Tag Archives: Alabama Football

“No, no … this is important….”

A little more distraction from the ticklish, picklish rumor cyphering and peculiar logic of the coaching search, which Auburn fans, unlike those of most other SEC schools, have never had to endure under the full, blogtastic weight of the internet.

This is what it was supposed to be like. AUTiger96 was going to weave it into his seven-in-a-row highlight montage. The eye roll in her voice, the ‘duh’ nonchalance, was going to say it all. Seven in a row. Expected. Done deal. Take it to the bank, Ol’ Blue Eyes…

Put it all on ’09 …

(and special thanks to AUTiger96 for the actual work… he only had one video this year – that says more than anything really… and though I’m still, at present, a Gill man, if it’s coaching rumor and primo rumor analysis you want, head to Jerry’s…)

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Filed under Diversions / Investigations, General

The Duty


The duty of this eleven was

To put Tuscaloosa in tears.

There was Smith and Shafer and Johnny Glenn

And Brown and Williams too.

Many others with us came,

And wore the Orange and Blue

For eleven little tiger boys, lad,

For eleven little tiger boys.

Everyone’s mothers and their brothers

Just knew what they could do.

And eleven little tiger boys, lad,

Will break Tuscaloosa’s heart.

She is another that we will smother,

Before we drift apart.

The earliest surviving reference to the Auburn football team as “Tigers,” written by Walker R. Tichenor, Auburn’s quarterback, and youngest son of former Auburn president Isaac Taylor Tichenor, prior to the 1894 Auburn-Alabama game. Which we lost. But listen to the tone…

… and we were underdogs.

This Thanksgiving, I was thankful for Auburn’s genetic advantage in it’s rivalry with Alabama. Whether bringing eleven wins or eleven losses or five wins and six losses, Auburn will always enter the Iron Bowl as the underdog.

In the beginning, we owned them. When the fires of football, set by George Petrie, first engulfed the state, Tuscaloosa could but bend over before the gods of Auburn and pray for dark. Yet even then, in the bowers of innocence and conquest, the Tigers were a priori underdogs, presumed inferior, a mere college fighting… The University.

The wins came, as did the losses. The Bryant years were mostly misery. The Dye years mostly great. They’ve had a streak of nine. We’re on a streak of six. But Auburn, a tiny village, has never entered a game with Alabama, an entire state, without that Tiennamen Square middle finger and the support of heaven.

And it never will.


I often imagine the shift. What will happen? When the wins are even? When we take the lead? When our wins outnumber theirs by double digits? Triple digits?

Though we want it, though we await for it like Christ’s return, I once quietly feared that win column dominance would dull the blade that drew the nectar of ’72, of ’82, etc. I feared it would change us. But I fear no longer.

For over the course of the past six years, I have realized that the dynamic forged in the ’60s and ’70s – the wilderness of our fathers, a wilderness which our young hearts have never known, but that bore in them the hate on which we were nursed – provides them no alternative to the disgusting arrogance they’re known for.

That is who they are.

When the streak stretches to 10 … to 10 x 10 … they will bark and they will howl and they will return to their vomit. But they will never be able to tap the spirit of the underdog. It is a sixth sense kept from them by the facts of the world and by their sin.

Meanwhile, it is Auburn’s birthright. And that is why we will win the last Iron Bowl ever played, just like we won the first.

And that is why we have a much better shot of winning tomorrow than they do (and … shhhh … they’re just not that good).

And it’s why we’re better.

I quote myself:

Auburn is not pro-football, Auburn is not some damn, trendy logo team, we are Auburn University, we are Auburn, Alabama, we are the heart’s hail mary, the twice-blocked punts, we are 1989, we are 1993, we are 2004, hell, we are 1950, we are Christ-painted sunsets, we are hope in things unseen, we are Spirit – I kid you not, we are Christmas, and Coca-Cola, we are Tygers burning bright in the Forest of the Night…


It’s Americana, boys. It’s country boy goes to town.

“Always remember that Goliath was a 40-point favorite over David.” – Shug

So, gather ye freaking stones, men. Tomorrow, we ride.

War Damn Eagle. To everlasting hell with Alabama.

War Eagle Forever.

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Filed under BEAT BAMA, Pre-game Notes


I watched it with a pizza in my lap, a song in my heart, and a mic in my hand. Such a given, such an understood formality, it doesn’t even have it’s own, individual YouTubementation.

Well there are these two, but they seem kinda art house (still fun, though).

Toomer’s was wet and wild. Epic, even.

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Filed under BEAT BAMA

Dreams on the eve

Last year before the Iron Bowl, Chris Shelling Jr. told me he had a dream (he has Iron Bowl dreams every November).

In this dream, he stalked J.P. Wilson on Tuscaloosa’s campus. He followed him to the bathroom after class. He handed him a pillow and told him he should take it with him to Jordan-Hare, even carry it out on the field for Bama’s first play.

