Tag Archives: Will Collier

Most Underrated Ever: Lionel “Little Train” James

By C. Davidson

As a freshman sitting in the southeast corner of Jordan-Hare, I recall the thrill of watching a tiny halfback dart around Tennessee tacklers and flatten linebackers who outweighed him by 50 pounds. That was The Little Train, Lionel James, whom Pat Dye called “No. 6 in your program, No. 1 in your hearts.” In fact, the story was that James wore No. 6 because he was too small to fit two numbers on his jersey.

Lionel was a talented, fearless player. Along with another candidate for this list, Tommie Agee, Lionel cleared holes for the greatest Auburn Tiger of them all and made clutch run after clutch run. He was also Bo’s mentor in 1982 and ’83. When he was presented the Sugar Bowl MVP trophy, Bo handed it over to Lionel.


From Bo Knows Bo, a classic…

The greatest sports memory of my life was being in Legion Field for the 1982 Iron Bowl when we broke the nine-game losing streak. Of course, Bo Over the Top was the game winner. But that probably would never have happened without Lionel’s 14-yard touchdown run on third and 10 when we were down 7-0. Later in that game, The Little Train also made a huge block on a 53-yard run by No. 34.

David Housel is given to hyperbole on occasion, but I think he has this exactly right: “The coaches at that time obviously saw something in him that was greater, that was more important than his physical size. They saw something inside, in his heart, that made him special. Coach Jordan used to say that if he could look into the heart, mind and soul of anybody, he could make them into an athlete. I think Lionel James is the kind of player he had in mind when he said that.”

Many thanks to Charles. Other than a comment by “George Bush” naming Randy Campbell, a quarterback during the Jackson dynasty (am I seeing a trend?), his has been the only response — and it was a good one — to TWER’s solicitation for a little somethin’ on whomever you’ve deemed the most underrated Auburn player ever. I knew Little Train would be up there – the nickname almost demands it. Send your ruminations to thewareaglereader@gmail.com and yes, it can be Lionel James again if you really feel it… speaking of, Will Collier wrote a piece novel on James for ITAT back in ’96, well worth checking out…


Filed under Most Underrated Ever

The Saban Sidestep: Bloggish Breadcrumbs of a Breakdown

By J. Henderson

Why wasn’t Will in church this morning? Because he was getting the jump on TWER in covering D.J. Hall and the Incredible Shrinking Suspension! I though I had plenty of time! Alas…


Still, though everything that should have been said was said and said greatly (as well as with that extra squinting between the lines that makes FTB so good – looks like The Auburner was on this too), I think that my original idea – a bare bones reiteration of yesterday’s Ian Rapoport live blog from Tuscaloosa, might help illustrate and underscore Will’s reportage and analysis.

djh_sad.jpgFor the record, I listened to most of the Eli ‘n’ Snake radio hick-waltz for the first half (and turned it back on for the glorious end), and not only was news of Hall’s suspension belched in whole-game terms (“…will not play today…”) but it was their go-to filler for every pause in the action, so much so that EeLah finally began to preface it with apology: “Again, sorry to belabor the point here, but in case you’re just joining us…”

Here it is… the trail… so pretty…

What’s up with DJ Hall?

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 1:32 PM

Alabama receiver DJ Hall is in uniform, he took part in senior day, but he wasn’t announced as a starter… So what’s the deal? Now, he’s not on the field, doesn’t have a helmet, and is playing the role of cheerleader…

Is he suspended?

Hall has played in every game this season, but last year, he was suspended for the first game because of an undisclosed violation of team rules. And he missed the Cotton Bowl his sophomore year for another undisclosed something or other.

Stay tuned…

Jimmy Johns… starting RB?

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 1:37 PM

Oh, it’s true. Mercurial junior running back Jimmy Johns earned the start at running back today. Alabama coach Nick Saban had said this “may be the week” that Johns contributed. And it was. A 6-yard run to start the game. Big cheer from the crowd, by the way. Obviously.

What’s weird is that Johns had the first carry, Jonathan Lowe has had a bunch more, yet Terry Grant hasn’t touched the ball yet. I don’t get it. Now, Johns is back in, in time for John Parker Wilson to throw a touchdown pass to Keith Brown. Tide leads 7-0 four minutes in.

DJ Hall suspended

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 1:46 PM

Alabama senior receiver DJ Hall is suspended for this game because he violated team rules, according to a Crimson Tide spokesman. So that’s why he hasn’t played. Not sure of the exact reason…

Terry Grant appears…

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 2:24 PM

Out of thin air — OK, from the sidelines — running back Terry Grant says hello. He didn’t play in the first quarter, as Jimmy Johns and Jonathan Lowe split the carries. But at the beginning of the second, there was Grant carrying five times for 41 yards, capping it off with a 12-yard touchdown run.

Alabama leads 14-7 early in the second. The only warts, I guess, are the two picks thrown by John Parker Wilson… Those may not help his passer efficiency rating, which was 99th in the country entering the game.

Driving the length of the field

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 2:42 PM

The Warhawks are hanging in there. Not just hanging in there, but playing even with Alabama. That last touchdown was not cheap. Anytime you drive 80 yards to tie the score, you earn it. And even while stopping ULM running back Calvin Dawson, it’s tied at 14 with four minutes left in the half.

Oh wow, a punt just hit the back of Simeon Castille, who was covering downfield. Bad luck for the Tide… ULM gets the ball back, though quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster is holding his left hand, like he’s hurt.

Arenas is down?

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 2:50 PM

Punt returner Javier Arenas was just down on the field, holding his ankle or leg. Not sure what happened when he was tackled, but he looked hurt. A few seconds later, he got up and limped off to a loud ovation. Now, he’s being tended to by the training staff…

With 46 seconds left in the half, Arenas is headed into the locker room for some medical attention. He walked under his own power, though.

OK, the half is over. And the Tide exits the field to loud boos. No hurry-up offense? Interesting… Tied at 14 with the Warhawks.

saban_yell.jpgNo wonder Saban was upset…

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 3:40 PM

Alabama coach Nick Saban spent part of this week ripping into his team for its lack of focus. Perhaps he saw something like this coming. Not that the game is over, but hey, it’s a game. More than a game. Louisiana-Monroe is up 21-14 after Kinsmon Lancaster found Marty Humphrey for an 11-yard touchdown run.

And this place is fairly quiet, even with 18 minutes left.

DJ Hall is back

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 3:43 PM

Apparently, it was a one-half suspension for DJ Hall. The senior receiver is back on the field after a violation of team rules benched him for the opening 30 minutes. Just now, he made an 18-yard reception. And Alabama is driving…

Time to head down to the field

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 3:56 PM

This is why I could never be a gambler. Who would’ve expected this? OK, maybe Nick Saban did. Alabama trails Louisiana-Monroe 21-14 with 11:52 left in the game.

How will this end? I’m going down to the field to find out. Be back later…

What now?

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 9:06 PM

Seriously, what now? Alabama suffered what can only be described as an incomprehensible loss. OK, you guys may come up with other ways to describe it. Man, I don’t know. All week, it seemed, Alabama coach Nick Saban was preparing some anti-overlook formula for his team. Yet… nothing. Warhawks ended up winning 21-14.

Oh, I asked Saban post-game if receiver DJ Hall was suspended for 30 minutes from the beginning. As in, was it a game suspension that turned into a half suspension?”It was what it was,” he said.

So, I asked, a half suspension?

“What it was,” Saban said.

How low was this one, guys? The worst loss you can remember? Put it into perspective for me…

What now, Ian? The Saban Sashay (watch those hips!), and then simply more of the same…

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Filed under Diversions / Investigations, General, Iron Bowl 365

Monday Misc: Capstoned and From the Bleachers

By J. Henderson

Bottles and Capstoned

Despite efforts by the University, the Artest Syndrome, prophesied by an Alabama fan caller to the Finebaum show a few weeks back to soon seize the college football ranks were a hard-line stance not assumed by “Capstone” officials towards criminally belligerent fan behavior, has officially landed in Tuscaloosa – Oxford, technically.

Due to the post-game incidents of assault that have marked the Sabanation’s reaction to loss over the past several games, I caught myself this week trying to imagine a scenario in which the classlessness that is Alabama football could present even in victory — even at an away game.

But it never came to me… but only because I limited my vision to the folks in the bleachers

This week? The players themselves were throwing bottles at (understandably irate) Ole Miss fans… Darren Mustin and, if you can even believe it, Simeon Castille, to be precise.

How long would it take Tommy Tuberville to boot a player from the team were he spied attacking an opponent’s fans inside the stadium? I would say within 48 hours, but, thankfully, we will likely never know the answer.

After Tennessee beats the Tide this Saturday in Tuscaloosa, I think the only way Bama fans can reclaim their royal crown is to pelt their own team with bottles. Take it up a notch, Tide!

From the Bleachers

Speaking of bleachers, I doubt there are many readers of TWER who do not regularly check From The Bleachers, but if you don’t, you are missing out on not only quality football analysis, but actual and exhilarating reporting on the underreported skulduggery of the Sabanation and its citizenry, including the not-so-shockingly underreported journalistic offense of the “Nick Sucker”. I first discovered Will while drowning in the yellow sludge created in the wake of last year’s “sociology scandal” scandal. He tossed me a lifeline of insight and I was hooked.

Will actually e-mails people, he goes after the story… a Spirit that is Unafraid and all that spectacular jazz. Check him out…

*** Update – though Will’s Vodka Pundit piece I linked to above is superb as well, this is the lifeline I meant to cite…

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Filed under General