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Tag:Cam Newton
Posted on: March 6, 2012 3:20 pm
 

Auburn to unveil Heisman statues at spring game

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Auburn fans treating themselves to the Tigers' "A-Day" spring game are going to be treated themselves to a one-of-a-kind ceremony involving the school's three Heisman Trophy winners.

The Tiger athletic department had announced previously that they would be commissioning and erecting statuses of Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Cam Newton to be unveiled at a later date. A release from the school Tuesday established that date as April 14, when the statues will be dedicated in a special ceremony at 10 a.m. prior to the annual "A-Day" game.

According to the release, Sullivan (who won his Heisman in 1971), Jackson (1985) and Newton (2010, in case you've forgotten already) are all scheduled to be in attendance at the ceremony. The statues will be placed on the east end of Jordan-Hare Stadium.

In an interview with Auburn fansite The War Eagle Reader last April, statue sculptor Ken Bjorge said that the statues of Sullivan and Jackson had already been commissioned -- and completed -- when Newton's stunning Heisman season forced Auburn to ask for a third statue, and delay the unveiling of Sullivan's and Jackson's. In the interim, Florida became the first SEC team with a collection of Heisman statues, unveiling renditions of Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow at their 2011 spring game. 

The delay also meant, of course, that Auburn avoided the awkwardness of either dedicating or not dedicating a statue of Newton, whose infamous NCAA investigation only wrapped up last October. Though going through with an order for $100,000 worth of sculpted steel was already a sizable vote of confidence on Auburn's part, there's little doubt the school is highly appreciative the statue won't have to be unveiled with a Julie Roe Lach-shaped monkey on its back. 

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:56 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 11:51 pm
 

Auburn QB Barrett Trotter forgoing senior year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Whoever takes charge of Auburn's offense in 2012 -- Gene Chizik has yet to announce a replacement for Gus Malzahn as the former assistant takes the reins at Arkansas State -- will have one fewer option at quarterback after Barrett Trotter's decision to leave the Tiger program one season early.

The redshirt junior announced Monday that he would be forgoing his senior year to further concentrate on his academics. Trotter has received his undergraduate degree from Auburn in communications and is currently working on a Master's.

"My four years at Auburn have been a great experience and I'm thankful for the opportunities that I've had. However, I have decided to forgo my senior season," Trotter said in a statement. "I'm truly blessed to have been a part of winning seasons and championships during my time at Auburn."

Trotter's decision leaves the Tigers with three scholarship quarterbacks on their projected roster for 2012: junior Clint Moseley, sophomore Kiehl Frazier and Maxpreps No. 30 overall recruit Zeke PikeMoseley appeared in 10 games and attempted 108 passes (completing 61 percent for 7.4 yards a try) after wresting the job away from Trotter at midseason, but Frazier's running ability (327 yards, 3 touchdowns) will have him in the mix.

Despite those options, Auburn likely would have still preferred Trotter to remain in the program for another year. Cam Newton's former backup began the year brightly, leading the Tiger offense to 42 and 41 points in wins over Utah State and Mississippi State, respectively, while throwing five touchdowns to one interception. A deep mid-year slump cost him the starting spot, only for him to come off the bench in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and lead Auburn to the win with an 11-for-18, 9.7 yards-per-attempt, one TD performance. With Chizik rumored to be looking for more of a pro-style look in his next coordinator, Trotter's combination of experience and accuracy might have made him a contender for the starting job.

"Barrett is a great young man who ended his career in a fitting way by helping lead our team to victory in the Chick-fil-A Bowl," Chizik said. "We are very appreciative to Barrett for his contributions to Auburn both on and off the field, and wish him nothing but the best as he takes the next step in his life."

We don't doubt that. But we also don't doubt that Chizik also wishes he had that one extra card in hand at quarterback as his offense takes the next step in its life under Chizik's watch.

Though Trotter is not expected to be drafted and doesn't appear to be considering a career in pro football, expert Rob Rang broke down Trotter's draft chances at his CBSSports.com Draft Blog. 

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 9:08 pm
 

NCAA Legislative Council debates new proposals

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Cecil Newton wasn't the only thing on the docket for the NCAA Division I Legislative Council on Wednesday.

As the NCAA kicked the organization's annual convention into high gear, the council considered several proposals from member schools and other groups covering everything from the definition of an agent to recruiting contacts to multi-year scholarships.

"We're accustomed as the Legislative Council to be the primary ones looking at this legislation and really charged with making sure all the rules work right," chairwoman Carolyn Campbell-McGovern said. "It's a pretty big responsiblity."

The most noteworthy issue the council tackled was reworking the definition of an agent to close the loophole brought up in the Cam Newton investigation. The group also struck down a proposal submitted by the Colonial Athletic Association that would have given football players an extra year to play.

"We defeated the proposal in football that would have allowed students to have five seasons of eligibility in five calendar years," Campbell-McGovern said. "It was voted on separately by the FCS and FBS divisions. There was very little support."

The talk of the convention has centered on two ideas out of August's Presidential Retreat that would allow for up $2,000 in the form of a stipend to cover the cost of attendance and extend scholarships to cover multiple years. The two proposals reached the number of override votes from the membership and have been tabled for the time being until they have been sufficiently discussed and reworked.

"We had some discussion of that in order to provide some feedback to the board," the chairwoman said. "The fact that there was an override speaks to the fact that there are different positions and the membership is pretty well split. There was some discussion over what the concerns were, which have been pretty well documented.

"I think they all build on each other. The fact that it went into effect immediately and people didn't have time to plan was problematic.

"To some extent, the fact that some institutions will be able to engage in (giving out the scholarships or stipends) more than others is a concern, I didn't feel like that was one of the most prompt."

The council will provide feedback to the NCAA Board of Directors on Saturday on the proposals. Another proposal struck down dealt with the academic readiness of two-year college transfers.

"We struggled with this," Campbell-McGovern said. "We know a lot of people worked hard on this and that the two-year college community, in particular, was enthusiastic about it. We just felt like this really wasn't the time for it. We think it needs more work and we need to think more about how we can support the two-year college students better."

The board cited a need for more flexibility and support when students get to a four-year school and not have to rely on two-year colleges. The proposal is not dead - "it has merit" - but is being sent back to be reworked.
The council will resume debating Thursday morning and once the council wraps things up, the rules are considered adopted subject to final approval by the board.

Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:20 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 1:00 am
 

BCS National Championship Game stats of note

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A few stats of note and records from Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU to capture the BCS National Championship.

- First shutout in BCS title game history.

- Alabama had 384 total yards to LSU's 92.

- LSU crossed the 50 yard line just once, late in the 4th quarter.

- Ohio State's Ted Ginn Jr.'s opening kick return vs. Florida gained more yards and points than LSU did this entire game.

- It wasn't until A.J. McCarron's 13 yard scramble with 6:10 left in the 4th quarter that Alabama, as a team, passed Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's total yardage from last year's championship game. The Crimson Tide finished the game with just 55 yards more than Newton had last year and just 27 more than what Oregon's Darron Thomas had in 2011.

- LSU still wound up gaining 10 more yards than Ohio State did against Florida in 2007.

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- Jordan Jefferson's 29 yards passing was the fewest in the BCS National Championship game and second fewest out of all BCS games played.

- This was the first ever shutout in a BCS game, the previous fewest points scored was Florida State's two versus Oklahoma in 2001.

- Georgia Southern gained more yards against Alabama in one game (341) than LSU did in two (331).

- Every recruiting class Nick Saban has had since coming to LSU in 2000 has experienced a national championship.

- LSU will have beaten the Pac-12 and Big East champions as well as the National Champions during the regular season.

- The Tigers will drop to 4-1 in BCS bowls. West Virginia will take over top spot for wins without a loss at 3-0 after their Orange Bowl victory.

- Marquis Maze's 49 yard punt return is the longest against LSU since Javier Arenas' 61yd TD return on Nov. 3, 2007. On Maze's punt return alone, LSU allowed eight times the number of yards they've given up total all season on punt returns.

- The SEC is now 8-1 in the championship game, with the lone loss coming to... the SEC.

- Alabama's defense finished the season by allowing just 106 points. They only gave up nine touchdowns all year, three on the ground and six through the air.

- 2001 Miami allowed 103 points and 2000 TCU allowed 106 in 11 games. Alabama allowed 106 with one extra game and finished the season giving up just 7.57 points per game.

Posted on: December 31, 2011 11:14 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Auburn 43, Virginia 24

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

 

AUBURN WON: A Tiger offense that had been in second gear since September and was missing leading rusher Michael Dyer suddenly roared to life in Gus Malzahn's final game at the helm, scoring 43 points and racking up 454 yards, both season highs allowed (or are they lows?) for the Cavalier defense. But the story of the game was Auburn's dominance on special teams, where the Tigers blocked not one but two Virginia punts (leading to nine points), foiled a fake Cavalier field goal, successfully executed a surprise onsides kick and set up a field goal with a 62-yard Quan Bray kick return. The Tiger offense was the best it had been since Week 2 vs. Mississippi State, if not all season--but it also had the benefit of a lot of help.

WHY AUBURN WON: Those special teams played the largest role, but if the same Tiger offense that had shown up over the last half of the season had shown up in Atlanta, those special teams wouldn't have mattered for much. The difference was an unusual source for a spark: demoted backup quarterback Barrett Trotter, benched at midseason for Clint Moseley and not even considered a part of the team's bowl preparations with freshman Kiehl Frazier being groomed for a larger role. But Moseley left the game after just one series with an ankle injury, and Trotter stepped into hit 11 of his 17 passes for 175 yards and 1 touchdown.

Sure, the total yardage number isn't all that eye-popping. But Trotter only needed to make a couple of throws downfield -- the prettiest a 50-yard in-stride bomb to Emory Blake to set up a second-quarter touchdown -- to open up the Auburn screen and running games that had been bottled up since the early stages of the season, thanks to the lack of deep accuracy from the Tiger QBs (Trotter included). With everything in the playbook at his arsenal (including the read options Cam Newton used to great effect last season, thanks to Frazier's repeated successful cameos), Malzahn was unable to unleash the kind of offensive barrage that's made his name as a coach. 

Virginia's offense had its moments -- the Cavaliers had 435 yards of their own -- but with the Tigers clicking the way they were and the UVa special teams providing less than no help, they missed far too many opportunities to keep up.

WHEN AUBURN WON: Tiger placekicker Cody Parkey had a nice night, depositing five of his eight kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks, perfectly executing the onsides, and hitting 3-of-4 field goals. The last of those put Auburn up 43-24 with just over 8 minutes to play, and effectively ended the game.

WHAT AUBURN WON: Their fifth straight bowl game -- good for a share of the nation's longest bowl streak, tying Rutgers and Mississippi State -- and an eighth game for third time in Gene Chizik's three-year tenure. Given Auburn's schedule and the massive roster attrition following last year's run the national title, the Tigers can't feel disappointed about their 2011 effort.

WHAT VIRGINIA LOST: A chance at a first bowl victory since 2005, but given where the program was when Mike London arrived, the Cavs will happily take 8-5 and a Chick-Fil-A bowl appearance, we think.

FINAL GRADE: Though the outcome left the realm of doubt sometime during the third quarter, the ample offensive fireworks, aggressive coaching from both sidelines, and big plays made the game a breezy, enjoyable watch all the same. It wasn't the Alamo Bowl, but what is? B.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview

Posted on: December 30, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 4:46 pm
 

Key Matchup: Chick-Fil-A Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen




A look at the key matchup that could determine the
 Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier, RB Tre Mason vs. Virginia LBs Steve Greer, Leroy Reynolds

The Auburn offense that takes the field against Virginia in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl is likely to have some key differences from the one that Tiger fans watched for much of the regular season--some of those differences promising, some much less so. Where the latter's concerned, the suspension of star running back Michael Dyer removes the Tigers far-and-away leading rusher and (receiver Emory Blake arguably excepted) only consistent offensive weapon out of the equation.

But after a season in which the Auburn quarterbacks threw for fewer yards in SEC competition than the QBs for any other team in the league, one of those differences may also be the unveiling of true freshman QB Kiehl Frazier as the every-down signal-caller. Frazier has reportedly shared first-team snaps with ostensible starter Clint Moseley during Auburn's bowl prep, and Frazier's already proven during the season that he can be an effective run-first change-of-pace. Adding that athleticism to the offense full-time would open up more of the Tigers' 2010 Cam Newton-derived playbook, and with the extra time to prepare, Frazier could be ready to show enough command of the offense to get the Tigers moving again. And while Dyer's absence strings, Frazier's fellow freshman Tre Mason has shown promise in limited action at tailback and could be due for a breakout game.

Standing in Frazier's and Mason's way, though, will be a pair of outstanding Cavalier linebackers in Steve Greer (pictured) and Leroy Reynolds. The juniors finished 1-2 on the team in tackles, with Greer's 103 stops earning him second-team All-ACC honors and helping lead the team to a 34th-place finish in the FBS rush defense rankings.

With Frazier and the speedy Mason in place rather than Moseley and Dyer, Auburn would rely much more heavily on the inverted veer and similar option plays than earlier in the season, putting more pressure on linebackers like Greer and Reynolds to play assignment football and stuff the run before it starts. If they don't, Gus Malzahn's patented run-short-throw-deep play-action game could finally get Auburn out of its offensive rut. If they do, though -- and leave Auburn facing clear passing downs against Chase Minnifield and the talented Cav secondary -- the Tigers may be rendered as toothless as ever, no matter how much Frazier and Mason shake things up.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview

Posted on: December 9, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 6:06 pm
 

Report: Muschamp "targeting" Mike Shula for OC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In the wake of Charlie Weis's stunning departure for Kansas, Florida head coach Will Muschamp vowed that he would hire " the best offensive coordinator in the country." We're not sure the first name to bubble up as a serious candidate quite fits that bill.

From the Twitter feed of Gainesville Sun reporter Robbie Andrieu:



As a coach who's spent his entire career in the NFL with the exception of his largely ill-fated tenure in charge at Alabama, Shula certainly fits Muschamp's bill as a coordinator with pro experience who'd run a pro-style system in Gainesville. And he might quietly become a solid recruiter for the Gators as well; despite his struggles in Tuscaloosa, many of the players he brought to the Tide formed the foundation of the 26-2 2008 and 2009 teams, and he very nearly landed a Florida product you may have heard of named Tim Tebow.

But that's just about where the good news ends. Shula has only spent four seasons of his career as an offensive coordinator, all of them at the pro level with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; in those four seasons, the Bucs landed in the league's bottom three three times and were never better than 22nd.

He didn't appear to do much for the Tide's offense during his Alabama stint, either. His four years there never produced an offense that ranked in the top half of the FBS, and the Tide's average rank in total offense during his tenure was a mediocre 76th.

Currently, Shula is serving as the Carolina Panthers quarterbacks coach after holding the same position for the Jacksonville Jaguars the past three seasons. Cam Newton is having a nice season under his tutelage, but is that reason enough for Muschamp to bite? Is his prior resume? We're not seeing it, which is why if we were a Gator fan, we'd be hoping Muschamp eventually wound up targeting some other candidate.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:57 pm
 

Robert Griffin III is your heavy Heisman favorite

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



With the Heisman votes already in and tabulated, there's nothing the candidates can do between now and Saturday's announcement but wait ... and watch certain votes (mostly from the media) become public. And based on those public votes, one candidate has to be feeling better about his chances than ever.

The website StiffArmTrophy.com annually aggregates and tabulates those public votes, a system which has led the site to accurately predict the Heisman Trophy winner each of the past nine seasons. And it already looks like Robert Griffin III is going to be that projected winner in 2011; of the first 189 ballots tracked down by the site, 118 of them have named Griffin their top choice and only 26 have omitted him entirely. (On the three ballots issued by writers at CBSSports.com, Dennis Dodd, Bruce Feldman and Brett McMurphy have all placed Griffin No. 1.) 

At that pace, Griffin is projected to win the award by 982 voting points over runner-up Andrew Luck. Though that would get Luck closer than he was in his runner-up finish 2010, he wouldn't be that much closer; Cam Newton won the award by a 1,184-point margin last season.

That Griffin's margin could even be mentioned in the same sentence as Newton's shows how much support the Baylor All-American garnered over the late stages of the season, and it's not just StiffArmTrophy that's noticed; Griffin is now a runaway betting favorite amongst sportsbooks, with his 1-to-5 odds easily bettering second choice Trent Richardson's 11-to-4.

Put all that available evidence together, and we'd argue that Griffin and the Bears can go ahead and start clearing out some trophy space. It's done.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com