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Tag:Onterio McCalebb
Posted on: October 8, 2011 11:42 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 11:45 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 10 Arkansas 38, No. 15 Auburn 14

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

ARKANSAS WON: The Razorbacks spotted Auburn a 14-7 first-quarter lead but finished the game on a 31-0 run as the Tigers' passing attack continued to flail and the Hogs eventually caught up to Gus Malzahn's running game. While Auburn's quarterbacks combined for a 9-of-25, 4.2 yards-per-attempt, zero-touchdown, three-interception performance, Tyler Wilson was his usual steady self: 24-of-36, 262 yards, 7.3 YPA, two touchdowns, no picks. But the highlight reel play of the game belonged to wideout Joe Adams, who took a handoff and went 93 yards for a third-quarter touchdown, the second-longest run in Razorback history.

WHY ARKANSAS WON: It's not their run defense, that's for certain; a week after giving up 381 rushing yards to Texas A&M, the Hogs gave up 290 more to Auburn, with the Tigers' one-two punch of Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb combining for more than 200 yards alone.

But even one terrific dimension isn't usually enough to make up for the lack of a second, as Auburn found out when their offense ground to a halt over the course of the final three quarters. Arkansas, meanwhile, kept moving in large part due to their excellent balance: 7.3 yards averaged over their 36 passes, 5.7 yards on their 31 runs. Sure, many of those rushing yards came on Adams' 93-yard lightning bolt -- the game's pivotal play, taking the Hogs from up 7 and backed up deep in their own territory to two a clear two-touchdown lead -- but Dennis Johnson and Broderick Green ground out plenty enough yards themselves (89 combined on 28 carries) to keep Auburn honest.

Combine that balance with a precision red zone attack that scored 31 points on its final five attempts, and Bobby Petrino's attack finished the night as a model of efficiency--a (relatively light) 438 yards, but 38 points. Auburn's defense had a better day against the Hogs than it did a year ago (or than it did earlier this year vs. Clemson or Utah State), but it hasn't caught up with the likes of Petrino and Co. yet.

WHEN ARKANSAS WON: Auburn actually responded well to the Adams run, using an exchange of punts to flip field position and then driving to the Arkansas 23. But then Malzahn elected to let run-first true freshman Kiehl Frazier make a rare passing attempt ... which was promptly picked off by the Hogs' Eric Bennett. Auburn wouldn't come close to threatening again.

WHAT ARKANSAS WON: Technically speaking, The Hogs remained only a game back in the SEC West race. But more realistically, they reasserted themselves as the SEC's third-best team, stayed in the mix for a top-10 poll position in the near future, and remain cleanly in line for a Capital One Bowl berth. As ugly as that loss to Alabama might have been, Arkansas remains well on track for another superb season.

WHAT AUBURN LOST: A 5-1 start with two massive SEC road wins would have silenced Auburn's doubters for good; as it stands, the Tigers still have work to do if they want to come out of their brutal October slate any better than 4-4. Next week's home date with Florida could be a make-or-break game for both teams.



Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:11 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Auburn RB Blakely's waiver denied; will redshirt

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It always seemed a longshot that running back Mike Blakely would see the field this season for Auburn.

A four-star recruit out of Bradenton, Fla., Blakely signed with Florida and enrolled in Gainesville in time for spring camp. But a closer look at the new Will Muschamp regime (and specifically Charlie Weis's pro-style offense) convinced him to transfer to the Plains. Even with Blakely's limited time as a Gator, his signature on his Letter of Intent means the NCAA's transfer rules dictate a year on the sidelines.

But Blakely and Auburn applied for a waiver from the NCAA, hoping that the coaching change and Blakely's injury-induced absence from Florida's spring practice might induce them to let Blakely skip the usual transfer penalty.

Per Blakely's own Twitter feed, that waiver is not happening:



Blakely will spend his redshirt year in 2011 and hit the field for Auburn for the first time in 2012.

While not exactly a surprise, the decision could prove to be a blow for an Auburn backfield not exactly swimming in depth. With stars Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb the only two true scholarship tailbacks on the spring roster, Gene Chizik already moved former cornerback Anthony Morgan to running back to shore things up. Incoming freshman recruit Tre Mason is expected to qualify (again, per his own Twitter feed) but has not yet officially been cleared and enrolled. If Mason for whatever reason does not clear the qualifying bar, the untested Morgan will be one injury away from likely seeing major carries.

