Folks, ready or not, football season is upon us. NFL teams are already two weeks into preseason games. The first pro game is a dandy, Green Bay at Chicago. It starts at 7:20 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5, on NBC.
College teams are well into preseason camp and most have already held intrasquad games. The first college game is also a dandy. Florida and Miami will meet at 6 p.m. on Sat-urday, Aug. 24. ESPN has the cover-age.
High school is even closer to starting. Most teams will start next Friday (Aug. 23), though there will be some who start on Thursday.
Arab and Brindlee Mountain will give fans a sneak peak with their final intrasquad games this Friday. For Brindlee Mountain, it will be Meet the Lions night. It starts at 6 at Lions Stadium.
Arab’s scrimmage also starts at 6 p.m. at the old stadium (the Pit). The band will have concessions available.
Arab opens at home the following Friday, playing at Boaz. Brindlee Mountain plays Asbury at home with revenge on its collective mind.
Brewer does not have a scrimmage scheduled for this weekend but the Patriots don’t play Aug. 23. They’ll play the following Friday (Aug. 30) at home against Danville.
All high school games in the state of Alabama start at 7 p.m.
• Speaking of Brewer…here’s an interesting update.
I’m not even a parent, but I hear it all the time: the thing we do for our kids. I’m pretty sure that goes at least double for grandparents.
Saturday a week ago, Brewer held its annual football festival on campus. It’s a fun day for players, students, parents – everyone in the community, really – and it also serves as a fundraiser for the football program.
There were all sorts of things brought in for kids, including inflatables. There was even a giant water slide.
Toward the end of the day, Brewer head coach Geoff Walters – a great guy who has done wonders for the Patriots’ football program – noticed his grandkids wanted to go down the slide.
Walters did what all great guys do for their grandchildren – he helped them climb the slide. When they got to the top, his 2-year-old granddaughter had a change of heart. It was really high.
The grandson, also very young, bravely stepped around them and rode down the slide with gusto.
Walters looked backward and judged the walk back down the ladder was less safe than going down the slide holding his grandchild in his lap. So down they went.
Walters was wearing sandals and near the bottom of the slide, his right foot got snagged. The result was two broken bones. He’s been on crutches on the sidelines ever since.
Walters regrets he didn’t take the time to remove the sandals but not the experience.
“For my grandkids, knowing what I know now, that I’d injure my foot, I’d still do it again in a heartbeat,” he said. “Everything will be all right in a couple of weeks.”
• A good – and loyal – guy got a just reward this week, though he calls the whole experience “bittersweet.”
Andy Burcham has been named the lead announcer for Auburn football, men’s basketball, baseball and all other Auburn Sports Properties, Auburn announced Monday.
Burcham has been a part of Auburn radio broadcasts for the past 31 years.
Burcham assumes the responsibilities previously held by Rod Bramblett, who died in a traffic crash in May.
Burcham worked alongside Bramblett for 25 years broadcasting Auburn baseball and has served as the play-by-play voice for Auburn women’s basketball since 1988.
He also has been the pregame and postgame locker room host for Tiger football since 1990 and was the play-by-play announcer on Auburn football pay-per-view and tape-delay broadcasts from 1992 to 2013.
“I wish the circumstances creating this opportunity were different,” he said, adding: “I am honored to be following in the footsteps of such legends as Rod Bramblett, Jim Fyffe and others”
I knew Fyffe well, living in Montgomery when he took over AU’s broadcasts and working fairly closely with him until the day he died. I knew Bramblett hardly at all, except for being a part of radio talk show interviews with him and listening to Auburn broadcasts.
Same with Burcham. I heard him all the time but being as he rarely called the major sports, there were scant opportunities to interview him.
Now he gets his chance at the big time, and after 31 years of service to Auburn athletics, he deserves it.
Burcham also will co-host Tiger Talk with veteran Auburn broadcaster Brad Law and work alongside Law on Auburn baseball broadcasts.