Monthly Archives: February 2008

It’s Pronounced JORDAN: Hare Stadium

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Rare shot of Jordan-Hare Stadium, changing clothes. On Oct. 6, 1973, at the Ole Miss game, Cliff Hare Stadium officially became Jordan-Hare stadium, making Ralph “Shug” Jordan the first ever active coach to have his team’s home stadium named in his honor. Auburn won, 14-7. Photo by L. Parker.

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Toomer’s Rumors and Boomers – 2.28.08

*** Auburn Fight Song too holy for video games: According to Harris Sewell Worley, the reason Auburn’s fight song is not heard in the NCAA Football franchise video games is because his great grandmother, who owns partial rights, deems the medium unworthy of it’s greatness (Worley’s grandfather, Roy B. Sewell, Auburn man extraordinaire, commissioned the song back in the ’50s. He was an awesome guy.) Hell yeah it is! Let other schools pimp their heritage if they want, I’m glad we’re keeping it real. War Eagle, Mrs. Sewell, fight the power. And domo arigoto, you EA Sports soul suckers – Aubie might be on the cover, but the fight song stays in our hearts.

My favorite line: “… and we all look forward to… singin’ the fight song next season.”

Real quick – I totally dig the song — the tune, the lyrics — but click here and scroll to the bottom to check out the scalding review, upon its debut, by the Montgomery Advertiser, which is awesome just for revealing the esteem in which they hold “one of the supreme bellows of our time.”

*** Two days ago, I spent the afternoon in the parking lot of Montgomery’s sole (from what I can tell) Panera Bread. I could not connect to their WiFi for some reason. So I read a bit and listened to Finebaum, which came on only a few minutes after Nick Saban, in a press conference, addressed, among other things, questions about whether his football teams at Alabama can ever be more than goon squads. Of course, Finebaum played clips, and the good thing is, he played them early in the show and often. Go here and listen. No really, just listen, just for a little bit, even just to the first one (but if you listen to the whole thing, you’ll get to the Tuscaloosa-cops-are-all Auburn-fans theory). Because just when you think that the man is going to get it together, step up, do something decent, act in his self-interest by playing the game and saying the things that need to be said and act like a human being… just when you think the ride is about to over, Saban busts up into a press conference and shoots up the joint. I knew Saban would be the kinda person we should all want at the helm over there, but… and I feel… strange… in saying this, but as an Auburn fan, even I am beginning to feel bad, genuinely bad for the guy. Not for the treatment he receives — it’s just that he, Nick Saban, seems so completely incapable to handle his current situation in life. That is sad to watch or listen to.

“Buried the Myth…”

Check out the latest from Kevin Scarbinsky, who only the day before gave his column to Saban for him to look tough but compassionate… lets just say I doubt Kevin will be getting any more exclusives for a while…

*** This is why we dig Phillip Marshall. Like the Auburner, I’m impressed with Tony Franklin’s candor in discussing Chris Todd’s struggles to regain form, and the consequent implications that, despite appearances and fan chatter, Franklin’s preexisting relationship with Todd will not determine who our starting quarterback will be. I didn’t want to mention it at the time, as I know little about the mechanics of such things beyond a fan’s immediate impressions (and also because I’d heard somewhere that out of the four guys out there he had graded the highest in some category), but Todd, to me, definitely looked hesitant on the first day of practice, and threw the ball very softly. If he threw better as an 8th grader than he does now, yeah, than there’s definitely a problem. But then again, if he was that good as an 8th grader, I hope there’s a quick fix to all this.

I’m also impressed with the urgent need to score Tristan Davis some freaking steel toe cleats. Or Lord, have the next person to step on his toe runnin’ laps or something. I mean, I’d care no matter what, but I was there for that first touchdown, I saw it in person, or I tried to see it. I don’t remember who it was, I don’t remember when, all I remember is the flash. I can’t get it out of my mind. Didn’t he have like, an 80 yard per carry average for a few weeks?

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Toomer’s Rumors and Boomers – 2.26.08

*** Highlights from the basketball win over Bama – my favorites being Quan Prowell’s tomahawk jam, Frank Tolbert’s Jedi pass to Rasheem Barrett after getting the ball stripped from him, and Lucas Hargrove’s suck-it bucket from 35 ft. out.

