Tommy Tuberville nearly lost his job, but he hasn't lost his sense of humor.
While the state's sports reporters were waiting for Carnell Williams, Ronnie Brown and Carlos Rogers to announce their intentions, the Auburn coach sauntered into the room and broke the silence with this quote: "I am coming back. I got a reprieve."
Chuckles all around.
Coach Tuberville's grin was even wider a few minutes later when the Tiger Trio all reached the same conclusion - one more season wearing orange and blue.
The Auburn coach, who told me he feels like he's been living on his airplane while recruiting the past few weeks, called the news "the best recruiting day we've had in awhile."
If you've been watching WSFA lately, you know Alabama coach Mike Shula is dominating the battle for in-state recruits. Until Luverne's Chester Adams committed to Georgia this week, Shula had been batting a thousand in his bid to lure the state's best players to Tuscaloosa.
Back to the Cadillac. If you're a regular reader of the journal, you know I recently listed all of the reasons why now might be the best time for Carnell Williams to join the National Football League.
I guess my prediction about that was about as accurate as my SEC football picks this season. That is to say, not very good.
I forgot to figure the "fun factor" into the equation. Like Georgia's David Pollack, who said he's returning to Athens (despite being projected as a first-rounder) because he'd rather have fun with his friends on campus than spend the spring working out for NFL teams, Carnell said he "couldn't pass up an opportunity to play another year with these guys and live the college life, which I love right now."
And what about the risk of injuriy? To me, that was the most compelling reason for Carnell to consider leaving now, especially since his first two seasons at Auburn ended in injury.
Turns out the Caddy thought long and hard about the possibility of seeing his stock drop next year in the event of injury.
His response reveals a very mature perspective. "I thought about things," Carnell says, "and felt like that if it's meant for me to play in the NFL, it'll happen no matter if I stayed or left next year." Reminds of Shaun Alexander, who reached the same conclusion five year ago at Alabama.
I hope it works out for Carnell as well as it has for Shaun.
I wanted to take a minute to remember two big sports fans who passed away this week. Nick Harris, my next-door-neighbor's dad, and Ron Nunn, the longtime AUM Dixie Youth baseball coach and commissioner.
"Mr. Nick" loved the Auburn Tigers and was a faithful WSFA viewer. Always helped take care of his grandchildren, picking them up at the bus stop every afternoon.
And Coach Nunn helped hundreds of boys grow into men during a quarter-century of summer evenings spent at the ballfields. His legacy of volunteerism is worthy of emulation.
They are already being missed.
One more thing before we sign off. If you know any high school football players in Fever Country who will be signing college scholarships in a few weeks, please encourage them to attend our 7th annual Friday Night Football Fever Signing Day Pizza Party.
It's a great time for the players, their parents and coaches to celebrate their big day. Not to mention put away a truckload of pizza. If you plan to attend, please e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what kind of pie you like.