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OCTOBER 24, 2013






Overlooked ‘hogs’ paving the way for offense in 2013

Auburn’s Top Five Teams of All-Time

The State of the SEC: The race to Atlanta is wide open


The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

Thursday, October 24, 2013

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PAGE 3 Editor’s Review: The Tigers are back and winning the Auburn way

PAGE 5 Overlooked ‘hogs’ paving the way in 2013

PAGE 8 Plainsman Picks

PAGE 9 Senior Spotlight: Cody Parkey PAGE 6 PAGE 4 From tragedy to triumph: Freshman Focus: Elijah Daniel Know Your Enemy: The 1983 Auburn Tigers PAGE 10 Scouting the Owls with The State of the SEC: Florida Atlantic University PAGE 7 Press sports editor Zack Top Five Auburn Teams After a wild week of upsets, the race to Atlanta is wide open Kelberman of All-Time


Thursday, October 24, 2013


The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition


The Tigers are back and winning the Auburn way Will Gaines sports@

It’s a question that has been repeatedly asked since head coach Gus Malzahn stepped up to the podium and greeted the Auburn fans as head coach for the first time. “How long until Auburn is back?” He has answered this question probably more than a thousand times since he got to Auburn. His answer is always simple. “It’s a new day.” Well, after the Tigers’ victory in College Station, Tex., Malzahn didn’t have to answer that question. He let his coaching and his players do the answering for him when Auburn knocked off the great “Johnny Football” and the No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies on their home field in College Station. Not only did the Tigers beat the

Aggies, they beat them the Auburn way. With five minutes to go in the game and Auburn trailing by three, Malzahn didn’t start throwing the ball all over the field. No, he put five offensive linemen’s hands in the dirt, lined H-back Jay Prosch up behind them and let them lead the way for running back Tre Mason to run the ball right through the heart of the A&M defense. After that plan resulted in the go-ahead score, Auburn still had to hold the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Manziel, out of the endzone. Most coaches would have pulled back and let his team play prevent defense. Not Malzahn and old-school defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. They let defensive end Dee Ford go out and do what Manziel’s parents and coaches should have done this summer when he was constantly getting into trouble — sit him on his rear end. Playing football this way is what

made Auburn one of the most feared programs in all of college football, a program that pounds the football with the running game, attacks on defense and plays as a team instead of a one-man show. These characteristics have faded from the Auburn program in recent years, but Saturday was a great step toward bringing Auburn back to the greatness it once had. It was a new day. Is it too early to say Auburn is back? Maybe, but the A&M victory was a great sign for the direction the program is heading. The victory on the field isn’t the real victory in this situation. The real victory is Auburn is back playing the physical style of football Auburn fans want to see. Auburn finished the game with 379 yards rushing to post its third game of the season with 300 or more rushing yards. Two of Auburn’s backs, Nick Marshall and Mason, finished with more than 100 yards. Auburn also held Texas A&M

zach bland / Photographer

The Auburn defense brings down Texas A&M running back Trey Williams for a loss.

zach bland / Photographer

Nick Marshall throws a stiff arm during the Texas A&M game.

to only 186 yards on the ground, which was a season-low for the Aggies. Running the football and stopping the run is the foundation Auburn football is built on. That foundation has been somewhat absent from the program the past few years. But now, it looks like it’s back.

Without a doubt, Malzahn and Auburn still have hurdles to overcome this season, but I believe the days of Auburn being embarrassed when they walk off the field are coming to a close. Auburn fans have been through a lot, and they deserve a football program like this one — a team they can be proud of.

jenna burgess / associate photo editor

Tre Mason breaks away from a Western Carolina defender during the Homecoming game.


The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Scouting the Owls with University Press’s Zack Kelberman Zack Kelberman

Zack Kelberman is the sports editor for the University Press, Florida Atlantic University’s weekly student-run news magazine. In this edition of “Know Your Enemy,” Kelberman gives Auburn fans a scouting report on the Tigers’ final non-conference opponent of the season, the 2–5 Owls from the Confrence USA. After a pair of big losses to start the season, Florida Atlantic has lost a few very close games and recorded a couple of wins. How would you grade the Owls’ first seven games of 2013? The team has been so up and

down that it’s tough to settle on a literal grade. They performed better than most probably expected in their blowout losses (Miami, ECU), yet gave away games they arguably should’ve won (Rice, Marshall). Even without the highest of expectations, the last seven weeks have been a true roller coaster ride. I will say that, despite a few problematic areas, the team seems to be trending upward, especially compared to seasons past. What are your predictions for the rest of the season? Is Carl Pelini’s job safe? Before the season, I put out my schedule predictions and had FAU finishing with a 5-7 record. I still think they can reach that mark, as long as they win the games they’re supposed to win. They have a really favorable schedule to close out the cam-

paign, and must take advantage of it. As for Pelini, I’d say his job is safe, barring something completely catastrophic. He’s only in his second year and has FAU improving in the standings. Pelini will get at least one more season in Boca, if not longer. How do fans of Florida Atlantic view these “paycheck” games against teams like Auburn and Miami this year and Georgia and Alabama last year? It’s hard to generalize. The diehard fans know the school gets a nice chunk of change to participate, while the more casual fans just view Auburn as another tough opponent, and roots for the W. Any fan who’s aware of the financial aspects is happy for the program. Of course, no one is happier for

CONTRIBUTED by ryan murphy / university press

FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson looks for an open receiver.

these “paycheck” games than those in the athletic department. Who are some offensive and defensive players Auburn fans need to keep their eyes on in this matchup? On offense, sophomore dualthreat quarterback Jaquez Johnson seems to be improving by the week. His favorite target is wide receiver William Dukes, who leads all Owls wideouts with four touchdowns. Dukes has the requisite size (6-foot-4) and speed to change a game at any time. Running back Jonathan Wallace is averaging five yards-per-carry, and totes the rock well. On defense, the front seven is anchored by defensive lineman Adarius Glanton and linebacker Andrae Kirk, the team’s top two leading tacklers. Glanton has 6.5 tackles for loss this season, so his knack for knif-

ing into the backfield is apparent. FAU has been hit hard with injuries in its secondary, though junior D’Joun Smith has become a lockdown corner, recording an interception in each of the last four games. Alright, prediction time. How do you see this game going down? Simply put, it’s not going to be pretty for FAU. Auburn is hitting its stride and is coming off an impressive win over Texas A&M. Although the bye week afforded the Owls extra time to prepare, the Tigers’ firepower ultimately will be too much to handle. I see this game going down a lot like the Miami game from this year (34-6), or the Alabama game last year (40-7). It won’t be close, but it shouldn’t get too out of hand, either.

CONTRIBUTED by ryan murphy / university press

FAU defensive linemen Cre’von LeBlanc and Trevon Coley sack USF quarterback Steven Bench.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

Overlooked ‘hogs’ paving the way in 2013 Jeffrey Moore SPORTS REPORTER

For Auburn fans, the 2012 season was one to forget. Players who were recruited to play in a spread offense never meshed with first-year offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler’s traditional power running scheme. Everything that could go wrong for the Tigers did. What a difference a year can make. A large portion of the credit for the reversal should go to the often overlooked offensive line. Anchored by junior Reese Dismukes at center and sophomore Greg Robinson at left tackle, Auburn’s offensive front has emerged statistically as one of the best front five in the SEC. “I think we’ve got five guys that are 100 percent bought in and committed to do the right thing all the time,” Dismukes said. “We’re really starting to gel here.”

