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Things to Leave Behind in 2012.

By on December 13th, 2012 in Football 26 Comments »

                            White shirts at home for the coaching staff? Gone, hopefully!

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s that time of year, where the fitful sputtering sun stays in the southern sky for only a few hours each day, while folks are busier than ever. I don’t know about you, but December often has the longest work days of the year for me! Perhaps the most furiously busy person of them all is new Auburn head coach Gus Malzhan. He’s brought in some exciting names for assistant coaches, including Ryan Russell, Rhett Lashlee, Ellis Johnson and Charlie Harbinson. Rumor is that former Tiger great Dameyune Craig is under consideration. Also said to be a target is Tennessee Titans defensive line coach Tracy Rocker. This season the Titans are 4-9, on a three game losing streak, and the team is likely to clean house in a few weeks.

     What’s been refreshing to me is that Gus has been unafraid to swing the axe, and let go everyone who was a part of the worst Auburn football team I’ve ever seen. After this team wilted horribly down the stretch, not even strength coach Kevin Yoxall’s job was spared. The latest departure seems to be potential starting offensive lineman Christian Westerman, who’ll reportedly transfer to Arizona State. There are still plenty more things I’d like to see Gus leave behind in 2012.

     Here are few things I desperately wish to see disappear. First off is insipid coach-speak at press conferences. I think I’ll pull hair out if Malzhan says “he’s day to day.” Chizik did that countless times. It told nothing. That player could miss a week, or might be out for the season, but all Chizik would say is “day to day.”

     Another irritating trend was A-Day games that were over in less than two hours. During the Chizik era, the clock would run unchecked the whole second half. It was the only football Auburn fans could see for nine long months, and Chizik seemed to purposefully hold out many of his best players, and shorten the game. Word out of Auburn is that Malzhan is going to allow high school coaches to observe practice, so there might well be a few more informative tidbits out there in terms of workout news.

     The most tiresome coach-speak item I’d like to see buried is “We’re going to keep doing what we do.” That’s great when you’re winning championships. When you’re losing SEC games 42-0 at the half, not so much. No one wants to hear that you intend to keep giving up record numbers of points, coach!

     We need to bring in coaches and athletes who can do what the head coach wants them to do. That really seemed to be a problem the past few years. Gene Chizik clearly wanted to run a classic Tampa-two defense, and yet he hired coordinator Ted Roof, who was a life-long heavy blitz and press guy. The result was that Auburn fielded 3 of the 4 worst defenses in team history during that tenure. Ted Roof seemed to get most of the blame, but it’s important to note that this past season, Roof had pretty good results at Penn State, which was a depleted team due to NCAA sanctions. The Nittany Lions only gave up 19.1 points per game, which is nearly 5 points per game better than Auburn’s 2010 national championship team.

     There’s nothing wrong with running some Tampa-two in your defensive package, especially if you have a strong defensive line that can attack and disrupt. Unfortunately, that’s not been the case the past two years at Auburn. Mike Pelton’s defensive line was as soft as any I’ve ever seen on the Plains. Even Terry Bowden/Pete Jenkins’ injury-decimated 1996 unit was tougher. That line had true freshman Leonardo Carson, true sophomore Jimmy Brumbaugh, and redshirt sophomore Charles Dorsey making plays. “Youth” was repeatedly trotted out as an excuse the past two seasons. Did you know that Auburn has 6 seniors and 4 juniors returning on the defensive line next season? Eguae, Lemonier, Ford, Sanders, Whitaker, and Carter are all guys who’ve played extensively the past 3 years. Wright, Blackson, Owens and Sigler are all returning juniors. Without disruptive D-line play, the Tampa-Two becomes basically a soft, static zone waiting to be picked apart.

     Another disaster was the decision to try and run a “pro style” offense with a hodge-podge coordinator, and spread-to-run players. Chizik sold Scot Loeffler as a pro-style coordinator, but what Auburn put on the field didn’t resemble any NFL squad’s plan. The end result of the Loeffler offense was a unit that averaged only 10 points per game against SEC opponents. And this wasn’t against an all-world defensive schedule. The Tigers managed just a single field goal drive against Mississippi State, who gave up 27.9 points per game in the SEC. Arkansas gave up 32.1, but Auburn managed just a single touchdown against them. Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Texas A&M all gave up over 20 points per game, but Auburn still could not get it done on offense. Let’s hope such ineptitude stays behind in 2012.

     We’re looking forward to 2013, and I sincerely hope Gus will tell it like it is, instead of hiding behind catch-phrases. If we are losing (and we will lose some), explain what went wrong, and what the plan is to fix it. We’re certainly not interested in hearing about “great practices,” leading up to yet another blow-out loss. We’re hoping for, and expect an Auburn team that will fight tooth and nail, going forward. That’s Auburn football, and less than that won’t be tolerated.