Auburn would have other ways of dealing with this worst-case scenario -- athletic receiver/returner freshman Quan Bray is already slated to moonlight at running back -- but for a team with as much inexperience as the reigning national champions, it's one more headache Chizik and Co. would rather avoid.



Posted on: June 29, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: June 29, 2011 10:37 am
 

Auburn hoping UF transfer Blakely can play in '11

Posted by Chip Pattesron

Not sure if you heard, but when former Florida quarterback Cam Newton took the field for Auburn, some good things happened for the Tigers. This offseason, Auburn welcomed another high-profile transfer from Gainesville (this time more direct): running back Mike Blakely.

Blakely, MaxPreps' No. 7 running back in the Class of 2011, has not practiced yet for the Gators because of a shoulder injury. He had committed to Florida before Urban Meyer's retirement, and soon after sought out Auburn as his new destination. Rich McGlynn, Auburn's compliance director, is working to get Blakely eligible for the 2011 season.

"We have filed a waiver in an attempt to see if we can have Mike be immediately eligible and we're in that process right now," McGlynn told the Mobile Press-Register. "We're working with the NCAA and hoping to get a favorable outcome on it."

Auburn's argument will be that even though he signed with the Gators in December with plans of early enrollment, the injury kept him from using any time of football eligibility. If the waiver is denied, Blakely will have to sit out the 2011 season and begin his first year of eligibility in 2012. Auburn will have the opportunity to appeal the decision if they choose.

Adding Blakely would give the Tigers some comfort at the running back position, which right now will feature sophomore Mike Dyer and junior Onterio McCalebb almost exclusively. While both backs showed great promise in 2010, they will certainly carry a heavier load without a playmaker of Cam Newton's caliber under center.

McGlynn said Auburn hopes to hear a response from the NCAA in "the next couple weeks."
Posted on: May 17, 2011 10:51 am
 

Auburn's McCalebb arrested on vehicle charges

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

While it's not in the same ballpark -- it might not even be in the same zip code -- as the armed robbery arrests earlier this offseason, an arrest in Atlanta for minor vehicle charges might make for a long summer all the same for Auburn's Onterio McCalebb.

According to the Auburn website the Auburn Eagle, McCalebb was arrested on May 14 for driving an "unregistered vehicle," one without a license plate or registration decal. McCalebb was also apparently unable to provide a valid driver's license.

With charges this minor (relatively speaking), it seems unlikely the 810-yard rusher of a season ago will miss any time, and certainly not more than the Tigers' opener against Utah State. But with Gene Chizik no doubt on the warpath after the embarrassment of the earlier arrests, McCalebb is probably on his way to getting very well acquainted with the Jordan-Hare Stadium steps this summer.

Posted on: April 19, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 4:55 pm
 

What I Learned This Spring: SEC West

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With all six spring games completed, we wrap up spring practice in the SEC West, team by team. In alphabetical order:

ALABAMA: The two big headlines for Tide fans this spring were the quarterback battle between A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims (pictured), and the unveiling of the new Nick Saban statue added to those of the school's first three national title-winning head coaches. As our own Dennis Dodd reported (and as you can hear for yourself in the reverent tone of this student news broadcast), the statue left the Tide faithful plenty satisfied; the quarterback battle, not so much, as neither McCarron nor Sims was able to create any real separation from the other. (How close were they? At A-Day, McCarron went 21-of-38 for 222 yards and one interception, Sims 19-of-38 for 229 yards and an interception.)

But as we pointed out in our Tide spring primer, who's at the reins of the offense isn't nearly as important as whether the offense can remain productive without Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, et al. With Courtney Upshaw and Dont'a Hightower each looking like terrors this spring in the linebacking unit and All-American safety Mark Barron showing few ill effects of his postseason pectoral muscle surgery (he returned a fumble 96 yards for a score at A-Day), the defense looks poised to live up the "best in the nation, or damn close" expectations. All the offense has to do is not screw things up, and the running game -- behind Trent Richardson, a dynamo on A-Day with 167 all-purpose yards, and a loaded line with former five-star right tackle D.J. Fluker beginning to fulfill his vast potential -- appeared ready to do the job nearly by itself.

The Tide still haven't found what looks like a go-to receiver in the wake of Jones' departure (Richardson led both sides in receptions and yards at A-Day), and the McCarron/Sims derby could be a distraction lasting well into the fall. But given the help either one will receive from the running game (and line) on display Saturday, none of that might matter.

ARKANSAS: The big question before spring started was simply "can the Hogs handle losing Ryan Mallett?" And though the Red-White game certainly isn't a guarantee, it's definitely an arrow pointed in the direction of "goodness, yes." Likely new quarterback Tyler Wilson averaged 9.7 yards per his 25 attempts, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His receiving corps -- on paper, the SEC's best, hands-down -- lived up to its billing, with Jarius Wright hauling in five balls for 157 yards and two scores. The White team defense had its moments, too, holding All-SEC candidate Knile Davis to just 44 yards on 16 carries.

The Hogs' spring wasn't perfect -- backup tailback Broderick Green went down for the year with an ACL tear -- and Bobby Petrino hasn't even officially named Wilson the starter yet. But with the quarterback position looking solid and the defense boasting its best spring in years, the loss of Mallett sure hasn't put much of a dent in the Hogs' new position as West challengers just yet.

AUBURN: The Tigers entered the spring looking for playmakers to fill at least part of the colossal void left by Cam Newton's and Nick Fairley's departures. And at defensive end, they may have found some; sophomores Corey Lemonier and Nosa Eguae both drew positive reviews throughout the spring, and previously little-used junior Dee Ford burst into the rotation with a big camp and a pair of sacks at Auburn's A-Day game. New line coach Mike Pelton said he was impressed by -- and would use -- all three this fall.

The rest of the defense didn't have a shabby A-Day, either, as they defeated the offense 63-32 in Gene Chizik's unique scrimmage scoring system. But most of the offense's efforts went towards polishing up the passing attack (tailbacks Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb combined for just seven carries), and those efforts didn't yield much in terms in terms of finding big-play potential. Tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen (pictured) won MVP honors for his 65 yards receiving and catching the lone touchdown of the scrimmage, and DeAngelo Benton added one 48-yard reception. But otherwise, offensive excitement was hard to come by, and Chizik afterwards called the quarterbacking from Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley "inconsistent." (The two will compete for the starting job into the fall.)

Under Chizik, Auburn hasn't made much of an effort to put on a show in their spring game -- the reviews on Newton's debut in the 2010 version were universally ho-hum -- but there still seems little doubt Gus Malzahn will look for much more explosiveness out of his attack come fall camp.

LSU: It's the same old story on the bayou. The Tigers entered spring hoping to finally put their quarterbacking issues to rest behind someone, be it incumbent starter Jordan Jefferson or someone else ... and left it with Jefferson still the starter and still on less-than-firm ground after an ugly 4-of-14, no touchdowns, one interception performance.

Well, less-than-firm ground with the LSU fanbase , anyway. Bayou Bengal supporters seem to have universally pinned their hopes on JUCO transfer Zach Mettenberger, despite Mettenberger being mired at third on the depth chart entering the spring game. But you can't blame them when Jefferson struggled the way he did, Jarrett Lee averaged all of 4.5 yards per-attempt (with a pick, of course) and Mettenberger did this:
 


None of that made any difference to Les Miles and the LSU staff, who gave Jefferson the team's "Jim Taylor Award" for his spring effort and leadership. And quarterback or no quarterback, LSU showed how formidable they'd be all the same: Spencer Ware followed up his breakout Cotton Bowl performance with a huge spring, the secondary looks as airtight as ever even without Patrick Peterson, and there's plenty of playmakers on both sides of the ball.

But unless Jefferson lives up to his coaches' faith in him -- and that spring game performance did little to assure anyone he will -- LSU's still going to have some headaches.

MISSISSIPPI STATE, OLE MISS: Despite their wildly divergent 2010 seasons, the question for both Mississippi schools was the same entering the spring: how would their defenses fare after losing several major contributors from last year?

In Oxford, that question was all the more important for last year's defense having been such a disappointment in the first place. And it got even harder to answer mid-spring when potentially the unit's best player, linebacker D.J. Shackelford, was lost for the year with an ACL tear. The Rebel defense had a successful spring game all the same, holding the two offenses to just 27 total points and scoring seven of their own on an Ivan Nicholas interception return. But coming against a Rebel offense in flux after seeing former JUCO Randall Mackey ascend to the likely starter's job (and former favorite Nathan Stanley leave the program), the jury will remain out despite the positive signs.

Up the road in Starkville, the news seemed more unambiguously positive: Dan Mullen said his defensive line "dominated" the Marron-White Game, producing 11 tackles-for-loss. The Bulldogs already seemed happy with their new linebackers, and that was before redshirt freshman Ferlando Bohanna blew up for eight tackles and a pair of sacks in the spring game. The secondary may remain a work-in-progress (State quarterbacks, including backup Dylan "Yes, That" Favre, combined to average a healthy 7.8 yards per-attempt), but the front seven looks like it shouldn't take too big a step back.

We'll cover the SEC East next week once the slowpokes at Kentucky hold their spring game this weekend.


Posted on: March 25, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Auburn

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice  . So we here at the Eye on College Football    will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers   . Today, we look at Auburn , which started spring practice on Wednesday.

Spring Practice Question: Does Auburn have the playmakers to stay in contention?

In 2010, no team in America deserved the "big-play team" label more than Auburn. It's an easy argument, offensively speaking; the Tigers finished No. 1 among all BCS teams in yards per-play, first overall in yards per-pass attempt, and second overall per-rushing attempt. Cam Newton alone accounted for 46 plays of 20 yards or greater, or an average of more than three such players per game.

But it wasn't just the offense. The Tiger defense hemorrhaged yards and points at a rate far, far greater than any previous BCS championship-winning team, finishing a mediocre 60th in the FBS in total defense and 53rd in scoring defense. But led by Nick Fairley's constant presence in opposing backfields, the Tigers made up for it with an SEC- leading (and sixth nationally ) 99 tackles-for-loss. Combine that with a penchant for timely turnovers -- like Antoine Carter's famous strip-from-behind of Mark Ingram to keep Auburn alive during their first-half struggles against Alabama -- and the Auburn defense kept its head just enough above water (BCS title game excepted) for the offense to power its way to a crystal football.

Entering 2011, it's likely Auburn will need more of the same. The offense won't be built to grind out four-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust drives, not with Newton's third-down magic gone and four offensive line starters representing nearly 200 career starts having departed. (Not that Gus Malzahn has ever designed his offenses to plug away Wisconsin- style, of course.) The defense may not be able to get a whole lot worse in terms of down-to-down success, but it may not get much better, either, with all three members of the late-season defensive tackle rotation graduated, six of their top seven tacklers gone, the top three safeties departed (following Mike McNeil's involvement in the recent four-player armed robbery embarrassment), two senior defensive ends, etc.

All of that means that to either move the ball or get stops, Auburn will have to stick to the same big-play formula that worked so well in 2010. But this begs the question that's going to hang over the Tigers throughout spring practice: who's going to make those big plays? No Newton, no Fairley, no Carter, no Darvin Adams, no Terrell Zachery (the underrated big-play threat at wideout who averaged better than 14 yards a reception), no Josh Bynes, no Zac Etheridge ... where are those difference-making plays going to come from?

There's an easy answer for Auburn at running back, at least, where Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb form what should be one of the better inside-outside running combos in the SEC, if not the country. (Though both will need to stay healthy; Auburn's third option at tailback is likely to be true freshman Tre Mason.) But everywhere else, the "Help Wanted" sign will be in the window. A few candidates that will need to prove themselves up to the job this spring:

Corey Lemonier: The only returning starter on Auburn's defensive line is redshirt sophomore end Nosa Eguae, but it's the hotly recruited sophomore defensive end from south Florida who's most likely to emerge as a pass-rushing force in the vein of former Tiger greats like Quentin Groves. In any case, it's the ends that will have to fill Fairley's disruptive shoes; with nothing but new tackles on the inside, they'll have their hands full focusing on plugging up opposing running games.

Trovon Reed: Another member of the Tigers' well-regarded 2010 recruiting haul, Reed was on track to play a sizable role last fall as both receiver and Wildcat quarterback before an injury in fall camp forced him to redshirt. Emory Blake is a nice start, but there would seem to be room in the Tiger receiving corps for a poor man's Percy Harvin- type rushing/receiving threat; if healthy, Reed needs to show he can fill that role.

Neiko Thorpe: One of the few bright spots in Auburn's disastrous 5-7 2008 campaign, Thorpe was expected by many on the Plains to develop into a lockdown, All-SEC corner after a freshman season that saw him hold down a starting job from Day 1 and make freshman all-conference. It hasn't happened, as Thorpe has spent much of the past two seasons getting beaten deep and watching other players (Walt McFadden, Demond Washington) emerge as Auburn's best one-on-one cover guys. Now Ted Roof has moved Thorpe to safety, both to take advantage of Thorpe's size (6'2", 185) and provide cover at one of Auburn's thinnest positions. If the position switch doesn't generate some big plays out of the Auburn secondary, it's not easy to see what will.

