Jan. 16, 2014
Ramblin' around ...
The so-called dead period is over. The great scramble to Feb. 5, signing day for prospective college football players, is under way.
For the next 20 days, college football coaches will join families for dinner, pet the family cat, kick back and watch TV with little brother, whatever they can do to make a difference in where the next great running back or quarterback or defensive end goes to school.
There'll be talk of 5-stars and 4-stars, recruiting rankings and official visits. On Feb. 5, it will be over and the process will begin anew.
Sometimes 5-stars really are 5-stars. Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson is one who certainly lived up to the hype. Then again, no one other than Texas A&M really had much interest in Johnny Manziel.
The moral of the story: Nothing wrong with getting excited if recruiting goes well, but remember that when it comes time to play, stars don't count. Only performance counts.
From what I have seen, there is something different about this Auburn basketball team. I know, I know. The SEC record is 0-3. Lost to Ole Miss. I know all that.
But these guys play hard, really hard. They could have, maybe should have, beaten Ole Miss on the road and Missouri at home. They fought back against Tennessee again and again.
Barring a miracle, the Tigers will be 0-4 after Saturday's game against Florida. But something tells me that, if they keep playing with the effort and energy they've displayed so far, they'll do some good things before this season is over.
Good for Trooper Taylor. Auburn's wide receivers coach for four seasons on Gene Chizik's staff, Taylor is going to Arkansas State to coach defensive backs. Taylor left Auburn as a controversial figure, but my dealings with him were never anything but pleasant.
When college programs hire defensive coordinators from the NFL, it always gets people excited. But lately, that excitement has been short-lived, at least in the SEC.
The college game and the NFL game are very different, particularly for defensive coaches. Because you succeed in one doesn't mean you'll succeed in the other.
Anyone who has talked to former Auburn defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder knows that he knows football. I'm sure the same is true of Todd Grantham, who recently left Georgia for Louisville.
Knowing it and teaching it are not the same things. Dealing with professionals who come to work every day is far different than dealing with college kids who have classes, family issues, girlfriend issues, money issues, all kinds of issues outside of football.
It seems a lot of the players James Franklin recruited for Vanderbilt are following him to Penn State. I don't really have a problem with that. They haven't signed. What I do have a problem with is the hypocrisy of the process.
Franklin questioned the character and integrity last year of recruits who abandoned Vandy at the last minute. He did that even as he was actively trying to get other players to abandon their commitments and sign with Vanderbilt.
And now, of course, he's working to get players to abandon their commitments to Vanderbilt and sign with Penn State.
I understand it's frustrating when an 18-year-old recruit suddenly changes his mind. But to question his character at the same time you are trying to convince another 18-year-old recruit to do the same thing is really what raises questions of integrity.
It seems, from what I'm hearing, there is at least a good chance that Cincinnati offensive coordinator and former Auburn running backs coach Eddie Gran will be the next head coach at UAB.
Gran has wanted badly for a long time to be a head coach, but UAB is a tough nut to crack.
The facilities are awful, the stadium is worse and there is no fan base to speak of. That's not a good starting point.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: