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 with you every morning, Monday through Friday.
While the Tigers are busy resting and recovering during the bye week, it’s the perfect chance to recognize an Auburn player who doesn’t get nearly enough credit.
Tyler Stovall’s influence
Most of the time Daniel Carlson is so busy nailing extra points and drilling field goals, he overshadows Tyler Stovall (unless, of course, a Mississippi State player takes un unnecessary shot at Auburn’s kicker, then Stovall leaps into the spotlight to defend the junior).
But ask Carlson for his thoughts on the 26-year-old holder and the best kicker in the country will tell you he might not own that label if it weren’t for Stovall.
“He’s a guy that obviously that doesn’t need to be playing football. He’s had a ton of success in his life,” Carlson said after his trick play score — which included a tricky pitch by Stovall — earlier this year. “The fact he would come back to want to be a part of the team, just support the guys. The leadership role he’s taken with that, being the oldest guy on the team now. Just for me, the amount of work he’s putting into holding, which a lot of people overlook, it’s extremely important. Who knows what I’d be doing without him.”
A few years ago it seemed the duo wouldn’t cross paths.
Stovall was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2008 MLB Draft and spent the next four years in the Braves’ minor league system. After one year with an independent team Stovall gave up baseball. At 23, he decided it was time to use his signing bonus to go back to college.
The longtime Auburn fan landed on the Plains after some persuasion from head coach Gus Malzahn, winning the starting holder job in ’14.
While his efforts helping Carlson have been crucial for the Tigers this year, his role on the team goes beyond anything on the field.
Stovall is married and known by many of his teammates as Papa Stovall.
He’s adapted to the father-figure role with ease, offering support and guidance as soon as fall camp — a time that can become overwhelming — starts.
“I like to be there for the guys and I let them know up front if there’s something they’re struggling with or something that you’re having a hard time with, just given my background I love to be there for them,” Stovall said in August. “And have open hands for them and open any questions they may need as a young person coming in.”
But wait, there’s more.
Before his time with the Braves, Stovall thought he would study engineering. Eventually he realized he wanted to be around people and stay in sports. Stovall is a student in the college and business, where he serves as an example for others in the classroom, too.
Take a minute and check out this academic spotlight video featuring the one and only Papa Stovall.
— Auburn Tigers (@AuburnTigers) October 11, 2016
Nick Marshall makes a move
There’s also some news from the NFL.
— Auburn Football (@FootballAU) October 12, 2016
Happening on the Plains
And while there isn’t football on the Plains this weekend, there is all kinds of exciting stuff happening in Auburn.
Head basketball coach Bruce Pearl held Auburn’s second preseason scrimmage Wednesday night in the practice gym at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers are undersized, but they’re long and athletic, pushing the ball on offense whenever they have the chance.
Auburn senior TJ Dunans for 2. Almost adds a steal. pic.twitter.com/h4mznY5sZ6
— Lauren Shute (@LShute13) October 13, 2016
T.J. Dunans to Danjel Purifoy on the alley-oop. pic.twitter.com/ESuAaj33xj
— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) October 13, 2016
WOMEN’S SOCCER: In case you haven’t heard, the women’s soccer team at Auburn has been dominant lately.
In the last few weeks freshman Bri Folds and junior Kristen Dodson earned weekly SEC honors and Dodson added a national player of the week award, too.
The team also is rising in the NSCAA rankings. They’re ranked No. 13 after starting out at No. 20 a few weeks ago.
Ballin' is our hobby. ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/ZnTeKWtfwz
— Auburn Soccer (@AuburnSoccer) October 11, 2016
EQUESTRIAN: The No. 1-ranked Auburn equestrian team does some pretty impressive stuff on horses, but this summer a few members of the team took some time away from their four-legged friends.
Senior Tory Hoft spent the summer studying abroad. You can read about her experience so that even if you can’t make it to Europe during football season, you can feel like you have.
— Auburn Equestrian (@AuburnEQ) October 11, 2016
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: The Auburn women started their 30-day countdown to the season opener. Auburn will play Troy in Auburn Arena on Friday, Nov. 11.
— Auburn W Basketball (@AuburnWBB) October 12, 2016
GYMNASTICS: Auburn soon willl be in the spotlight. You’ll be able to see all of the twists, flips and turns on SEC Network.
— Auburn Gymnastics (@Auburn_Gym) October 12, 2016
SWIMMING AND DIVING: Auburn swept Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon in Auburn, making the men and women both 2-0 on the year.
The men won 10 events, beating the Wildcats 171-129 and the women won 11 races, defeating the Wildcats 178.5-121.5.
— Auburn Swim & Dive (@AuburnSwimDive) October 12, 2016
VOLLEYBALL: Auburn swept Georgia in three sets Wednesday night (25-11, 25-16, 25-19), giving the Tigers their sixth-consecutive home win over the Bulldogs.
— Auburn Volleyball (@AuburnVB) October 13, 2016
Tigers still hunting in October
For all of the plays being made on the Plains during Auburn’s bye week, there’s still a lot happening in Major League Baseball.
On Tuesday night, Cubs catcher David Ross, the oldest player on Chicago’s roster, hit a homer in the third inning to tie Game 4 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants.
— Auburn Baseball (@Auburn_Baseball) October 12, 2016
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) October 12, 2016
If you have a few minutes, check out this Rolling Stone article by Jason Diamond, which fully (and beautifully) explains how important Ross is to the Cubs as they pursue a World Series championship.
The coolest part about baseball right now is that Ross could end up facing another Auburn standout in the World Series in Josh Donaldson.
The third baseman has been powering the Blue Jays to the ALCS. Toronto will take on the Cleveland Indians on Friday while the Cubs will play either Los Angeles or Washington on Saturday.
Wednesday’s War Eagle Wakeup asked one of the most controversial poll questions to date. After some of the Tigers went back and forth about their choice of a celebratory meal, readers answered which place they would most like to feast after an Auburn win. Here are the results: