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To Live the Impossible Dream!

By on December 5th, 2013 in Football 33 Comments »

The Auburn Tigers are back in Atlanta this year!
(Photo by Acid Reign)

     War Eagle, everybody! Wow, has this been a surreal week? I don’t know about you, but I’ve been absolutely basking in the this Auburn season all week long! Normally this week after Thanksgiving, I’m recapping what went wrong during the season, speculating on coaching changes, or just reminiscing about happier times. Not this year! Auburn is the SEC Western Division Champion, and I don’t think any of us saw this coming.

     So, what does Auburn have to do to advance from here? The next step is taking on the Missouri Tigers. Like Auburn, Missouri did almost nothing last season. They finished 1-7 in their first year in the league, their lone win coming against a Tennessee team that had a defense about as strong as a wet paper bag. Normally, what you’d do to start comparing these teams is to look at common opponents.

     I’ll say right off the bat that the common opponent approach won’t work, in this matchup. Neither team is the same bunch that started playing Labor Day weekend. Both teams have grown tremendously during the course of the fall, and have survived some incredible adversity. Amazingly, since the two teams play in the same conference, there have been only three common SEC opponents.

     Missouri played Georgia in Athens on October 12th, and dominated the Bulldogs to the tune of 41-26. Much as was the case against Auburn, Georgia could not slow the Missouri Tigers down, and there were no Aaron Murray late game heroics in this one. The Tigers of Columbia showed that they could shut a contender down with the game on the line, and took control of the SEC East with this victory.

     A week ago in Oxford, Missouri shut Ole Miss down 24-10, allowing not even a single offensive touchdown by Bo Wallace and crew. I’d argue that Auburn did a similar job at home against the Rebels, but Wallace kept hitting his guys down the field and kept drives alive back on October 5th. Against Missouri, Wallace was harrassed into probably his worst game of the season.

     This past weekend, while Auburn was turning the tables on a Bama field goal try, Missouri was holding down Johnny Football, beating the Texas A&M Aggies 28-21 in Columbia. Most stunningly, Johnny Manziel was held to just 21 rushing yards on 11 carries, and 195 passing yards. What Missouri did to the Aggies was hold onto the ball, and win the time of possession battle, while holding the Aggies to a season-low 379 yards. Much like Auburn did in College Station on October 19th, Missouri trailed much of the game, but battled to a draw late, pulled ahead on a big play in the 4th, and a deep defensive line denied Johnny Football late in the game.

     Out of conference, both teams played Arkansas State in successive weeks back in September. Neither game was close, with Auburn winning 38-9, and Missouri pasting the Red Wolves 41-19 a week later. The real question in Atlanta will be how these teams match up in early December.

Unit Matchups, after the jump!

Auburn defensive line vs. Missouri offensive line: Auburn uses a deep and talented defensive line rotation, and thus has fresh linemen on the field all the time. It’s not unusual for ten or more guys to post defensive stats here. The ringleader is senior defensive end Dee Ford, who leads the team with 12 tackles for loss, and 8 sacks. Missouri counters with a strong offensive line anchored by senior tackle Justin Britt and junior Mitch Morse. Missouri is second in the SEC in rushing, behind Auburn, and is 4th in total offense. If there’s a concern here, it is that Missouri gave up 22 sacks on the season, compared to Auburn giving up just 15. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn linebackers vs. Missouri backs: Auburn’s top linebackers are senior Jake Holland and sophomore Cassanova McKinzy, and the Tigers liberally substitute in sophomores Kris Frost Anthony Swain. This group was not very good early in the season, but has come on strong as the season has progressed. They are asked to stop the run sideline to sideline, with only two guys on the field, so a lot of tackles have to be made by members of the secondary. As Auburn essentially runs a nickel defense al the time, linebacker numbers are misleading. Missouri has a trio of tailbacks who all average 6 yards per carry or more. The ringleader is junior Henry Josey, but sophomore Russell Hansbrough and junior Marcus Murphy have contributed also. If there’s an issue here, it’s that none of these backs weighs more than 190 pounds, and that might be a concern on short yardage situations. However, these guys seriously outmatch Auburn in the speed department, and that’s a big concern on the fast track in the Georgia Dome. Advantage: Missouri.

