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SNAFU doesn’t mean FUBAR

By on August 31st, 2016 in Football 7 Comments »

As part of my company’s recent merger and reorganization, I received a promotion effectively doubling the size of my team and quadrupling the amount of equipment I was previously responsible for. Additionally, I’m now expected to manage expertly an unknown amount of equipment from the other side of the merger that I have no idea what it is or even where it is.

It was like being promoted to Head Chef, complete with a resplendent apron and starched white hat. But when inquiring;

“So what are we cooking?”

being told,

“Right now? Everything. The kitchen’s on fire.”

Lucky for me, I was in the Army before and have been served several new promotions/positions remarkably similar to this one. In each and every case taken at face value they were appalling and daunting proposals that took your breath away. They were seemingly the worst possible unit or mission to undertake. Your first knee-jerk reaction is to look for any sort of escape from what looks to be a sure career killer.

But underneath the surface of such situations lies a certain saving grace. For one thing, everyone else is viewing this from the same perspective as your first reaction. No one is envying you whatsoever, and all are likely counting themselves lucky it was you and not them chosen for the task. Consequently, whatever is done by you won’t likely be a feather in anyone else’s cap.

Which means any success you achieve will be entirely yours and yours alone.

Secondly, most situations like this aren’t as FUBAR as they might seem. That is reserved for those rare states of affairs when nothing on earth will help the situation at all. Normally what is presented is simply SNAFU, a messy situation but far from unrecoverable. Usually the most obvious steps are literally right in front of you, easy to identify and solve. Oftentimes just some common-sense measures quickly addressed and implemented will show the greatest improvement right off the bat.

In short, this isn’t that all-consuming tire fire you saw at first glance, but an extraordinary opportunity to shine for you and your new team. In fact, given the choice of a smooth running, well maintained and expertly trained kitchen where you just show up and everything works right and this one, which would you take?

Personally, I’ll take the four alarm grease fire every time and be hard pressed to not openly grin like the Cheshire Cat while accepting it.

Sauce for the goose, if you will.

Which brings me to the start of Auburn’s 2016 season this Saturday. At first glance an opening game against a team that reached the playoff championship game seems to be the LAST opponent you would want your team to face. Last year Clemson’s quality of play was exemplary, its record against quality teams impressive and this year’s roster and coaching staff are virtually unchanged from when the team fought the national championship game to the final minute, losing by less than a touchdown. Even the quarterback is being touted as a likely Heisman contender.

But there are some intangibles that give me a great deal of hope in this game, probably more than is warranted, but that’s the type of fan I am.

For one, it’s a home game for Auburn. You can never, EVER count out the crowd in Jordan-Hare, especially if what I expect to happen actually comes to pass. Secondly, after the struggles last year this team is hungrier than ever to show that the 2015 preseason expectations weren’t all wrong. Thirdly, there is one key to this game that must be frustrating the life out of the Clemson staff—there isn’t much in terms of relative game film to review for this offense (or much of the defense for that matter). The backfields are different, the quarterback had fewer games in which he was healthy, and all the receivers are new. While they can review Coach Gus Malzahn’s previous years’ tendencies and individual plays, for the most part what they will see in three days is going to be a new offensive scheme tailored to the strengths of the players currently on Auburn’s offense, from the line of scrimmage all the way to the backfield.

Added to that is the bomb Coach Gus Malzahn recently dropped early in August, “One thing that really hit me pretty hard is that I’ve got to be more active with the daily X’s and O’s and coaching that goes with that,” Malzahn said. “At the end of the day, I’m a football coach. That’s what I look at as my strength.”

What does this tell us? To me it means that the massive playbook under Coach Malzahn is about to be opened wide. At this point there is no reason to hold back this offense for anything. With the number two team in the nation coming into your home stadium, what better way to open the season than to smack them in the mouth with everything we have?

I would imagine this moment to be like my recent one above for Coach Rhett Lashlee and his mentor Gus Malzahn. If I were to bet, I’d say they are both grinning just I was above.

War Eagle!


Can’t wait until Saturday!


  1. AUjason says:

    I like your intangibles. Hope they prove out Saturday night!

  2. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    Good to have you back Pat and I agree, this team is hungry. I believe they are going to surprise a lot of doubters this year.

  3. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    I’m hoping the home field advantage will be huge. Read this week where Dabo said the last time Clemson came to Auburn that it was very intimidating. That’s what we need this Saturday, that and receivers that hold on to the ball for White and a great pass rush by the Defense.

  4. jbellison56 says:

    Good stuff Sully. Love your analogies and I’m looking forward to seeing our offense Saturday night. We were too vanilla last year but I expect that had a lot to do with the QB paly. Now that Sean’s is a seasoned veteran, I too expect to see Malzahn open his playbook.

  5. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..We have to catch the ball this season, with a QB like White. Have to. We have a lot of bodies at the receiver positions. We have to identify the consistent ones.

    …..One thing is certain in the business world, and certainly at Auburn. You may be handed a dumpster fire to manage, but you won't be around long if you don't get it put out and show results. One thing I've learned is that you can't just get rid of everyone. It's not practical, and you'll be then building from scratch for a long haul. What puts out those fires quickly is getting the existing folks to elevate their game. Easier said, than done. Everybody is different, and responds to certain situations accordingly. A manager's job is to find out what works. That, and a little persistence.

  6. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..I've been devouring everything I can, college football-wise I can, this week. I get all burned up once again, watching this highlight film of Sean White's year, last fall. SOOOO many balls on the ground! An added bonus to this video is that they used a 40-year old favorite from my school days in the middle of this, Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold." No, I'm not on his political bandwagon, but the dude could rock!

    • uglyjoe says:

      Saw Ted at Spinnaker with Damn Yankees about mid nineties-ish. He shot a flaming arrow across the stage and hit the guitar Tommy Shaw was playing. Good show.