Dismukes, a three-year starter, is the undeniable leader of the group. “He’s a real smart player,” Robinson said. “Coach [Dismukes] has high expectations for him, and if he gets everything right for us, because it really starts with him — he’s the first one to touch the ball — if he communicates with us, everything should fall in line from there.” At 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, Robinson is a prototypical left tackle — the kind NFL general managers salivate over. "(Robinson’s) an extremely strong young man, and the more experience he gets, you can see he gets more comfortable in our blocking schemes,” Malzahn said. Auburn is averaging 300 rushing yards per game — more than double last year’s average, and freshman guard Alex Kozan is the only member of the group who didn’t get sig-

nificant playing time in 2012. =So why is this year’s line so much more productive than the last? "I look at it as we're just maturing,” Robinson said. “Last year we gave up sacks, but things are different [now]. I think the offense has a big toll on that and who's in the backfield, also." With more than 30 years of experience, offensive line coach J.B. Grimes preaches fundamentals and flawless technique, which could factor into the Tigers’ success. “There's never a dull moment,” Dismukes said. “He's an old-school guy, and I like that.” Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, who coached with Grimes at Arkansas State, said he thinks Grimes is as good a fundamental coach as there is. “We have leaned on (the offensive


Reese Dismukes, Chad Slade and Greg Robinson block for quarterback Jeremy Johnson during the Western Carolina game.

line) since day one,” Lashlee said. “Coach Grimes has done an excellent job.” No matter the explanation for the Auburn offensive line’s jump from worst to first, the improved front

five has proven vital in returning the Tigers to national prominence. "None of us are (worried) about awards and all that stuff,” Dismukes said. “We're hogs and that's what we do.”

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The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

Thursday, October 24, 2013


From tragedy to triumph, former Tigers reflect on 1983’s championship season Eric Wallace

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The 1983 Auburn Tigers football team will be commemorated Saturday during a halftime ceremony in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The ’83 Tigers were one of the most successful teams in school history, capping off an 11–1 season with a 9–7 Sugar Bowl victory over No. 8 Michigan. “It’s nice to be recognized thirty years after you’re done playing,” former Tiger quarterback Randy Campbell said. “I think it’s a great thing for the athletic department to do, mainly because I want to see all my old buddies.” Led by the dynamic backfield trio of Bo Jackson, Tommy Agee and Lionel “Little Train” James, the Tigers went undefeated in SEC play and were ranked No. 3 nationally heading into the Sugar Bowl. However, tragedy struck the 1983 Tigers even before the season began, when fullback Gregg Pratt collapsed and died during preseason drills. “When we get together we always talk about Greg,” Campbell said. “Everybody remembers that day like it was yesterday.” Kicker Al Del Greco credits head coach Pat Dye with rallying and focusing the team in the wake of tragedy. “Once we finally came to grips with what had happened and tried to go forward, it was somewhat of a motivating factor for all of us,” Del Greco said. “We had such a good chemistry with that group of guys and maybe we became closer because of the tragedy of Greg Pratt.” Out of 11 regular season games, Auburn played seven bowl teams in 1983 and led the nation in strength of schedule. The Tigers’ lone loss, a 20-7 home loss to then #3 Texas, still looms large in the minds of former players. “If there is one regret from that year it’s that we didn’t play very well when we had Texas in our


Quarterback Randy Campbell and running back Bo Jackson were featured on the cover of “Auburn Football Illustrated” for the 1983 Florida State game.

backyard at Jordan-Hare Stadium,” former kicker Al Del Greco said. “It was one of those days where we let our own mistakes get in the way, and it came back to haunt us at the end of the year.” Despite the Sugar Bowl victory and bowl losses by No. 2 Texas and No. 1 Nebraska, the Tigers did not move up in the final AP poll. The University of Miami, who defeated Nebraska 31–30 in the Orange Bowl, was awarded the national championship after jumping from No. 5 to No. 1 in the final AP poll. “If you look at Miami’s record versus our record that year, it’s pretty evident that we played by far

the most difficult schedule,” Campbell said. “We had one common opponent with Miami, and we beat Florida 28-21. Florida beat Miami like 24-3.” The controversy may have ended the season on a sour note for the Tigers, but Campbell says the accomplishments of the ’83 team shouldn’t be overlooked. “We were the second team in the history of Auburn football to win the Southeastern Conference championship,” Campbell said. “There’s just so much attention on national championships now that sometimes people don’t really think it’s that big of a deal to win the SEC, but it definitely is.”