Spring Practice Primers
Then, of course, there's Barrett Trotter, the likely heir to Newton's throne after serving as the Heisman winner's backup last season. Though Trotter still has to fend off challenges from Clint Moseley this spring and highly-regarded incoming freshman Kiehl Frazier this fall,his mobility and knowledge of the offense should see him safely through to the starter's job ... if he can make the downfield throws that have been Malzahn's stock-in-trade since the day he moved to the college ranks.

Thanks to three years of savvy recruiting by Chizik and Co., there's no shortage of candidates for the playmaking roles Auburn so desperately needs. But it's one thing to put those candidates on a roster; it's another to see them perform on the practice field, the spring game, under the lights. If players like those above aren't putting their best foot forward this spring, it's hard to see how Auburn doesn't fall out of contention in their follow-up season in the most cutthroat division in college football.


Posted on: November 13, 2010 7:56 pm
 

Auburn, Chizik off to Atlanta after win

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Not many fans outside of Auburn will be pleased with it after the week's Cam Newton revelations and some ugly scenes at the end of tonight's win over Georgia , but that also won't make any difference after the Tigers' 49-31 victory moved them to a perfect 7-0 in the SEC and clinched the West division title. Auburn will play in the SEC championship game for the first time since 2004 and for just the third time since the SEC's divisional split in 1992.

Though a national title game could still be on the horizon pending the SEC title tilt and an even-tricker-looking visit to Alabama , the West championship is already a huge vindication for Gene Chizik , whose hire was derided in virtually every corner after his 5-19 record at Iowa State . With two games still to play, he's a perfectly palindromical 19-5 in his two seasons at the Auburn helm, and whether or not the Newton scandal forces him to vacate those victories, it's hard to argue he hasn't brought the team a steady, calming influence that's allowed them to make three comebacks from double-digit deficits this season.

Today was the third, with the Bulldogs jumping out to a 21-7 lead before the inexorable march of Auburn's ground-pounding offense wore down Georgia's defense as the game. The Tigers finished with 315 rushing yards, their sixth straight SEC game with 300 or more yards on the ground. Newton finished with 151 yards and two rushing touchdowns (to go with 148 and 3 scores in the air), Onterio McCalebb 71 and three scores, and Michael Dyer 60. Georgia scored 10 points on their first two drives of the second half, on expertly-guided drives of 81 and 66 yards by Aaron Murray ... but it didn't make much difference when Auburn's final five possessions of the game all ended in touchdowns.

The game ended on a sour note as a pair of Bulldog offensive lineman took exception to a hit by Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley on Murray which forced him off the field, dogpiling on Fairley after the following play. The resulting fracas resulted in the ejection of backup defensive end Michael Goggans , and after the next play, a punch saw backup defensive tackle Mike Blanc dismissed as well. Both will reported miss the first half of the Alabama game, and though neither starts, both see major time in Auburn's usual defensive line rotation.

Neither that nor the Newton scandal will do much to dull the celebrations in Auburn tonight, though. The coach who would supposedly never get Auburn to the top of their division did it in just two years. Until/unless the NCAA says otherwise, that's more than enough reason to break out the party hats.

Posted on: October 30, 2010 8:30 pm
 

Auburn avoiding curse of No. 1 just fine

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Several of the much-ballyhooed six undefeated teams going on the road today have struggled and struggled mightily (we're looking at you , Michigan State .) With just under eight minutes left in the third quarter, it's safe to say Auburn is not one of them .

The Tigers have raced out to a 44-17 lead on the road at Ole Miss thanks to another dominating offensive effort. Auburn has enjoyed nine possessions and scored on eight of them, fumbling the ball away on the other. Cam Newton has done most of his damage in this game through the air, connecting on 15-of-21 passes for 188 yards and a score, while also catching Auburn's first touchdown on a Kodi Burns fade to the back of the end zone. Rest assured that that play, too, will be going on the Heisman highlight reel.

But he's hardly been a one-man show, as Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb have combined for 205 rushing yards and Demond Washington returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

All in all, it's been all Auburn ever since the Rebels' Jeff Scott scored a touchdown on their second play from scrimmage. We'll see what happens with Oregon , but at least one team today has played up to their gaudy record and the No. 1 ranking.
 
 
 
 
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