Auburn’s A-Day was noteworthy for a few reasons, as it marked the return of former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn as the team’s new head coach to get a stumbling program back on track. The Tigers’ spring game also saw a record crowd of 83,401 in attendance. Based on pictures taken throughout the day, that number didn’t look to be an exaggeration at all.
But today was also memorable for a more somber reason: following the spring game, fans made their way to Toomer’s Corner to roll the oak trees one last time before their removal this week. Though the exact number of people in attendance isn’t known, it was a tremendous showing.
The trees at the famous spot have been dying since Harvey Updyke Jr. poisoned them over two years ago following the 2010 Iron Bowl. Updyke was recently sentenced to three years after changing his plea to guilty for a charge of criminal damage of an agricultural facility. He will spend the next five months incarcerated.
“There’s more to Auburn than two oak trees, revered and sturdy as they are,” retired athletic director David Housel said. “These oak trees are but an outward visible symbol of the Auburn heart. … This is a day of celebration and remembrance.”
Auburn is currently in the beginning stages of planning a redevelopment project intended to maintain the “historical character of the corner.” Additionally, the soil around the trees is still be tested for herbicides.
Designers revealed the new mock-up for the future site today. The primary difference will be the addition of more wall seating and a tree-lined path into Samford Park. Auburn expects to complete construction on the new design before the start of the 2014 football season. Th0ugh more significant changes were considered, it was decided there were “not how the Auburn Family wanted to go.”
A temporary structure for rolling after victories should be ready before the start of this season.
We’ll have more from Auburn’s spring game in a SEC wrap-up post later today.
(Hat tip: al.com)
On April 25, East Carolina announced that Kurt Benkert had decided to transfer out of the Pirates football program. Less than a week later, the quarterback has found himself a new football home.
On Twitter Sunday afternoon, Benkert confirmed that he will be enrolling at Virginia and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Cavaliers. Beckert also acknowledged his decision in a text message to 247Sports.com.
“I’m really excited to be here,” Beckert said in a portion of the brief text.
As Beckert is headed to UVa. as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Hoos immediately in 2016. Not only that, but he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Beckert was named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, but sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season. In Charlottesville, Beckert will join a competition that includes returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.
In my seven-plus years at CFT, I’ve never been shy in expressing my absolute and utter respect for Mark Richt, whether it was for an honorable against-the-grain stance on transfers or honoring a high school football player who tragically drowned before he could become a walk-on at Georgia or myriad other things. Sunday, Richt solidified that respect.
As you may know, Richt and UGA parted ways this offseason, with the head coach ultimately moving on to Miami to take over his alma mater’s football program. As expected, his departure from Athens was classy.
Just as expected, one of Richt’s returns to his old stomping grounds further showed his class.
Not to be outdone, Richt’s replacement showed his class as well.
Bravo to both head coaches. Sometimes, most times, being classy is the absolute right move — even as Richt’s successor could take some lessons from his predecessor when it comes to transfers.
Forget about going shirtless at a satellite camp or a sleepover or climbing up a tree or any of the like; this is what you call a recruiting pitch.
During the course of the three-day NFL draft, a dozen former Ohio State Buckeyes were drafted. While OSU failed to break its own record for most picks in a single draft, the 12 selections in the first four rounds were the most ever.
And, not surprisingly, those players are going to get paid.
According to PennLive.com‘s David Jones, those players will sign contracts that could be worth a total of $120 million. Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch has the number pegged slightly lower at $111,462,707. Either way, that’s a lot of cash — and a lot dollar signs for Urban Meyer to flout in front of potential recruits.
Of course, not all of that money is guaranteed, although the guaranteed dollars involved aren’t too shabby either. From the Dispatch:
Just the signing bonuses alone, which range from Bosa’s projected $17,017,226 to Jones’ $383,393, have an expected total of $60,526,660. Unless a player does something to cause his contract to be voided, signing bonuses are theirs to keep.
Regardless of how you spin it, former Buckeyes did quite well financially the last couple of days. And, as Jones alludes to when it comes to James Franklin and Penn State specifically and the Big Ten in general, Meyer and the Buckeyes are in an entirely different zip code than the rest of the conference — a fact that will no doubt come up on the vast expanses of the recruiting trail.
The good news for Franklin and Penn State: They had three of those 11. The bad news for them and everyone else in the league: Urban Meyer is probably preparing a recruiting flyer right now with a 9-figure dollar amount printed in big bold numbers.
On the same day some details emerged on an Alabama assistant’s “resignation,” that assistant’s potential replacement has been identified.
Citing unnamed sources, al.com is reporting that Karl Dunbar is expected to be hired as the Tide’s new defensive line coach. Dunbar would replace Bo Davis, who “resigned” Friday amidst allegations of potential NCAA violations.
Dunbar served as Nick Saban‘s strength & conditioning coach at LSU from 2001-02, and then returned to Baton Rouge as Les Miles‘ line coach in 2005 after spending two years (2003-04) in the same position at Oklahoma State.
Most of Dunbar’s coaching career, though, especially recently, has come at the NFL level.
From 2006-11, Dunbar was the line coach for the Minnesota Vikings, and then held the same job with the New York Jets from 2012-2014. Hired by Rex Ryan to coach the Buffalo Bills’ line in 2015, Dunbar was fired in March of this year.
Dunbar is a former NFL defensive lineman who played for Arizona in 1994-95, when Ryan was one of his Cardinals assistant.