“Why,” Wilson asked.
“So you can bite down on it while Quentin Groves is…”

Last night, I had a dream. It didn’t have as silky a narrative as Jr.’s but I want to think that it’s fairly poignant, even if for the mere fact that I dreamed it at all.

It was the first game of the 2008 season. It wasn’t on TV, and being in Texas I couldn’t see it on pay-per-view — only that first game was, somehow, the Iron Bowl. And somehow, somehow, The Corner of Wire Road and Shug (which has really been rockin’ it lately) had some pirated game-tracker that included live video, and so I’m watching and we score in four plays, the touchdown coming on a 30+ yard straight ahead, head down barrel run by Eric Smith! He took it from the quickest shuffle pass ever from Chris Todd who was actually under center, he just pushed it like a bullet over to Smith on his right, and Little Rudie just never slowed down. Watch for this.

I woke myself up with a “War Eagle.”

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Filed under General, Pre-game Notes

Actor’s new memoir zooms in on deleted scenes of southern football integration

By J. Henderson

[You’ll pick up pretty quickly that I mostly wrote this for an audience mostly unfamiliar with Auburn football. So forgive the explanation of the Iron Bowl, Punt, Bama, Punt, etc… and full disclosure, as they say – I helped Thom with some of the research for the book. Fuller disclosure: this is long, but worth it I hope, so click the ‘keep reading’ link.]

Thom Gossom is telling me a story over the phone. I saw him tell it once on TV. He killed. Still, it’s better this time. It goes like this:

It’s the spring of 2004, a weekday afternoon in Los Angeles, inside a waiting room. It’s an audition for the television show Boston Legal. There is a black guy, about 50, sitting there, waiting to read for a part. That’s Thom.

He’s flipping through Sports Illustrated. There’s some svelte hipster, white, probably about 25, sitting across from him. The kid is wearing a vintage thrift-store t-shirt. It catches Thom’s eye. He puts the magazine down.

“… and I go, ‘hey man, let me see that shirt.’ So he stretches it out for me.”

The shirt reads: “Happy Birthday Bo, From Van Tiffin’s Toe: 25-23 – November 30, 1985.”

“I said, ‘Oh, wow man, d’you go to Alabama?’ He says, ‘oh, no, it’s just one of those vintage things.’ I said, ‘oh, so you don’t know what it means?’ He laughs a little bit, shakes his head no. He’s kinda freaked out a little bit, but you know, he’s really paying attention. I say, ‘well let me tell ya’ man, the ‘Bo’ is Bo Jackson.”

“He says, ‘oh, Bo Jackson?’ I said, ‘yeah man, this guy, Van Tiffin for Alabama, he kicked a field goal at the end of the Auburn-Alabama game that year and won the game and everything.’”

Thom said he explained a little bit more. The game was played on Bo Jackson’s birthday. It was his senior year. Tiffin’s kick was voted by Alabama fans as the greatest play ever in Birmingham’s Legion Field. It was a big deal. It was a knife in the gut to Auburn fans.

The kid goes, “Oh, so Bo went to Alabama?”

“Naw, man, Bo went to Auburn.”

They kept going.

“He was like ‘man, they take that stuff real serious down there don’t they?’ And I’m like, ‘oh man, yeah, if you went into the wrong place with that t-shirt on, you’d be in trouble like hell.’”

Ha ha ha.

“And so he asks me, he says, ‘well how come you know so much about it?’”

Thom tells him.

“I played football for Auburn.”


The kid gets quiet, then he looks the black guy in the eye. The black guy, Thom, looks back and says:

“Yeah, man, you’re about to get your ass kicked.”

Ha haaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaa!

Ok, I wanted to start off with that story. I think it sets the stage, so to speak. Now let’s talk Thom. You might not know Thom’s name, but you probably know his face. He’s an actor, a “that guy.” As in, “oh, that guy.” He’s a black that guy, a good one, well respected.

For me, it was In the Heat of the Night. I snapped my fingers and said “that’s it!” That’s why he looked so familiar. Officer Ted Marcus – 20 episodes, his big break.

“People will tell me they recognize me, but they don’t recognize me from role to role,” Gossom tells me in between conference calls with his publisher (he’s got a book coming out). “I take that as a compliment.”

He’s been a salesman here, a pharmacist there, a coach, a dude. The detective in Fight Club? That’s Thom. The judge on Boston Legal? Thom again. The CEO in the new Citibank commercial, holding up a box with that “we did it, team” look on his face? That guy, Thom Gossom. He’s been at it a while.

“They might be small roles, but I try to take them all seriously.”

“I guess you didn’t have to try very hard to take things seriously back then,” I say.

“No, back then it was pretty damn easy.”

Back then was the early 70s. If you rewind his career back to back then, back to college, back to Alabama, back to when national culture and especially southern culture was being completely recast, that guy, Thom Gossom, found himself as one of the leads in an action-drama of singular significance.

Because Thom wasn’t just a black guy back then, he was a black football player; “1970s Black Football Player in Alabama” is the most serious part he’s ever played.

photo by B. Ashmore

False Start

Thom was a wide receiver, arguably the most segregated position in today’s version of the game (Chris Shelling Jr. recently joked in an e-mail that “Auburn’s Next Top White Receiver” would make great reality TV. “Hicks Poor and Justin Fetsko could host.”).

He was a star on the one stage our mutual home state of Alabama continues to care about above all others, but at a time when the spotlight of that humid autumn sun really brought out the color in your skin. Thom Gossom was the second black football player at the first Division I school in Alabama to break the gridiron’s color barrier.

That school was not the University of Alabama.

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Filed under Features

Secrets to Success! NFL Money! Motivation! Reach Your Full Potential! We’re Gonna Teach the Hell Out of You! In Your Mind!

By J.M. Comer

An uplifting summer seminar organized by Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban

Reach for that crystal trophy!

Do you want to reach your FULL POTENTIAL on the football field? Well, you’ve gotta get that first touchdown … in your MIND! Aiight? There is no depth chart. You are all FIRST TEAM players to me. But at the end of the day, it is what it is. Got it? You’ll only be arrested if you want to be arrested. And your mind? It might be arrested … IN YOUR HEAD. Let it free. Throw your worries to the wind, like a yellow flag caught and twisted end over end in the breeze. Aiight? Did you know that 99 percent of tackling your opponent takes place first in your brain? 99 percent! That’s 11 percent less than 110 percent! The other 11 percent? Fundamentals. So let’s go through our clarifying incantation. Clear your thoughts!

Remember: “We are a team that’s committed to excellence. It’s represented in everything we do.”

Remember: “A Tiger by the tail is worth two in the bush.”

Remember: “Our team is a family. We will look out for each other. We love one another. A manly love that only men with men can know.”

Remember: “Anything that attempts to tear us apart only makes us stronger.”

Always remember! “Six is only a number … six is only a number … six is only a number … seven doesn’t exist …”

I hope this lineup of speakers for Crimson Tide Summer Motivation Seminar 2008 will INSPIRE and UPLIFT you to reach your FULL POTENTIAL! in the classroom and the field of battle. IN YOUR MIND!

Roll Tide!
Nick Saban
CEO, Crimson Tide Summer Motivation Seminar 2008

This year’s speakers/performers include:

Author and speaker: Lou Tice

I’m the co-founder of the Pacific Institute. Excellence is a process — an achievable, continuous process that inevitably results when we learn to control how we think, what we expect and what we believe. Top athletes come to me for help with mastering the psychological aspects of peak performance. How do I write my books, like “Smart Talk: Achieving Your Potential”? One word at a time. And painkillers. The pain! It picks at my mind every day like a buzzard!

Musical inspiration: Antowaine Richardson and the Main Attraction

Los Angeles native Antowaine Richardson, who sings lead, tenor and baritone, as well as writing, arranging and producing the group’s performing and recording efforts. Antowaine’s initial successes came as a hard-hitting second team All-American linebacker for the 1978 Rose Bowl champion University of Washington Huskies. Following a knee injury just before his first start for the St. Louis Cardinals, Antowaine opted for his first love, music. His second love? Yellow pants.

Motivation from Crimson Fan #1

Each morning I roll out from between the crimson-stained sheets of my bed, look to the heavens and scream “I am a crimson GOD!” I’ve found my true calling. My purpose. You can find it too! Tackle your problems and blitz your insecurities like me. I stand shirtless and painted before you … do not judge me … EMBRACE ME!

Testimonial speaker: Colette Connell, cock-eyed (from drinking) optimist

I found the answer as it stepped off a plane and into my then-empty life. After battling alcoholism and crushing debt, I found my inner power and consolidated that debt into one monthly bill! Thanks to Coach Saban’s “Crimson Tide Summer Motivation Seminar 2007: Tidal Force Unleased!” I was able to unleash the tidal force of my MIND! My stalking is more focused and now I can see Saban 4 more hours out of the day by disguising myself as a goalpost!


Filed under General, Iron Bowl 365

That ain’t right.

Lots of hoopla, as it were, over Nike’s new ad campaign…

… which made me think of this recent tribute to Knowshon Moreno sent from Japan’s Chris Shelling Jr…

… which made me think of this already well-documented, possibly Canadian, and just ???? Bammer slam-campaign… [h/t/y/h/g/h/y/The Auburner]

(…. says Shelling Jr. “gosh bama fans are lame… i would never make a website using a pun to show that he is in fact not better than the only pretty good running back alabama has ever had.”…. and, yeah, Georgia fans should be thankful for that there is a difference, otherwise Knowshon might be wearing clothes designed by Blayne from Project Runway like S. Alexander is, which kinda brings this whole girlicious post sorta full-circle…)

… which led me to come up with my own punpaign weighing very past players from one team against current players from another (teams that, you know, aren’t even huge, huge rivals, I mean they are, but you know)… and this one actually works…


Filed under General