Auburn corners vs. Missouri receivers: It could be said that no one matches up with Missouri’s receivers, but I think Auburn has as good a chance as anyone in this department. Both Chris Davis and Jonathan Mincy have made a living this fall making plays against bigger, taller and faster receivers. Ryan White and Jonathan Jones provide quality depth off the bench. You’d expect from all the hype that Missouri would be leading the league in pass efficiency, but curiously, they are behind LSU, Texas A&M, Alabama, Georgia, and even South Carolina. I think Auburn will be able to contain these guys. Missouri is led by towering sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham, but it’s worth noting that Marcus Lucas and L’Damian Washington all have 44 or more catches. Auburn won’t be able to key on one guy down the field. Advantage: Even.

Auburn safeties vs. Missouri secondary receivers and quarterback: Auburn goes here with junior Jermaine Whitehead and senior Ryan Smith, with spot duty from utility man Ryan White. The hybrid star position is manned by junior Robensen Therezie, who combines great speed with hitting power. Curiously, Missouri is not known for dumping the ball to tight ends or backs. Eric Waters leads the tight ends with 8 catches, and Henry Josey leads the backs with 9. Where Missouri makes their living passing the ball is with combination routes by the wide receivers. Both Missouri quarterbacks, senior James Franklin and freshman Maty Mauk are a problem to hem up in the running game. I’d expect to see Auburn utilize contain strategies like they have against other mobile quarterbacks such as Johnny Manziel and Bo Wallace. For the most part, Auburn’s safeties provide deep help and are the last option on tackles, and that will continue against Missouri. Advantage: Missouri.

Punting: Auburn senior Steven Clark has had a tremendous season. While his average distance of 42.7 yards is only 8th in the SEC, it’s near impossible to return his punts. Auburn has only covered 5 punt returns on 47 punts, for just 35 yards. Missouri junior Christian Brinser averages 40.7 yards per punt, and the team gives up 7.9 yards per return. Auburn’s Chris Davis is the ace in the hole here, as he has two returns for touchdowns this season. Missouri’s Marcus Murphy has a long return of 31 yards. Advantage: Auburn.

Kickoffs: Both kickers in this department can, and likely will plant most of their kickoffs in the end zone in this indoor game. Cody Parkey has hit 59 touchbacks out of 83 kickoffs, while Missouri’s Andrew Baggett has hit 51 of 85. The concern for Missouri is if they don’t hit touchbacks. Both Tre Mason and Corey Grant have returned kickoffs for touchdowns this season for Auburn, while Missouri has none.

Place kicking: Auburn senior Cody Parkey has hit 13 of 17 field goal attempts, while Andrew Baggett has hit 14 of 21. On extra points, it’s 54 of 55 for Parkey, and only 57 of 60 for Baggett. Slight advantage: Auburn.

