Tuesday Grumblings

By Posted on: September 10th, 2013 in Featured Article, Football 19 Comments »
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“Thank God for the Mississippis” has been uttered by more than one SEC fan through the years. It’s a popular sentiment during the rebuilding seasons. Unfortunately, Auburn now has the rare position of not being able to look past either Magnolia state team the way we always have in the past. Whoever begun the trend of us kicking off the SEC slate with State a few years back was a genius. Wading into your conference foes is way better than diving into the deep end where the LSUs, Georgias, and Alabamas swim.  There are so many sharks in SEC waters. Hey, whoever put Amen Corner at the end of the season was a genius too. Jay argued yesterday that Saturday could be the most important game of the year. I think it’s the most pivitol one. A solid win builds conference confidence–something so desperately needed after last year’s debacle.  A loss could derail everything. Yes, that sort of pivitol.

While Malzahn’s offense continues to spool up and improve, it’s nowhere near the production he wants. Yardage is great, and I love the extra attention to the rush while Nick Marshall gets his footing and dials back his arm, especially with another great back having a break-out game. Last week it was Cameron Artis-Payne; the week before, Corey Grant. Trey Mason continues to be consistent and the rushing attack is ranked early at #11 in the country. But the number of plays run–69 last week, is about 15% short of what we need. We didn’t win time of possession against Arky State, which doesn’t matter of you score with Oregon-esque quickness, so we must have more snaps. Teams will continue to pile yards on us–there’s simply no getting around that fact with the Malzahn system. Our best defense is more snaps–that and the defense of Ellis Johnson assuming a ‘bend but don’t break’ front to keep em out of the end zone. I definitely liked what I saw out of our squad with the high octane Red Wolf attack formerly run by Malzahn.

No, it wasn’t just you two weeks ago thinking that Washington State wasn’t a half bad team. You probably thought you were  over-rationalizing Auburn’s improved outing against an out of conference BCS foe any which way but loose. Turns out those guys are better than most give them credit for,  upsetting USC at the Coliseum 10-7. While Mike Leach and company did pretty well rushing against AU, they managed a whopping 7 yards against the Trojans. Luckily the passing game of the Air Raid offense was able to secure the ‘W’. It’s funny for me to think that almost five years ago, I was calling for Mike Leach to replace Tommy Tuberville after the 2008 season. I had the mistaken notion that the biggest momentum in recruiting meant to secure the biggest name available, and Leach was the man, looking to leave Texas Tech after a breakout season there. Turns out that someone was looking out for us, as Leach’s pass-happy ways probably wouldn’t have worked on the run-dominant Plains. He was fired following the 2009 season after the much publicized altercation with Craig James’ son. I wish him well with the Cougars.

Leach certainly did his part to put our old buddy Lane Kiffin on the hot seat two games into the season. After skating by Hawaii messily in week one, the mighty Trojan passing attack managed 54 yards total against Washington State, which instead sounds more like an NFL outing of Matt Linert or Mark Sanchez. Cries for the the boy wonder’s head are now out in full force. Joining him on the hot seat is Texas coach Mack Brown, whose team allowed 550 yards of rushing to BYU last weekend and a blow-out loss. Mack Daddy made quick work of his DC yesterday morning, but it’ll likely be too little to save his job. Brown should have allowed himself to get kicked upstairs years ago after failing to hand the reigns over to coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp, but egos are big in Texas as well.

Maybe we shouldn’t feel so bad for either of these coaches. Kiffin packed his dysfunctional bags after one season so the Vols could begin the process of healing ( a long road winding through Derek Dooley, albeit) and Mack Brown’s insistence to hold the power in Austin coughed up Will Muschamp back to the SEC where he will be content to languish the Gators behind Georgia and South Carolina for a few years.

Don’t think Muchamp isn’t on the hot seat in season three in the Swamp by dropping the sunset of the rivaly game with Miami last week. It’s not inconceivable that failure to compete in the east this year could put him out in the cold come December, depending on how he does with Georgia and FSU. And speaking of hot seats, how  close did we come to hearing the whines of “Fire Mark Richt” after the Dawgs finally pulled out the victory against the Gamecocks in the 4th quarter? A 0-2 start there would have echoed the start of their 2011 season and the long knives would have been unsheathed yet again.

Man, how I love college football!

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  1. SandMountainTiger SandMountainTiger says:

    Montravius Adams will now be referred to as “El Uno Grande,” as long as he wears #1. That is all.

