’re a human buzz saw like Bates, calories seem to come off faster than he can put them on.
“It is hard, just because of all you put into practice,” he said, “and then just walking to class and classes being so spread out on a big campus. It’s tough.”
Regardless of weight, Bates has proven his worth.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Defense dominates in Auburn scrimmage

By Charles Bennett
AUBURN – Auburn’s scrimmages are closed to the media and to the general public, no statistics are released, and players and coaches go out of their way to avoid reference to specifics.
All that being said, it’s clear that the defense dominated Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium in the Tigers’ second full scrimmage of the spring.
Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, a man not noted for hyperbole, and wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor, a man who is, were both in agreement that defense carried the day.
“No doubt, they got after us,” Malzahn said.
Taylor elaborated a bit more effusively, but for pure description, no one captured it better than sophomore wide receiver Trovon Reed.
“We got them in the first half,” Reed said. “In the second half, they came out with the energy. They must have had something in their water that we didn't have. The defense -- all of a sudden, everybody on the sidelines was jumping and screaming and we were looking at each other like: ‘Hold on; who they have over there?’ It was like a different team. It looked like the defense we were playing with last year in the second half.”


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Curry, Smith still with Tigers

AUBURN – Auburn linebacker Jessel Curry and defensive back Ryan Smith are not participating in the spring because of personal issues, but both remain on the team, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said.

“As I addressed earlier in the spring, Jessel is working through some personal issues at this time,” Chizik said following Wednesday’s practice. “He's enrolled in school. He's not going through spring practice. But if any status of any of our players changes, I'll definitely let you know.

“Ryan Smith, same thing. Ryan Smith's going through some personal issues at this time. Conceptually the same thing. He's working through some things. Again, if their status changes, I will let you know.”

Monday, April 4, 2011

Auburn baseball hits the road

The Auburn baseball team will attempt to complete a season series sweep of No. 20 Troy on Tuesday night when it travels to Riddle-Pace Field for a 6 p.m. matchup. The game will air live on CSS.

Auburn will start Jr. RHP Will Irvin (4-1, 5.67) on the mound while Troy will start So. LHP Shane McCain (0-1, 4.15).

Auburn claimed a 6-1 win over Troy on Tuesday, March 29 at Plainsman Park as the pitching staff combined to hold Troy to just three hits while the Auburn offense generated six runs on seven hits and four walks. Irvin took the win in relief last week, tossing two shutout innings, allowing just a single base runner on a leadoff walk in the fifth.

Justin Fradejas was 2-for-4 with a run scored while Tony Caldwell scored half of Auburn’s runs, getting on base with a double and two walks. Casey McElroy and Wes Gilmer each had two RBIs.

Today’s game at Troy is the first of seven consecutive on the road for Auburn, which travels to Kentucky and No. 15 LSU over the next two weekends.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Vandy sweeps Auburn

By Charles Bennett
AUBURN – Auburn’s mid-to-late-inning meltdown misery continued on Sunday at Plainsman Park and No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt beat the Tigers 6-2 to complete a three-game sweep of the SEC series.
Coupled with last week’s sweep at Mississippi State, the Tigers (15-13, 2-7 SEC) have lost six consecutive SEC games. It’s the first time Auburn has been swept in back-to-back SEC series since 2007 when the Tigers went 0-6 against Georgia and Florida on consecutive weekends.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Chizik will serve as Grand Marshal at Talladega

Auburn coach Gene Chizik will serve as Grand Marshal for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega on April 17, while NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael Waltrip will be competing in an Auburn-themed No. 15 Toyota Camry.

“We are excited to welcome Coach Chizik to Talladega,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch. “The Auburn Tigers made the entire state proud by bringing another BCS National Championship trophy home with them from Glendale. Of course, Auburn may play a part in another trophy celebration since Michael Waltrip is always a threat to win here at Talladega. Thanks to our friends at Aaron’s for making all of this a possibility.”

“I am very excited and looking forward to serving as Grand Marshal for the Aaron’s 499,” Chizik said. “It’s truly an honor to be involved in an event that is huge for our state each spring. The Talladega Superspeedway is one of the greatest race tracks in the country and it will be special to have Auburn University represented in the race with the No. 15 car. We’ll be pulling for Michael Waltrip to take the checkered flag in the Aaron’s No. 15 Auburn car.”