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Game Week Is Here!

By on August 31st, 2017 in Football 10 Comments »
GA Southern Week

We are just two days away from Auburn Football!
(Photo by Acid Reign)

     War Eagle, everybody! College football has finally returned! We’ve been through a long, wet summer offseason, and the pads have started popping. Tonight, the SEC schedule officially begins as Arkansas hosts Florida A&M at 7:00 PM Central Time on the SEC Network. For the Auburn Tigers, the season starts Saturday evening against Georgia Southern in the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Auburn game will kick off at 6:30 PM CT, and will be televised on the SEC Network.

     Hurricane Harvey has left much of the Southeast a soggy mess, but the rain and storms should be long gone by Saturday evening. It should be around a pleasant 80 degrees at kickoff, falling through the 70’s as the sun goes down. Fans attending should be thankful as season-opening games in past years have often featured kickoff temps in the 90’s.

     As legendary Auburn head coach Pat Dye used to say, “The hay is in the barn.” This team has prepared all year to get to this point, and game time is nearly here. I’m pretty sure that Auburn has spent extra time looking at the triple-option concepts Georgia Southern will likely run, and should be well prepared to deal with them. I expect that the offense has worked on timing, and execution.

     We continue to see rumblings of surprises in the Auburn …

depth chart, even going on game week. We can take head coach Gus Malzahn’s “no significant injuries, no suspensions” statement earlier in the week and toss it, most likely. I understand the need for a head coach to perhaps mislead the other team on personnel status. What I’m really tired of is Auburn administrators who seem to routinely just flat out lie to the public.

     At midweek, the word is that redshirt freshman Nick Coe is now slated to start at defensive end. Coe redshirted last season and has never played a college snap. On the plus side, Coe was a state-champion wrestler in high school. He’s now bulked up to at least 275 pounds and is one of the strongest players on the team. Just a week ago, there was talk of Coe playing at tackle. Now he’s a starting defensive end?

     Likely, we won’t see Marlon Davidson this week. Davidson was the presumed starter at defensive end, but he has battled injury this fall. Auburn’s defensive ends will be a question this week. We now have Coe and Jeffery Holland as starters at the end spots. Paul James III should be good as one backup, and he has worked on both sides of the line. I’m hearing that the current number-4 end is Big Kat Bryant, a true freshman. That’s an awful lot of green to be putting on the field for their first college snaps against a triple-option team.

     My guess is that Georgia Southern will routinely leave one of these guys unblocked and try to “read” him. My strategy in that case is to make sure the end knows his assignment and sticks to it. When in doubt, and the QB still has the ball in his hands, hit him. No matter what. Auburn has the speed on the back end to clean up loose running backs. Shai Werts is making his first college start at quarterback for the Eagles. He does not need to get comfortable early!

     The depth chart that was released this week is quite ambiguous at the receiver positions. With all of the “OR” designations, there are 6 starting wide receivers listed, 2 starting running backs, 1 H-back, and 1 tight end. Obviously, Auburn can’t have 10 eligible receivers on the field at the same time. Is coach Malzahn going to pull the dreaded “packages” concept out again? Too often the past couple of years, a quick look at who was in the game at these spots would enable the defense to know what plays were likely coming. Maybe I’m just too set in my ways, but I believe a team needs to be able to run its entire offense from base formations and personnel. Don’t let the defense guess what you’re going to run just by the formation!

     We will have our usual Saturday game day routine going here at TrackEmTigers.com. We’ll have an open thread posted early Saturday, and everyone is free to comment on the day’s action. I will have my play-by-play going, but I’m going to be late. I probably won’t arrive on the thread till about the start of the 2nd quarter. Duty and work and all that. Better to work this weekend than to miss the Clemson game! I am looking forward to the return of football season, and I can’t wait to watch! And yes, I’ll be sneaking a peek at Arkansas tonight. They have a LOT of skill players to replace. Will Florida A&M give them fits?

10 Comments

  1. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    As you have pointed out before Acid, we can never put much stock in any coach's injury status updates. But I just hope Marlon Davidson's injury is not significant and certainly not of the season long nagging kind. We're going to need him against the big guys on the schedule, even if Nick Coe has a breakout year at tackle or end.

    Enjoyed the read.

  2. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    From what I’ve been hearing/reading, Nick Coe could be another Carl Lawson or Dee Ford.

  3. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Watching tonight… You know it’s going to be a bad season for Arkansas when they can’t bash for successive first downs on Florida A&M, and their new receivers can’t get open.

  4. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Arkansas is going to win, because A&M has nothing on offense, but it’s not going to be pretty.

  5. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Moribund offenses on each side, but Arkansas did a nice “kill at the one-yard-line” punt and coverage. Razorbacks lead 7-0, early in the 2nd quarter.

  6. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ….QB draw on 3rd and 4, pretty good odds, right? F-A&M did it, against a 3 man Arkansas front. The QB had pretty much ANYWHERE to go, and ran right into the one Arkansas defender who came free. Ouch.

  7. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..If I had to guess, Scot Loeffler is the Florida A&M offensive coordinator. He LOVES running a back right into the defense, with no lead blocker. Pathetic gameplan, for a fairly sound Arkansas defense, right now. Gad… they just took a delay of game on a punt. Let’s help the home team, shall we?

  8. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Key play, down 21-0 in War Memorial Stadium. The F-A&M qb had a nice bootleg on 3rd and manageable. However, a lone Arkansas safety was in position. At two yards short, the A&M QB elected to go out of bounds, rather than contesting the hit, down 21-0. Boop. Game over. The Florida A&M guys are officially playing to survive, right now. Not playing to win. Arkansas will score as many points as they can execute, and if FA&M gets any points, it will be deep into the Arky walkons.

  9. Orange Talon Orange Talon says:

    I’m as excited and interested as anyone to smell what Auburn has cooking for 2017, especially at the QB spot, but is anyone but me the slightest bit worried that this is a HUGE trap game? Auburn should handle them easily if focused on the task at hand, however GSU has embarrassed teams that get caught looking past them (i.e. Florida) – say to next week’s game -v- Clemson.

    WDE!

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