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From the Eagle’s Nest

Eagles Nest

Hope for the worst, prepare for the worst? It’s not a stretch to say that, looking back, Auburn may have over committed to Gene Chizik after the 2010 BCS National Championship he delivered. Well, Kevin Scarbinsky wants to make sure that since Auburn is doing so well under Malzahn in 2013 that we don’t make the same mistake again. It is kind for our pal Kevin to look out for us like that, but I think Auburn can handle the situation appropriately. I’m sure he thinks a poor, old school like Auburn just doesn’t understand how to handle any success. We’re so used to doing so poorly that we get delusional at the first sign of it turning around. Thanks for reminding us during such an exciting time for Auburn fans and alumni what happened last time we did anything good and how we better not let it happen again because we won’t be this good for long. Oh wait, you are just being ridiculous. Thanks, but no thanks for the advice. 

The Game Formerly Known as the Game of the Century.  ESPN desperately wants everyone to know that even though LSU does not control its own destiny in the SEC West, that this weeks Alabama/LSU game was a really big game 2 years ago and it was really big last year and if circumstances were different; it would be just as huge this year. You should still watch it because it could be as huge as those were but it just won’t be because of ignored actual circumstances that prevent it from being really important, but man oh man if only. If only  ESPN could just stop being the Onion News Network of sports and quit playing gonzo-journalism school.

Jameis Winston is going blind.  Not really, but the FSU quarterback apparently has a bad habit of squinting when looking towards the sidelines and the fact that this is becoming a significant story in college football world is further proof that the journalists covering it have too much time on their hands. This is ‘Honey Boo Boo’ esque stuff.

Quack Attack Falls Flat.  If Jameis Winston was squinting before, he is wide-eyed with excitement this morning about his Seminoles new position in the BCS rankings after Oregon was once again tripped by Stanford. What the Ducks have been able to accomplish the past few seasons will quickly get discounted by some (some will even call them fools) and they have failed to win “the big one” on several occasions, but the record they have been able to maintain over the past few seasons is remarkable in an era when college football is as competitive as it has ever been. Prior to the season I didn’t think there was a significant chance of them being able to continue their run similar to the way they did under Chip Kelly, but I thus far been proven wrong despite last night’s loss to Stanford.

Tre Mason: Cake Boss? Tre Mason recently commented on how he would like to thank his offensive linemen:  “I told those guys I’ve got to bake them a cake, do something nice for them, because those guys don’t get as much love as they’re supposed to,” Mason said. “Without those guys, my success wouldn’t be possible.” Mason’s words, while also a good perspective on his perspective on his personality, provide a good analogy for Auburn’s running game this season. Keep pace with high-octane offenses such as Texas A&M? Lead the SEC in rushing offense? Piece of cake! Bad puns aside, it is good to see the Tigers staying committed to performing for each other just as much if not more than for themselves.

Regarding Rocky Top

I really like Auburn’s chances again tomorrow on the road in Tennessee. No road game within the SEC can ever be taken for granted, but the Tigers are not in a position to feel “entitled” or comfortable enough to take their foot off of the gas pedal. There is a new drive behind them – one that is evident on every down. They are hungry. It is a refreshing sight considering this time last season hope had long since packed its bags and left town.

Nick Marshall has done an outstanding job handling the work load placed on him by the coaches. His ability to run the zone read has been exceptional and his passing would probably be much better than it already is if it weren’t for Auburn’s excellent running attack alleviating the need to throw the football. Jeremy Johnson has added increased optimism surrounding the quarterback position with his outstanding play when called upon. His emergence as a true passing threat provides a nice security blanket in case Marshall were to sustain a serious injury (see FAU and Western Carolina games).

Though their stats don’t technically match up well against the offense, Auburn’s defense as a whole are the heroes of my 2013 season. What they have been able to accomplish in their first season under Ellis Johnson has been a joy to see. No they haven’t been lights-out, but Auburn has gone far too long with inadequate defensive play, so to see this unit begin to turn the corner towards Auburn defenses of old is a beautiful thing. Jonathan Mincy, Robenson Therezie, and Javiie Mitchell have all emerged as playmakers in 2013 as well as blossoming defensive linemen Carl Lawson and Montravious Adams.

Butch Jones will have his squad fired up and ready to play tomorrow, but ultimately I think Auburn will be too much too often for the Volunteers to keep under control.

War Eagle! Beat Tennessee! 

16 Comments

  1. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    The Duck has no clothes. If Oregon were in the SEC West they would be just ahead of aTm. Stanford is getting so much love right now in the wake of their eremarkable achievement. But I could have sworn I saw Auburn on the field running against the Ducks. Very similar run heavy attack. Except for that fourth quarter defensive meltdown, Auburn doesn’t give up too many points in the fourth quarter. I don’t see why Stanford gets ranked so highly above us. Maybe if we beat an unbeaten Alabama that might move us up.

    Oregon’s loss in the face of solid O line play and fairly stout defense (for three quarters anyway) reveals just how light in the pants is the PAC. When facing solid opposing lines, Oregon just can’t cut it. The much vaunted Oregon has lost to Auburn, LSU, and would cerftainly have lost to Alabama. So far, the only SEC team they managed to stomp was a hapless Tennessee coming off their worst string of horrible coaching disasters.

    But am I bitter?

    Maybe a little. But Baylor’s incinerating embarrassment of Oklahoma makes me feel better.

    And speaking of Baylor. Did their student section run out on the field BEFORE the game and form a line for their team to run through? That was pretty cool. Man, were they fired up.

    • KoolBell KoolBell says:

      Yes the students run onto the field and create a line for the players to run through. One of the great college football traditions. It’s like a Chinese fire drill because the students can be hard to get lined up sometimes.

      Last was tough because of the “Black Out” and all the emotion from the national attention that Baylor is getting. The students were a little more crazy than normal.

      Stick a fork in Oregon, they are done!

      I’ll disagree with you about the quality and depth of the PAC12 vs SEC, but we will save that for another day.

  2. mikeautiger says:

    Yes even Ark St scored a bunch of points on Oregon last year, just did not have the horses on defense to stop them.

  3. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    1. Scarbinsky points out the obvious. Thanks Kev. No one at Auburn has thought that far ahead yet. Schmuck.

    2. Derrick, how dare you ridicule ESPN. If they say Corn Dogs vs. Updykes is the Game of the Century then it is a fact. Even when one of them isn’t in contention for the conference championship.

    3. Question to media: If Jameis Winston has vision problems, how does he manage to throw such precise passes?

    4. Oregon has done an excellent job sustaining success. Their downfall is playing in a weak conference. Note to Oregon Athletic Department: Schedule tougher out of conference teams than Nichols State. FSU did it in the ’70’s and ”80’s and it worked out pretty well for them. Your learning curve will steepen. Your program success will accelerate.

    5. The Auburn O line and D line are the key to success this season. Those guys can play ball.

    6. Stuff UT’s run game. Make them one dimensional.

  4. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    I think you’re delusional about Scarbinsky. I realize he’s not popular with a lot of Auburn folk, but his article was well written, reasoned, and pointed out a situation that’s been a sore point with me for a long time: Chizik did not ask for the buyout. JJ gave it too him. While I think Jacobs has much to be respected for, his decision on the Chizik buyout will go down as one of the all time boneheads!

  5. usmc71au83 says:

    Scarbinsky is like so many writers and, unfortunately, many fans. He bases his opinions far too often on history, without regard to what has transpired since these memorable events of the previous season. It was obvious when you read the analysis and comments prior to the season. Rather than examine what was accomplished in hiring a new coaching staff, in recruiting, and in both Spring and Fall practice, opinions were formed on the basis of the wins and losses of prior seasons. As a result, many people have had to re-examine those opinions as this season has unfolded. Now that same philosophy is being applied to Coach Malzahn’s compensation package. Because mistakes were made with regard to previous compensation packages to previous coaches, there is a rush by Scarbinsky to encourage an overabundance of caution in a situation that shows no real resemblance to the past. What is being accomplished this season goes beyond improvement. Look at the difference in the between Auburn’s rebuilding and those of the other three SEC schools with new head coaches. There is no comparison. If Auburn continues on it’s current path of success, there should be no problem providing the architect of that success with the compensation that he has earned and deserves. Judging him by the mistakes of the past could prove to be a greater mistake.

  6. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    I don’t think you can blame Scarbinsky for pointing out the obvious because we have already had a post suggesting that we dig up Fort Knox and make it the worlds largest cash cabana in Gus’ backyard. You have to admit we get a little giddy when someone turns around the suckitude.

    And you have to cut Jacobs some slack when he threw the keys to Auburn at Chizik. He also came in and hired a great coaching staff, full of worthy coordinators (Malzahn and Roof, who had a better reputation when he got here) and super recruiters. Chizik also IMMEDIATELY competed with Saban on the recruiting trail and brought in great talent. He had top 10 recruiting class’ every year he was at Auburn. Oh, and he won the first national title in football in over 50 years, all while dealing with the biggest sh@tstorm witchhunt in the history of sports. There weren’t many who would not have wilted under that pressure and Chizik did it with class. I mean, he looked like a once in a generation coach, who had ties to Texas. Thats why the buyout was there. Its almonst inconceivable that Chizik could come in and do the job he did through 2010 and then for it to just completely turn to dust in two years. NOBODY saw that coming except the 13 Toofed (one for each title ROWWW TAAAHHHD) Walmart Bama fans.

