5 months ago

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn excited to call offensive plays again

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he is excited to return to calling the plays for the Tigers offense this year, even if he doesn’t yet know who will be under center to receive those play calls.

“When I decided to go back and call plays, that’s really who I am. I’m an offensive guy,” Malzahn said at SEC Football Media Days. “When I’m back in the swing of things, the day-in and day-out coaching on the field, what happens is the whole team takes on my personality. It just feels natural. I wasn’t really good at standing back and watching you.”

Malzahn is entering fall camp without knowing who his quarterback will be.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn looks ahead to 2019 season from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

“Joey Gatewood and Bo Nix, two freshmen fighting for the position,” Malzahn said of the candidates to start at quarterback. “Both of them are very athletic. They can create things when things break down. They have big-time arms. Both of them are really hungry for the job.”

Malzahn said he expects a starter to emerge from fall camp.

One of them will take the first snap when Auburn faces Oregon in Dallas to kick off the season.

Auburn returns running backs Kam Martin and Boobee Whitlow, along with an offensive line that Malzahn says feels like they’ve “got something to prove.”

“All five starters are back. They are five seniors,” Malzahn said about the offensive line. “They went through some growing pains last year. They got beat up. They kind of got an edge about them. They went through spring against our defensive line and really held their own.”

Malzahn’s confidence extends to the team’s wide receiving corps. Will Hastings and Eli Stove are back in the fold after injuries last season along with young receivers who got playing time last year.

“We’re really feeling good with the overall depth of wide receivers with the playmakers that we have,” Malzahn said.

The confidence includes the defensive side of the ball as well, with Malzahn saying he believes this could be “the best defense that we have at least in the 10 years I’ve been at Auburn.”

“It really starts with our defensive line, and the three guys that chose to come back, you know, with Derrick, Marlon and the addition of Nick Coe,” Malzahn said. “With the other guys they have, we really feel like we have a chance to be dominant on the defensive line.”

The defensive backfield, though losing some members, still feels solid to Malzahn.

“We feel like we’re really in really good shape with the leadership of K.J. Britt and Chandler Wooten. We really don’t think we’ll miss a beat at the linebacker position,” Malzahn said. “In the secondary, we have them all back but one and really the three seniors that are leading the way are Daniel Thomas, Javaris Davis and Jeremiah Dinson. They have some big-game experience and are a very confident group, had an outstanding spring.”

Auburn faces one of its toughest schedules in recent years, but Malzahn looks at it as an opportunity.

“It’s not a shock to our system,” he said. “I really believe we’re used to it. We’re really looking at it as a great opportunity for us.”

Malzahn noted that “we end it with Georgia and Alabama, both at home, and of course two years ago that worked out pretty good.”

“Ride for the Brand” is the mantra of this year’s Auburn Tigers with Malzahn saying it came from “a combination of a lot of things,” and it’s about the mindset to “put Auburn first.”

“We’re in a day and time that is real selfish, and we’re just trying to get back to Auburn. We play for the guy beside us,” Malzahn said. “So just putting Auburn first, whether it’s a coach, whether it’s a player, everything. I think there’s great power in that. And we got a lot of tradition.”

Malzahn, who is entering his seventh season as the Tigers head coach, brushed aside chatter he could be on the hot seat with a disappointing season, despite the substantial contract he signed after the 2017 season.

“I got a job that expects to win championships, and I expect to win championships. I knew that when I signed up for that,” Malzahn said. “In the years that we win championships, it’s good. The years we don’t, it’s hot seat this, hot seat that. And it’s just part of the job description. Some places eight wins, they celebrate. That’s just not part of Auburn. We expect to win championships.”

Malzahn voiced his excitement about the return of several prominent players who could have gone to the NFL draft this past offseason.

“We had eight of our juniors that seriously considered leaving early to NFL that chose to come back. I really think that’s where the core heartbeat of our team is, with those guys,” Malzahn said. “They are very hungry. I feel like they’ve got something to prove, and we have very good leadership.”

