February 27, 2011
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Strickland is an award winning sports writer with more than 20 years of experience. He has won Alabama Press Association awards including the state's Best Sports Column in 2004.
As President of the Les Miles Fan Club I took a big hit on Saturday Night but is Les really on the Hot Seat?
I'd appreciate your feedback and I hope you like it, if you find me worthy!
Thanks in advance. - HB
Thanks for your response Kevin and thanks for your time helping kids. I did not say the talent was missed, I said it was missed by Auburn. I know what you said about Bowden was true as I was informed of the same things by other coaches like yourself. There is a hole in my knowledge of our program from the early years of Pat Dye to the first years of Tommy Tuberville. I was out of the country a lot then as well as out of state continuously. I think you are correct about the cause of the decline of Auburn Recruiting in our area. I think it was damaged like you said and never recovered like it should have been. The bad thing is this was traditionally an area that a full twenty five percent of the Auburn team came from. That is why I used it as an example. The number of players from this area at Division 1 teams has increased and the number at Auburn has decreased. I like Tommy Tuberville, I like what he did. I signed petitions and voiced my opinion to any one of circumstance that would listen in the jet gate incident. I think he was wronged and I still believe that to be the case. I know for a fact he did not put the effort into recruiting the next two years after that. I thought is was just the let down. He tried to recover last season and some of the Freshmen Auburn has now are due to the efforts of him and his staff. He was trying to do a good thing with the hire of Franklin. We have a similar offense now. I guess this might confirm his wisdom. One thing is certain though. He never re established Auburn's recruiting dominance over traditional recruiting grounds. This was the point I was making and it is a marked improvement in the Auburn program that it is happening now. I led Marines for half my life so I know what hard work is. I know the ups and downs of young men and motivation. I know that there will be one walk on go to Auburn in in another year and make the team and start for Auburn. He chose another initial path and I respect him for that. I also know the Alabama talent we play week in and week out at other SEC schools would not all be there if Auburn had locked the doors at home before they left traveling to another state. I wish Tommy Tuberville all the best. I am embarrassed to this day at the way he was treated. I am also livid at the way he left the talent pool at my school. There is no way to explain that one away. There are Line Backers, Defensive Backs, Defensive Ends, Defensive Tackles from our state at every major SEC school that we play. I can see losing out to Alabama on in state recruiting, I can't see loosing out to every other SEC School. While they were filling up their rosters from our state Auburn was recruiting 30 out of state and retaining 15. I do not know if this was Tubberville, his staff, or the Auburn Administration. What ever it was, I am glad it has stopped and I am looking forward to a brighter future for Auburn.
Kevin do not misunderstand me. I am not being critical of you. You are just under the same delusion as many others. Auburn recruiting was limited to attending paid camps for prospects for the last decade. These camps were expensive, I know this as my own son attended many. There was a 340lbs Offensive Line prospect in our area that had no scholarship offers through his senior season. Money was given for him to attend camp after the season and he immediately got three offers and is playing in Mississippi now. I knew my son was going to receive an academic scholarship so I quit paying for these camps in his junior and senior year. Many of the kids in Alabama that are good prospects do not attend camps due to a lack of money or their parents lack of interest. Auburn never sent out a representative to any of the games my son played in and there were 9 players that are playing at the next level off of that team alone. Chizik and Staff already scooped up some prospects from Lincoln by going and seeing them play. Auburn was either lazy or inept at recruiting for the last decade. Camps are not a good way to find talent. Most of the good ones do not need camp and have already been recruited when they attend one. Camps are mainly for FBS recruits that can't quite cut it at the highest level. Alabama has always got the prime recruits from our area in the last decade due to them coming to the games and recruiting. The only reason Auburn got ElToro Freeman was his learning disability. There are now 9 professional athletes from this one area playing. None of them were recruited by Auburn for any sport. In contrast from 1978 to 1982 there was an Auburn scout at every one of our baseball games and most of our basketball games. Every local football game in the second half of the season had a scout. They were usually local people that reported back to the University and then the big boys were sent out depending on interest. The Agee Brothers were a great example of the success of this. They were from a small 1 A school and would never see the light of day now. Do you think Tommy Agee could play D1 ball today? I do. Do you think Auburn would have got the commitment from Bo Jackson only 30 miles from Tuscaloosa if Auburn had only recruited him at camp? He had little interest in camp any way, he was busy playing three sports and working. I don't expect for you to understand this, but poor people do not put much stock in scholarships and paying for their children to go to a football camp when they are able to work and learn a trade in that time is not considered a wise investment. As a parent you are either blinded to your kids talent by skepticism or exaggerated in their abilities by love. Most High School coaches in Alabama do not put in extra effort to get the word out about prospects. This leaves the only logical option. Any Major University will have to get out and beat the bushes in their own area to be successful. If they only compete on the ones everyone else is competing for there will be more failures than success. The earlier a player is recruited the better the chances of success. Auburn had lost this advantage, now it is coming back. Gus Malzhan had been recruiting the prospect you watched on TV for years. Auburn got him due to having Gus Malzhan. He would have gone to Tulsa if Malzhan were there. Alabama and Tennessee as well as Arkansas recruited this kid at camp and put on a ferocious effort this year. It was to no avail as he was won years ago.
Where is your preview this week? You are not feeling poorly are you? I have herd that Malzhan has cut his telegraph wires for the opposition. The bend but don't break defense LSU is running is made for Auburn's style of offense. On the other hand LSU has a higher level of Talent and is deeper at every position.
I finally got you meaning Kevin I thought I deleted that article this morning. I had no intention of rubbing salt in the young mans wounds. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.
I herd this morning. I did not hear the circumstances. I sure hate to see a young man mess up his life. I guess he let his emotions get the better of him rather than pushing himself to improve. I guess my article did not help any. I am sure Coach Chizik has good reason for what he did.
Heya Kevin, I really enjoy reading your lists.
I've just posted a new top 10, "If athletes were items around the house".
Who is the toilet brush, the flat screen TV, the cockroach and the Seinfeld box set?
Click here to find out.
Let me know what you think.
Hi Kevin. I really enjoy your view on AU football. I'm definitely more of a cynical, "see-it-to-believe-it" kind of guy, so your takes tend to be closer to mine than other writers here. Part of what makes this place so enjoyable to visit is the divergence of views. Keep up that good work and I'll be looking forward to your next article! WDE!
You have the results of Auburn week one. Did this change your opinion of this team and coaching staff?
So much for the Furcal thing-I don't even want to know what happened with that. Unfortunately, this probably means in the long run that the Braves have no starting pitchers in the works, and this probably means another sub-500 year. On the bright side, we may be slipping back into that '80's mindset, where you know they're gonna lose, but you watch them anyway. I blame half of this on the management for feeling the need to pay Mike Hampton 96.4 Billion dollars to pitch like 8 games. He tied up so much of the payroll to ride the pine, that they could not recover. Now, I'm afraid, your starting rotation on opening day will be an absolute wreck, with a killer bullpen that's finally healthy. Unfortunatly, those guys in the pen do you no good if you're down 8-2 in the 5th. I think they need to bring back Chief Knockahoma to shoot the canon every time they hit a home run. At least I'd have something to look forward to.