Photo by Julie Bennett/al.com
Gus Malzahn tried to tell us. Back when things were unraveling faster than a Trump rally in Chicago, he told us Auburn was close to being a good football team. But who could have guessed this turn of events?
Ironically, it seems the only team who can hang with this bunch today lies just to the west. A few weeks ago, there was talk that offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee may be gone at year’s end. That conversation continues today, but for other reasons. He’s arguably the hottest coordinator in the game. I’ll file that under things I never believed I’d write.
Despite the horrid start, the Auburn offense is now averaging more than 300 yards rushing and 500 yards total offense a game. Who wants a redo with Clemson and Texas A&M? I’m not sure you could get either on the bus.
This year is shaping up to be one of the strangest in school history. In the last three games, Auburn is averaging nearly 51 points a game. That ranks third nationally. A month ago, Pat Dye Field looked like a rehearsal for The Three Stooges. Now, one of those guys is directing the most potent offense in the country.
Sean White won’t make you forget Nick Marshall, but give him credit, he does enough to keep the offense moving down the field. Cutting out mistakes has made him much better than his physical talent says is possible.
How much money will Auburn have to come off at year’s end to keep defensive coordinator Kevin Steele around? Taking a cue out of Pete Carroll’s playbook, Steele keeps things loose and fun for his players. The results have been staggering. The Tiger defense is allowing only 14 points a game – ranking third nationally.
So now the stakes get higher. No one is going to confuse Austin Allen with Chad Kelly. Auburn faces an entirely different test this week. Playing in rural Mississippi is never easy on a Saturday night. The Ole Miss offense will be Auburn’s biggest test before heading to Tuscaloosa at season’s end.
Las Vegas can’t decide who should win. The line went up and down yesterday like the Dow Jones in October. More are buying into Auburn, but many remain unconvinced. This much we know: Auburn is getting better every week. Continue to progress, and this team becomes a very dangerous problem for Alabama.
One game at a time. That said, it’s hard to not look ahead. Malzahn has something special brewing again. We’ve seen it before. Only this time, it has a defense to match. We all know too well, that it can crumble in 60 minutes. It feels different this time.
There’s no living on a prayer this go around. Auburn is a good football team. If it shows up and plays for the next month, something special is going to happen.
I have a feeling they will.
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