Many coaches have been asked this week about the transfer portal and how it affects their program.

“I think everybody’s got an opinion, but I think the bottom is I think it’s probably here to stay. The biggest challenge I think from a coach’s standpoint is roster management. And I really believe the teams that can manage the roster the best, it will be an advantage,” Malzahn said. “I think moving forward you’re going have to know about the heartbeat of your team. And then I think there’s something, too, about relationships, just having those real good relationships, those honest relationships with your players, their parents and everything that goes with it. And I think the teams that can do that the best, I think they’ll have an advantage.”

As for the team he has now, there is plenty to be excited about, Malzahn believes.

“We got a lot of great players,” he said. “And this whole offseason has been really, you know, dictated with that. And we’ve had all kinds of speakers, former players, we’ve had our former players on our staff that coach, that won championships, getting in front of our, you know, team. And really just to go back to our core values, work, hard work, things like that with our creed. And it’s been really special.”

Malzahn didn’t let Media Days go by without acknowledging the deaths of Rod and Paula Bramblett. Rod Bramblett was the play-by-play announcer for Auburn football, basketball and baseball. The couple died in a wreck in May. The teenage driver of the other vehicle was charged with manslaughter in their deaths.

“We lost a very important member of the Auburn family two months ago, Rod Bramblett and wife, Paula, were in a tragic car wreck,” Malzahn said. “He’s a guy you don’t replace. He was a blessing for me, and our staff and I know all of the other coaches at Auburn to work with. He’s going to be very well missed. I just ask everybody keeps his family in their thoughts and prayers, not just now, but really this whole year.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

25 mins ago

7 Things: Two articles of impeachment, polling has Sessions still up, Trump gets trade win and more …

7. Biden is still first, but Warren is falling

  • New polling data from the Quinnipiac University has been released that shows former Vice President Joe Biden is still in first place with 29%, but U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has moved up into second with 17%.
  • U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has fallen to third place with 15%, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is down to 9%, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg follows with 5% and entrepreneur Andrew Yang has 4%.

6. Stopping the spread of misinformation

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  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has met with Twitter and Facebook representatives in an effort to stop misinformation from spreading online throughout the state in preparation for the upcoming 2020 election cycle.
  • Merrill said that it’s important that everyone in Alabama is “informed with up-to-date, complete, and accurate information.” Merrill added, “[E]lection security and protocol is higher than ever in Alabama. We continue to introduce new ways to improve security every single day.”

5. Ainsworth has endorsed Ward

  • Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth took to Twitter to endorse State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) for the Alabama Supreme Court. Ainsworth confirmed the endorsement, saying, “I am supporting his candidacy and encourage my friends to do the same.”
  • Ward responded to Ainsworth’s endorsement by saying he’s “honored” to have the support and that Ainsworth “knows my legislative record and the conservative values I will bring to our Supreme Court.”

4. Tuberville doubles down on his reasonable drag queen take

  • When former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville expressed that a Christmas parade may not be the appropriate place for a drag show, you knew the media would take the bait and attack him for it.
  • In response, Tuberville further explained that a parade designed for children isn’t really the place for this stuff. He stated, “Christmas is about celebrating with family,” adding, “Our public celebrations ought to be family-friendly for young and old.”

3. Democrats are supporting trade agreement

  • The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is now supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) caucus, which is the trade agreement that would replace NAFTA.
  • Pelosi’s announcement of her support comes only one day after Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) and State Representative Wes Allen (R-Troy) sent a letter to Pelosi pushing for her to support the trade agreement.

2. New polls in Alabama Senate race

  • The Alabama Farmers Federation has released new polling data that shows former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn Football Coach are polling closely, with Sessions at 35% and Tuberville at 31%, whereas data released by the Sessions campaign showed that Sessions was at 44% and Tuberville was at 21%.
  • The Farmers Federation data also showed that U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) is at 12%, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is at 8% and State Representative Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) and Stanley Adair are only at 1% each.

1. Abuse of power and obstruction

  • The House Democrats have announced formal articles of impeachment they’re bringing against President Donald Trump, which are abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In doing so, U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said that Trump “endangers our democracy; he endangers our national security.”
  • U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) responded to the articles of impeachment, saying it’s “nothing more than a pathetic witch hunt.” U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) said that the “charges are so political, not even all their members will be able to stomach voting for them.”

54 mins ago

Mo Brooks: Obama’s attack on law enforcement tied to spike in police killed in the line of duty

On Friday, another Alabama police officer was shot and killed in the line of the duty, which was the sixth such death in 2019.

Huntsville STAC Agent Bill Clardy III was shot and killed. LaJeromeny Brown, the suspect behind the killing, was charged with capital murder. Clardy’s death is the latest in an alarming trend of law enforcement officers killed while on the job.

During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Tuesday, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) expressed his frustration over the circumstances surrounding Clardy’s murder. He argued there was more elected officials could do to reverse the trend.

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“It saddens me,” Brooks said on “The Jeff Poor Show.” “It angers me that we allow criminals to stay on our streets as long as we do with the kind of records that they have. If media reports of this man’s record are correct, he should never have been in a position where he could have been exposed to the public or where he could have murdered one of our police officers. I think it is good [U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama] Jay Town is looking into … why this man was at large when he should have been in a penitentiary somewhere serving a long, long sentence. So I am frustrated with our judicial system, and I just hate what happened. And I feel for the family.”

“A lot of this is what we’ve seen over the last decade or so where we’ve seen some political elements that seem to be anti-law enforcement,” he continued. “The more get public officials making anti-law enforcement statements, the more you’re encouraging people to resist law enforcement officers, even to the point of pulling out a gun and people getting killed. There is so much to it that frustrates me as an elected official, and so many things we as a society could be doing better to protect innocent Americans on the one hand and our brave law enforcement officers on the other.”

The Madison County Republican argued for one policy prescription, which was a review of how public officials support and publicly speak about law enforcement. Brooks pointed to former President Barack Obama’s rhetoric and how he handled some high-profile officer-involved incidents, which, according to Brooks, has created an environment more difficult for law enforcement.

“We need to have more public officials who support law enforcement,” Brooks explained. “Keep in mind that under the last administration — I hate to be so partisan, but this is the truth of the matter — under the last administration, any time a law enforcement officer did what he needed to do to protect the public, and an individual was killed in the following fray, the Obama administration would immediately attack law enforcement, and that kind of jumping to a conclusion that Barack Obama did so frequently and his attacks on law enforcement, and his support for African-Americans for no reason apparently other than they were African-American — it wasn’t about whether they were guilty or not. We saw what happened with Ferguson, Missouri, where the Obama administration immediately came to the defense of the African-American who was killed, attacked the law enforcement community, and then later on it turned out that this guy was a thug and just finished committing a forceful robbery.”

“Another follow-up on that is what happened in Texas where an African-American probably emboldened to some degree by these anti-law enforcement statements of elected officials decided to go on a killing rampage, and his targets were two types of people: law enforcement officers and whites,” he continued. “And that is what he said. Words are important. And our elected officials — if they don’t want anarchy, if they don’t want crime to rule, then they better be a whole lot more forceful in protecting our law enforcement officers and backing them up, or else you’re going to see more of this.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

1 hour ago

Aderholt bashes partisan impeachment charges, reaffirms support for USMCA

On Tuesday, U.S. House Democrats announced two impeachment charges will be filed against President Donald Trump and then later in the day declared that they have a reached a deal to support the Trump-negotiated United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Republican Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) reacted to both developments, first tweeting his continued opposition to impeaching the president.

No Republicans are expected to vote for the impeachment charges, as the real question is how many Democrats will break ranks by either abstaining from voting on or opposing the charges.

Speaking about his Democratic colleagues, Aderholt concluded, “These impeachment charges are so political, not even all their members will be able to stomach voting for them.”

