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Afterthoughts: The Fallacy of Chicken-Ball

By on September 16th, 2013 in Member Post 8 Comments »

Well, we’re 3-0.  3 more wins means we go bowling.  After last year that is one hell of an improvement.  We should have 2 more easy OOC wins, and we have Vanderbilt, which SHOULD be a win, and that puts us looking really good for a recovery season.  I am extremely happy with the way the team looks and I still have a lot of hope.  There have been a few developments so far this year that have changed the scope of the season, and I believe that the sky is the limit for our team.  Let’s look at some of them:

1.  Alabama is NOT that good.   Preseason, all the talking head morons on ESPN were essentially crowning them 3 time national champs without even bothering to play the games.  TAMU yesterday showed that there are some DEFINITE holes in the Updykes.  They hung 49 on TAMU, but I watched the game, and most of that was due to TAMU’s defense being so damn terrible.  They have one of the worst defenses, if not THE worst defense in the SEC, and they are going to get lit up all year, even by the bad teams.  Their offense, however, is REALLY good, and as much as I hate JFF, he brings that same dynamic to a game that Cam Newton brought that just gives defensive coordinators nightmares.  Bammer’s defense was TORCHED, their secondary was exploited all game, and they showed that they can bust coverages just like every other college team.  A few of the broken down plays amazed me, as JFF threw up more than one wounded duck that SHOULD have been intercepted, or at least batted down, but the DB’s and Safeties were full of epic fail.  Then, when the game was on the line, the Updykes tried as hard as they could to sh*t the bed, but TAMU’s defense was so bad that they couldn’t.  Saban went in to full blown Nick Saban chicken sh*t conservative mode, which was run it up the middle EVERY PLAY, and TAMU’s defense was so terrible they couldn’t stop it, and the turds managed to back into a lucky win in a game they should have lost.  Bottom line, Alabama is NOT invincible.  They have a lot of vulnerabilities.  Mark my words, they are going to lose this year. 

2.  Ole Miss isn’t a doormat anymore.  Most people were counting both Mississippi schools as wins this year.  WRONG.  Ole Miss is 3-0, nationally ranked, and just beat the piss out of Texas on the road.  Granted, Texas sucks, but would the Houston Nutt Ole Miss team have done that?  Nope.  Everybody had better look out of this team.  They are DANGEROUS. 

3.  TAMU can’t play defense at all.  This’ll be short, as I mostly elaborated on it earlier, but TAMU’s defense is AWFUL.  I mean AWFUL.  They are still playing Big 12 ball, which is have a great offense and outscore everybody, and that doesn’t work in the SEC.  Even when the Updykes got conservative and tried as hard as they could to sh*t the bed, TAMU still couldn’t figure out how to stop the old “run it up the middle every down” Nick Saban conservative strategy that he does EVERY TIME he gets more than a 2 touchdown lead.  Everybody in the stadium knew the plays that were going to be called, and TAMU still couldn’t stop it.  TAMU had a near flawless game offensively, against supposedly one of the best defenses out there (which is VERY arguable now), and still lost.  They won’t be that perfect offensively every game.  They better figure out how to play some defense, because when JFF leaves at the end of next year, and that offensive dynamic is gone, they will be another Kentucky.  Remember when Kentucky had Tim Couch and was so good offfensively but couldn’t stop anybody?  That is what TAMU reminds me of now.  Then Couch left, and Kentucky has sucked ever since, with the exception of a brief reprisal of mediocrity when Jared Lorenzen was there.  If TAMU wants to play in this league, they had better figure out how to play defense, or they’re well on their way to being a perpetual doormat. 

4.  Oregon doesn’t suck.  Tennessee is…well…Tennessee, but Oregon took them to the woodshed yesterday.  After watching Bammer and TAMU, I don’t think the Updykes can beat Oregon.  The jury is still out on LSU, but I believe that the national championship game this year will be Oregon and somebody.  All Oregon has to do is beat Stanford, and not sh*t the bed against someone else inferior, and they’re in.  Can LSU or Bama beat them?  I don’t know.  LSU is supposedly rebuilding, and the turds didn’t look so good defensively against a very similar offense.  Plus, Oregon’s defense isn’t horrible like TAMU’s.  Bama plays like they did yesterday, Oregon beats them handily.  LSU……I don’t know.  They were supposed to be rebuilding this year, but they look awfully damn good.  We’ll see. 


Auburn just moved the 3-0 for the year, with a last second comeback win against Mississippi State.  MSU scares the crap out of me.  Once that Dax Prescott kid gets some experience, he is going to be bad news.  We were able to beat him once Ellis Johnson grew a damn set and started playing press man and put some pressure on him.  Here is where the title of my column this week comes into play.  I call it CHICKEN BALL.

Football coaches are such idiots sometimes.  They spend an entire game doing something well, get a lead, then they start playing what I like to call CHICKEN BALL.  They get conservative, are scared to call anything with ANY risk, move into a prevent defense, and move away from what they have been successfuly doing the entire game.  WHY?????????????  ARE YOU STUPID???????????  Tommy Tuberville was the world’s worst at it.  2 touchdown lead = run it up the middle 3 times, then punt.  Saban does it to, as I described earlier.  The only thing that saved him was TAMU’s terrible defense.  Then defensive coordinators will move into that ‘bend but don’t break’ zone crap that I spent most of last year describing with language that would make this website NC-17 rated even without showing any boobies.  There are no words in the English language that can adequately describe how much I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this defensive philosophy. 