Auburn offensive line vs. Missouri defensive line: The offensive line is probably Auburn’s strongest and most complete unit this season. Led by junior center Reese Dismukes, this team has crushed one defensive line after another this season. Even the vaunted Alabama defense gave up 296 rushing yards to this bunch. Missouri counters with a strong defensive line. Junior tackles Lucas Vincent and Matt Hoch are strong in the middle, but it is the Missouri defensive ends that give SEC offensive coordinators nightmares. Senior Michael Sam and junior Kony Ealy are tremendously athletic, dangerous pass rushers. The pair have combined for 27.5 tackles for loss this season, and sophomore Shane Ray adds in 9 more off the bench. Still, there hasn’t been a team in the SEC this season that has handled Auburn’s line, and I don’t think Missouri will, either. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn backs vs. Missouri linebackers: Auburn has a trio of dangerous runners, featuring the SEC’s leading rusher, junior Tre Mason. Mason is a complete back, with speed, agility, and power. Corey Grant gives Auburn great speed on the outside, and Cameron Artis-Payne adds to the inside power game. Auburn also has the league’s best blocking back in senior Jay Prosch. Senior linebacker Andrew Wilson leads Missouri with 87 tackles, and he’s joined by senior Donovan Bonner and sophomore Kentrell Brothers. The trio has combined for 194 tackles, but I don’t think they’ve seen anything quite like the Auburn attack, this season. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn receivers vs. Missouri corners: Auburn sophomores Sammie Coates and Ricardo Louis have established themselves as speedy, tall, big play men for Auburn, but it’s a rotating cast of brutal blockers that’s the real story for Auburn on offense this season. All of Auburn’s guys come off the line looking to hit someone in the secondary, and they really put cornerbacks in a bind. If the corner fights off the block, these guys can score touchdowns off play action. Try to keep them in front, and you’ll give up 300+ rushing yards. Senior corners Randy Ponder and E. J. Gaines have an unenviable task ahead this week. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn secondary receivers and quarterback vs. Missouri safeties: Auburn’s most dangerous secondary receiver is easily junior tight end C. J. Uzomah. Much like the receivers mentioned above, he is a load blocking, has a big height advantage on most SEC secondary players, and has speed to burn. Quan Bray is also trouble to defense, with 20 catches on mostly quick screens. When Auburn gets the quick-paced running game going, you’ll often see tight end Brandon Fulse in the game. When Auburn has Uzomah, Fulse and Prosch in the game at the same time, the defense essentially has to deal with 8 offensive linemen. Folks nationally are still saying that Auburn has a defensive back that can’t pass at quarterback. Auburn’s Nick Marshall is dangerous, and he’s at his best at crunch time in football games. Marshall has 922 rushing yards this season, most of any SEC quarterback, and he’s thrown only 5 interceptions. At safety, Missouri has senior Matt White and junior Braylon Webb. The pair has combined for 125 tackles and 14 passes defended. Advantage: Auburn.

     The key story in this game will be whether the Missouri defensive ends can disrupt Auburn’s offense at the point of attack. If Auburn’s Greg Robinson and Avery Young can keep Ealy and Sam out of the backfield, it will likely be a long day for the Missouri defense. No one since the first half of the Auburn-LSU game has stopped this offense for long, and I don’t think it will happen in Atlanta.

     The Missouri offense is dangerous, and will move the ball and score points. Everyone else has against Auburn, and this week will be no different. I expect that Auburn will focus on stopping the run, and playing a lot of cover-one-robber on the big receivers. Auburn has been clutch in the red zone on defense, and Missouri usually has a period or two during most games where the offense is out of sync. I don’t think the black and gold Tigers can afford to fall too far behind in this game.

     For those who like to watch offensive football, the SEC Title game should be a treat. We are certainly looking forward to it! Saturday morning, we’ll have our usual open thread up here at I’m attending the game, so there won’t be my usual keyboard histrionics. War Eagle, folks! This magnificent Auburn season continues, in Atlanta! I predict that Auburn will take this game, 48-38.


  1. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    Pretty spot on Acid IMO, especially the score prediction. I am also predicting another score. MSU 24 OSU 16 and I will be making reservations for Pasadena. Now I have to take my orange and blue glasses off to continue work.

    • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

      ^ This I like. Since were predicting things here I’ll go:

      AU 45 – Mizzou 28 (War Eagle!)
      MSU 35 – OSU 31 (Please!!!!)
      FSU 31 – Duke 21 (Why not?)

  2. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    According to the SEC Championship game website the AU pep rally will be at 2PM. Does anyone know if there will be a Tigerwalk and if so where and when?

    • Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

      Here you go.