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Aderholt on Tuesday later issued a statement regarding the latest news about the USMCA, which is the trade deal negotiated by the Trump administration that would replace NAFTA.

“Since coming to Congress, my focus has been on growing our local economy and bringing the best jobs to this area. This USMCA agreement will allow our region to continue building on our already strong economy,” he advised. “This agreement is a win for Americans across the country and in the State of Alabama.”

The dean of Alabama’s House delegation commended the president for his leadership on the USMCA.

“I congratulate President Trump for negotiating this agreement, and I look forward to working with him to continue building on our historic economic expansion,” Aderholt said. “By persuading Canada and Mexico to revise the outdated NAFTA agreement, and then negotiating on labor issues with Democrat leadership, President Trump has secured a trade deal which will establish a level playing field that keeps America competitive.”

Aderholt pointed to specific sectors of Alabama’s and his district’s economies expected to benefit from the USMCA.

“The automobile and agriculture industries are two of the biggest drivers of economic development in the Fourth Congressional District of Alabama. In 2017 alone, Alabama had more than $7 billion in exports to Mexico and Canada,” he outlined. “The USMCA agreement expands access for U.S. exports of chickens and eggs. As the representative of one of the largest poultry producing districts in the nation, I can say there is no doubt USMCA is a win for Alabama’s farmers.”

“According to an April 2019 report by the U.S. International Trade Commission, USMCA is estimated to increase U.S. production of automotive parts and employment in the sector. I have repeatedly called on House leadership to bring this deal to the House floor and look forward to supporting it,” Aderholt concluded.

A vote on the USMCA has been scheduled in the House for next week, however the impeachment process driven by House Democrats might actually stall ratification in the Senate after that.

Assuming the two charges get enough Democratic votes to pass the House and Trump is impeached, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already said he will not take up the USMCA until the impeachment trial has concluded in the upper chamber.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Alabama NFIB state director comments on spike in small business optimism

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) on Tuesday released its latest monthly Small Business Economic Trends Survey, with the results boding well for Alabama’s economy as well as the national economy.

In fact, the nationwide survey showed small business optimism posting the largest month-over-month gain since May 2018, rising 2.3 points to 104.7 last month.

NFIB’s optimism index is comprised of 10 total index components, and the spike in November’s total index was bolstered by seven of those components improving. A 10-point improvement in the earnings component led this charge. Additionally, business owners reporting it is a good time to expand increased by six points, and those expecting better business conditions increased by three points.

In more good news, the NFIB’s business uncertainty index fell six points last month to 72, the lowest reading since May 2018.

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While the survey is not broken down into state-specific data, NFIB Alabama state director Rosemary Elebash said in a statement, “Our members here are telling us it’s a good time to reinvest in their businesses and add jobs.”

Read more about the survey here.

This came after NFIB released its monthly jobs report last week. That report showed a net 30% of small business owners, seasonally adjusted, raised compensation and 26% planned to do so in the coming months, up four points and the highest level since December of 1989. Job creation jumped last month, with an average addition of 0.29 workers per firm, the highest level since May.

This being said, finding qualified workers remains the top issue for NFIB members. Last month, 26% reported that this is their foremost problem. That number is one point below August’s record high.

The totality of November’s economic news reflects a stark departure from previous months, as speculation about a possible recession was dampening small business owners’ economic outlook. Additionally, NFIB noted that the current focus and noise in Washington, D.C. around impeachment is proving to have little, if any, impact on small business owners.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

14 hours ago

Two officers on leave amid investigation into inmate’s death

Two Alabama prison officers are on leave as the department probes the use of force in the death of a state inmate.

The Alabama Department of Corrections said it is investigating the alleged use of force that resulted in the death of an inmate at Ventress Correctional Facility inmate.

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Fifty-five-year-old Michael Smith of Fairfield, died Dec. 5 after being removed from life support following a November incident at the prison.

The prison system said it is also investigating the death of another inmate at Holman Correctional Facility.

 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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