Thursday, October 24, 2013


The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition


1957 AP National Champions SEC Champions

1983 SEC Champions Sugar Bowl Champions

1993 Perfect Season “The Best Team on Radio”

Despite their probationary status in 1957, the Auburn Tigers were awarded their first national championship by the Associated Press after a 10–0–0 season. More than half of Auburn’s victories in 1957 were shutouts, as the Tiger defense stifled traditional powers Georgia Tech and Georgia in Ralph “Shug” Jordan’s seventh season in charge. The ‘57 Tigers capped off their magical season with a blowout victory against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Birmingham’s Legion Field. Nine years after the Iron Bowl rivalry resumed with an Alabama shutout victory, the Tigers put 40 points on the board to seal their national title.

Before the great “BCS Robbery” of 2004, Auburn felt the sting of not receiving what it felt was a deserved national championship in 1983. After No. 2 Texas, the only opponent who defeated the Tigers in 1983, and No. 1 Nebraska lost in their bowl games, No. 3 Auburn seemed like a lock for the national title with their 9–7 Sugar Bowl win against Micigan. But the storied running back stable of Bo Jackson, Tommie Agee and Lionel James, along with quarterback Randy Campbell and legendary left tackle Steve Wallace were denied the trophy. That season, Miami took home the title — a decision that angers fans to this day.

The Auburn Tigers had every reason to have a down season in 1993. Legendary head coach Pat Dye was replaced by the young Terry Bowden. The Tigers were under a television ban and ineligible for the SEC and AP National Championships. Auburn was coming off a disappointing 5–5–1 season. So what did the 1993 Tigers do? They won every single game. Led by quarterback Stan White and running back Stephen Davis, the Auburn offense scored more than 30 points in eight of their12 victories, and the Tiger defense held off some of the nation’s top offenses en route to an 11–0 record.

2004 SEC Champions Sugar Bowl Champions Judging by their future careers in the NFL, the 2004 Tigers were some of the most talented to ever put on an Auburn uniform. After going undefeated in the regular season, defeating Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game and edging ACC champions Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl — after being denied a spot in the 2004 BCS National Championship Game — four Tigers were firstround picks in the 2005 NFL Draft. Offensive linemen Marcus McNeill and Ben Grubbs; running back Ronnie Brown; defensive back Carlos Rogers; and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff became Pro Bowlers after leaving The Plains.

2010 BCS National Champions SEC Champions One of the most beloved teams in Auburn football history, this national championship squad was more than just Heisman-winning quarterback Cam Newton and star defensive end Nick Fairley. These two talented Tigers were surrounded by veteran role players and breakout young stars. Half of this 2010 team’s wins came in one-possession games, most notably the 28–27 comeback victory against archrival Alabama in a hostile Bryant-Denny Stadium. Through allegations, investigations and more negative publicity, these Tigers stuck together and completed a title-winning season for the ages.

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Parkey continues Auburn’s long line of consistent kickers Graham Brooks SPORTS WRITER

Auburn placekicker Cody Parkey had big shoes to fill when he first arrived on campus in 2010. Parkey was getting ready to replace Wes Byrum, Auburn’s all-time leading scorer who had a college career filled with clutch, gamewinning kicks. Now a senior, Parkey has replaced Byrum without skipping a beat, continuing the Auburn program’s long line of reliable specialists. Parkey’s personal kicking coach, Chris Sailer, said Parkey would be that type of weapon at the collegiate level when he committed to Auburn. “Cody is the No. 1 kicker in the nation,” Sailer said. “He has all the tools to be a great D-1 kicker and an outstanding prospect who will be a star at the next level.” Dating back to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2011, Parkey has made 18 consecutive field goals from inside 45 yards. In 2011, his first season as a starter, Parkey finished the sea-


Cody Parkey attempts a field goal during the Arkansas State game.

son with the second-most touchbacks in the SEC. With those numbers, the majority of Parkey’s kickoffs have left returners standing and watching as the kickoffs sail through the end zone with no chance of a return.