26 Comments

  1. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    Color me old fashioned, but I think the cap and shirt combination worn by Gus in the picture is right on! In my opinion, AU is BIG BLUE, The worst thing Tuberville did was to emphasize orange, and to this day I refuse to wear anything that is solid orange. I’m a long time season ticket holder, bleed orange and blue, and want nothing but the best for the Tigers.

  2. mikeautiger says:

    I’m a long timer too, I want to see the Big Blue emphasized too, I look better in blue, but orange is a color of leadership. I used to take a friend of mine to some of the all orange games and he would kid me that it looked like a highway workers convention. Blue is a great color that shows strength! GO BIG BLUE!!

    I hope I never hear “we will look at the film and get it fixed” again. It never got fixed! Like it was said tell us what was wrong and tell what you plan to have the boys do to get it right. We are intelligent fans at Auburn, speak football,to us.

    Looking forward to a much better 2013! Discipline will win us 8 and scheme will win us more next year!

    War Eagle!

  3. bryankwalton says:

    I’m with Acid Reign, I hate the white shirts. Love the orange that Tuberville emphasized. It works better on TV. Don’t misunderstand me. I hate all orange and am glad that we don’t have Clemson’s uniforms. Love our blue jerseys. But love orange for the fans and coaches!

  4. auhousefly auhousefly says:

    I would like to go back to the old formats for Tiger Talk and the postgame show where you could actually call in and ask a coach a question.

  5. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Good stuff Acid

    Thanks for putting into words what a lot of us felt about the program this year. I miss the Auburn Blue. Hope nothing ever changes with the blue jerseys. GO BIG BLUE !

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..I wasn’t talking about changing the jerseys. I was talking about those things the coaches have worn the past two years that scream “men in little white coats” to me, taking care of the inmates in the asylum. I too prefer mostly blue, with orange trim, but I’m a company man. When Tuberville asked us to wear orange, I was there with it.

      • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

        I was clear with your intent in the article. But as you disliked the coaches white shirts, I was just saying I didn’t like Tubby’s move to emphasizing all orange for the fans. It took me several years before I could bring myself to wear it. I have accepted it now, I just don’t want any new coach to come along and change the Blue jerseys.

  6. autgr4life says:

    The more I hear about Gus and the things he is doing the more excited and hopeful I am.

    He has been on a recruiting and high school coach meeting tear the last couple of weeks.

    I saw an article yesterday where Gus was in Mobile just to meet with and talk to high school coaches. I think this is an awesome idea and when I read the article above Gus’s motivation for meeting the coaches and opening up practice hit me. In the state of Alabama there are not any high school coaches, that I am aware of, that run Gus’s offense. While there are some that run a form of a spread none run the power running spread that Gus is known for. By meeting these coaches and opening up practice I believe high school coaches will not only be willing but enthusiastic about installing similar styles of offense for their teams. That will only benefit Gus and Auburn in the long run as more local kids learn and play in the system they will want to continue playing in the system which will lead them to Auburn.

  7. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    It’s good to see that the younger readers are beginning to see the “BLUE” light! Thanks. All my posts on this and other sites end with: “GO BIG BLUE !!!” It was the other battle cry, second only to “WAR EAGLE !!!” when I was at Auburn in the ’60s. I am very excited about what Coach Malzahn is doing and plans to do. Better days are ahead!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

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

    I grew up in a ‘GO BIG BLUE!’ household…so I get it.

    There is so much that will not be missed next year. I appreciate the spirit of this post. Let’s air it all out–all the negative crap from 2012 and then throw it in a burn pile in the backyard (metaphorically, unless there’s a couch involved, and then I might be talking seriously about a fire….).

    Here goes: Good bye ridiculously inane post-blowout press conferences and the ‘Auburn fans don’t deserve this’ spiel. Good bye resigned look on Chizik’s face. Good bye running plays without appropriate personnel or blockers. Good bye shoe string tackles. Good bye diving tackles (with arms firmly planted at the player’s side). GOOD BYE APATHY!

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..We do that here at the Cloud Castle every year around New Year’s. Everyone writes down what they’d like to leave behind, we put the notes in a brass bowl, and burn ‘em while toasting with eggnog or bubbly.

  9. audude audude says:

    “Go Big Blue ” has been associated with Michigan longer the Auburn. Don’t mind it for us, just not the best.

