Auburn notes: Howard matchup concerns Auburn coaches

first_imgAlabama tight end and Autaugaville native O.J. Howard is tackled by Auburn defensive back Johnathan Ford during last year’s Iron Bowl game in Tuscaloosa. Auburn’s defense is wary of Howard’s ability.Alabama tight end and Autaugaville native O.J. Howard is tackled by Auburn defensive back Johnathan Ford during last year’s Iron Bowl game in Tuscaloosa. Auburn’s defense is wary of Howard’s ability.AUBURN — One of the first specific individual players mentioned by Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp during his media session Sunday was Alabama tight end O.J. Howard.Muschamp couldn’t be more concerned with the matchup or impressed with the Autauga Academy graduate’s ability to be a threat in all three downs, whether it’s a pass or run play called.Howard was named one of eight semifinalists for the 2015 John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding college tight end. Howard has 30 catches this season, which is third in the Southeastern Conference among tight ends, for 335 yards but is still looking for his first touchdown of the 2015 campaign.“He runs vertically extremely well, (and) he’s got really good ball skills,” Muschamp said Sunday of the Crimson Tide tight end.Howard was a five-star recruit out of Autauga Academy in Prattville as both Rivals.com and Scout.com had him rated as the best tight end prospect in the nation.Muschamp said he has concerns of the matchup in the passing game as the Tigers (6-5, 2-5 in SEC) will have to use a linebacker or safety Blake Countess in coverage to shadow his vertical routes. Howard, who is 6-foot-6 and 242 pounds, has just four catches in his past three games, but Auburn allowed Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry to catch five passes for 68 yards in its quadruple overtime loss in Fayetteville on Oct. 24.“I think (Alabama offensive coordinator) Lane (Kiffin) does a good job of putting him in situations to be successful,” Muschamp said. “He uses him in the passing game, obviously, but does a nice job of sealing off in the run game and doing some things to use him and his athleticism. You’ve got to count him as a tight end, but he’s also a guy that flex out and hurt you in the passing game.”Lashlee: ‘We have to run the football on them’: Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee doesn’t buy into the pregame hype that Alabama’s defensive front is too talented to attempt run plays against. The Tigers play caller, along with head coach Gus Malzahn, said Sunday he knows it will take a balanced attacked to beat the No. 2 Crimson Tide (10-1, 6-1 in SEC) Saturday in the Iron Bowl matchup (2:30 p.m., CBS).“I think sometimes people look at the standpoint of ‘man, you can’t run it on them, so don’t even try,’ and you can’t do that,” Lashlee said. “You can’t be one-dimensional and be successful often. You still got to try to have some semblance of balance, even if it’s not that you’re gashing people up and down the field.”Alabama is first in the SEC in rushing defense by an astounding 31 yards over the next highest school as the Crimson Tide are holding opponents to just 77 yards per game on the ground. However, Malzahn and Lashlee have both made points to the 2013 matchup where Alabama led the league in the same category, but the Tigers were able to generate 296 rushing yards in a 34-28 win. That rushing total is the most yards on the ground Alabama has given up since 2011.“You’ve got to do both and that’s the challenge,” Malzahn said Tuesday. “If they make you one-dimensional, it makes it extremely challenging, so that’ll be our challenge. We have to be able to run the football, and we have to be able to hit some passes and it’s that way every year.”Coleman likely to start at left tackle: Malzahn said Auburn left tackle Shon Coleman was healthy enough to play and start Saturday vs. Idaho but was held out for precautionary reasons after suffering an injury in the loss two weeks ago against Georgia.Coleman, who hadn’t missed a start in his last 23 games before last weekend, practiced with the first-team unit Monday and is expected to start at left tackle Saturday in the Iron Bowl matchup vs. No. 2 Alabama.Robert Leff got his first career start Saturday against Idaho and will be the backup option at both left and right tackle Saturday.“Robert is a beast and I love seeing him out there due to the fact that when he plays by me sometimes and that’s my roommate,” Auburn right tackle Avery Young said Tuesday. “We’ve been roommates since freshman year and to actually see him get the chance that he got is great.”last_img read more

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Sachin Tendulkar visits MRF Pace Foundation, interacts with budding fast bowlers

first_imgMaster batsman Sachin Tendulkar, on Friday, visited the MRF pace foundation in Chennai. He joined legendary former Australian Glenn McGrath, who heads the foundation, and interacted with budding fast bowlers training there.McGrath has been in the South Indian city for a while and has had sessions with the bowlers at the academy.Sachin Tendulkar, speaking on the ocassion highlighted the foundation’s exceptional service to the game.”It’s a special privilege for these budding bowlers to be trained under the mentorship of Glenn McGrath, one of the ace pace blowers the game has seen. I wish the MRF Pace Foundation the very best as they continue to contribute in developing the cricketing talent in India,” Sachin Tendulkar was quoted as saying by IANS.McGrath was excited to have the batting legend with him. He said: “It is indeed an honour to have the Indian iconic player Sachin Tendulkar in the midst of us. It’s exciting not only for the onlookers, but for ourselves as well for coming together to mentor the next gen bowlers.”Also read: Tendulkar to bat for Maharashtra’s tigers “McGrath is already working with the group and had some very good sessions with the boys. And Tendulkar’s presence will be the icing on the cake. Interacting with the two legends will be quite an experience for these guys,” an MRF official was quoted as saying to TOI.Sachin Tendulkar at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai. (Photo credit: Twitter/ANI)Notably, Tendulkar, who wanted to train at the academy to become a fast bowler, was rejected by the then director of the academy Dennis Lillee.advertisementAlso read: Madras HC issues notice to BCCI on CSK plea The academy was set up under Lillee in 1987 to train budding fast bowlers at the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School campus in Chennai. McGrath took over from Lillee in 2012 and since then he has been heading the Chennai based academy.An array of bowlers, who trained from the academy, have gone on to do well at the international arena. The notable list includes McGrath, Chaminda Vaas, Mitchell Johnson, Henry Olonga, Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan.last_img read more

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