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Auburn University News

Auburn defensive end Marlon Davidson thinks he can run down a leopard…

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After Auburn’s practice Tuesday, defensive end Marlon Davidson made an interesting comment.

“I’ve got the mind that I can run down anybody,” Davidson said. “Even, like, a leopard. I probably can’t, but that’s my mindset.”

That is not a bad mindset for a defender to possess and Davidson will be asked to set the defensive edge and run down many talented, fast running backs and quarterbacks this season.

As for chasing down a leopard, probably not.

Leopards are able to reach speeds of 36 miles per hour. Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt has been clocked close to 28 miles per hour. The near 300-pound Davidson’s best chance of running down a leopard is making sure the cat never gets started.

Davidson had an outstanding freshman season and is expected to be a leader along the defensive front in 2017. But asked about being a starter last season, he said it never felt routine.

“It never did,” Davidson said. “I never felt like I made it.”

Regardless of what Davidson felt, his performance says otherwise. He had 37 tackles as a freshman and registered 2.5 sacks lining up on the opposite side of Carl Lawson.

Davidson also shared a positive perspective about Byron Cowart’s move to defensive tackle. Cowart who according to ESPN was the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in 2015, has never clicked at the defensive end position. So despite his relatively diminutive size for the position, 250 pounds, Auburn is giving him a look at defensive tackle.

**This was originally posted at Gridiron Now.** 

Has Auburn Basketball Improved Under Bruce Pearl?

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pearlAuburn, Ala. – Following Auburn’s first-round SEC Tournament defeat to Missouri, Auburn’s postseason hopes appear to be dashed. With Auburn’s postseason drought on the verge of being extended to eight years, Tiger fans are wondering if Auburn Basketball has improved under Bruce Pearl.

It is no secret that Tony Barbee left the Auburn program in a bad place, but how far has Auburn come since his departure? When just comparing the records of Barbee and Pearl, Auburn has taken small steps in the right direction.

Both head coaches posted a win percentage lower than 50 percent. Barbee finished his time at Auburn with a 49-75 record and a .40 win percentage, while Pearl has accumulated a 44-54 record and a .45 win percentage.

Furthermore, Pearl has led Auburn to a winning season, their first since 2008-09, something Barbee failed to do in his time at Auburn. The Tigers seem to be on track to do even better next season.

In his first season on the plains, Pearl recorded a 15-20 record in 2014-15 and followed it up with an 11-20 season in 2015-16. Although there was a drop in overall wins, Auburn did win one more conference game in 2015-16 than the year before, including a victory over the Kentucky Wildcats.

Then there was this season. Auburn posted an 18-14 record with a 7-11 record in conference play. Considering that this is Auburn’s first winning season in seven years, it sounds like Auburn is developing. Right?

The metric statistics suggest that this year’s Auburn squad is better than the two before it. This season, the Tigers posted their highest points per possession under Pearl with a 1.035. That is slightly above average for college basketball teams.

Auburn also posted their best opponent points per possession stat under Pearl this season with a 1.024. That is slightly below average for college basketball teams.

When you subtract opponent points per possession from points per possession, a statistic called efficiency margin (EM) is derived. This is an indicator of how good a college basketball team is. Auburn finished this season with their best efficiency margin under Pearl with a .011. To put that in perspective, at this point in time North Carolina has a .16 and that is one of the best EMs in the nation. A .011 suggests that Auburn is an average basketball team.

The year before Auburn had a -.10 EM making them a poor basketball team in the eyes of metrics. For Auburn to make a .111 jump in EM over one season, that is a major sign of improvement.

Auburn is in an unprecedented point for recruiting as well. Auburn signed their first five-star recruit in program history when they landed Mustapha Heron. They followed that up with the signings of Austin Wiley, Chuma Okeke and Davion Mitchell, all of which are high profile recruits.

With the amount of talent and core of this year’s team returning coupled with the arrival of Mitchell and Okeke, all indications point toward next season being even better for the Tigers.

The season ended bitter sweet. Auburn might have ended the year by losing to the worst team in the conference in the first round of the SEC Tournament, but hope can be seen through the smoke of the dumpster fire that was the Auburn program at the end of this year.

Back away from the cliff Tiger fans. Auburn is taking steps in the right direction. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.

 

Thompson Dominant in Auburn 7-0 Shutout

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Auburn started their three game weekend set against Holy Cross strong on Friday, taking game one by a 7-0 final. Junior pitcher Keegan Thompson was completely dominant on the mound for the tigers, as he pitched 8 innings of one hit ball, including six strikeouts. Thompson picked up the win, making him 2-0 through two starts, without allowing a hit in either start.

The tigers’ wasted no time on offence, as they put up four runs in the top of the first to take an early 4-0 lead. Daniel Robert got the scoring started with an RBI single, then Josh Anthony followed with a sacrifice fly. Dylan Ingram scored Robert on an RBI double, then Bo Decker continued his great offensive play with an RBI single. Auburn then added another run in the sixth on a wild pitch to make it a 5-0 game. The tigers then added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth on a Jonah Todd triple. Todd then scored one batter on a Bo Decker sacrifice fly.

Bo Decker put up good offencive numbers for the second game in a row, as he had three hits and a couple of RBIs. Jonah Todd also had a nice day at the plate, as he recoreded one hit and one RBI and plated two.

The win pushes Auburn to an impressive 5-1 record on the young season. The next game for the tigers will be game two of the three game set with Holy Cross on Saturday (February 25) at noon CT. The final game of the set will be Sunday (February 26) at noon CT.

Keegan Thompson vs Holy Cross.JPG

Junior pitcher Keegan Thompson pitched eight shutout innings on Friday, only allowing one hit and one walk

Auburn Baseball Overcomes 6 Run Deficit Against Florida A&M

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In their fourth game of the 2017 season, the Auburn University baseball team appeared to be headed towards an ugly blowout against Florida A&M on Wednesday. The rattlers scored 6 runs off senior Gabe Klobosits and freshman Elliot Anderson through just 2 innings to open the game. After A&M scored another run in the top of the fifth, Auburn’s offence came to life in the bottom half as they plated 6 runs thanks to two sac flies, two RBI singles by Josh Anthony and Bo Decker, a hit by pitch, and an error. After the six run fifth, Auburn had cut the deficit to 7-6 .

 

 

The rattles scored another in the top of the sixth, then senior Danial Robert responded in the bottom half with a two-run homer to tie the game 8-8. Auburn then took the lead in the bottom of the eighth on a Jonah Todd RBI single. The tigers added some insurance runs thanks to a balk that drove in Josh Anthony, then Bo Decker added a couple more RBIs on a single making the score 12-8, and the tigers went on to win by that score. Montgomery native Cole Lipscomb got credit for the win for his 1.1 hitless innings, including a strikeout.

 

 

The final line showed Auburn scoring 12 runs on 15 hits and an error. Florida A&M finished with 8 runs on 13 hits and 2 errors committed. Auburn is now 4-1 on the young season, and their next game will be the the first of a two game set with Holy Cross this Friday (February 24) at 2:00 PM at Plainsman Park.

 

Bo Decker recorded three hits and three RBIs on Thursday

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Auburn University Recruiting Needs for 2018

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Auburn’s 2017 recruiting class ranked ninth nationally, the fifth year in a row the Tigers finished in the top 10 overall.

The staff did a nice job of filling needs across the board. But what was a need in 2017 won’t necessarily be a need in the 2018 class and vice versa. Here’s a look at the biggest recruiting priorities for the ’18 class for Auburn and what positions the Tigers should target this year.

 

1. Wide receiver: Wide receiver should be a position of focus for the 2018 class. Even though Kyle Davis, Nate Craig-Meyers and Eli Stove all have at least two more years on the Tigers’ roster, Auburn needs to be ready just in case they all leave at the same time. With Auburn only signing one receiver in 2017, Noah Igbinoghene, it clearly needs to focus on depth for the future. With a tweaked offensive scheme coming for the Tigers with the arrival of Chip Lindsey, receivers will be important for Auburn.

 

2. Defensive tackle: The Tigers did not get a big name in the defensive line in this class but did sign two three-star prospects. D-line depth should be fine for this year, but after Derrick Brown leaves for the NFL in two seasons, Auburn does not appear to have a successor on campus. Rumors are swirling that Auburn will go after a junior college defensive tackle in the ’18 class and also will look at moving Byron Cowart inside in pass-rush situations.

 

3. Cornerback: Carlton Davis is a year away from being a high pick in the NFL draft. And when looking at the depth chart after Davis, there’s a big drop-off in talent. Auburn needs to find another future star at corner. Not that stars and ratings mean everything, but Auburn has brought in multiple three stars. If one hits the field and performs and develops better than expected, Auburn could be in a better situation. Still, depth will be a question going into National Signing Day in 2018.

 

This was also posted on Gridiron Now.