    So there is some precedent there for letting one year of success get to your head.

    I’m all for giving Gus a nice big raise but he has not proven he can sustain yet. I would give him a raise that would pay him in the top half of the league with incentives that pay him HANDSOMELY for winning 10 plus games, a BCS playoff appearance, an SEC Championship, and of course a BCS Playoff Championship. Any Coach that is worth his salt would accept that if the payoff for reaching the incentives were lucrative enough….and to be honest getting an extra million for winning the national title is NOT enough when you are making a third of what the current national title winning coach makes. You make it competitive and Gus will stay, but Scarbinsky is right, you don’t mortgage the future for what happened in the past.

  7. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    D.R.,

    Absolutely GREAT article. Solution: Stop reading al.com. We don’t need the updykes. Pat Dye proved that years ago. The only “problem” we have at this moment is to beat the Vols. All other trivia will work itsefl out eventually. Let’s all get behind our wonderful Auburn Tigers and BEAT THE VOLS! AND, NEVER forget:

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER !!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!! (EVEN IN WHITE JERSEYS !!!)

  8. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    I tend to agree with the Col. It’s hard to get to riled up about Scarbs, ’cause al.com is basically for the updykes. I never go there anymore. I used to go for the information, but now…..yikes! With the B’ham News being gutted and reduced, it’s all about page hits. Man’s gotta work-so whatevs.

    I was amazed as I watched ‘Throwdown Thursday’ (h/t ESPN) quickly devolved into a one-sided scorefest in BOTH lauded games. Maybe the Ducks should have been holding up signs against the opponents that they were actually playing and NOT against Bama….which brings me back to the whole one game, one Saturday at a time thing. We’ve got a big game tomorrow….maybe it’s no Game of the Century, but it’s a game that we must win if we want to keep moving up and forward.

    War Eagle! Beat the Vols!!!

    • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

      Amen, TOTM
      It looked like Oregon had been reading their own press clippings annointing them as the latest penultimate foil for St. Nick and the Crimson Tsunami. I mean, how could a plodding pro style team that lost to Utah(!!!???) beat the almighty Supersonic Ducks. Our boys would be wise to heed the knowledge that emanated from the enormo Light Emitting Diode devices hanging in the Tigers fortress of Ausometude.

      I believe most were expecting the Ducks to crush the Cardinal but as I have said many times in the past, if you can control the line and execute, its really hard to beat a team that lines up and punches you in the face for 60 minutes….even if your team looks like they are auditioning for roles as Hawkmen in a reboot of Flash Gordon.

      Even though that may be a preview of what may come to pass in Jordan Hare in a fortnight, it does my heart good to see the Northwest Fashionistas get their butt handed to them on a truffle oil infused crustini.

  9. usmc71au83 says:

    If anyone wants insight into Scarbinsky and the basis for his writing, he/she need look no further than his pre-season assessment of Auburn and what the prospects were for the 2013 season. In addition, read his weekly predictions for our upcoming games. It seemed that the basis for his assessment and weekly predictions were simply what had not been accomplished last year. As the season has progressed, he has had to consider this season, since there has been such a dramatic turn-a-round. Based upon his compensation article, it seems that he is stil comparing our current coach and his situation to prior ones. I am the first to admit that I have been very uncomfortable with the compensation that has been given. Instead of huge raises and buyouts, I would have preferred huge incentives for actual performance. However, I do not believe in unreasonably limiting compensation for superior performance because of unwise decisions in the past. I don’t know all of the reasons for those decisions, but this is a “new day” and I would like to go forward with that mindset.

    Also, there is no comparison between the previous coaching staff and the current one. Although I liked Chizik and wanted him to succeed, and cannot imagine how he managed the worst implosion that I have ever seen, there are differences in the coaching staff when you examine them carefully. Chizik had never proven himself as a head coach, Malzahn had, with more schools at different levels. Chizik appears to have tried to control Malzahn’s offense, much like Nutt did at Arkansas. Also, you never saw the offensive potential that Malzahn exhibited at Tulsa, especially during Malzahn’s last game (the Hurricane Bowl in Mobile). You can compare Ellis Johnson and his success as a defensive coordinator with that of Ted Roof, although Roof appears to have had a situation that was similar to Malzahn’s. Then look at the various position coaches. Not only can the current staff recruit, they can coach. Again, maybe the old staff was restrained by the head coach. Even the changes in 2012 did not help. I could add more, but I don’t think it is necessary. I believe we are in agreement that compensation should be different than in the past, but I don’t want to penalize what appears to be a turn-a-round to a truely successful program by a remarkable coach and staff. When Coach Dye arrived you could sense that things were going to change dramatically, but this staff is going to take things to another level.