      The Auburn team buses will pull into the Georgia Dome on Lower International (corner of Georgia Dome opposite the World Congress Center) at approximately 1:45 p.m. ET. Per SEC rules, the team will unload under the Dome. Anyone wanting to see the buses as they park are encouraged to gather on Lower International Drive.

  3. AuburnMisfit AuburnMisfit says:

    “No one since the first half of the Auburn-LSU game has stopped this offense for long,…”

    I’m still cringing over the meltdown in the second half of the UGA game. On both sides of the ball. However, I do think the AU offensive play calling had some to with that (not to mention tacking your own RB).

    • tigertracker says:

      I’d say Ricardo redeemed himself from that ever being spoken of again 😉 much like Coates redeemed his drop in the tamu game and mason running “angry” against the tide over his fumble.
      We’ve done most everything in spectacular fashion down the stretch. Even melting down for what then seemed liked an eternity and now only seems like a second…and we’re still building towards the crescendo.

  4. sparkey sparkey says:

    Well Acid, you know your football but I have to say I think you’re way off on the corners vs. receivers with Auburn’s corners and Missouri’s receivers. To me, you are wearing some nice warm Orange and Blue glasses. I don’t think there is a set of corners anywhere in the country that is even with Missouri’s receivers. They will enjoy an advantage all game long when it comes to throwing the ball. I’m hoping we keep them off the field. This is going to be a battle. One thing is for sure, I don’t see this team laying down for them. They will know they played Auburn and they will know it is a New Day whether they beat us or not!

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      I’m leary of how well we will defend Mizzou’s big receivers. They all remind me of A&M’s Mike Evens and they all have at least 44 catches apiece on the season.

    • DaZeD DaZeD says:


      I too agree that Missou will have some viable targets at WR but I’m not overly impressed with Franklins ability to hit them “on the fly”. A lot of the scoring passes to those WRs have come from the Missou QB throwing the ball “high” so his taller players can come down with the reception. The only place I’m concerned about is in the redzone. Our defensive up-front guys are going to have to pressure/rattle the Missou QB before he can set up for those fade passes in the endzone.

      I think we pull away late in the 3rd/early 4th quarter and coast to a double digit win. I aslo believe we’ll have close to 400 yds on the ground in rushing. Mason, Grant, Marshall and Louis (sweeps) will pound the yellow cats.

      War Eagle!

  5. broken_towel broken_towel says:

    Doesn’t Missouri throw more frequently than Auburn? Thus increasing their likelihood for being sacked.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      This season, Mizzou is averaging 30.1 passing plays/game (83rd in the nation); Auburn is running 20.5 passing plays/gm (118th)……so I don’t know if an average of 10 more passing plays per game makes a team that much more susceptible to getting sacked or not. Obvs, these stats are based on the body of work from the 2013 season, and not individual games (Source:

      If I had more time, I’d pick apart the per game stats and see if in the games that they were more pass happy, if they had more sacks (ie trouble with pass protection, as it were)……but that’s an interesting point………

      • tigertracker says:

        I poked around there alot longer than I should have. Statistically and surprisingly to me (though it shouldn’t be since they are a top ranked team) most of the stats I looked at are within tenths of a percent or slightly in Mizzou’s favor. Scoring offense, TOP, penalties, turnover margin, 3rd and 4th down conversion percentages all really close. Scoring defense sees mizz holding their opponents to 5 points less per game than AU. Even some of the “trends” of the last 3 games are showing mizzou getting better and AU while still great just isn’t at that STATISTICAL level. Fortunately for us the intangible, AUsome vibes* flowing thru the Family right now cannot be constrained to a statistical anomaly or TWO*. Not even for a SECOND! And to that I say: ADVANTAGE AUBURN!
        *Seismographs, which are used to measure earthquakes, in huntsville AND brewton picked up some vibration anomalies around 2:30pm on gameday. Right about Kickoff. Then another at 6:25pm right about “HOLY COW! OH MY GOD! AUBURN HAS WON THE IRON BOWL!”
        And google the girl in the clip below. We just added a new member to the family. With the swell of national attention you can’t deny the vibes are here and after last year man this feels good! Win or lose saturday…War Eagle Forever

        • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

          That was great! Thank you!!