*** No Guarantee: Just prior to learning of an even more recent arrest of one of his football players, Alabama coach Nick Saban, in an interview with Kevin Scarbinsky, said that Tide player Jeremy Elder, accused of robbing two fellow Alabama students at gun-point, would be banned from any and all football related activity at the Capstone… for at least one year. Scarbinsky appears to be impressed with Saban’s pre-trial sentencing of Elder and seems to shape the piece so as to herald, 8 arrests after his arrival, Saban’s new zero-tolerance policy for criminality:

“No meetings, practices or games. No football-related activities at all. And no guarantee he’ll ever suit up for Alabama again.”

Only thing is, it seems unlikely any edict from Saban would have anything to with it.

This is not some victim-less DUI charge — Elder has been charged with, and reportedly confessed to committing, a Class A Felony, which, when committed with a firearm, carries a punishment in the state of Alabama of “not less than 20 years.”

If Saban is open to the possibility of Elder’s innocence, even in light of his confession — and judging from later quotes in Scarbinsky’s piece, I doubt that — but is preemptively giving him the “at least a year” treatment to look tough for the media, well, that’s kinda screwed up. Is he unaware of the magnitude of Elder’s situation? For 26 bucks, the kid will likely be locked up for several, several years and therefore quite unable to play college football next year, the year after that, and the year after that.

Or is it that Saban is counting on a far lesser punishment for Elder, who is only 19, if his attorney wins him youthful offender status? If so, does that mean that, by the sole virtue of a technicality in the legal language, someone like Elder, after all this, could still have a place on Nick Saban’s football team?

Am I missing something, or is Saban?

We shall hopefully find out at this afternoon – the Nicktator has called a press-conference.

*** More vigorous urging to vote for a certain someone from testosterone-rich TWER reader Michael Ingram (thanks Michael):

Gentlemen,
As any living-breathing digitally-aware testosterone-rich man-child knows, EA Sports owns the wildly successful “Madden NFL” game franchise. This game is played on just about every platform – from PS to XP. But for those of us southern-bred, hard-core college football fans who hold at least a moderate pustule of venom in our heart of hearts for professional football, we secretly prefer the “NCAA” version of this popular franchise which features college teams.
EA Sports moved carefully into the new platform arena of Nintendo Wii with only Madden NFL. The Wii features a dynamic motion-sensitive controller that favors user-action over frenetic button-mashing. The Wii console is made famous by the legendary reports of over-excited folks flinging their “Wii-motes” through their television screens during game play. Madden for Wii is played through motions which simulate passing, tackling, and spinning.
Alas, for the hard-core college fan, there is no NCAA-version featuring the opportunity to sack Tebow, or replay the 2007 AU-GA Black Death.
But hold on, sports fans! EA Sports has just announced plans to release the NCAA franchise on Wii. But the really exciting news is that they are looking for a mascot – one mascot - to feature on the cover of every single game. So, while the long-lasting NCAA franchise (reaching back to the late 90’s) has never featured an Auburn icon, now there is a chance to promote Auburn’s best-known: AUBIE.
Follow this link, and vote daily for AUBIE:
War Damn Eagle!!

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Toomer’s Rumors and Boomers – 2.25.08

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Dean James Foy, 90, sings the Auburn Fight Song during yesterday’s presentation of the ODK Trophy which bears his name, the man can wail. Photo by Frank Couch.

*** Kind of an awesome Auburn weekend: Auburn’s swimming and diving teams, both the men’s and women’s, extend their exclusive patent on water with two more SEC titles… Auburn’s baseball team opens its season with three wins over East Tennessee State… we beat Bama soundly in basketball as Dean Foy, in the way only he can, exults in the unprecedented glow of six football wins in a row and Coach Tuberville lays down lines like: “Regardless of what you’ve read or heard, we will have a football team next year. We’ve won six and we’re working on seven. War Eagle!”…

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Photo by Frank Couch

… we get what seems to be a very solid commitment from what seems to be a very solid player in defensive end Terrance Coleman, nephew of the great Antonio… and then we get to see that yes, Auburn will have a football team next year, a fast, exciting team.

*** Along those lines, I was there, there for the practice, most of it (couldn’t afford the basketball game, ahem). It was a sweet flash of huddle-less hyperactivity; those boys will be nothing if not in shape for it was quite literally non-stop. Some observations… Tony Franklin, if that was even him, looks far different from the photos we’ve seen, but that’s what you want in an offensive genius: shape shifting… Mario Fannin can break chains with a flex… Paul Rhoads will be popular amongst his players… Kodi, as we all know, can chunk the ball.

