Monthly Archives

February 2019

The Drive Podcast: Auburn Baseball Opening Weekend, AU beat Vandy, NBA All-Star

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On today’s show, Bill Cameron, Dan Peck, and Bryan Matthews recap the Auburn win over Vanderbilt, marvel at the two marathon baseball games, talk some NBA All-Star Weekend and take your calls!

The Drive Podcast: Auburn Baseball Opening Weekend, AU beat Vandy, NBA All-Star

Use the following time marks to navigate the podcast:

  • Start of show: The guys talk Auburn basketball
  • End of show: The guys take your calls

TLB Pod: Crunch time coming for Auburn basketball; baseball’s opening weekend; NBA All-Star weekend

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On today’s edition of The Lunch Break, Painter and Justin break down Auburn basketball’s Saturday win over Vanderbilt, look ahead to the remaining SEC schedule, review Justin’s football mailbag and reminisce on a fun NBA All-Star weekend.

0:00 – Basketball’s win over Vandy
17:00 – Looking ahead to Auburn’s opponents this week
25:00 – Prince Tega Wanogho’s senior goals, assessing football’s 2019 offensive line
29:00 – 2019 receiving corps
36:30 – NBA All-Star weekend
46:00 – Justin’s football mailbag
1:07:00 – Auburn secondary coach Greg Brown off to Purdue
1:13:00 – Baseball’s opening weekend win

Views from the Couch: The AAF Report Week 2

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Week 2 in the AAF has come and gone, and we learned a lot about both the teams and the league in its second week. This is going to be a weekly collection of views from the couch about the AAF games the weekend prior. Eight teams means at least eight views from the couch. Every week will include a quarterback rankings and a power rankings. Often, those two lists will look remarkably similar. Let’s get into it. Here are the Views from the Couch from the AAF Week 2:

1. The SkyCam Sucks

It’s horrible. They need to scrap it. Now. It’s a horrible camera angle, and every play they show from that angle is a play that makes me want to never watch the league again. If they had a camera view from behind the QB, it would be cool to see the defense the way the quarterbacks do. Instead, we get a camera angle from 8 feet above and 12 yards behind the QB. You can’t see anything. Just give us the normal camera angle.

2. Watching the Replay Official make decisions is fascinating

Replay officials, they’re just like us! This week it was a key fumble that the Iron returned for a touchdown. We got to watch as the replay official said, “his knee is down, and the ball certainly looks like it’s in his hand” over and over. He then proceeded to let the ruling on field stand because there was no camera angle in which he could actually see the ball. I’ll be damned if every football fan hasn’t gone through that exact same process during every questionable fumble they’ve ever seen. I love being able to watch and hear the replay ref make the call.

3. No peeks behind the Iron Curtain

The Birmingham Iron defense in incredible. Oddly enough, the run defense is average (127 ypg), but the pass defense is absolutely insane allowing only 112 ypg through the first two games. Some quick math here (I am an engineer after all) tells us that the Iron Curtain is allowing only 239 yards per game. That is tops in the league.

4. Are running backs back?

Multiple teams were carried by their running game in week 2. Ja’Quan Gardner put the Fleet on his back and willed them to victory, despite his terrible quarterback, behind 15 carries for 104 yards and 2 fourth quarter touchdowns. He ran for 20 more yards than the Fleet’s opponent, the Atlanta Legends. Led by Kenneth Farrow II’s 13 carries for 74 yards and 1 TD, the San Antonio Commanders put up 175 yards rushing against the Apollos before they inexcusably abandoned the run in the 4th quarter. In the night game on Saturday, when both quarterbacks were struggling, the Express ran for 175 yards, and the Hotshots ran for 209. Zac Stacy became the first running back in AAF history to eclipse 100 yards when he ran for 101 on 19 carries for the Express.

