Can Auburn Repeat as SEC Champions?
(Auburn media file)
It’s finally here. The 2014 Auburn football season begins Friday. The Tigers officially begin “fall” camp in the heat of the day (3:10 p.m.) and will continue everyday for the next seven days before taking a one day break.
It will be a grueling schedule but that’s part of any pre season camp. Pre season practices are meant to serve sort of like boot camps, preparing and toughening a team for the battles that lay ahead. And no team or coaching staff has a more daunting task ahead of it than Auburn.
Last year the coaches had to get the team to release memories of the previous season’s losing record and believe in themselves. This year memories need to be released again, but this time it’s different.
This time it’s not a loosing season that needs to be put in the rearview mirror.
This time it’s an SEC Championship year that produced one of the most magical and miraculous seasons in the history of the sport – one that fell just 13 seconds short of a national championship. That’s going to be hard to do when the team’s motto is, “We need to be 13 seconds better in everything we do.” Yet the lesson in last season is that the impossible … sometimes can become the possible.
Senior Reese Dismukes acknowledges that last year’s heroics, no matter how wonderful, are not going to help the Tigers repeat as champions this year. However, he believes the team can use it as motivation. “We learned that we’re never out of it,” said Reese. “No matter what the situation is, anything can happen,”
Nevertheless, the Tigers will be playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation having to face no less than seven top 25 teams.
While many teams open with a cupcake of sorts, the Tigers begin with a conference game against Arkansas and then visit Big 12 power, Kansas State in the third week for a Thursday night match up. And after facing La Tech at home, have to play LSU, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama. In addition, Auburn plays the Rebels, the Dogs, and the Tide on the road.
A tough assignment to be sure but Gus and crew are up to the challenge. When Gus became the Head Coach, he announced his goal was to win championships. He did that in his first year.
The question is can his Tigers become the first SEC team in 16 years to repeat as champions? Auburn has a great coaching staff, returns 14 starters, a veteran line, a stable full of quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers. In addition, most look for the defense to be much improved. So is it possible?
No one knows the answer but I do know one thing, if you look at Gus Malzahn’s coaching record, you can’t count him out. Gus is a proven winner who has never had a losing season as a college coach. And we know he is a focused and driven man who can’t stand losing.
Add all that up and I believe it’s definitely possible for the Tigers to repeat. After all, didn’t we learn last year that, “Anything is possible?”