Throughout his Auburn career, Parkey has routinely worked on different types of kicks to keep opponents guessing. “There are only so many kicks we can do,” Parkey said during fall camp. “That’s something I have all of us kickers doing every day,

so when [an onside kick scenario] comes up, we can have the perfect kick.” Parkey has lived up to his second team All-SEC hype so far this year through seven games. Parkey has made 9-of-11 field goal attempts, with his longest being a 47-yarder. With the rate that head coach Gus Malzahn’s offense has been scoring seven games into the season, a kicker you can lean on time and time again can be an unnoticed luxury. Malzahn, however, is very appreciative of what Parkey has accomplished this season. “As far as the field goal, he can kick it right around 55 yards consistently,” Malzahn said. “He is one of the best kickers in the country.” Parkey has seen his fair share of ups and downs in his career at Auburn, from winning a National Championship in 2010 as a freshman to seeing Auburn fall to the bottom of the SEC in 2012. But Auburn now has a real chance to compete for an SEC Championship again, giving the senior Parkey a chance to go out on a high note in a career filled with much success.


Defensive end Daniel brings size, speed to Tigers’ turnaround Taylor Jones SPORTS WRITER

As the third member of Auburn’s highly touted 2013 defensive line class, Elijah Daniel has made an instant impact for the Tigers’ defense. Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 264 pounds, Daniel was heavily recruited out of Avon, receiving a four-star rating from both Scout. com and Daniel brings size and speed to the corners, with reporting a 40-yard dash time of 4.82 seconds. In Daniel’s senior year at Avon (Ind.) High School, he accumulated 85 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss and had five sacks. Mike Farrell, the National Recruiting Analyst for spoke highly of Daniel during his recruitment, describing him as a “great edge rusher who is awesome at lowering his shoulder to get that outside edge.” Daniel participated in the Under

Armour All-America Game and was named a PrepStar All-American. He was also named to the MaxPreps Top 100 and the ESPN 150 recruiting rankings during his senior season at Avon High. He was originally committed to Clemson, but later flipped to Ole Miss. However, on National Signing Day, Daniel pulled one more surprise and signed with Auburn. “When I took the visit I had an emotional feeling about (Auburn),” Daniel said in an interview following his decision. “My last visit impacted me a lot.” Daniel committed to the Tigers and their new coaching staff with expectations of turning around the Auburn defense as part of head coach Gus Malzahn’s high-profile recruiting class. “That’s going to be really exciting, and hopefully we can bring more recruits in at D tackle or even D end or

linebacker, and get the front seven right,” Daniel said. “Every great SEC school has a great front seven.” Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said he is excited about the future with Daniel and fellow freshman Carl Lawson, both at the defensive end position. “The two ends, Elijah (Daniel) and Carl (Lawson), continue to show that they’re capable of mixing it up at this level.” Johnson said. “(Daniel) is physical enough to play one-on-one with the guards we play against, but he’s quick enough and fast enough and explosive enough to run the twists.” Senior defensive lineman Dee Ford was also impressed with Daniel and his new freshman teammates during fall camp. “One thing they came in with was violent hands,” Ford said. “A little wild, but they came in with violent hands.” Daniel has accumulated five


Elijah Daniel sacks Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

tackles, with four assists and a sack so far in his true freshman season. As Daniel continues his rise up the depth chart, he will get closer

and closer to his goal when he committed to Auburn — bringing aggression and strength back to the Tigers’ front seven.


