On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
72°
Chance of T-storms
H 92° L 71°
  • cloudy-day
    72°
    Current Conditions
    Chance of T-storms. H 92° L 71°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    92°
    Today
    Chance of T-storms. H 92° L 71°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    90°
    Tomorrow
    Chance of T-storms. H 90° L 72°
Listen
Pause
Error

News on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

College
5 questions with Auburn beat writer Brandon Marcello on ‘heated’ Georgia rivalry
Close

5 questions with Auburn beat writer Brandon Marcello on ‘heated’ Georgia rivalry

5 questions with Auburn beat writer Brandon Marcello on ‘heated’ Georgia rivalry

5 questions with Auburn beat writer Brandon Marcello on ‘heated’ Georgia rivalry

ATHENS Georgia's season goals are likely riding on the outcome of its game at Auburn, the Bulldogs with no margin for error amid a heated College Football Playoff race.

Kirby Smart is keeping the focus strictly on the Tigers and the pending battle at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

It's affectionally known as "The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry," but it also ranks among the most bitter.

The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (8-1, 5-1) and the No. 12 Tigers (7-2, 4-2) recruit against one another and its abundantly clear the coaches are not favorites of one another.

Auburn beat writer Brandon Marcello, however, is a friend of DawgNation's and provided some deep insight into Auburn football for Georgia fans this week.

Here are five questions with Marcello, who handles the beat on The Plains for 247Sports for the Auburn Undercover Website.

For the latest on Auburn sports, follow Marcello on Twitter.

1. Gus Malzahn is known for his offensive innovation, where is Auburn strongest and weakest on offense, and how far along is Bo Nix?

BM: Auburn's weak point is along the offensive line, where inconsistency has plagued the Tigers also season. The second weak spot might just be quarterback, where Bo Nix has shown signs of brilliance but also has been pretty average for the most part. The good news for Auburn is Nix is a much different quarterback at home than he is on the road (63.5 vs. 48.5 completion percentage) but that will be challenged against the best defense he has faced all season (Georgia).

I really like Auburn's receivers, and I believe the coaching staff needs to find a way to get them more involved, particularly speedster Anthony Schwartz He has world-class speed and might be an Olympian in a few years. They need to utilize him as much as possible in the passing game, but also on jet sweeps, end-arounds and reverses. Auburn has to stretch every defense sideline to sideline and goal line to goal line. Schwartz is the only player on the roster who can do that.

2. The Tigers' defense is filled with veterans, what are Auburn's strengthsand weaknesses at each level?

BM: The Auburn defensive line is the strength of the entire team. The combination of Derrick Brown in the middle demanding double teams and collapsing the quarterback's pocket has been tremendous. Defensive end Marlon Davidson has been the star pass rusher. The two are great friends and constantly poke fun at each other for being "fat," which has made for some funny stories through the season as they have combined to win five (!) defensive lineman of the week awards in the SEC this season. They'll have to play their best to give the Tigers a chance Saturday. With Brown being from Georgia, I don't see him lacking for motivation.

Auburn's secondary has been fine, but there's room for improvement. I think cornerback Noah Igbinoghene has a future in the NFL. Safeties Daniel Thomas and Jeremiah Dinson, both seniors, haven't let many balls go over their heads this season and both have been tremendous in run support.

The biggest thing for this defense is its open-field tackling. It helped slow LSU's offense earlier this season and it needs to continue during this tough stretch against the Bulldogs and Alabama.

3. There's been plenty of discussion about how these teams matchup, why or why not are the Tigers a tough matchup for Kirby Smart's version of Georgia football?

BM: Auburn's defense is a tough matchup for any offense. Just look at what the Tigers did at LSUin October. They held LSU to four touchdowns under its average. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele introduced a 3-1-7 scheme that confused LSU and put a lot of pressure on Joe Burrow to deliver highly-accurate passes, which he did for the most part, but Auburn made fantastic stops in the open field.

4. The Alabama-Auburn rivalrygets its fair due, how is the Tigers' rivalry with Georgia different?

BM: This rivalry seems a bit more heated from a players' perspective, particularly on the Auburn side, because many players hail from Georgia. I'm not sure it's a betterrivalry, all around, than the Iron Bowl, but it's in the same neighborhood. This is something that has obviously been built organically over the years, but for it to truly be personal, the players have to be invested. And with players from both states on both rosters, it's about pride and as one Auburn player put it today, going home to your brother and tell him you beat them.

