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From the Eagle’s Nest

By on November 18th, 2016 in Football 5 Comments »
Kamryn Pettway
Auburn football during A-Day on Saturday, April 9, 2016 in Auburn, Ala. 
Photo by Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics

With two games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Tigers have only their pride to play for as injuries have piled up considerably and undermined Auburn’s attempts to gain a shocking SEC West title in 2016. The dream is over. We can all wake up now. The loss to Georgia last weekend highlighted two important factors regarding this team to me. The first is how important a healthy Sean White and Kamryn Pettway are to this offense. Having both of those guys limited or, in Pettway’s case, completely out of the game, genuinely killed any chance the Tigers had at scoring when they had the football. 

The second major takeaway for me is the play-calling of this offense—or lack thereof. Obviously, having your two primary sources of offensive production injured is going to limit you on offense, but this coaching staff has to be better at adapting and dealing with setbacks such as this. It would not be fair for me to say that they should have scored at least 20 or 30 points against Georgia on the road, but when you consider the fact that this offense was so ineffective in the second half that it completely nullified the kicking game of Daniel Carlson, you start to understand just how poorly it moved the ball, especially in the second half. 

I don’t know if Gus was still just “CEO-ing” for this game or not, but the bottom line is that this entire offensive coaching staff is being paid far too much money to put the kind of product on the field that they did this past Saturday. Auburn’s defense held the Georgia offense to just six points offensively. This should have been a bread-and-butter game for Auburn. The Tigers had their offensive savior Daniel Carlson ready and waiting to paper cut Georgia to death, but they could not move the ball well enough even to get into field-goal range. 

Quite simply, Auburn fans deserve better. Losing the SEC’s most productive running back is a major blow, but it is not an excuse for losing all offensive identity and production. Auburn’s lack of production in Pettway’s absence makes its success with him healthy look more like a fluke than careful planning. As if the coaches genuinely never had much of a clue and were simply going with the “hot hand” at running-back. 

The Tigers now find themselves in quite a precarious situation with a slew of injuries as they enter the home stretch of “Amen Corner.” Sean White and Kamryn Pettway will not be available to face Alabama A&M tomorrow along with Chandler Cox and Marcus Davis (who is confirmed to be lost for the remainder of the season). Jeremy Johnson has been named the starter at quarterback after it became obvious that this coaching staff does not trust John Franklin III to run the offense. 

After a rough start that was all but erased from memory as the Tigers gained momentum and rattled off a handful of  impressive victories, Auburn again finds itself in a tough spot. Looking ahead to the Iron Bowl would be a grave mistake to make this week. Gus Malzahn is back in troubled waters with an offense void of identity and surrounded by question marks. 

The important thing now is to take care of business against Alabama A&M and hope that key players can return from injury in time to make a stand in Tuscaloosa next weekend. 

5 Comments

  1. ausouthal says:

    Jeremy Johnson should have been the qb last week end. This is two years in a row that the coaching staff has put an injured Sean White on the field to watch him perform miserably! Johnson does not have to be Peyton Manning to be successful. He has the size and skills to be able to put together a two game stretch of playing effective football. Sure he may make a mistake but so do all other qbs! It will be a bigger mistake to try to continue to play an injured qb while hoping for success.

  2. AUJTJarhead AUJTJarhead says:

    Derrick, great article. Not meant to disparage anyone, seriously. We are all family here, but could you make sure that Sullivan013 reads this article.

  3. DBAU81 says:

    JJ will start the game, but it will be interesting to see how much he actually plays. If it’s all or most of the game, then it will be a confirmation that the coaches indeed have zero confidence in JFIII since they won’t let him play even against an overmatched opponent.

    If JJ performs decently tomorrow he should get the start in the Iron Bowl if Sean can’t go. And it’s good to see that the coaches have apparently ruled out pulling Woody Barrett’s redshirt. Playing him was certainly a tempting and intriguing idea, but better to preserve the year of eligibility and give him a shot at the starting job in the spring.

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      Playing Barrett in this game would be an extreme example of what I’d like to see more of from this coaching staff but I honestly would love it.

      One of my biggest knocks on this coaching staff is how long it takes a lot of younger players to see the field for some significant playing time.

      In a lot of cases (though certainly not all I realize) we “hang on” to guys only to find out they’re not up to snuff or not quite what we expected.

      I say run them out there and see what we’ve got in them. You can’t keep treating talent with kid gloves only to find out 2-3 years in they aren’t the player we were all expecting.

  4. […] Day on The Plains as Auburn host the Alabama A&M Bulldogs. The No. 15 Tigers have a roster of walking wounded including starting quarterback, Sean White. Consequently Senior Jeremy Johnson will be starting in […]