This is your War Eagle Wakeup. The best way to start your day is right here at SEC Country as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Auburn sports. We’ll share our War Eagle Wakeup, here with you every morning, Monday through Friday.
Let the games begin
New Tigers practiced for the first time Tuesday afternoon.
That means KJ Britt, Malcolm Askew and, of course, Jarrett Stidham finally got to put on orange and blue.
While Auburn is preparing for the Sugar Bowl, in some ways the Tigers already have started preparing for 2017. Players will have important chances to stand out and separate themselves through the remaining bowl practices.
So, that quarterback battle everyone is so anxiously anticipating? It’s probably already started.
But Stidham didn’t even really participate in team drills, head coach Gus Malzahn said. So, what could players possibly do to earn a nod from the coaching staff?
Well, when coaches are recruiting or watching players early on in their careers, they obviously take note of athletic abilities. It’s also important to try to get a read on how players react and handle high-pressure situations. What’s their football IQ like?
But there’s a lot more to football than just the on-the-field action.
How players take direction is key. Attitude is imperative. Quality leadership always is an impressive trait.
For these reasons, this time is critical for Auburn players hoping to earn significant time next season. That’s how these new Tigers, who won’t travel with the team to the Sugar Bowl in January, will gain an edge.
Early enrollees at Auburn practice Tuesday
Quarterback Jarrett Stidham plus defensive back Malcolm Askew (29), linebacker K.J. Britt (33) pic.twitter.com/3ayjCBembV
— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) December 20, 2016
10 New Orleans restaurant options
In an effort to help Sugar Bowl-goers prepare for the overwhelming feelings they are sure to have when faced with endless delicious options, I’ll virtually explore randomly selected New Orleans restaurants for the next 10 weekdays leading up to the Jan 2 game.
After a quick glance at the menu, I’ll provide a general depiction of the restaurant, information you might need to find it and a suggestion of something we’d like to select off of the menu.
Restaurant: Cane & Table
Type of food: Rustic colonial cuisine
Address: 1113 Decatur Street, French Quarter, New Orleans
Phone number: (504) 581-1112
Reservations: You can make reservations for 9 or more people by phone.
Menu options: Drink menu, food menu, brunch menu; happy hour (everyday, 3 to 6 p.m.), lunch (noon to 2:30 p.m.)
What I would order: Cane and Table Ropa Vieja — Braised Creekstone Skirt Steak, Soarito yellow rice, Tostones; for dessert — Calas (these deep fried dumplings made of cooked rice, yeast, sugar, eggs and flour)
Yelp review: “The food tastes amazing once it comes, so that completely makes up for any wait you’ve had to endure. The atmosphere is dark and seedy, almost as if you’ve found some secret society to dine in. We ended up meeting both of our table neighbors, drinking way too much, and loving every bite of our meals! This is more of a Tapas style spot even with their entrees than a sit-down-dinner spot. It’s perfect for pre-drinks in the quarter.” — Jonas D., Baton Rouge, La.
- Zach Taylor, of TrackemTigers.com, provided a scouting report on Auburn’s newest tight end, Salvatore Canella.
- Auburn writer Jeff Shearer talked with former Tigers running back Ronnie Brown, who recapped Auburn’s 2004 Sugar Bowl.
- Fox Sports’ Chip Rouse says Oklahoma fans should know these 10 things about the Auburn Tigers.
- AU Jonesy of SB Nation’s College and Magnolia gives a Sugar Bowl advanced stats preview.
- SEC Country’s Justin Ferguson says the matchup between Auburn’s offense and Oklahoma’s defense is getting overlooked ahead of the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl.
Happening on the Plains
Auburn hoops in Connecticut
Auburn basketball departed for Connecticut on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday, the Tigers held practice ahead of their matchup with the Oklahoma Sooners.
The good news for Auburn is that this type of setting is somewhat familiar by now. Bigger arenas are tougher to play in. The change of scenery often requires players to make slight adjustments in their shots and more significant changes to communication.
— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) December 20, 2016
However, after playing and struggling against Boston College in Madison Square Garden, Auburn should be more prepared to take on Oklahoma.
Bruce Pearl also has a better idea, and maybe a more strategic approach, on how to address the larger stage with his younger players.
The head coach thought his true freshmen would be completely fine in New York City, but the big stage overwhelmed all of them a bit (Redshirt freshman Danjel Purifoy had a hard time initially, too, even though he finished with 27 points.).
The Tigers took some time to visit the College Basketball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, too.
And there’s no better inspiration before a big game (and quite possibly a big upset) than reflecting on the careers of the players they’ve become familiar with over the years.
— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) December 20, 2016
There’s no misunderstanding about how big this trip north is for Auburn basketball for several reasons.
Perhaps first and foremost, the Tigers are using these games to prepare 5-star center Austin Wiley for SEC play. There’s a good chance the 6-foot-11 center could struggle against the Sooners and the Huskies, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It’s a chance for Wiley to make mistakes against quality opponents, so that he’ll have a better grip on things when SEC play arrives.
Second, Auburn needs quality wins. The Tigers’ loss to Boston College could hurt their postseason résumé, but wins against these two programs (even though they’re admittedly down a bit this season compared to recent years) could be a huge boost.
Lastly, Auburn can continue to help the SEC become more respected.
'Real challenge,' says Auburn's Bruce Pearl of upcoming two-game swing against Oklahoma and Connecticut. Video pic.twitter.com/feKMkjfywQ
— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) December 19, 2016