5. Malzahn has been workingwith a freshman QB and beat a Top 10 Oregon team and stayed even with No. 1 LSU. How importantis this game to his future, and why do some fans seem so intent on pushing the job security issue and hampering the team's ability to recruitin doing so?

BM: Everywhere I've been, and I'm sure you would agree one some basis, the fan bases have been incredibly loyal and passionate. They can also be their own worst enemy because of their love for the program and the desire to for their football programs to be the best they possibly can be. You couple that with the old saying that a head coach loses 10 percent of the fan base for every year he's on campus (well, save if you're winning national titles), and Gus Malzahn is near that tipping point after nearly seven years as the head coach and an additional three years as the offensive coordinator. Malzahn has been part of Auburn football for the majority of the last 11 years, and with that comes stability but also the ability to easily identify weaknesses and strengths. Fans feast upon those things, and when a strong, powerful, cash-rich group is not happy with the coach, it makes it easier for fans to jump on the hate train as well.

My simple question to people is this, which always brings about heated debate: who can Auburn hire? Who will be more successful? Who will lead Auburn to two SEC Championship games, a national title appearance, two New Year's Six bowl games in six years? Only two SEC West teams have reached the SEC title game since Malzahn has been on campus: Alabama and Auburn. That will change this season with LSU, but you get my point.

Sometimes the grass is not always greener, but like listening to someone snore for a few minutes in the middle of the night, even the most beautiful creature during the day can seem like something else entirely if you choose to focus on the things that irk you rather than the attributes that make you happy.

Success can be fleeting, especially in the SEC. For Auburn to do what it has done under Gus Malzahn in this era with Nick Saban across the state has been, well, remarkable. Maybe there's a better coach out there who could work under these circumstances and take Auburn to the playoff every two to three years, but can you point them my direction? And would they take the job?

I understand frustration. It's fandom. It's why college football is great.

But let's have some perspective here, too.

Georgia football stories from DawgNation

WATCH: How Tyler Simmons has shown leadership, resilience

Will Muschamp discusses Georgia and Alabama

UGA confident it has the speed to keep up with Auburn

Georgia defense tops SEC in every major statistical category

Bulldogs move into top 5 in rankings

George Pickens makes UGA live with the bad to get his good

Bulldogs stock report: George Pickens scores, defense soars

Kirby Smart talks about UGA injury situation for Auburn game

The post 5 questions with Auburn beat writer Brandon Marcello on heated' Georgia rivalry appeared first on DawgNation.