5. Coaching Matters, A LOT

In the two closest games of the weekend, the Hotshots overcame a 12 point 4th quarter deficit to beat the Express, and the Apollos scored the last 17 points of the game to beat the Commanders by 8. The similarity between these two games? Both losing teams got vastly outcoached by superior coaches in the fourth quarter. I am on record not believing in Rick Neuheisel. I still don’t. But I would take a 12 year old who plays Madden with his friends sometimes over Mike Singletary. The guy couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. We saw it with the 49ers. We saw it in Week one. We saw it again in the 4th quarter of Week 2. In the other game, Spurrier proved he is the best and most exciting coach in the league. He seems content to just outscore other teams. I love it. On the other sideline, the Commanders ran the ball with ease, and their QB probably should’ve thrown somewhere between 3 and 7 INTs. So, naturally, with the lead in the 4th quarter, they decided to put the game on the shoulders of Logan Woodside. He promptly threw a pick 6. The rest, as they say, was history.

6. MJD is coming into his own in the booth

During Week one, the broadcast teams were new also. You could tell they were feeling each other out, and they were vastly improved in Week two. If I am not mistaken, MJD and Marvin Lewis called two different games this weekend, one on each day. I am also not positive about this, but I’m pretty sure they had a different white play by play guy in either game. I know it was those two and Andrew Scilliano for the snoozefest that was the Legends vs the Fleet. They weren’t perfect; however, every time Scilliano spoke I felt like I was watching Sunday Ticket Red Zone on DirecTV, and MJD and Lewis kept the game watchable. MJD seemed a little timid in the booth in the first week, letting Lewis take the proverbial reigns. That didn’t happen in Week two. The two of them worked well together, including much back and forth complete with MJD obsessing over a running back who looked like a much worse version of him out there.

7. Quarterback Rankings

  1. Garrett Gilbert

    Gilbert had over 300 yards passing. The first time in Alliance history that anyone had done that. He looks to be in total control of Spurrier’s offense. He appears to be the best QB in the league by far.

  2. Luiz Perez

    Perez continues to be efficient for the Iron. He was 24/38 for 184 yards. No touchdowns, but more importantly no turnovers. He also escaped pressure a bunch of times and used his legs to his advantage. He is in this awful spot where his o-line can’t run block (Trent Richardson had 46 yards after contact but only 41 yards rushing), but his receivers have a horrible case of the dropsies. Hopefully Quinton Patton and company can figure out how to catch.

  3. John Wolford

    I am so not sold on Wolford it’s crazy. When Arizona got the ball back with 4:47 left in the third quarter, they were losing 12-6. Wolford was 8/15 with 57 yards and 2 INTs. That is a horrible stat line. He ends up 14/22 for 194 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. That is bolstered by a 64 yards catch and run in the 4th quarter. Wolford is also short, and he continues to get passes batted down at the line.

  4. Logan Woodside

    I will never understand why the commanders of the Commanders put the ball in his hands after the Apollos showed zero indication they could stop the run at all. Woodside rewarded the faith in him with a pick-6. That is going to overshadow how well he played in the first half/3 quarters. I don’t care what his numbers are because I will only remember this game for the 3 sentences before this one.

  5. Matt Simms

    He is fine. Just fine. He ended up 17/25 for 160 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. That is just fine. Just fine doesn’t win football games. See ATL’s 0-2 start for proof of that. Aaron Murray is the #LegendSavior. It’s only a matter of time before we see the much younger quarterback starting in the developmental league.

  6. Austin Allen

    It was obvious the coaching staff didn’t have much faith in Austin Allen. At times it didn’t look like Allen had faith in Austin Allen. It certainly didn’t help that he was trying to take down the Iron Curtain, which appears to be a very tall task. Under 50% completions and only 114 yards passing for Allen lands him at #6 on this list. On the bright side, he didn’t turn the ball over, and he only took 2 sacks.

  7. Christian Hackenberg

    I don’t really know what more anyone can say about how bad Hackenberg is. He ends up 14/25 for 102 yards. Singletary is going to have to find an answer without the initials CH.

