July 10, 2013
Read the college football news on national sports sites, and you could come to the conclusion that the game is a hotbed of crime, some serious and some not so serious.
Then you think about Chad Slade and his love for a little boy who died of cancer.
Or Jay Prosch, who has been so strong through so much.
Or Chandler Shakespeare, a senior walk-on who faces the same grueling demands scholarship players face just because he wants to be part of Auburn football.
Or Dee Ford, his leadership and his work ethic.
Or Jake Holland shrugging off criticism and excelling in a very difficult major while competing hard and being there when called on.
Or Kiehl Frazier, who shrugs off disappointment comes back to fight again and again and always has time to help.
Or so many players on this Auburn team, Auburn teams of the past and college football teams all over America.
The actions of a few smear the names of the many, and that’s truly unfortunate. For every college football player that gets arrested, literally hundreds are reaching out to make a difference in their communities, using their name recognition to help children and others in need.
The demands of college football are immense, and they’re there year around. Far from the cheering crowds, players pay a high price to go put their jerseys and run through the tunnel and onto the field 12 or 13 times a year.
The many who do it right don’t make headlines like the few who don’t. But they deserve to be saluted.
Some extra quotes from Ford, profiled in an indepth story elsewhere on this page:
On being a senior leader: “It feels good. Not only does it push me to be a better person in my life, it pushes me on the field, too. In order to be that leader and have protégés, you have to live up to what you want them to do. Anything I want them to be in the future, I have to be that. It is really putting that sense of urgency in what I do every day. “
On defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson: “He is so proficient in what he does that he is changing his defense to fit our skill sets and what we can and can’t do. He’s more setting things up for me to succeed. Not just me, but other guys. Also, we have to do the same for him. We have to develop for the defense.”
On Auburn’s talent: “We have just as much, maybe more, than most teams we play, even in the SEC. I believe we have more talent, especially on the defensive side. I see it all the time, but I think now we know that talent is only going to take you so far.” …
Junior guard Chad Slade says there is a very different vibe among Auburn’s offensive linemen this season.
“The way the o-line was last year and this year is way different,” Slade said. “I feel like we have really come together. We are going to have a better season and we’re going to have a better offensive line.”
First year offensive line coach J.B. Grimes has made a major impact.
“I love Coach Grimes,” Slade said. “He’s a person that, if you are feeling down and feel like you aren’t having a good day, you can talk to Coach Grimes and there you go.”
Until next time …
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: