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November 6, 2010Before Cam Newton walked to the podium, Auburn Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations Kirk Sampson requested all questions to Newton be about the football game.
Newton and the Tigers had just improved to 10-0 on the season with a 62-24 homecoming win over UTC.
Newton threw for 317 yards and four touchdowns Saturday against the Mocs. He completed 15-of-21 pass attempts. He rushed, actually walked, for another score.
The majority of reporters in the room honored Sampson's request. They wanted to know Newton's thoughts on the game, his performance, the importance of the two remaining opponents on Auburn's schedule, Georgia and Alabama, otherwise known to Tiger fans as "Amen Corner".
Other reporters weren't listening to Sampson, or didn't care.
"Do you know Kenny Rogers?" was question No. 4.
It brought a smile to Newton's face, but all questions do.
"I wish I could talk about it right now, but I can't," Newton said.
Rogers, according to his former Mississippi State teammate John Bond in an ESPN.com story Thursday, solicited $180,000 from State in exchange for Newton's signature. Newton was Rivals.com's No. 1 overall junior college prospect in the 2010 class.
Newton couldn't talk about the recent allegations regarding his recruitment. He couldn't defend himself.
"Says who?" was question No. 7.
"I'm not sure," Newton said. "I wish I could, but I don't think it's right for me to talk about it right now."
What Newton couldn't say is that the NCAA has informed Auburn not to discuss any details about the allegations. That includes Newton.
What Newton could say is that he wasn't involved in any wrongdoings.
"I haven't done anything wrong," he said. "I'm an Auburn athlete and still playing for Auburn. I love Auburn. God has blessed me in my life and the way I play; I only owe that to Him. He gets all the praise."
Auburn coach Gene Chizik, at the podium just before Newton, wouldn't talk about the details either.
"Cameron Newton is eligible at Auburn he played today and he played great," said Chizik. "That's where we're going to let it lie."
But when asked about Newton's character, Chizik didn't mind elaborating.
The second-year Auburn head coach stood up straight, and then stood up for his star quarterback.
"This is a great kid," Chizik said. "I can speak intelligently on that one. You can go back and talk to elementary teachers, high school coaches this is a great kid. He's been a great kid at Auburn University every day he's been around me, this staff and his teammates.
"I don't know what's out there, but I can assure you this, he is a phenomenal young man. Make no mistake about that."
Pretty witty, too.
"God is blessing me," said Newton.
And then added, "When God be blessin', the devil be messin'."
Asked later if he felt any different this week with the allegations the top topic in college football, Newton said, "I feel 10-0."
Sampson couldn't be too concerned with the non-football questions addressed to Newton.
Not when Newton gives answers like that.