          We should all remember that statistically, we weren’t at the same level as Bama and certainly played to their level, if not better…, there’s that. It will be a tough game, but I like our chances.

  6. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Dudes, I ‘m feeling nervous about this game. Happy. But nervous. My gut feelings: if we can pound the ball and keep running our game plan, they won’t be able to stop us and they will be gassed by the 4th. This is going to be another tough game. A great game, but a tough game. Game faces, people and never give up! Our Tigers certainly won’t!!!!

    War Eagle! Beat Mizzou!!

    • sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

      I’m not saying Auburn is a lock on winning this game, as there are few sure things in college football, but I do like our chances. Keep in mind, we’ve already played and defeated both the #1 offense (TAMU) and the #1 defense (Alabama) in the SEC this year. Missouri represents an important combination of the top 3 on both sides of the ball, but Alabama was arguably a better team that we played dead even with for 59:59 of a 60 minute game.

      I trust Rhett, Ellis and Gus have a plan, and I am eager to watch that plan play out on Saturday, come what may. But buckle up, as it promises to be one a heck of a ride.

      • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

        Don’t forget that Bama was averaging more ppg than either AU or Mizzou before the Iron Bowl. If AU executes, they will indeed execute Mizzou’s season.

  7. Jeff Holland Jeff Holland says:

    Auburn linebackers vs. Missouri backs: Auburn’s top linebackers are sophomores Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy, and the Tigers liberally substitute in senior Jake Holland and sophomore Anthony Swain. This group was not very good early in the season, but has come on strong as the season has progressed. They are asked to stop the run sideline to sideline, with only two guys on the field, so a lot of tackles have to be made by members of the secondary.

    Acid Reign:

    I enjoy reading your work and respect your knowledge. However, I take exception (respectfully submitted) to part of your piece above. I’m not going to debate who Auburn’s “best” linebackers are as that is entirely subjective and opinion. Naturally, mine is clearly and admittedly biased. That said, you elude that Jake Holland is liberally substituted in at middle linebacker along with Anthony Swain at the WLB. That’s just not an accurate depiction of Jake’s role on this team. Jake is the starter. He has started 11 of 12 games this season – only exception being TAMU because he had a concussion the week prior. He has played the majority of total snaps this season. Again, I won’t debate who Auburn’s “best” linebackers are – that is your opinion and I respect that – heck, I hope and count of them ALL playing well. But, Jake is no “substitute”. He is a 3 year starter and he is the starter on this year’s team. That’s just the facts. Thanks and War Eagle!

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Jake has had one heck of a season, and career at Auburn. I wish he had been coached by this staff all along.

      By the way, thanks for steering Chris Davis our way.

      • Jeff Holland Jeff Holland says:

        You ain’t kidding – that, and a redshirt would’ve helped him greatly. Nonetheless, we are Blessed he was given the opportunity to be An Auburn Tiger. We, nor he, would have had it any other way.

        Chris has been great. I’m tickled we had the opportunity to help in some small way. He did the rest. Also, Coach Lolley did a fantastic job developing/mentoring Chris early on.

    • wpleagle wpleagle says:

      Are you the Jeff Holland mentioned in Phillip Marshall’s story about Chris Davis – the guy who “found” Davis and got Auburn coaches looking at him??

      • Jeff Holland Jeff Holland says:

        Yessir, that’s me…at least what’s left of me, anyway. lol!

        • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

          …..You are correct about Jake starting. One of the “memories” I had from the first offensive play of the Iron Bowl was T. J. Yeldon racing up the middle, and being chased by Frost, who appeared to be out of position. I call myself checking the Participation Report when I look at the stats, and sure enough, Jake’s been the starter every game, according to that. Unwilling to concede to that, I actually had to go back and look, nope. Not Frost. It was actually Chris Davis doing the chasing, and no, he wasn’t out of position. He was chasing from the corner on a run up the gut. One of the dangers of watching on a small window, I guess. I do that so I can see everything on the field, and not just have to focus on one spot. I feel like I don’t see everything on a big HD screen.