  8. Philip Nelson

    That is all. Also, check how horrible the damn SkyCam is.

8. Power Rankings

  1. Orlando Apollos

    The Steve Spurrier/Garrett Gilbert/Charles Johnson combination looks terrifying. Johnson almost had 200 yards receiving. The Apollos had 10 carries for 12 yards before their final drive of the game. They scored 31 points with 12 yards rushing (6 of their 37 total points came from a pick-6). This offense is the least balanced but most explosive in the league. They have a legit passer in Gilbert, a legit number 1 receiver in Johnson, and THE HBC calling the plays. Defenses be ware. 

  2. Birmingham Iron

    The Iron Curtain is legit. The offense will come around.

  3. Arizona Hotshots

    The Hotshots got manhandled by the Memphis Express defense for 3 quarters. If Memphis had a QB, they would’ve won this game. I have no faith in Neuheisel or Wolford.

  4. San Antonio Commanders

    The Commanders coaching staff lands them at #4 on this list. They got completely out-coached in the 4th quarter by Spurrier. If they continued the momentum from the first 3 quarters, the Commanders are the #1 team on this list. The run defense looked fantastic until the final drive of the game for the Apollos. Everyone in the world knew they were going to run the ball, and the Apollos gained 54 yards on only 8 carriers.

  5. Salt Lake Stallions

    This whole season is going to be “what could have been” for the Stallions. The defense played really well against the Iron, but the offense couldn’t get anything going through the air. They will continue to rely on their running game. Hopefully, Woodrum gets healthy or Allen gets better.

  6. Memphis Express

    The defense was great again. They held the explosive Hotshots offense in check as long as they could. The Hotshots had 0 points at halftime, 6 points after 3 quarter, and only 20 points on the game. That’s a great performance. Unfortunately, Zac Stacy couldn’t overcome Christian Hackenberg, and the Express lost again.

  7. San Diego Fleet

    The ONLY reason that the Fleet are ranked above the Legends in this list is that they beat them yesterday. Philip Nelson is so, so, so bad. So bad. Gardner put this team on his 5 foot 7 inch back, MJD about creamed his pants watching the guy run, and they got lucky that Atlanta is more poorly coached than the Fleet somehow. The Fleet had to call timeout on their second play from scrimmage to avoid a delay of game. At home. Martz has clearly lost his touch. It looked like the offense was running plays that were designed to be run out of the shotgun, but Nelson was under center. The center went to Georgia Tech (who runs the triple option which is exclusively snapped under center) and didn’t play last week. Is it possible that Martz doesn’t trust the center to snap a shotgun snap consistently?

  8. Atlanta Legends

    It was by sheer coaching malpractice that Atlanta lost last night. Nelson was the worst player on any field this weekend. Atlanta should have sold out against the run, but, instead, they got dominated by a guy who might not be tall enough to ride rollercoasters. Just give the Atlanta fans what they want: former UGA QB Aaron Murray, aka the #LegendSavior.

 

About the Author: I am Michael Pappas, aka THE @CouchPaptato, and these are Views from the Couch. Not necessarily my couch. Usually my couch…because I don’t often leave my apartment. I have a really great couch. Any couch is great though, I don’t discriminate. My home couch is in Dallas, TX, but for the last 5 years my butt has happily been couching in Auburn, AL. Hit me up on twitter or at couchpaptato@gmail.com and let me know what the view is like from your couch. Or how stupid the view is from my couch.

ATG Basketball: Auburn bounces back against Vanderbilt

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Painter Sharpless and Justin Ferguson are live from AT at The Hotel at Auburn University to recap Auburn’s 64-53 win on the road in Nashville against Vanderbilt.

Join them LIVE at AT immediately following every Saturday Auburn University Men’s Basketball SEC Game this season. If you can’t make it out, listen on ESPN 106.7, on the ESPN 106.7 App, here on espnau.com, or call in at 334-321-1390.