The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

SEC PRESEASON POLL WEST EAST 1. Alabama 1. Georgia 2. Texas A&M 2. South Carolina 3. LSU 3. Florida 4. Ole Miss 4. Vanderbilt 5. Auburn 5. Tennessee 6. Mississippi State 6. Missouri 7. Arkansas 7. Kentucky

CURRENT SEC STANDINGS WEST EAST 1. Alabama 1. Missouri 2. Auburn 2. South Carolina 3. LSU 3. Florida 4. Texas A&M 4. Georgia 5. Ole Miss 5. Tennessee 6. Mississippi State 6. Vanderbilt 7. Arkansas 7. Kentucky

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Thursday, October 24, 2013


After a wild weekend of upsets, the race to Atlanta is wide open Kyle Van Fechtmann SPORTS@ THEPLAINSMAN.COM

We are eight weeks into the 2013 college football season, and nobody could have predicted what has happened in the SEC so far. In the SEC preseason poll, Alabama was picked to win against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Texas A&M received 11 firstplace votes to win the conference. Missouri was picked to finish sixth in the East and Auburn was picked to finish fifth in the Western Division. What is the problem with these preseason polls? They are only predictions. These teams still have to play the games during the season to see if the predictions become true. And so far in the SEC, the majority of these predictions have been completely off, except Alabama being in first and being one of the undefeated teams left. The other undefeated team left in the SEC? In their second season in the conference, the Missouri Tigers are undefeated at 7–0 and ranked No. 5 in the country. Missouri has a two-game lead in the Eastern Division after being picked to only finish above Kentucky in the preseason. But Missouri has gone back-toback weeks beating ranked SEC East opponents. First, they beat a then No. 7 Georgia Bulldog team on the road, 41–26. Even though senior quarterback James Franklin went down

with a season-ending injury, their high-powered offense continued to put up points as they knocked off No. 22 Florida out of the rankings en route to a 36–17 victory. Their biggest test will come this upcoming weekend against a South Carolina team ranked No. 21 in the country and is in second in the Eastern Division with a 5–2 record. If Missouri beats South Carolina this weekend, the SEC East crown could be theirs with four games left to play. It is already theirs to lose since they have a two-game lead and do not have to rely on other teams to lose in order to win the division. Meanwhile, Georgia went from being a preseason top-five team in the country and receiving 149 votes to win the conference to being unranked after two conference losses in a row. Many people were predicting this to be the year UGA, led by new SEC career yards leader Aaron Murray, won the national championship. After losing the season opener at Clemson, Georgia bounced back with crucial conference wins against South Carolina and LSU. But now things have turned for the worse in Athens, mainly due to factors Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt and his staff cannot control. Four of their wide receivers and a starting cornerback have gone down with season-ending knee injuries. Another wide receiver and starting safety have dealt with hamstring strains. The Bulldogs’ preseason first-team All-SEC running back, Todd Gurley, has been sidelined with a high left ankle sprain. Slowly, the Bulldogs are start-

ing to get these players healthy, but they are already a three-loss team and three games behind Missouri in the Eastern Division. In the rest of the East, whenever teams play each other, the games have been close, and the outcomes have been unpredictable with plenty of upsets. After losing an overtime game to Georgia, Tennessee bounced back and proved how difficult it is to play at home at Neyland Stadium when they beat No. 11 South Carolina. Vanderbilt also shook up the rankings on the same day, Oct. 19, when they handed No. 15 Georgia their second consecutive loss. The day of upsets spread to the Western Division. Auburn knocked off No. 7 Texas A&M, 45–41, on the road in another high-scoring offensive battle, which seems to be a common trend this year in the SEC with the high-powered offenses. Then Ole Miss beat then No. 6 LSU at home later that night, 24-21. After the crazy weekend of upsets, there are only two teams in the SEC West who control their own fate. The first is Alabama. They are still No. 1 in the nation and the only undefeated team left in the division. But with LSU and Texas A&M both having two-losses each already, the only other team left that does not need to rely on other teams to win is Auburn. With that being said, this year’s Iron Bowl on The Plains could potentially be much more than state bragging rights for the year. It could be the SEC West championship with the winner punching their ticket to the SEC Championship in Atlanta.

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