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Excitement quietly ruled the afternoon. The sun set. The smell of cut grass lingers. Click here for my incredible photo odyssey…

*** 8th Bama player arrested in 14 month Saban-era: Joining the ranks or recent Tide team leaders Juwan Simpson, and Simeon Castille, Alabama safety, Rashad Johnson, a team captain, was arrested over the weekend for allegedly assaulting a security guard for a Tuscaloosa bar, the second player arrest in a week. Is this even news any more? I’ve often wondered how life changes for the everyday Tuscaloosans dealt into these fiascoes; almost certainly Bama fans themselves, do the once-anonymous cops, the bruised bar bouncers, the robbed at gun-point classmates, struggle with their fanhood, their fanliness, after the fact, knowing that fate forced them to help heap even more ignominy on the University of Alabama’s football program?

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It’s Pronounced JORDAN: “For A Prize Fighter, I’m Pretty Good Lookin’.”

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May 15, 1973 Photo by B. Ashmore

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Toomer’s Rumors and Boomers – 2.21.08

*** Time to vote for Aubie again, this time so the ol’ boy can be the cover boy of EA Sports NCAA ’09 Football for the Nintendo Wii. Only once a day, yeah, yeah…

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*** What Not To Wear, Bama-style: So first, it’s reported that poor Jeremy Elder was wearing, yes, a houndstooth-style Bama baseball cap while allegedly robbing two fellow Alabama students, who identified him by viewing security camera footage from, yes, Bryant Hall… and then their Singing Day Trophy Wife, testifying in a murder trial, takes it up a notch of bizarre by showing up to court in an Oklahoma sweatshirt — as in Sooners (but it’s OK, say Bama fans – he reportedly had a Bama shirt on underneath).

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Overall, a pretty ferosh week for the Tide…

*** Aww hell no, Tuberville to Arkansas!

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TOUCH(ing)DOWN(loads)

By J. Henderson

When Jeff Fuller sits down at his desk and prioritizes his day, the fact that he’s been kept from making it back for a game since the 2003 season-opening humbling by USC is surely in the back of his mind and surely factors into his decision to pour so much time and energy into what he does, what thousands upon thousands know him for. And for someone so obviously passionate to be more than a thousand miles away from Jordan-Hare Stadium, you can understand the man wanting to feel as close to the action as he can, whatever way he can. And if that’s what makes him so good at it, then no, you don’t need to feel too guilty for hoping he might not be able to make it back for a lot longer.

Because where would Auburn fans be right now without Jeff Fuller, the man who has so improved our peculiar quality of life?

Indeed, is it not simply easier to be an Auburn fan these days?

Yes, 2004 is still paying dividends, and yes, six in a row is a special sort of ecstasy. And I’m not saying that, without Jeff, our recent on-the-field success wouldn’t be buying us more limelight than ever before, more bragging rights – these privileges are gifts from the players, the coaches and the good Lord. We know that.

auburn-vhs.jpgWhen I say it’s so much easier being an Auburn fan these days, I’m simply saying that the modes of modern fandom have become so much more accessible in recent years, so much more interactive, and so aggressively populist, that it is easy to forget that only a few years ago we were all forced to clank through our movie closets for five minutes or more before finding the AttiTude tape from ’93, and by then, it might be time for dinner.

I mean it’s easier. Literally.

We no longer have to wait until Christmas for the powers that be to sell us our chance to relive an Iron Bowl or even a great play from the first game of the season. (Christmas? We want it Sunday night, Jeff, and you better deliver!)

We don’t have to cop tingles outside the A/V lab, hoping someone will bootleg us a high-light reel (I’m sure this has happened). We have taken matters into our own hands and then handed them to Jeff. It’s called the Internet. More specifically, YouTube, and Jeff doesn’t think it has changed just college football, he thinks YouTube has changed the world.

“It is pretty amazing to think you can publish your work of art to millions of people,” he says.

If your definition of art includes manipulated clips of televised Auburn gridiron drama set to stirring movie trailer music – and it should – then that, is exactly what Jeff has done since he uploaded his first video in September 2006, and he does it better than most.

So thank you Jeff Fuller, thank you so very much!

Known to his YouTube audience only as autiger96, Jeff Fuller graduated from Auburn – yes, in 1996, and his pedigree is solid.

He is the son of an Auburn man – Donnie Fuller, an Auburn track star, class of ’70, who, Jeff says, held the world-record in the 70-yard dash for nearly an hour. Two of his uncles, Terry (’79) and Mike (’75), both played football for Auburn in the 70s. Terry was pretty good. Mike was good enough to get his face on the side of the stadium. And a coke can.

