Obama Saban

Auburn on receiving end of White House invite


After winning the national title following the 2009 season, the Alabama football team got to do what all the really cool athletes get to do these days — take a trip to the White House and be on the receiving end of a back-slapping photo-op with the President.

One year later, it’s their in-state rival’s turn to be so honored.

According to al.com, the Auburn Tigers will visit the White House and meet with President Obama later this month.  The official announcement is expected to come later today.

“On Friday, April 29, at 10:00 a.m. ET, President Obama will welcome Auburn University’s football team to the White House to honor the team’s 2010 BCS National Championship,” a White House staffer told the paper via email Thursday.

In addition to the meet & greet with the leader of the free world, head coach Gene Chizik and his players will take part in a youth football clinic on the White House lawn.

What will be perhaps most interesting to see — aside from Finebaum callers comparing the decibel level of the President’s “War Eagle!” to his “Roll Tide!” — is whether players such as Cam Newton and Nick Fairley will be able attend.  The first round of the NFL draft is the night of April 28; Newton is expected to go within the first five picks, if not No. 1 overall, while Fairley will likely be selected at some point during the top 10 picks.

While the NFL’s labor “issue” does not allow clubs to have contact with its players during the lockout — charitable causes notwithstanding — PFT’s grand poobah Mike Florio informs us that draft picks are permitted to go to the team facility for a post-draft press conference.  For players taken in the first round, especially as high up in the draft Newton and Fairley are expected to be taken, those pressers normally would take place the day after the selections were made; in this case, that’s the same day of the White House ceremony, although we can’t imagine an NFL club would be unwilling to tweak their plans in order to allow Newton and Fairley to join their ex-teammates for what will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Then again, we couldn’t imagine owners and players being dumb enough to tag-team the golden goose and beat it half to death, but yet here we are today.

Anyway, and for those interested in this kind of stuff, it cost Alabama in the neighborhood of $85,000 for their D.C. junket last year; Auburn’s total will likely come in somewhere north of that figure.

With that, let the whining about wasted money — and the President having more important things on his plate than meeting with a bunch of football players and coaches — commence in three… two… one…

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

Associated Press
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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.