Jump to content

Rivalry gets hostile, just how Auburn likes it


Recommended Posts

Rivalry gets hostile, just how Auburn likes it

Sunday, February 25, 2007


This was the real difference between the Auburn and Alabama basketball teams Saturday: Quantez Robertson wore a headband.

The sophomore point guard was the only Auburn player to do so, and he did so even though the Auburn coach has a strict no-headband rule.

Bold move. Fashion statement?

No. Doctor's orders. To cover up the five stitches on his forehead. From the practice drill, two days before, called "War Rebound."

War Eagle. Hey. Ouch.

What's the Auburn point guard doing in a four-on-four rebounding drill with no rules and no fouls? Besides getting a cut that requires five stitches?

What's the Auburn basketball team doing in late February in a no-holds-barred exercise its coach describes as "nasty"? Besides risking life and limb?

Developing toughness. In the SEC, only the strong survive.

It's the kind of toughness that allowed Auburn to win here 86-77 and sweep the regular-season series between the teams, both for the first time since 1999.

It's the kind of toughness that allowed Lebo's third Auburn team to become the first Auburn team in history to sweep Alabama when Alabama entered both games ranked.

It's the kind of toughness this Alabama team lacks.

How else do you explain Auburn winning a game Alabama simply couldn't afford to lose? How else do you explain this Auburn team turning a seven-game losing streak to Alabama into a two-game winning streak?

How else do you explain the 6-foot-3 Robertson coming down with four rebounds, just as many as Alabama's 6-10 Jermareo Davidson?

Lebo made a key point that had nothing to do with toughness. Alabama's not the same team with its leader, Ronald Steele, playing five invisible minutes.

But there's no defense for not crashing the boards, for not hitting the floor, for not playing defense. And yet, after 28 games, Alabama coach Mark Gottfried admitted that team defense is a concept his team has yet to buy into.

"Everything is my responsibility," Gottfried said. "...I'm the coach."

At least he sounded defensive.

Maybe Gottfried should do what Lebo did. Talk to Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, whose teams have been known to wear football helmets at practice.

Lebo got the War Rebound drill from Izzo. The Tigers don't do it daily, but when they do, the mayhem happens at the end of practice. It has to, Lebo said, "because they really can't feel their arms afterwards."

"You always worry about getting somebody hurt in it because it is nasty," Lebo said. "It's football. Whoever gets it, wins. I wouldn't want the parents to see me do that drill, I'll tell you that."

This is how a basketball coach wins games and fans in a football state. This is how his team pumps up a rivalry gone soft.

One stitch at a time.

This is how the ball bounces in what should become a nasty state rivalry once again. With one week left in the regular season, Auburn and Alabama both are 6-8 in the SEC. Both teams are one game out of first place in the SEC West.

Only one team is happy about it.

"To have a rivalry, the other team has to win occasionally," Lebo said. "Maybe this will make it even more hostile."

Hostile. Just the way Auburn likes it.

The Birmingham News, Kevin Scarbinsky, 2/25/07

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've heard alot about this. And the past two games they have been extremely physical.

Finally I know why Tez was wearing the headband. I saw that and was just wondering why he had it on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

beautiful stuff, Dye and Tuberville love that I bet.

Coach Lebo's quite confidence and pleasant personality hide the

competitive tiger inside.. he wants to kick your rear and beat you.

War Eagle

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...