Ellis Johnson was doing it at the beginning of the second half last night.  I wanted to jump through the TV, grab him by the neck and scream at him how stupid he was, and demand that he immediately remove his balls and give them to someone that actually deserves them.  As soon as he woke the hell up and started playing press man, putting pressure on Prescott, and getting physical, all of a sudden MSU’s offense could do nothing.  The defense shut them down, and allowed the offense to make that one final score and win the game. 

Of course, Malzhan and Rhett Lashlee were just as guilty of playing Chicken Ball.  Every offensive series, with the exception of the last drive, made me want to kill them both.  It was like watching Scot Loeffler call plays again.  Run it up the middle, run it up the middle, short pass behind the line of scrimmage, punt.  Every fricking time.  Over and over and over again.  There were a scarce few non-chicken sh*t plays mixed in, but for the most part, the vaunted Gus Malzhan offense was weak, conservative, and scared. 

You don’t win football games with scared. 

Then, at the end of the game, they were FORCED to call an agressive offense.  It was the last drive, and it was either call agressive, or lose the game.  What happened?  They WON THE DAMN GAME.  How?  Nick Marshall made plays, and even when he faltered, he made some great 3rd down conversions.  Gus and Rhett’s testicles magically dropped out of their hiding places, and they stopped thinking field goal and started thinking touchdown.  They trusted their offense, trusted their quarterback, made some calls, WENT AFTER the defense, and WON THE DAMN GAME.  Amazing!!!!  When they stopped playing Chicken Ball, the damn offense moved and put points on the board!!  What a concept!!!

It never ceases to amaze me.  Football is a mean, nasty, physical game.  It is meant to be played with passion, aggression, and adrenaline.  Yet somehow, football coaches can be some of the most cowardly little  wimps ever.  No matter how many times it fails, they STILL use the prevent defense.  No matter how many 3 and outs they get in a row, they will still call the chicken sh*t conservative offense, and play NOT TO LOSE instead of PLAYING TO WIN.  It sickens me to the point of murderous rage.  But…..for one shining moment last night, the Auburn coaching staff was not a staff of wimps.  They were a staff of winners.  If you lose, you lose.  Big deal.  The sun will rise tomorrow.  But…..if you lose while knowing you gave it a real shot to win, I’m willing to bet that you’ll rise the next day living with yourself a lot easier. 

I want to see more of what I saw at the end of the game last Saturday.  I want to see us being winners.  I want to see us putting it all out there, and not being afraid to make mistakes.  If we lose, we lose.  It’s just a game.  I can live with losing if I know that our boys put it all out there.  I was so proud of the players.  They looked like winners.  They BELIEVED that they were going to win that game, and they played like it.  It was the COACHES that looked like losers for a while, until they finally woke up.  Let’s hope they stay awake.

To the coaching staff:  Be more agressive, and we’ll see more wins.  I guarantee it. 


  1. Ricky Bobby says:

    We don’t play Vandy this year….

  2. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    “Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be, the enemy will be more tired, more hungry. Keep punching.”

    General George S. Patton, Jr.

  3. auh20 auh20 says:

    Somewhere between the Capn’s rant and great coaching strategy lies the truth. We have to do a lot of what we do due to depth issues. Every phase of the team is improving each day with a few warts continuing to show in games, but we must trust Gus. Johnson’s reputation is bend but don’t break. We had to bend a little more until we figured out Prescott. He looks to be their best hope at QB and was a slight surprise as the starter. Keep the faith. We’ll win more than the ex-spurts could imagine.

  4. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    I tend to agree with you……haven’t figured out how that makes me feel on the inside.

  5. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    Hoo, boy!!!! Wish Gus and Ellis could read this. Is there any way to forward it to the AU athletic department?

    I can remember having similar thoughts during the TT days. And, before that, wondering why WonderBoy Bowden couldn’t recruit decent sized running backs.

  6. mvhcpa says:

    Actually, Coach Dye also had a similar philosophy in the post-Bo time period; if we ever got up three touchdowns, it was like we turned off the offense, while our defense still smothered the opposition (until the second half of the fourth quarter, when the second/third team finally came in and gave up two touchdowns, leaving us with a ten-point-or-so win).

    I wanted to sue for half my ticket price back, since we fans were presented only half a football game.

    Nonetheless, the thing I took away from the final drive was that not only did the TEAM think they could win (in regulation or overtime), but I, the fan, thought we could win (we might not, but we COULD). That was totally lacking in the last two years (well, in 2011, we didn’t have the chance to exercise this after Utah State; we were either way up or way down or ahead and on defense at the very end of the game). It was killed off by Kyle and Loeffler’s total ineptitude in the Clemson and LSU games last year. BUT, I feel now that if we have the ball and need a score or a first down to seal it, we are GOING to get that score or first down. THAT is what makes football worth watching!

    Michael Val
    (who is ESPECIALLY glad to be an Auburn Tiger now!)

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Dye was a grind it out, control the clock, three yards and a cloud of dust, use the kicking game to control field position, defense stuff the run coach his entire career. It worked very well for him. In ’85 he dropped the Wishbone and went with the I, mostly to feature Bo, but he also knew he had to develop a passing game to keep defenses honest. He used big or moderate leads to develop younger players.

  7. sparkey sparkey says:

    You lose credibility when you say we play Vanderbilt and we don’t. Sorry, but that’s a MAJOR mistake and one you shouldn’t make so easily so close to the very beginning of your piece. You lose your readers’ interest from the start and you have a devil of a time getting it back.

    Believe this or not, I was a sports journalist myself many moons ago and I made very similar mistakes to what you just made and nobody thought I knew anything about sports and moreover football. I suppose nothing has changed 😉