As we head into a new year I am excited about where we are in Auburn because there is a lot to like about the university as a whole and the athletic program in particular.
One of the teams I have enjoyed following this year is Coach Pearl’s basketball squad. The win the Tigers had the other night over Xavier was a lot of fun to watch. Coach Pearl had to do some real scrambling to put together his first Auburn team with players from a variety of different places, but one thing they all have in common is that they are playing with a lot of intensity.
It looks like K.T. Harrell and Cinmeon Bowers are the key players and I really like watching how hard Malcolm Canada plays. Now that they have added the freshman big man (Trayvon Reed) they have a better chance to be competitive vs. the stronger opponents they play. It makes you feel good to watch a team that tries as hard as this one does.
Maybe I look at teams differently than some do. Everybody wants to win and I understand that, but what I enjoy as a coach is seeing teams that are battling to play to their potential. I really like watching ones that play with intensity and it doesn’t matter to me what sport it is--football, basketball, golf, tennis, softball, baseball, whatever.
You would like to think that every time an Auburn athletic team goes out to compete it plays with a lot of heart the way Coach Pearl’s basketball team is performing.
As the football team gets ready to wrap up its season vs. Wisconsin I would like to see the Tigers go out playing with a lot of heart when they take the field for the Outback Bowl. Even though this group had its problems stopping other teams, and though the Tigers may not have as many athletes on defense as some of other teams do, I think they have enough good players to be successful.
I really believe when Will Muschamp takes charge of the group as defensive coordinator for the 2015 season he will have enough quality players to put a good SEC defense on the field. I don’t think he will have to start over. His biggest challenge will be changing the group’s mindset to play the game at a higher level and nobody is better qualified to make that happen than Will Muschamp.
I believe with all my heart that the players will buy into being challenged to do more. There may be a few that don’t, but there is a large group of kids who want to be good, who really want to win, so I think there are brighter days ahead for the football team's defense.
I have said it before and I will say it again. I just don’t think there has ever been a better time to be an Auburn person than right now. I’m not talking about just football. I’m talking about every area on that campus.
I hope Santa Claus comes to see everybody and that you and your families have a memorable Christmas. I believe a lot of Auburn folks are looking forward to seeing their football team play one more time this year and they are hoping for an exciting performance from Coach Malzahn’s Tigers’ on New Year’s Day.
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