News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



AUBURN — Offensive coordinator Al Borges describes Arkansas' defense as a "hit-you-in-the-mouth" squad.

"That's the way they play," Borges said. "They are going to come after you. There's no paralysis through analysis with them."

But the Razorbacks have given up more than 40 points in its two losses, at Alabama and against Kentucky. That bodes well for an Auburn offense that has found success in the last three games, averaging 36 points an outing.

Borges compared Auburn's recent offensive production to the undefeated Tigers of 2004. As the team's confidence grew that season, Borges became more innovative and flashy. The Tigers led the SEC in total offense that season amassing 420 yards an outing.

"As the team gained more confidence, we were able to do more stuff (in 2004). And that's the way I feel right now. As we gain more confidence, we'll do more things," he said. "You go out there and you want to run all these fancy schemes and you can't block guys, it's not going to work."

? Like quarterback Kodi Burns, true freshman tackle Lee Ziemba grew up in Arkansas and chose Auburn over the Razorbacks last winter. But unlike Burns, Ziemba was raised an Arkansas fan.

The Rogers, Ark., native estimates that he's seen 15 to 20 Razorback games. In fact, he played his high school state championship game in Arkansas' home away from home, War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, where the Razorbacks play one game per year.

"It's going to be neat. It brings back old memories," said Ziemba, who has started at right tackle every game this season. "All my friends always joke around with me about it. They're all excited about me coming back home."

Ziemba said his parents have driven the 11 hours to all of Auburn's home games and flew to Gainesville, Fla. Saturday, they will drive 30 minutes south to Fayetteville, Ark.

"They're just going down the street," said Ziemba, who, in addition to Arkansas, turned down offers from Southern California, Notre Dame, Michigan and Nebraska. "They're excited about it."

Ross Dellenger,
Daily sports writer


TUSCALOOSA — Alabama is happy to return to Southeastern Conference play, especially after dealing with the speed of Florida State one week and then the versatility of Houston's offense the next.

With Ole Miss on Saturday, the Crimson Tide is back on familiar ground.

"It'll be a lot easier on us, a lot less adjustments," Tide safety Rashad Johnson said. "We just line up and play more and don't have to worry about making checks. Ole Miss is a physical bunch, so we're going to have to come out and play our best game."

This could mean increased playing time for Decatur High grad Rolando McClain, a freshman linebacker.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said that against Houston, McClain was "confused" by the different offensive groupings Houston used.

"It makes you feel a little better, but each team has their positives and negatives," Tide linebacker Darren Mustin said. "Each team comes at you with a different strategy, and this team's strategy is a little more power, like we're going to run the ball down your throat."

? Speaking of linebackers, Alabama now has an interesting "problem" at the middle linebacker position.

With Prince Hall's emergence, the Tide has started rotating him and McClain in the middle. Against Houston, Hall had eight tackles and received a majority of the playing time.

Saban said Hall missed a few assignments, but that he is pleased with Hall's progress since his return from a one-game suspension in the season opener.

"There's obviously some things that every player out there can do better, but he makes plays, and we want to continue to focus on improvement with him," Saban said. "But there were a lot of adjustments to be made out there. He missed a few tackles, but he also made a lot of plays and did a good job."

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A walk-on defensive back for the Florida Gators was killed Friday when the motorcycle he was driving hit a median at a high rate of speed, police said.

Michael Guilford, a 19-year-old redshirt freshman from Quincy, was not wearing a helmet. Neither was passenger Ashley Slonina, a Florida junior from Lynn Haven, who also died in the crash.

The two were riding a 1998 silver Kawasaki motorcycle when it struck a median near campus about 1 a.m., police spokesman Lt. Keith Kameg said. Kameg said officers estimated the motorcycle was traveling 25 to 30 mph over the speed limit.

Police were awaiting autopsy and toxicology reports and investigating a report that the students had been at a gathering at a nearby apartment complex before the crash, Kameg said.

Crisis counselors were available to meet with students who knew Guilford and Slonina.

South Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Steve Spurrier keeps a memento of his last game at Kenan Stadium on his office wall at South Carolina.

Nearly two decades ago, Spurrier's last Duke team routed the Tar Heels 41-0 in Chapel Hill, then posed for a photograph by the scoreboard, a memory that still rankles some connected to the North Carolina program.

Now the Ol' Ball Coach is coming back to Chapel Hill, and he's bringing along his best South Carolina team yet — the seventh-ranked Gamecocks are in the top 10 for the first time since 2001.


NASHVILLE — The scenario is all too familiar.

No. 24 Georgia is treading water in the Southeastern Conference, coming off another disappointing loss to Eastern Division rival No. 25 Tennessee. Vanderbilt is trying to crawl out of the SEC cellar with a big win to spark its season.

The formula didn't mix well for Georgia last year.

The Commodores spoiled homecoming for the Bulldogs, pulling off a 24-22 upset between the hedges in Athens. A year later, things have shaped up the same way in the Music City.

Georgia coach Mark Richt offered a piece of advice for his team for the game Saturday night, which will be Vanderbilt's homecoming.

Wreck it.

From STaff, Wire Reports

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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