The five-star prospect received a visit on Wednesday from Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor.
“It was a pretty good visit,” Patterson told 247Sports.com. “We talked about a lot of the same things we’ve been talking about, really. It was just good to see the coaches again and have them come to my home. I feel better about Auburn now that Coach Chizik and Trooper came to see me. I really like the fanbase there, too.”
Patterson, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 1 junior college prospect by 247Sports, has already taken official visits to Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee.
Patterson plans to take two more visits and is considering Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Baylor and Oklahoma. He told 247Sports he has scheduled official visits to Ole Miss and Baylor on Jan. 13.
“I got two visits set up for the same day and I don’t know which on I’m going to take yet,” Patterson said.
You can throw another log on the Mike-Dyer’s-leaving-Auburn-fire this afternoon. According to the website NationalFootballAuthority.com, the suspended Tiger running back filed paperwork this afternoon to enroll at Arkansas State.
Two ASU players tweeted and Facebook’d “welcome” messages to Dyer a week ago, but Auburn coach Gene Chizik said at the time that there had been no change in Dyer’s status — he was still indefinitely suspended from the AU squad. Still, Dyer was noticeably absent from Auburn’s bowl media guide and from a postseason highlight reel that was shown in the Georgia Dome during the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Dyer’s former offensive coordinator at Auburn — Gus Malzahn — has just taken the reins as Arkansas State’s head coach.
UPDATE — Matt Harris of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has now tweeted a follow-up to the above report/rumor from NationalFootballAuthority.com: “Hearing from a source close to Dyer the #AState transfer paperwork rumor is bunk. Family wants to meet with Chizik at Auburn.”
And that’s why used the “rumors” icon in connection with this one. When it comes to Dyer, we want to hear an official word from Chizik or Malzahn before we believe he’s moving from one school to the other.
Saturday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl against Virginia will feature Gus Malzahn’s departure from Auburn and Gene Chizik’s return to his defensive coordinator roots. Both men are already making plans.
According to tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, his offensive coordinator has big things in store for the Cavaliers. “He’s going to throw the book at them,” he said of Malzahn’s gameplan. Malzahn will take over as Arkansas State’s head coach after the bowl.
Chizik, meanwhile, is filling in for departed D-coordinator Ted Roof. And he always coached from the pressbox as a coordinator in the past. Any chance he coaches from on high Saturday? Uh, no.
“That’s going to be the challenge for me, obviously. Even when I was a defensive coordinator before all those years I never called a game before from on the field. Obviously, I’m going to have to be involved in the total aspect of the game — third downs, fourth downs, ‘are we going to go for it?’ I feel like we’ve got a pretty good plan in place, but when everything starts flying fast out there, sometimes it gets pretty hairy out there. But that’s going to be my plan right now.”
LSU fullback JC Copeland has fired a shot toward the Auburn football program that you can bet has fans of the Plainsmen riled up today. The 280-pound bruiser remembers his Tigers 45-10 win over AU’s Tigers for the hits he didn’t have to dole out:
“The most memorable game I’ve had this year, I’ve got to say, was Auburn, because after the first couple of hits, everybody (on AU’s defense) was just backing up. They didn’t want to hit at all. … Before I got to them, they just fell down and just laid on the ground.
I actually said, ‘C’mon man, you’re better than that. C’mon, hit me. That was like the only game I went home and had no nicks and bruises at all.”
Makes you wonder if Georgia’s Mark Richt was referring to Auburn’s D when he said pre-SEC title game: “I’ve seen people just start jumping out of the way of this guy, literally.”
One thing you can be sure of is this… you can bet that Gene Chizik will post Copeland’s comments all over Auburn’s football complex in the week running up to next year’s LSU game.
When he’ll return to the team? That’s the indefinite part.
Gene Chizik has slapped an indefinite suspension on his offense’s biggest star due to the dreaded (and vague) violation of team rules. The All-SEC back rushed for 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011. This after a 1,093-yard season in 2010. He is one of just five Tiger backs to post consecutive 1000-yard seasons and the first to do it in his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Before the season, we took a bit of a beating from Auburn fans for suggesting that the Tigers would have their fair share of troubles this year with so many young, inexperienced players having to fill the roles of departed veterans.
We haven’t been hearing much from Tiger fans the past few weeks.
“Last year when things didn’t seemingly look like they were going very well, you had a lot of guys who had been through a lot of peaks and valleys during their careers. You have experience with guys who have been in the valley — and they know how to get back up to the peak. We need more leadership.”
With Samford and Alabama left to play, it’s likely the Tigers will finish 7-5 on the season and unranked. So much for all the preseason talk of being disrespected by the media. (And by this site.)
Starting a majority of freshmen and sophomores is a recipe for disaster in the SEC. Regardless of the logo on the helmet or the titles won in prior seasons.
Earlier this week we poked a little fun at MSU’s Dan Mullen for saying that Kentucky — if not for a few turnovers — would be a hot team right now. When it comes to puffing up an opponent, that was a pretty good line because UK wouldn’t be considered “hot” right now if they were playing in the Arctic Circle.
But we’ve got a new King of Puff in the SEC and his name is Gene Chizik. Chizik’s Auburn Tigers take on Ole Miss this Saturday and the coach called the Rebels “a very, very good football team.”
How can these guys keep a straight face saying things like that?
“They’re probably a play here or a play there from winning five or six games. I think the record is not an indicator of how good they are.”
In reality, UM did finish just one play away from beating BYU in its opener. But they lost by 14 to Georgia, 23 to Vanderbilt and 45 to Alabama. One or two plays probably wouldn’t have gotten the job done.