The Drive Podcast: Auburn Baseball Opening Day, AU vs Vandy, Offensive Line Play

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On today’s show, Bill Cameron and Dan Peck are live from Kia of Auburn to open the Auburn baseball season, to preview Auburn vs Vanderbilt, to talk about offensive linemen, and take your calls!

The Drive Podcast: Auburn Baseball Opening Day, AU vs Vandy, Offensive Line Play

Use the following time marks to navigate the podcast:

  • Start of show: The guys talk Auburn basketball
  • End of show: The guys take your calls

Before the Game: Auburn @ Vanderbilt

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Game Details:

  • When: Saturday, February 16 @ 11 am CT
  • Where: Memorial Gymnasium, Nashville, TN
  • How to Watch: ESPNU, espn.com, ESPN App

Team Spotlights:

  • Auburn:

    • Ranked #27 in the AP poll sitting at 16-8 overall and 5-6 in the SEC
    • Auburn has lost 2 games in a row after blowing a double digit lead at LSU on Saturday and losing at home to Ole Miss on Wednesday.
    • The Tigers are a high scoring team when they are making their shots and getting out in transition, but they have struggled when they’ve had to consistently run a half court offense.
    • On the interior, Auburn is undersized without Center Austin Wiley, who is very slowly returning for injury. His minutes increased over the last few games, but he is still having very little impact on games.
    • Auburn is led by its experienced backcourt, which decided to not show up to the home game against Ole Miss and struggles to score the ball on the road.
    • Auburn has been much worse on the road this year, struggling to shoot and to defend. They have only won one true road game this year (@ TAMU who is absolutely awful).
  • Vanderbilt:

    • Vanderbilt is no where near the AP poll at 9-15 on the year and winless in the SEC (0-11).
    • The Commodores have been as bad as can be in the SEC this year and are still searching for their first win.
    • Vanderbilt’s best player was 5 star freshman point guard Darius Garland until Garland was injured in November and declared out for the season. The loss of this projected lottery pick had really hamstrung the Commodores.
    • They may be winless in the SEC, but Vanderbilt plays teams much closer than their record shows. They held UK to 56 points. They lost to USC by 3. They lost to #1 ranked UT by 5 in overtime. They lost to Arkansas by 3. They have 10 points loses to Ole Miss and Alabama, and they are coming off an 8 point loss to Florida. Yes, they have some blowout loses also, but they are competitive more than they aren’t.
    • The rest of Vandy’s schedule is: vs AU, @ UT, @ Bama, vs UF, @ TAMU, vs Ark, @ LSU. With Auburn’s recent performance, the Vandy team has to have this circled as one of their best chances to not go 0-18 in SEC play this year.

Player Spotlight:

  • Auburn:

    • Bryce Brown
      • Auburn’s leading scorer, the senior from Stone Mountain, GA averages 16.3 points per game and shoots over 40.2% from behind the 3 point line. Brown had an absolutely awful game on Wednesday. He scored 8 points on 2-12 shooting. Typical Auburn games go as Brown goes. When he is awful, the team is awful. Brown is going to shoot the ball 10 times no matter what, if he starts missing shots early, he starts forcing up bad shots throughout the game.
    • Chuma Okeke
      • The Tiger who projects as the best NBA player, Okeke was the only player who came to play during the mid week game against Ole Miss. He finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. This was Okeke at his best, and being aggressive. Okeke was by far the best player on both ends of the floor for the Tigers. Look for the team to try to lean even more on Okeke if shots aren’t falling elsewhere.
  • Vanderbilt:

    • Saben Lee
      • The sophomore from Phoenix is the Commodores leading scorer (13.5 ppg) and leader in assists (3.8 apg). Lee has been called on to lead the team since the Garland injury. He has done a decent job of it. You can look for Lee to have the ball early and often for the Commodores. He a solid, reliable player for whom the Auburn backcourt will have to account. He will play just as many minutes as Jared Harper, and that will be the biggest matchup to watch during this game.
    • Simisola Shittu
      • Shittu is the leading rebounder for the Commodores, and he also adds almost 12 points per game. Auburn has had trouble rebounding on both ends of the floor at certain times this season, so Shittu will have to take advantage. At 6 foot 10 inches, he will have a height advantage on the inside against an undersized Auburn frontcourt without Austin Wiley. Look for Shittu to get involved offensively during this game.

