Jan. 28, 2014
Cam Newton didn't have a big day in the Pro Bowl, but he was there for the second time in three seasons. Newton didn't take his team to the Super Bowl, but he took it a division title in his third season. And his career is just getting started.
I can't help but remember three years or so back when it was all the rage to try to find something wrong with Newton, with the way he played the game, with the way he acted. Supposedly prominent national columnists and reporters wrote stuff that was just flat out wrong, was proved to be wrong. They never batted an eye.
Even now, giving Newton credit comes hard for a lot of them. Why? You have to figure it goes back to November 2010, when the story that Newton's father had allegedly talked to Mississippi State coaches about money.
We all know how that story ended. Newton was exonerated, led Auburn to the national championship and won the Heisman Trophy. Auburn was exonerated. And a lot of people who had tried and convicted both of them without evidence should have been embarrassed. If they were, they didn't show it.
For those who have asked, there will not be a race to be Auburn's starting quarterback in spring practice. Senior Nick Marshall led the Tigers to 12 wins and the BCS Championship Game. He's the starter. He's not going to be told he has to win the job again.
It will be interesting to see how Auburn coaches use sophomore Jeremy Johnson. He's immensely talented in his own right, but both head coach Gus Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee have said has Marshall is the man. So has Johnson, who called Marshall "amzaing."
Plainsman Park has been one of prettier settings in college baseball since it was rebuilt in 1997, but underneath, things weren't so good in recent years. Dressing rooms, batting cages, even the home bullpen were were not up to par with the competition.
That has changed. Everything is fresh and new now.
There is a new locker room, a new team room and new coaches offices. The home bullpen behind the left field fench, which could charitably have been called ratty, and the batting cages have been redone. It can now be seen through the fence in left field.
This is a big, big week for Auburn's basketball team. Alabama comes to town Wednesday night and Georgia on Saturday. Both are beatable. If the Tigers, losers of 16 straight to SEC opponents, beat them both, they'll have some hope going forward. If they don't, it's going to get bad.
The big event Wednesday will come at halftime, when the Foy Trophy is returned to Auburn as the Iron Bowl winner. Do you think maybe Chris Davis' return to win the game might be shown on the video board?
Dell McGee, who spent last season as an offensive analyst at Auburn, will move to Georgia Southern as running backs coach. McGee, a former Auburn cornerback, spent eight years at Carver High School in Columbus.
Until next time ...
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: