AUBURN, Ala. — College football coaches generally aren’t forthcoming when it comes to divulging details about their teams.
But when filmmakers approached Auburn and head coach Gene Chizik about a weekly reality TV show that chronicles the behind-the-scenes workings of the Tigers football program, it sounded like a great idea.
“Auburn’s a great story,” Chizik said. “And we just felt like there were a lot of great Auburn people out there who would enjoy the every day part of it that very few people on the outside really have a chance to kind of see inside.”
The 30-minute documentary-style show, “Auburn: Every Day …,” has aired four episodes and is produced by the Auburn ISP Sports Network in association with Authentic Films. It follows players and coaches throughout the week, from practice to meetings to games, catching their every move with a multitude of cameras.
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“At first it was (strange), but after a while you start not even noticing them,” linebacker Craig Stevens said. “They just become another thing back there with us.”
“It hasn’t created any problems,” tight end Tommy Trott said.
The show can be melodramatic at times. When Trott suffered a knee sprain against Mississippi State in the second week, the video was spliced with a somber soundtrack.
“They started playing funeral music,” joked Trott, who returned to action the following week.
Trott also caught some flak from friends for his somewhat touching text message exchange with freshman Philip Lutzenkirchen, who replaced the senior after the injury and caught his first touchdown pass.
“There was some stuff in there (that) made us look kind of sissy, I guess,” Trott said. “But it’s been fun.”
Back in good graces
Running back Eric Smith’s future with Auburn appeared to be in jeopardy after he was arrested for third-degree assault following an incident Aug. 21. Instead, he’s returned and become a valuable cog in the offense.
In addition to being a solid blocker and special teams contributor, Smith caught four passes for 74 yards against West Virginia in an H-back role.
“He’s a football player,” said Chizik, who kept Smith off the team for 2 1/2 weeks following his arrest. “If you tell him to go down and cover a kickoff, he’ll make a tackle. If you tell him to catch a long ball to make a critical third down and keep the chains moving in a drive, he’s going to do that. …
“He blocks as fullback, he runs as tailback, he covers kickoffs, he’s on kickoff return teams as a blocker. He’s just a good football player and contributes a lot to our football team.”
The 5-foot-10, 237-pound Smith, who is the team’s biggest running back, could see his role as a ballcarrier increase this Saturday against Ball State. The sophomore only has three carries this year in mop-up duty.
“He’s a coach’s dream because he’s a safety net for us,” running backs coach Curtis Luper said. “If there’s ever an issue, I can just say, ‘Eric, go,’ and he’ll take care of it.”
When Chizik went about overhauling the football program, he didn’t just do it from a personnel standpoint. He got Auburn officials to revamp the team’s locker room at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The upgrades include a new entryway, displays for Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan’s Heisman Trophies and pictures of Auburn’s former All-Americans. The team also added more TVs and upgraded the sound and lighting system, according to AuburnSports.com.
Additionally, each player has a nameplate with his name and number, something players can take with them once their career is over.
“We’re are very demanding of our guys and what we ask them to do,” Chizik said. “In return we want to give them the best we can give them of everything.”