          …..So I’m guilty of looking at Frost’s 6 tackles, mis-remembering that play, and making an assumption. I’ll edit this post and fix it. And thanks for pointing this out. So much for any notion of a steel-trap memory…

  8. usmc71au83 says:

    I believe that a comparison of one common opponent is valid. The only team that was close to Auburn, with a dual-threat quarterback, ws Texas A&M. Auburn played Texas A&M earlier in the year before Johnny Football was injured, as did Bama. We both played close high-scoring games and won. If you look at A&M’s record , they put up significant numbers until their last two games against LSU and Missouri. His injuries seemed to have the effect of limiting his dual-threat effectiveness. I don’t believe that LSU and Missouri both got that much better at the very end of the year and Johnny got that much worse. Also, the Teaxas A&M defense did not seem to have as much of a problem holding the Missouri offense to less than 30 points, something it was not able to do to either Auburn or Alabama. Missouri also had difficulty with Georgia’s injury depleted offense and could not handle a gimpy Conner Shaw, who came off the bench in the 4th quarter to beat them. Does that mean we have a definite win this week? No., but I believe that we have a very good chance, and I expect a win. I will conclude by saying that I really do appreciate the detailed analysis that was presented. I am not a detailed analyst, so I have try to find a short cut. I did the same thing with the Alabama game, by looking at the common opponent, Texas A&M. They were the only team Bama had played that compared with Auburn. However, we had been playing pro-style offenses(and passing offenses) all year, most notably, Georgia. I consider Murrey the best pro-style quarterback in the SEC. If my analysis proves faulty, I will be happy to admit I was wrong, next week. Thanks again for the helpful and informative article.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Mizzu’s quick passing plays remind me of UGA.

      • usmc71au83 says:

        I agree. I also thin that we beat a Georgia team that was almost full strength, unlike the weakened condition of the Georgia team when Missouri played them. It was the same situation with Texas A&M. I believe we have faced the best passing, running, and defensive teams the SEC has to offer, except South Carolina and Missouri. In any event, I think beating Alabama trumps everything else. I would like to have seen Bama as one of Missouri’s on-divisional rivals. Evaluations would be much easier.

  9. usmc71au83 says:

    I’m back. I forgot that I believe that the major difference in the game is, and always has been , coaching. The better coach usually finds a way to win and I can discuss that I long as anyone wants. The main thing I want t take from the game is how Malzahn does against Pinkel, who has been a head coach at the college level for many years and has an established program in place. Thus far, these factors have not had a very big impact against Malzahn.

  10. Cdan says:

    To play that position you need Size, strength and speed of which he is missing all.

    Watch the LSU, games in particular.

    You have to be able get off he block in the run game. Those guards, tackles and fullbacks are coming you have to be able to redirect.
    passing situations. The scheme helps out but the lack of speed shows. Need to close the gap on check-down, secondary receivers.

    A player can have a lot of heart but not always the talent. I know it is a great source of pride for you and I can appreciate this more than most. He has given dedication and the hard work. But you have to call it what it is.

  11. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..I think we should all remember that Jake Holland was the first guy there on a couple of critical possession plays in the Iron Bowl. He showed plenty of strength to stop Yeldon in his tracks.

    …..One thing, too, that helped the linebackers in the Iron Bowl was that Robensen Therezie was walked up into the box a lot more. I’ll say again, it would be tough for Ray Lewis to stop the run having to defend half the field, like the 4-2-5 often requires of the two linebackers. With modern offenses, a D-coordinator has to pick his poison a lot of times. What you want to do is make ’em work for it, and not give up big plays. They’ll get 5 or 6 yards a play. Virtually every team does. What you do is keep it to that, have a successful negative play somewhere, and derail the drive.