Read More

News

  • A North Alabama police officer said he was placed on administrative leave following complaints about two social media posts, including one that mocks the late George Floyd. Ross Greenwood, an officer with the Mentone Police Department, said he was put on leave pending the outcome of a termination hearing, AL.com reported. Greenwood said he was not told who complained about his posts, but Mentone Mayor Rob Hammond confirmed the administrative leave to the Fort Payne Times-Journal. Greenwood said he shared two posts that received complaints. One, posted June 14, noted that the “Treasury Department will honor George Floyd by placing his portrait on the $20 counterfeit bill.” The second post, made on June 19 read, “Breaking News: Quaker Oats officially changes name to Shaquille O’atmeal.” Floyd is the Minneapolis man who died May 25 after a police officer put his knee into the man’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Greenwood said he left the posts on his Facebook page because he wanted to be transparent, the Times-Journal reported. He said he does not believe he did anything wrong, and said he “absolutely” enforces the law equally. Hammond said Mentone Police Chief Gene McKee met with town attorney Pat Tate to discuss his investigation, the Times-Journal reported. “It is the Town’s contention that these postings are a violation of the Mentone Police Department’s code of conduct,” Hammond told the newspaper, adding a termination hearing would be held “within the next 10 days.” Greenwood, who has been with the Mentone Police Department, previously was the chief of police in nearby Sylvania. “In my opinion, (Floyd) was a criminal. He’s sure made a name for himself,” Greenwood told the Times-Journal, adding he was unhappy with the news of several products changing their branding because they play off racial stereotypes. “A lot of this has gotten way out of hand,” Greenwood told the newspaper. “What’s the standard of what we can share on social media? I’ve never targeted or threatened to kill anyone.” “If some radical Christian shot up a church, I’d share a story about that as much as I would if a radical Muslim did,” Greenwood told the Times-Journal. “I’m prejudiced against people who do stupid things. I can’t help what race you are when you mess up. I do post a lot of stuff about minorities and may post some stuff that looks racist, but there’s got to be some standard. Innocent people are getting killed.” Greenwood said he had asked for a copy of the police department’s social media policy but never received it, AL.com reported. He also said he never signed any papers documenting that he agreed to any department social media policy. “There’s something on Facebook that’s going to offend somebody,” Greenwood told AL.com. “There’s posts going around of police officers getting their throats cut. That offends me. But I don’t get out of shape. I just think, ‘Wow, that’s pretty rough.’”
  • A Black family has sued Hilton and a North Carolina Hampton Inn franchisee, alleging discrimination after a white clerk called police regarding a billing dispute. Dolores and Alvin Corbett, along with their two teenagers, checked in to The Hampton Inn & Suites on Nov. 23, 2018, in Wilson, North Carolina, along with some extended family. According to a news release provided by attorney Jason Kafoury, the family was there to “celebrate the life” of Alvin Corbett’s mother, Fannie Corbett, who died in 2019 and was declared a “civil rights pioneer” in North Carolina, The News & Observer reported. The following morning, the suit alleges, the unidentified clerk loudly and repeatedly told Dolores Corbett that her credit card had been declined. Corbett tried to explain that she had prepaid for the $145-per-night room using her Hilton Honors account points, but when she asked to speak to a supervisor, the clerk shouted, “Get off my property” and alerted police. Dolores Corbett told USA Today the humiliation and degradation suffered warranted the lawsuit, but the clerk’s summoning of police “put our family in imminent danger.” The family checked out immediately and told officers they had done nothing wrong when they arrived. And even though the clerk conceded to the responding officers that the billing question had been resolved, the suit alleges the officers escorted the Corbett family from the premises and circles their car in a restaurant parking lot while they waited for their extended family to join them, USA Today reported. Meanwhile, the Corbetts’ attorneys shared with the publication an email from the hotel’s general manager, Phil Ronaghan, dated one day after the 2018 incident, offering his “sincerest apologies” and calling the clerk’s actions “unprofessional and unwarranted.” Ronaghan also said in the email the unnamed clerk told them she called police because she felt threatened, but he did not feel the situation rose to “anywhere near that level of dispute” and noted that she had been reassigned pending an internal review of the incident, USA Today reported. In response, Hilton spokesman Nigel Glennie told the newspaper, “Hilton’s records show that our guest assistance team worked to resolve this complaint in 2018. We believe that our Hilton team engaged with sensitivity to understand, listen and address concerns about the guest’s experience.” According to The News & Observer, the suit seeks damages to compensate for the plaintiffs’ “economic loss, humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress” as well as punitive damages that would punish the defendants’ alleged “willful, wanton, and reckless conduct” to prevent similar incidents in the future.