    • ATL_AU_FAN says:

      I don’t know this “first hand” but my wife, she being of Michigan origin, says that Michigan is only “Go Blue” so we are apparently okay to use “Go Big Blue” as our own.

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        ……And there is the “Big Blue” of kentucky. Lowercase intentional. Auburn’s Bodda Getta cheer with that in it is at least as old as the early 1950s, when my mother attended there.

  10. tigertracker says:

    Goodbye stepford coachspeak. While I don’t want a jackass for a coach I would like one that isn’t afraid to tell it how it is. I also want one not afraid to do a live tigertalk and postgame call in show. Yes, we have passionate fans. Gus knows what he signed up for. Goodbye (hopefully) to our QB carousel of the last 6 years. Goodbye toomer’s oaks. They are aesthetically dead and what better time than to take them out than after the worst football season in my lifetime and many others as well. Goodbye off field issues and to the players causing them. Pack your crap and get out or shape up and make the most of your talent and opportunity. It’s a privilege to wear the Orange and Blue. Treat it as such. Goodbye defensive backs who don’t look for the ball. Goodbye linebackers always out of position. Goodbye DBs lining up 7 yds off the ball on 3rd and 3. Goodbye poor tackling. Goodbye lack of pass rush. Goodbye QBs in fetal position. Goodbye Lutz (we hardly knew ye!) Goodbye OMac, great catcher of squirrels, may you forever live in Auburn lore. Goodbye Emory. Though we know growing up catching passes from your NFL QB father is where you really learned your skills, Trooper appreciates the fact that your accomplishments will be attributed to him. Two phenomenal pass catchers woefully underutilized! At least you both got rings. Goodbye Coach Chizik. We’ll always have 2010 though you’ve tarnished your legacy to the point of only getting credit for holding things together in the media while Cam did what Cam does. Goodbye 2012!

  11. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    White shirts don’t bother me. Losing every SEC game does. Agree with, “What’s been refreshing to me is that Gus has been unafraid to swing the axe, and let go everyone who was a part of the worst Auburn football team I’ve ever seen.” Although there were some guys I would’ve like to seen stay, a full house cleaning was probably necessary. I was surprised that Malzahn did this but pleased that he was strong enough to do what needed to be done.

  12. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    Just saw an article that Christian Westerman is transferring to Arizona.

  13. Wimbo says:

    I really don’t care what they wear, as long as they win!

  14. bubbajack says:

    I will not miss the white smocks. Does anyone remember that Pat Dye always wore a tie? I kinda liked that, but you don’t see that much anymore.

    I will not miss how the ESPN play-by-play and color announcers each pronounce Lutzenkirchen differently.

    Goodbye shutouts. With Gus at the helm I don’t think that we will ever see that again.

    Goodbye coach-speak. I sincerely hope that going forward any coach interviews will have some substance to them.

    2012 is a season I will always remember, but wish I could forget. Here’s to better days ahead….WDE!!!!

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      A tie, baseball hat and tennies….classic

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        …..I had a calculus prof 1st quarter that was like that, way back during Disco Fever. Hippie hair, beard and ‘stache, jeans, converse Keds, and he wore a tie with that ensemble. He never would say, but it had to be a department rule that they had to wear a tie. Guy’s last name was Pate, can’t remember his first. Actually did communicate pretty well. I failed not a few tests in that class, but I could do min-max stuff by the end, and I think I got a “D” out of charity!

  15. longtimetiger longtimetiger says:

    I know this is a goodbye article, but that’s been pretty well covered by others… I’m praying for a return of stingy defense and pass coverage ( a few pick six’s wouldn’t hurt!). I love the offense coach brings to The Plains, but I will never be satisfied winning in a shootout every week! A return to the days of ” fear the thumb” would be nice too. Here’s a goodbye just for good measure… goodbye to NCAA trouble every few years and the backward hat chest bumping and towel waiving. Winners expect to win and conduct themselves accordingly! Goodbye to all the senseless comparisons to Alabama and the idea that “beating Saban” is somehow the be-all-end-all for Auburn football. I want to beat Bama every year, but the “at least we beat Alabama” mindset smells of mediocrity. I’ll be much happier when the reflections on the season include statements like, ” it was good to get back to Atlanta… play-offs… NC game etc” I’m sick of ” little brother” being almost acceptable to the average fan. Alabama is just another name on a list of twelve that I fully expect to have a W beside. I’ve vented enough. War Eagle! and Go BIG Blue!

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      ……Just to clarify, I’m not going anywhere. I’ve been kind of scarce this week, and will be again next week. Just got home this evening. Big project at work, 5:30 AM-to-way-past-rush-hour for me till Christmas. I will continue to monitor and enjoy the developments, though!