  2. restless6 says:

    In other news, NFL defensive coordinators are frantically calling Gene Chizik this morning after the Eagles opened up a can of whoop ass on the Redskins last night.

    :-)

  3. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    I love that Chip Kelly had success but I want Gus here for a long time…….also RG3 hadn’t had any practice ~ whut?! Still looked tentative until later in the game. Now if Cam wants to head to the Eagles ~ now that would be interesting…

    But we should handle the dawgs. Don’t think Gus will overlook ANYONE. The man wants to win and is going to do anything to accomplish it. I think every game is going to have a unique look. They are playing as a team in a system. If you work the system, it will work. I think the players have confidence in the coaches to play them as they are needed to get the win. Substitutions galore. No one is really a starter, they are really on equal footing and will get playing time. But let me say that I am loving the Ellis hire! Of course, Garner goes without saying….

    #WarEagle #GusDelorean #MarshallPlan

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..I don’t know if you remember, but RG-3 was limping around last year, they kept putting him back in the game, and he ended up with a pretty gruesome knee injury on national TV. I’m frankly shocked that he’s even back playing, now. I’m not sure they haven’t rushed things, with him.

      ……We might see Ellis Johnson change his strategy, if we’re able to run on MSU’s defense like Oklahoma State did. If you’re going to hurry up and down the field and score points, you should have your defense attack, and produce sacks and turnovers. Right now, we’re trying to prevent the big play. Eventually, I think we’ll take more risks, and try to blow folks out of the water early, kind of like Oregon does.

      • WarEagleEngr says:

        Regarding defensive strategy, I read that Auburn rotated as many 13 defensive linemen against ASU. Is/was this expected? Do you think it is due to injuries to Ford and Whitaker?

        Frankly, I’m glad to see players like Owens, Sanders, and Delaine finally get the opportunity to contribute, and then do so convincingly.

        • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

          …..The obvious answer is that there must not be much separation in their abilities, and coaches Johnson and Garner have confidence in all of them. I would think a guy can play much harder, if he’s only going to be in the game for 10-15 snaps, rather than playing 60.

          …..I remember when Nebraska used a similar approach back in the mid 1990s. When they were beating the snot out of Florida in the Fiesta, and Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, they were basically rotating three complete D-lines, and putting relentless pressure on Wuerffel and Manning.

  4. LSU Jonno says:

    No way Muschamp is fired this year regardless of his record. He’ll be on the hot seat next year though.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      The Gators do have a pretty manageable schedule. I still expect his seat to be warm by the end of the season, but red hot by next. Although if Texas has an opening…..

    • auhousefly says:

      Hmmm…I believe Pat Dye used your first sentence about somebody else last year. However, I do believe Muschamp is a better HC than Chizik.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      So far Muschamp’s OC hires seem to be underwhelming. Is Muschamp doing his best Wing Nut impression by tying his OC’s hands? Is SEC competition over the heads of his “Flavor of the Moment” hires? I don’t know, but I do know that something will have to give or Muschamp will be getting some serious stink eye from Gator alumni and fans. Five turnovers ruined UF’s plans in Miami so I suppose the verdict is still out on Pease but so far I’m not impressed.

  5. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    D00ds, RGIII is screwed as long as Shanadouche is calling the shots in Washington. I LOVE that Chip Kelly beat Washington, but saying that Kelly will be an out and out success at this level by defeating a poorly coached Washington team–yikes.

    Georgia will drop another big one this season. It’s inevitable. So don’t worry WEA, there’s a WHOLE season ahead for DawgNation to collectively and spectacularly meltdown. I’ve got a comfy seat, some popcorn and some cold beer….you’re welcome to join.

    I’m not happy that this State game is so important for our season, but here it is and here we are. I hope that our young Tigers don’t get caught up in the ‘shoulds’ about a game like this and just keep their heads down, noses clean and get ready to get out there and get the job done.

    • WarEagleAtlanta WarEagleAtlanta says:

      Dawg nation has gotten a little big for their silver britches the past few years, likely emboldened by a 7-1 run against us. But like I always say, if you can’t beat em, arrange to have them melt down.

      • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

        “Big for their silver britches?” You got that right. We that live among them have to put up with it everyday.

  6. AUJTJarhead AUJTJarhead says:

    I don’t think Malzahn will overlook any SEC opponent. He knows the importance of this game and is not looking ahead. He appears to be the consumate CEO and knows how to manage his people. Tubberville gave too much leeway to his minions. Chizik wasn’t able to able to balance anything apparently.

  7. HamiltonAUfan HamiltonAUfan says:

    Montravius Adams ………. GO TIGERS