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Morning Musings: At a Crossroads

By on September 20th, 2017 in Football, News 20 Comments »
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The departure of Sean White… is sad, to say the least. This is a guy that did everything that was asked of him last season. When he was healthy, he was one of the best in the league. But that was the problem, wasn’t it? He just couldn’t stay healthy. Coming into this season, White could have started for over half of the teams in the league. Jarrett Stidham, however, was just simply better.

A tough pill to swallow for a competitor that fought so hard to get to the top just to see it be taken away by a newcomer. I wish Sean the best moving forward.

It’s only week four… and we’ve already reached the point of the year where we realize that in the SEC, Alabama is far and above the rest of the pack—and it’s not even close. Now, if you look past the SEC, there are a few contenders. And I feel confident in saying that Alabama, Clemson and USC will make the playoff this season. Insert the Big 12 champion and you have yourself a complete slate. 

Now, Alabama has yet to hit its stride—that seems pretty apparent. But the ceiling for the Tide is much higher than any other team in the SEC, and that spells trouble for Auburn and any team Alabama may face toward the end of the season on its path to yet another championship. I do expect this to be the strongest crop of playoff teams yet. With Clemson, you have one of the best defensive lines in college football history. USC has a quarterback that resembles the playing style of Aaron Rodgers—calm, cool and collected down the stretch of a tight game. And I have full confidence that the Big 12 will be sending its absolute best, considering how the strength of the top quarter of that conference.

The offensive line play… has me much more concerned than any fumbles the Auburn receivers lost last weekend. Fumbles and simple mistakes are fixable and are typically week-to-week issues. But the struggles from the offensive line that we’ve seen thus far feels like a much deeper, systemic issue. One that can’t be fixed by the time Auburn reaches the bulk of its schedule against teams like Mississippi State or LSU. That will be the biggest question mark for this team moving forward. If that issue can be resolved, there is no reason that Auburn shouldn’t be a one-loss team when they play Georgia.

However, on the flip side, if Herb Hand’s unit continues down this road and fails to improve, Auburn will be a middle-of-the-pack SEC team with four or five losses, and Gus Malzahn will be out of a job at the end of the season. 

This weekend’s game against Mizzou… is about as much of a “sure win” that you can get in the SEC, especially on the road. Auburn is playing the worst team in the Power Five this weekend. A team that is in shambles at the moment. I don’t expect to see Missouri’s offense score more than 10 points, and after witnessing first hand Purdue’s offense scoring at will last weekend, even a team with as many offensive-line struggles as Auburn will have the capability to hang 60 on a mentally weak Mizzou team if it wants. We are approaching week four, and Missouri has already quit on its coach.

So for all of you that think things are looking bad right now on the Plains, you’ll see this weekend that it could be much worse. Believe me. 

20 Comments

  1. Jonathon Jonathon says:

    Sean White being dismissed is a sad ending to a story of true grit. At least that’s what I saw from Sean White last year.. He was a player that was dead set on moving the football forward even if that meant hurling your body at 300+ pound defenders to get it done. I agree that he was a starter, just that Stidham stole the lime light and Gus had zero choice but to start him (or else be crucified by the fan base.. me included most likely).

    It’s funny that you point out what two of those playoff teams bring to the table. Isn’t that what we had on our pedestal heading into the year? A defensive line that was deep and likely one of the, if not ‘the’ best in the country. Couple that with a QB that was a Heisman mention.

    Blowing off Mizzou is not likely a good idea. Until our own flaws get fixed they can surely snow ball in a game and allow any opponent to take advantage. At this point I have not been pleased to say the least but I also have a glimmer of hope that this team bucks up and starts a winning streak. Losing to Clemson and stumbling through our other two wins this early in the season could play out to be a distant memory if we can catch a break, win a few in a row and gain momentum headed towards the Iron Bowl. Everything for Auburn is still on the table at this point.

  2. Bwojcio1 Bwojcio1 says:

    Nice Read. I can’t understand what is going on with our O Line. Kerryon Johnson is back this weekend so maybe his change of pace will make our line look a little better. Thank god we have mizzou this week and not, well any other sec team. WDE

  3. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Well if Mizzou is ill, here comes the tonic for what ails them.
    Until I see otherwise, I am not confident in this team. I do not like what I am seeing. Even the defense was worrisome against Mercer. They had no turnovers, no sacks and looked like they were just trying to contain the Mercer QB. That is sad. I’m sure they were just trying to make sure Mercer didn’t get any quick easy scores…..but that shouldn’t happen anyway!!
    The problems against Clemson were still there against Mercer, poor O Line play, inability to open holes on the interior vs an FCS team….receivers not getting open quickly…..Stidham holding/having to hold the ball WAAAAY too long.
    I know you say the players have quit on their coach, but Auburn is in disarray for a myriad of other reasons. Hopefully they can get it together this week,

  4. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Good thoughts Cole,

    I completely agree about the O-Line. The offense can't do anything without an offensive line that can win the line of scrimmage. Mercer held their own against the O-Line in the running game. While Stidham had a good day passing, Auburn has to be able to run the ball to be successful in the SEC. Kam hardly broke the line of scrimmage against Mercer without having to cut or go around a defender. That has to change.

    I still question moving last year's blind side tackle to the right side and starting two rookies on the left – over an All-ACC transfer player and an All-American transfer both left riding the pine. But it's the hand that Herb is gambling on and I hope he ultimately turns out to be right.

    A big thing for an offensive line is gelling and communication. So far that seems to be lacking. And I agree, it's the one big thing that must occur for Auburn to have any chance at a good year.

  5. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    The thing that scares me about Missouri is this:

    An early Auburn turnover turns into points. Auburn presses and it turns into points.

    Even if the auburn defense plays Missouri to a standstill from there, the Auburn offense will press and press.

  6. uglyjoe says:

    I took Missouri with the points. Just saying…

  7. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    I can’t bring myself to say it so I’ll substitute that other team in the state with “my mother in law”…

    “Unfortunately, it will be my mother in law’s SEC/Nat’l championship to lose.”

  8. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..It is a worrisome trip, to be sure. I’d officially be worried about a game with Alabama A&M, or Hoover High School, right now.

  9. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    Man, I gotta say…
    I hope it turns out that everyone is worried over nothing —

    Please let this be the case!!

    WDE!!

  10. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    I took Auburn and gave 19!!!!

  11. dyingculture dyingculture says:

    Remember what we were saying this time last year. Let’s revisit 2016 at this point in the year before we call 2017 a dumpster fire.

    We were saying the same thing last year when the offense couldnt get out of its own way, and there was that big test vs. Miss State. Miss State was going to give us so many problems, this game is a tossup, and MSU sure will give us a tough time. Then AU promptly went there and ran up a 38-0 score by halftime.

    But AU let its foot off the gas and MSU looked good in the second half. Arkansas sure is going to be a tough test. AU didn’t seem to have the will in the second half of that MSU wipeout. Arkansas can beat us, don’t you know. Arkansas is a talented team and it isn’t clear that AU is good enough to walk away from Arkansas with a win…

  12. Orangeblood says:

    First.
    I love College FB. Why. Because of the Fanatics.

    Perceptions range from…. We could play the National championship to, I hope we win half our games.

    No… The sky is not falling.
    Wait, watch, and dont overreact.

    These Tigers are still fighting.
    And I believe we will see much improvement. Their still working on so much.

    We’re 2-1. Cut them some slack.

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