    Although Chizik hired what we believed to be a great staff, it does not compare to our current staff. An examination of the coaches and their accomplishments will prove that point. In addition, in 2009 Malzahn’s offence did not resemble the HUNH that he had at Tulsa. In fact, we never saw that type of up-tempo performance during his tenure here. Did Malzahn change? I don’t think so. It seemed he was experiencing the same situation that he had under Nutt at Arkansas. The head coach thought he knew more about the offense that a coach with a proven record of offensive success. As a result, it created some doubt about what we could expect over time with the offense and how long he would stay at Auburn.

    I

  10. usmc71au83 says:

    I apologize for not deleting my last paragraph in the previous post. I was re-writing and failed to proof read.

  11. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    Goodness, aren’t we all in rare form, today? And, we’re pretty much on the same page. Absolutely no sarcasm intended or implied. War Eagle.

    Being a Georgia resident, I read the Auburn sports on AL.com since we don’t get a whole lot of coverage at home. I ignore the Bama articles, get a lot of enjoyment from Erickson and Marcello, which is pretty much factual, and often read KScar with a huge grain of salt. And hasn’t the “official” Auburn site improved 1000% since Phillip Marshall and Charles Goldberg started writing there? I love ‘em.

    Let’s beat them Vols. Go Big Blue!

  12. SandMountainTiger SandMountainTiger says:

    Forgive me if I reply similarly to others, but I just got through teaching math to 5th graders, and I just don’t feel like reading all the comments.

    1.) Whatever Auburn gave CGC is fine with me. I saw a NC in my lifetime. His buyout allowed Gus to come back. So to me, no real story there.

    2.) Game Day is in West Vance, so they have to push it….even though it’s on CBS. I have become more and more a Fox Sports 1 watcher over the last few months. If they’d just let the “panel of experts” (especially Gary Payton) go and just have Charissa Thompson talk about hair brushing techniques, what food she likes, whatever, It would be infinitely better. Jay and Dan are awesome, and they actually cover hockey.

    3.) Stanford is as close as an SEC team there is outside the conference. The fact that the Cardinal won was no surprise to me. The only reason there is such disbelief today on the airwaves is because the media clowns could not see the writing on the wall: Oregon can’t handle a big offensive line with a decent running back. Any top tier SEC team would smoke them, no matter what kind of traffic cop safety uniform they wear.

    4.) I love the fact that Tre gives credit where it is due. Any RB worth his salt knows which side his bread is buttered on.

    5.) I actually spent a little time watching the throttling Mizzou gave UTK. They are a neat little team that reminds me a lot of our Tigers. Watch the film, rinse, repeat. Only our RBs are better. I really like our chances this weekend, but it’s on #^$%*! ESPN, so I’ll have to watch it after work again. The only way we lose is if we beat ourselves.

    WDE

  13. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..I used to be in awe of the Birmingham News sports section. I IMMERSED myself in it as a kid, soaking up every word written about Alabama and Auburn, and sports in the rest of the world. I’ve modeled a lot of my post structure around those days, the “Auburn O-line vs. opponent D-line” type things. The News used to do an Iron Bowl breakdown like this, every year. I also used to cut out Auburn’s stats from every game, and stack them up on my bedside table.

    …..I think a lot of sports writers have forgotten that football is a game, and it is supposed to be fun for everyone to watch. I don’t really know who’s to blame for making college football negativity a goal of news writers. I could say that in the early days of Kevin Scarbinsky, I thought he was trying to model himself after Paul Finebaum, and doing a poor job at that. I’ve realized since then that Scarb is a different animal. He’s really trying to call things as he sees them, AND stir up some entertainment value at the same time. I could say that I quit my News subscription over negative sports articles, but that really isn’t it.

    …..The truth is that they shrunk the Sunday Comics section one too many times. I was tired of trying to find it, cleverly hidden in a mountain of circulars, and the strips being so small I could hardly read the balloons.

    …..I’m really pretty fortunate that I don’t have to write about Auburn for a living, and that the folks here at TrackEmTigers.com have always let me do what I want to!