Auburn Network Predictions:

  • Olivia Crew, #1 Intern

    • Hopefully Auburn will win in what should be an easy win for them. Auburn beats Vandy 82-74.
  • Bill Cameron, The Drive with Bill Cameron, ESPN 106.7

    • After an awful performance at home, the Tigers MUST get back on the winning track Saturday in Nashville against a Vandy team which is 0-11 in conference play. Last year Auburn broke a 13-game losing streak against the ‘Dores, but the Tigers still haven’t won in Memorial Gym since the 1999-2000 season. I don’t have a great feeling about this one, but I’ll go with Auburn in a close one, 77-74.
  • Riley Hubbard, Production Assistant

    • Saturday was pretty much a shock to everybody because Auburn’s shooting usually heats up in front of their home crowd. After the performance on Wednesday, I really don’t know what the Tigers will look like against a less than stellar Vanderbilt team- especially on the road. I’m still going to take Auburn in a victory that comes down to the wire 72-70.
  • Will Schuette, The SEC Report, ESPN 106.7

    • I have said on the air I will attend the ‘0-18 parade’ in Nashville if Vanderbilt can finish the season winless in SEC play and its fans organize the celebration upon my request. That hope will live on past this weekend as Auburn will play desperate and cannot afford a loss to the worst team in the league. Auburn 79, Vanderbilt 73.
  • Painter Sharpless, The Lunch Break and After the Game: Basketball, ESPN 106.7

    • A slumping Auburn team in desperate need of a true-road win takes care of business against Vanderbilt. While the Commodores have not won a conference game this season, they will be prepared for Auburn at a venue — Memorial Gym — that the Tigers have historically struggled in. While I expect Vanderbilt to challenge Auburn, especially early, as the Tigers might be overly eager to prove themselves with back-to-back disappointing performances, Auburn’s depth and athleticism will be too much for their opponent. Particularly, as Auburn looks to improve their seed for the dance. Interestingly, numerous Auburn fans have written off the Tigers tournament hopes. While that;s too reactionary and more likely a worse case scenario than a reality, this team currently does not emit confidence. Taking care of business against the bottom feeder of their league won’t boost self-assurance much, but with solid play in Nashville and a home win versus Arkansas Wednesday, which I believe happens, Auburn should take a two-game win streak into Rupp Arena against Kentucky next Saturday. The Tigers simply cannot afford to drop a game to the league’s worst team. Auburn’s talent will make the gap between schools evident in the second half as they pick up their second conference road win this year.
  • Rich Perkins, Rich and Jeremy in the Morning, Wings 94.3

    • Vandy…. I hate this game. Every year. And this year is no exception. Is this a “must-win” for Pearl and company? Probably not, but it sure feels that way to the average fan (Hi. My name is Rich. I’m an average fan). So, with all the close (and not so close) losses that the Tigers have had lately, I still believe in the magic of the Sweat Man: Bruce Pearl. Auburn 84, Vandy 71.

My Prediction:

  • I’m off the Auburn bandwagon. This Auburn team has been brutal late in close games, and they haven’t shown they can win on the road. Vanderbilt has played some good teams close this season but just haven’t gotten over that hump. Another must win game for Auburn doesn’t go their way. Memorial Gymnasium is a tough place to win. Auburn doesn’t do it. People start calling for Bruce’s head. Vanderbilt 75-70.