News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



Fans from around the nation voted Wes Byrum's game-winning 43-yard field goal Saturday night against Florida as the "Pontiac Game Changing Performance" of the week.

Auburn earns a $5,000 contribution from Pontiac to its general scholarship fund, and Byrum's kick will compete in the "Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year" award with the chance to win a $100,000 General Scholarship from Pontiac.

? Head coach Tommy Tuberville told reporters after Thursday's practice that starting linebacker Merrill Johnson will be a game-time decision and defensive end Quentin Groves will not play Saturday against Vanderbilt.

A shoulder injury Johnson suffered against South Florida has kept the junior out the last three weeks. Groves hyper-extended three toes during the third quarter of Auburn's win at Florida.

He is expected to return next week for the Tigers' game at Arkansas.

? Auburn basketball player Josh Dollard was arrested Wednesday for violating a court order, the Opelika-Auburn News reported.

A 6-foot-7 forward who led the Tigers in scoring last season, Dollard was arrested for not paying a fine related to another crime.

A spokeswoman at the Auburn Police Department told The Daily that Dollard was released Wednesday.

Dollar, 21, is the second Auburn basketball player to be arrested in the last month. According to the Opelika-Auburn News, senior Frank Tolbert was arrested Sept. 20 for driving under the influence. Tolbert was then arrested Sept. 21 on a related charge of third-degree criminal mischief.

Basketball coach Jeff Lebo, through an Auburn spokesman, said Thursday that Tolbert "has been cleared on all charges." But that has not been verified by any law enforcement official.

? Auburn's basketball team picked up two public commitments when guard Tay Waller and power forward Johnny Lett announced they would sign with the Tigers on Wednesday.

Waller and Lett are teammates at Okaloosa-Walton Junior College in Niceville, Fla., according to

Waller, a 6-2, 180-pounder, averaged 18.3 points per game.

The 6-9, 240-pound Lett signed with Virginia out of Mobile's B.C. Rain High School.

He averaged 2.9 points and 4.2 rebounds a game as a freshman.

Ross Dellenger,
Daily sports writer


TUSCALOOSA — Alabama coach Nick Saban's Monday comments about South Florida's use of partial academic qualifiers set off Bulls coach Jim Leavitt this week.

"Coach Saban and I, we've always had a good relationship, but to sit there and tell the world something that he doesn't know?" Leavitt told The Tampa Tribune earlier this week. "I could go on and on. Out of our whole team, 110 players, we have two non-qualifiers on the team. One starts, one doesn't."

On Monday, Saban responded to a question about how schools like South Florida, which is ranked No. 6 in this week's Associated Press poll, could become successful so quickly.

"There's a significant amount of players who don't qualify. And they end up being pretty good players at some of these schools," Saban said. "I think there are six guys starting on South Florida's defense who probably could have gone to Florida or Florida State, but Florida and Florida State couldn't take them."

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer

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