June 2, 2014
It remains to be seen what quarterback Nick Marshall will accomplish in his senior Auburn season, but even off the field, he certainly looks the part of a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Marshall has put on 10-15 pounds of muscle since last season, and it shows. His teammates say he was significantly better in the spring than he was last season, when he was plenty good in leading Auburn to the Southeastern Conference championship and the BCS Championship Game.
Had it not been for a Leroy High School teammate, wide receiver Sammie Coates might not have shown up at Auburn.
In the summer of 2011, Auburn coaches had tried to get Coates to visit for a camp. Finally, Coates, who was committed to Southern Mississippi and had not been offered by Auburn, planned to attend the last camp of the year. He takes the story from there.
“If it wasn’t for my best friend getting me out of bed at 4 in the morning, I wouldn’t be here,” Coates says. “He knocked on my window. I said ‘I don’t want to go.’ He said the coach keeps calling you and telling you he wants to see you. The same thing happened with the first one. I didn’t think they’d offer me.
“He said ‘I’m not going to let you miss this one.’ He made me get out of bed. We went and I got offered. He was a blessing. I knew I was coming here once they offered me. Other people started calling me but I was good with it.”
The friend was running back Andrew Williams, who started his career at Miles College and is now Coates’ teammate again as an Auburn walk-on.
Former Auburn All-American and coach Gabe Gross was the color analyst on the ESPN2 telecast of the Louisville regional game on Sunday night. Not surprisingly, he was terrific.
Gross, who spent seven seasons in the major leagues, has a future in that business if he wants to pursue it. He could have a future as a coach, too. Auburn players who played when he was coaching in in 2012-2013 believed in him and still do.
In the spring of 2000, Gross did something that might never be repeated. He was the Most Valuable Player in the A-Day game as a quarterback and got the game-winning hit against Ole Miss at Plainsman Park on the same day.
Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema isn’t going to let the debate he sparked about uptempo offenses die. He insists that he’s all about player safety. No indication playing fast causes more players to get hurt? He doesn’t care. He says it is true so it must be true.
Former Auburn women’s basketball standout Blanche Alverson has moved to Texas Tech as a graduate assistant. On and off the court, Alverson made a major impact at Auburn. She’ll be successful wherever she goes and whatever she does.
The power programs are going to have their way, with or without the help of other schools in Division I. They want the ability to make their own rules and will have it one way or the other. Commissioner after commissioner has made that clear. It’s going to be fascinating to watch college athletics in general and college football in particular evolve in the coming years.
Until next time …
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: