Phillip Marshall Column: AU Sports Potpourri

Phillip Marshall writes about a variety of topics concerning Auburn and SEC athletics.

Ramblin' around on Friday morning…

*Former Southern California defensive back Eric Wright, who left school recently after 136 ecstasy pills were allegedly found in his apartment, is looking for a new college home. At least one report listed Auburn among the schools he is considering.

He might be considering Auburn, but Auburn isn't considering him. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said he wasn't familiar with Wright or with his situation, but he said his program will never be a haven for players in trouble…

*Even as some of his top signees opted to sign professional contracts, Auburn baseball coach Tom Slater didn't lose his optimism about his incoming signing class. "That's part of it," Slater said. "You have to have to have somebody ready to take their place."

In 1999, while in Tallahassee for a Super Regional, Auburn got the surprising word that pitcher Jake Peavy would sign instead of enrolling in school. Coach Hal Baird turned to Slater and asked who was next on the list.

"I told him it's this little redneck in Thomasville (Ga.)," Slater said. "I'd say he had a pretty good career at Auburn."

It was pitcher Lavele Speigner…

*Call me old-fashioned, but I find disgusting the notion that it's okay for fans, including adult ones, to taunt college athletes because they happen to play for a different school. I heard enough of it in Tallahassee over the weekend to last me for a while…

*The NCAA's decision to allow a 12th football game starting in 2006 has created more problems than it has solved. The plea from coaches to start the season a week earlier has been ignored, even though they said they would not ask for an earlier start of practice. It will put great stress on players. Auburn, as it stands now, will play 12 games without a break.

Auburn is trying to get either Temple or Villanova to move to the Saturday before the Georgia game in 2006, creating an open date earlier in the season. The Tigers aren't about to schedule a monster challenge in the 10th game, just before the two biggest games of the season.

One thing those clamoring for scheduling tougher games should understand is that adding tough games year in and year out means adding losses. Even the best programs win about half the time against teams with equal or near equal talent…

*This is a big weekend for former Auburn women's basketball coach Joe Ciampi. A pioneer in the women's game, Ciampi will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville.

Coach Joe Ciampi is shown in a familiar pose.

Ciampi built a powerhouse at Auburn, taking the Tigers to the national championship game three times. He retired after the 2004 season and now does consulting work for programs around the country…

Various publications that rank Alabama's secondary among the nation's best must have seen something I haven't seen.

*Don't be surprised if wide receiver Robert Dunn, a late Auburn signee who was not expected to qualify, gains his eligibility. And don't be surprised if he makes an immediate impact as a freshman…

*Decision time is less than two weeks away for Auburn basketball guard Toney Douglas, who made himself available for the NBA draft. He has until June 21 to back out. There is no indication at this point that he would be drafted if available…

*Folks who should know say Auburn pitcher Josh Sullivan, chosen in the fifth round by the Colorado Rockies, could make a lot of money by returning to school for his senior year, but he is apparently intent on signing. Sullivan, obviously, has the tools to be successful, but he has only had one full season as a pitcher. He would be a potential first-round pick in 2006...

*SEC baseball coaches raved about Ole Miss' talent all season. The draft was proof they knew what they were talking about. Five Rebels were chosen in the first three rounds…

Until next time…


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