    • Cdan says:

      To clarify my strength comment had nothing to do with 1 v 1 with a back. It is the lineman or the primary blocker working up to the second level.

      I don’t feel the Ray Lewis comments fits.

      The plus one of a DB walking up in 4-2-5 is then treated as a 4-3. Basically 7 v 7 situation. It should not have caused any confusion to that offense.

      Alignment is the most important aspect in the 4-2-5 defending any offense. It is important that you not only align soundly, but align in a manner that the offense is not sure what you are doing.
      When using a defense based on smaller faster players, you have to keep the ball moving laterally. Having the DE’s wrong-arm plays is a must. You could try to squeeze or box pulling plays, but if you run into a team stronger than you, big holes are going to open up. That happened vs LSU, BAMA etc.
      You have to apply most pressure at the point of attack. Especially when they are running right at you. In the 4-2-5 you must be willing to play the secondary on the run more aggressively. Don’t let the back hit the hole running full speed. Force the back to either dance or make a quick decision into a free defender. In this defense you ideally want the offense to go 3 and out. Your comment of allow 5-6 yards a carry won’t work. Getting off the field can is the key to this defense. Bama’s power running offense is predicated upon keeping the chains and clock moving. The keeping them guessing factor really helped Auburn.

  12. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..The 5-6 yards per play I kind of stated as an average. No one except Florida averaged less than 5 yards per play in the SEC this year, and their offense was an injury-riddled train-wreck. Let’s see if I can wholesale paste a table here… well, sorta. Third number from the end is yards per play. The SEC website has some cool things to play with, like this page.

    TOTAL OFFENSE G Rush Pass Plays Yards Avg/P TD Yds/G
    1. Texas A&M……….. 12 2247 4211 886 6458 7.3 67 538.2
    2. Auburn………….. 12 3819 2073 849 5892 6.9 56 491.0
    3. Georgia…………. 12 2113 3765 863 5878 6.8 56 489.8
    4. Missouri………… 12 2843 3031 880 5874 6.7 58 489.5
    5. Ole Miss………… 12 2249 3427 934 5676 6.1 43 473.0
    6. LSU…………….. 12 2410 3181 778 5591 7.2 57 465.9
    7. South Carolina…… 12 2463 2979 860 5442 6.3 52 453.5
    8. Alabama…………. 12 2544 2843 761 5387 7.1 54 448.9
    9. Mississippi State… 12 2230 2884 880 5114 5.8 41 426.2
    10.Vanderbilt………. 12 1596 2804 809 4400 5.4 44 366.7
    11.Arkansas………… 12 2504 1782 775 4286 5.5 29 357.2
    12.Tennessee……….. 12 2261 1979 804 4240 5.3 30 353.3
    13.Kentucky………… 12 1775 2321 774 4096 5.3 30 341.3
    14.Florida…………. 12 1749 2051 793 3800 4.8 25 316.7

    …..I feel bad for Brent Pease, who got fired from Florida this season. His style is a precision “match-up” offense, and he never really got the pieces together long enough to run it successfully in Gainesville. The SEC extracts a price on players, injury-wise. Folks forget that Auburn lost a bunch of guys this season, too. Whitaker, Garrett, Holsey, Denson… and others like Chris Davis for multiple games.

  13. Cdan says:

    Thanks for posting.. I am responding to what the defense is intended to accomplish. The 4-2-5 or 40 front nickel was really developed as a pass attack advantage equalizer. The plus one blitz are really succesful in this formation. Recently It has been very successfully against the spread teams of today. Originally the 3-3-5 was the defense of choice for this. In the early part of this decade Gary at TCU was very successful using this defense. Making the 4-2-5 the defense of choice or at least more popular.

    In this application regardless of what the Offenses were averaging. This Defense was NOT intended to use successfully versus imposing run teams. Like I stated before pressure at the point of attack to deflect the path of the play laterally is key. If this is not accomplished then you are giving up long runs