And while last week’s loss to Arkansas was close — 29-24 — the Hogs rolled off 29 consecutive points to zoom from behind.
Best 2-5 team in the country? That should satisfy angry Rebel fans.
With a road trip to #1 LSU coming up on Saturday, Auburn has a new starting quarterback. Clint Moseley has gotten the nod after giving the Tigers a lift off the bench when he replaced Barrett Trotter against Florida this past weekend.
“We’ve been struggling offensively the last couple of weeks,” Gene Chizik said today. “I don’t feel like that’s a secret. We need a spark there. I feel like in the second half of the Florida game, Clint came in and gave us somewhat of a spark when we needed it. I think he’s earned the right for the opportunity to start.”
Chizik didn’t enjoy breaking the bad news to Trotter. “This is the part of the business I don’t like. You have to tell one guy one thing and another guy the other.”
In Auburn’s 17-6 win over Florida, Moseley was 4 of 7 for 90 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
“The NCAA enforcement staff is committed to a fair and thorough investigative process. As such, any allegations of major rules violations must meet a burden of proof, which is a higher standard than rampant public speculation online and in the media. The allegations must be based on credible and persuasive information and includes a good-faith belief that the Committee on Infractions could make a finding.
As with any case, should the enforcement staff become aware of additional credible information, it will review the information to determine whether further investigation is warranted.”
That last line will send anti-Auburners back to the messageboards to hurl more accusations, but the fact of the matter is that’s just boilerplate NCAA legalese.
There was no hard proof that anyone at AU paid anything to Newton or his father, Cecil. Some will no doubt say that their favorite program was penalized despite a lack of hard evidence, that the burden of proof was never met. But the NCAA also said in its statement that there was not even “credible and persuasive information” suggesting Auburn was guilty of paying the Newtons. This after 13-months and dozens of interviews.
No proof. No credible, persuasive information.
Danny Sheridan’s bag man? Just talk radio hooey until the man gives up a name, something he can do without the threat of a lawsuit (despite his claims).
Scott Moore’s tapes? Oh, how many times have we been told, “You just wait, they’re coming!” Well, unless he finds a place to play them, they can be filed under H for hokum.
Those FBI wiretaps that would tie everything together in a nice, neat package? Messageboard hogwash.
Our thoughts on this subject — from beginning to end — can be summed up in a couple of posts:
1. On November 19th, 2010 we posted a column titled: “Isn’t It Possible That Auburn Never Paid The Newtons A Thing?” In it we took on the role of Henry Fonda from “12 Angry Men.” It would be a position we tried to keep throughout the entire Auburn/Newton saga. In our view, all the talk, accusations and appearances shouldn’t mean a thing unless someone could provide some evidence, some tangible proof of wrongdoing.
2. On February 25, 2011 we posted a column called: “It’s Time For Bond And Moore To Put Up Or Shut Up On The Newton Saga.” Like so many others who’d claimed to have information in the case, Moore — an Alabama fan and then-radio host — went from talkshow to talkshow across the South saying he’d heard and had access to evidence in the Newton case. Former Mississippi State player John Bond allegedly had audio tapes proving that Newton the Younger knew that Newton the Elder was shopping him to State. But Moore and Bond never produced the tapes. Sheridan would do basically the same thing with his bagman claims earlier this fall.
In the end, it looks like there was a lot of smoke around the Auburn program and the Newtons, but no fire. At least no major fire.
Even the comments of the “HBO Four” failed to yield fruit… mainly because three of the four would talk only to HBO and not to the NCAA, which discredits them more than a little.
That said, do we at MrSEC.com believe there were hundred-dollar handshakes going on at AU? Yes. But we’re also 100% sure you could go on any SEC campus and find athletes getting some form of under the table payment from someone. That happens everywhere and there’s no way to clean it all up.
We also believe the SEC and the NCAA should have suspended Newton as soon as his father admitted to asking for cash from MSU. That violated a rule on the books and both parties had to find a loophole — that they later admitted needed to be closed — to allow Newton to play in the SEC Championship Game and the BCS Championship Game.
Going forward, that rule should state that once a player or family member asks for cash — period — that player is dunzo.
But once that hurdle was cleared, the “Auburn cheated thing” was just a sideshow. Carnival barkers barked, people willingly climbed aboard a rickety ride, but there was nothing to be gained from buying a ticket on the Newton Violations Tilt-A-Whirl.
Despite that fact, we’re still quite happy that Newton decided to take his game to the NFL a year early. Had he stayed for his senior season, the Auburn football team and the SEC would have been dealing with more negative press every single time he stepped onto a field this fall.
In summary: Newton’s father broke an obvious rule and the player should have been punished for that… as would have been the case had his father accepted any money. But Newton continued to play. He was arguably the greatest player in SEC history during his one season as a starting quarterback. He and Auburn have now been cleared of illegal activity. Thank God and Greyhound he’s gone.
Barrett Trotter will once again be given the starting nod when Auburn hosts Florida on Saturday. The quarterback has started every game for the Tigers this year, but his passing numbers have dropped in recent weeks.
“I expect him to play well,” said Gene Chizik today. “And I expect everybody else around him to play well with him. We looked hard at everything. It’s hard for any quarterback to be as productive as you want him to be if everybody else isn’t productive as well.”
Chizik put plenty of the blame on Trotter’s pass-catchers before saying, “I don’t want to turn this into a wide receiver bashing party.”
Kiehl Frazier will continue to run Auburn’s Wildcat package and Clint Moseley will continue in his third-team role.