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Phillip Marshall: Bates proves his doubters wrong again

Sep 6, 2013

Ramblin' around ...

It's a good thing for Daren Bates and his family that he never spent much time listening to so-called experts.

In 2009, after his senior season at Olive Branch (Miss.) High School, Bates was a 2-star recruit and planned to sign with Arkansas State. Auburn came in with a late offer and he took it. He started every game at safety as a true freshman, moved to outside linebacker and started for three more seasons, including the national championship season of 2010.

But he was too small, for the NFL, he was told. He didn't tackle well enough. He just wasn't good enough..

Bates signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Rams. Cuts came and went and still he stayed. Finally, he made the team. Bates is living the dream of almost every college football player. He's in the league.

Here's what he Tweeted Thursday night: "S/o to the coach that said I was gonna be workin at FedEx this time last year."

And if you watched the Ravens and the Broncos on television Thursday night, you saw Josh Bynes starting at inside linebacker for the Ravens. A driving force in Auburn's national championship run, Bynes also signed as an undrafted free agent and started his NFL career in 2011 on the practice squad.

Even with today's sophisticated scouting and evaluating, sometimes guys make it because they just won't have it any other way. ...

Freshman Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams says he expects to have a lot to celebrate in his first season of college football.

"I think we are going to have a great season," Adams said. "A lot of people are underestimating us, but we are about to get on a roll."

And he's convinced even better days are coming after this season. Six true freshmen - Adams, defensive ends Carl Lawson and Elijah Daniel, star Mackenro Alexander, wide receiver Marcus Davis and cornerback Johnathan Ford - got into last Saturday's 31-24 season-opening victory over Washington State.

"Carl and I were talking about that headed to the dorm," Adams said. "We were like we are going to be pretty good when we are older. Learning from the older guys, getting to play now, having Coach G (Rodney Garner) and Coach Ellis (Ellis Johnson) and all these great coaches, it's very exciting." ...

Some food for thought on quarterback Nick Marshall's performance against Washington State: After completing two of his first eight passes, he completed eight of his last 11. He finished 9-of-19 for 99 yards. But ...

He threw a near perfect deep ball for Sammie Coates, but Coates stumbled and couldn't catch up to it. He ran for a touchdown that was called back by a needless holding penalty well behind the play. He threw a strike to Ricardo Louis on a crossing pattern that would certainly have been a big play.

If just those three plays had gone as they should have, Marshall's debut would have been viewed as outstanding. That they didn't go as they should have was in no way his fault. ...

Auburn has more talent than Arkansas State. I doubt even Arkansas State folks would dispute that. But that doesn't mean the Tigers are going to have a cakewalk come Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The Red Wolves have plenty of speed. They have a big-time running back in David Oku, who was recruited hard by Auburn before signing with Tennessee in 2009. They are on a mission to make a splash against Gus Malzahn, who left them for Auburn after last season, and a dozen staff members who followed him. They have won nine consecutive games and will come to town on an emotional high. My guess is it's going to be a real battle. ...

Much has been made of seven FCS teams beating FBS teams last weekend. Reality is that, if you're an FBS team and you're going to play an FCS team, you need to play a bad one. You get no real credit for winning either way, but a loss is a big problem. ...

Auburn's 1988 SEC champions will be honored at Saturday's game. They'll get together tonight to swap stories about a season that featured one of the more dominant defenses in Auburn history.

Wayne Hall, who was the defensive coordinator, remembers it like this:

"That was one time we lined up and said `We're going to kick your booty.' Those guys were good. They were tough mentally and physically. They knew they were going to stop you and you knew they were going to stop you."

Until next time ...


Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for Follow Marshall on Twitter:




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