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Jeff’s uncle Mike, dead center – stadium mural by Michael Taylor, photo by C. Bridges.

mfcan.jpgIn the 1973 Georgia game Mike returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, the third longest kickoff return in Auburn history at that time, and led the nation in punt returns going into that year’s Iron Bowl. He finished the regular season second in the nation, missing the top slot with a per-carry average just 1/10th of a yard less than Penn State’s Gary Hayman. (Hayman had 23 returns for 422 yards, Fuller had 20 for 381). Mike owns the Tiger’s share of the Auburn record book where punting is concerned, including most punts returned for touchdowns in a game (tied with David Langner at 2), a season and a career. Against Chattanooga in ’74, he returned only three punts for 173 yards. He was named to Football News All-American Team his senior season and went on to split 8 seasons in the NFL between the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jeff left the Plains with an engineering degree and currently lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife Dawn, his two sons Jacob (6) and Gabe (5), and 18 month old daughter, Elizabeth. He has no formal training in video editing. He has none in marketing, nor does he have any related professional aspirations, something his fans find hard to believe, his friends too for that matter.

He tells the story of reuniting with some old Auburn friends while recently vacationing back in Alabama:

“My friend said, ‘I’ve got to show you this video I found on YouTube.’ I said, ‘Dude, A96 is me.’”

In fact, besides gratuitous gratitude (often coming from soldiers stationed in Iraq unable to watch the games), dismay at his not wanting to “take this thing international, baby” is the major theme to the comments left for his videos. “You Should Do This For A Living!”

It’s just that his executive management position with one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers for Ford Moto Company’s Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX pays pretty good, and besides, he says, “if I really want to get to the next level, I need to purchase a Mac.”

“I do this and will continue to do it because I don’t want to wait for ESPN Classic or a DVD to come out to relive the games,” Fuller said. “Ten years from now, I hope to have created a time capsule for each season. I enjoy watching highlights of the game just like everyone else. I want Auburn fans to enjoy the games over and over and to have them at their fingertips or on their hard drive free of charge.”

For Jeff, it’s just a hobby. As for the reasons, he simply digs Auburn; he loves it and can’t get enough.

Neither can the growing number of Auburn fans whose souls he helps stir nor the fellow tingle-jockeys who credit his influence in the notes to their own montages – his videos, says Fuller, have collectively been viewed nearly 1 million times, the 2006 Iron Bowl video (subtitled “Five”) being the most popular with nearly 74,000 YouTube views (the incredible video of the 2006 Florida game comes in second with 68,111 views. 68,112, 68,113…). “That’s not my best,” said Fuller, “but it’s the most popular.”

In addition, the website www.sportssheila.com, which hosts full-sized versions of various Auburn-themed videos, reports that Fuller’s have been downloaded over 300,000 times.

Auburn team chaplain Chette Williams even recently contacted Fuller to request a DVD of some of his art to play at a Tommy Tuberville fundraiser.

And why wouldn’t he? They’re impeccably crafted and inspiring as hell. Watching the live broadcast of Brad Lester dragging half the Bama team through the final seconds of Auburn’s 6th Iron Bowl victory in a row made grown men high five and beat their chests. Watching a replay of Brad Lester dragging half the Bama team through the final seconds of the 6th Iron Bowl victory in a row, if it’s set to a beautiful blend of a spectacular River Dance crescendo and the ESPN play-by-play, will make grown men cry.

Certainly there are other Auburn YouTube-ists: the wormcakes, the uboatcommanders, the crashmans, the up-and-comers, and Lord knows we need them too.

But if you’ve ever wondered … this is how Pollock slings the paint, how Disney draws the ears, how Jeff Fuller, YouTube’s autiger96, delivers the goods, in his own words:

“I started getting into editing in St. Louis. I had a friend that ran a small film company; I helped him from time to time. So with that experience plus my engineering background, the 3D modeling, which I do with some of the graphics in my videos, comes naturally. The most important component [to my videos] is the music. That I’m probably one the few people that can tell you the composer for most of the movie trailers I see drives my wife crazy. So this hobby actually makes good sense: the passion for music, the passion for Auburn football, and the passion for 3D modeling.”

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Where the magic happens…

“In terms of time for each video, it really depends on the game. Let’s assume I have the music selected; I’ll spend some time setting up the beginning graphics, about four hours. After the game, assuming we win (except for LSU in 2005 – I did that video because we should have won. 5 missed field goals, come on!), I select the plays I want from my DVR’ed game data, rip them to my hard drive and then spend about three hours editing. The first game took five times that. The demand of the internet is such that people expect it to be out Sunday night, and no one else does that. So the prep work is the key. If we lose, the prep work gets applied to the next big game we win.”

Thanks to Jeff Fuller, those big games stay just a click away.

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