  • Deputies in an Oregon county were in the right place at the right time this week, saving two lives in the same spot on two different days. Shortly after 11 p.m. on Monday, Washington County deputies received a call that a 16-year-old girl was at the top of a parking structure across the street from the Sheriff’s Office in HIllsboro, KATU-TV reported. Deputies were able to coax the girl, who was allegedly preparing to jump, away from the outside railing, the television station reported. “There’s a lot of grief associated with the loss of normalcy with what youth are doing right now and the connections to their peers,” Emily Moser, director of the non-profit YouthLine, told KGW. Moser’s job has taught her a lot about how teens are trying to make sense of a world that doesn’t make much sense right now. “The uncertainty that they’re feeling is very much in the here and now,” she said. On Tuesday, deputies responded to the same area, as a woman in her 30s was standing on the top of the parking structure, KGW reported. “I received a phone call from a coworker who was driving home and she told me there was a subject on the top level of a local structure that was outside the barrier,” Commander Caprice Massey told the television station. When Massey arrived, she tried to engage with the woman by talking to her. “She starting signing in American Sign Language and she preferred to communicate that way, and as luck has it, I know sign language,” Massey told KGW. Massey was able to talk the woman back over the barrier without saying a word. “I asked the young lady if she would sit with me and we sat pretty close to each other,” Massey told KGW. “Just take the time to check in with people and when you ask ‘How are you?’ wait for the answer.”
  • Two Oklahoma police officers have been charged with second-degree murder nearly one year after the death of a naked Wilson man last Fourth of July weekend. According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Jared Lakey, 28, died July 6, 2019, after officers Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingman discharged their stun guns on him more than 50 times, WXII reported. The incident occurred just before midnight on the Fourth of July after Taylor, 25, and Dingman, 34, responded to a call of a naked man running down a Wilson street screaming. “The two Wilson police officers were trying to take Lakey into custody, and he was not cooperating. He was not complying with their requests,” OSBI public information officer Brook Arbeitman said, according to the arrest affidavit. According to court documents, an OSBI agent reviewed dash and body camera footage of the arrest, The Ardmoreite reported. “The footage reveals numerous instances of both officers using their X26P tasers to send electrical shocks through (the victim’s) body in an apparent attempt to persuade him to put his hands behind his back as he lay on the ground,” the agent stated in an affidavit. Court documents indicate Dingman discharged his stun gun 23 times for a total of 114 seconds over the course of nine minutes, while Taylor deployed his stun gun 30 times for a total of 122 seconds. Despite sustaining nearly four minutes of electrical jolts, court documents state Lakey never struck, grabbed or made any aggressive attempts toward either officer during the nine-minute confrontation, WXII reported. The affidavit also states neither officer attempted to restrain Lakey during those nine minutes, despite several opportunities and the fact that Lakey was not fully conscious. “(The victim) is tased numerous times while merely lying naked in the ditch, presumably for not rolling onto his stomach and complying with the officers’ commands to ‘Put your hands behind your back’,” the affidavit states. Court records state Lakey died of “complications of myocardial infarction (clinical) in the setting of cardiomegaly and critical coronary atherosclerosis and law enforcement use of electrical weapon and restraint,” The Ardmoreite reported. The arrest warrants for Dingman and Taylor were issued Wednesday, and both officers surrendered to the Carter County Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning, WXII reported. Both men face 10 years to life in prison if convicted, and both were granted $250,000 bond.
  • What is more important -- global health policy, or where to display a unicorn drawing? That was the pointed issue confronting a BBC broadcaster on Monday, who was interviewing Clare Wenham, an assistant professor at the London School of Economics. Of course, the unicorn won out Wenham, speaking virtually with Christian Fraser, was about to answer a question about the United Kingdom’s response to the coronavirus pandemic when her daughter, Scarlett, entered the picture, The New York Times reported. The young girl can be seen walking back and forth in the room, trying to decide where to put her drawing. When Wenham finished her answer, Fraser asked, “What is your daughter called?” “She’s called Scarlett,” Wenham said. “Scarlett, I think it looks better on the lower shelf,” Fraser said. “And it’s a lovely unicorn.” As Fraser started to ask another question, Scarlett interrupted. “Say, what’s his name?” the child asked. “What’s his name, Mummy?” Fraser had a good laugh and quipped, “This is the most informative interview I’ve done all day.” Wenham told the BBC it was ironic that her interview had been crashed. She said she recently wrote an article for the British Medical Journal on that topic. Wenham conceded, however, that she never thought that scenario would happen to her. Reaction was mostly positive, with Twitter users complimenting both Wenham and Fraser. “Wonderful to see the realities of homeworking for parents,” Heather de Gruyther wrote. “And thank you to the presenter for making it OK and for talking to the child too.” The interview was similar to a 2017 clip that went viral when Robert Kelly, a political-science professor at Pusan National University in South Korea, was interrupted by his children and wife during his interview with the BBC, the Times reported.
  • A naked man was rescued from a sewer in downtown Duluth on Thursday, officials said. Officials in the northern Minnesota city said first responders pulled the man to safety around 5:10 p.m., KBJR reported. It was not clear why the man was naked, or why he was in the sewer. The rescue comes after authorities received a report about a man who had entered a manhole Wednesday afternoon, the television station reported. The man’s clothes were found near the manhole, city officials said. After ending their search Wednesday, first responders returned Thursday after receiving a report about a man yelling for help from under a manhole cover, the Duluth News Tribune reported. Firefighters lifted the manhole and found a man “visibly in distress,” according to a news release from the city of Duluth. Firefighters placed a ladder down the manhole. The man, who has not been identified, was able to climb out, the News Tribune reported. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia, the newspaper reported.