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Upon Further Review: Apologies Are In Order

By on October 2nd, 2018 in Football 6 Comments »

The age-old argument about men is that they don’t know how or simply won’t admit when they are wrong. Whether it is refusing to follow directions on assembling a coffee table from Ikea to doggedly sticking to going the wrong way when they know they made a wrong turn on the highway, men are stubborn, and they refuse to admit they are wrong when the cards are on the table.

This weekend, I decided to break the cycle. I admitted I was wrong. Let me lay out the scene for you. 

Tied at 3–3 in the bottom of the last inning of my girls softball game, the home team led off with a double. A single to the outfield, followed by a fantastic throw by our left fielder held up the winning run on third. A favorable bunt led to an out at first while stranding the runner on third. This was followed by a clutch strikeout by our pitcher to put us in a situation to go to international tie breaker if we could just get one more out.

We decided to walk the next hitter intentionally to load the bases and put the force back on. A quick look at the Gamechanger app told us this hitter had hit up the middle three of her four at-bats. I made the unilateral decision to squeeze our shortstop and second baseman to second base, thinking another shot up the middle would end the inning. What happened? A dribbler right where the shortstop would have been standing. The run scores, we lose. 

We should have hit better. We gave up a two-out error in left field that would have meant a 3-2 win for us. But I bit the bullet, looked into the faces of 12 teenage girls and said, “I apologize. I made a decision and rolled the dice. It didn’t work. We lost and that’s on me.”

While we are turning over a new leaf, let me offer two more apologies.

First, let me apologize for going on the last Track ‘Em Tigers podcast and saying what I said about giving Gus Malzahn the benefit of the doubt after yet another lackluster offensive performance. I know this is going to be shocking for you readers for multiple reasons. First off, I have spent the last two weeks berating the job being done with Auburn’s offense.

Last week I went so far as to suggest that quarterback Jarrett Stidham isn’t as good as we had thought. I hesitated to go out on a limb and say that, especially with the 50-plus comments that were added at the bottom of my article the week before. That post was met with stark criticism that sparked a lot of talk. Most of it was in defense of Gus, but some of the conversation revealed some fans coming to the realization that Auburn was in real trouble offensively. While the numbers supported that the talk was meaningful, saying it gave it life. The fact that the “offensive genius'” offense was becoming offensive is a scary thought. 

Still, despite all the talk, I went on the podcast and said that Gus could turn it around and it might actually be too early to make my yearly jump off the Gus Bus.

Auburn 24 Southern Miss 13. 

I don’t actually want to talk about that game because, in truth, I turned it off. I could sit here and say I turned it off because I was busy coaching said softball team, but the truth is, we were between games. The Auburn offense was so terrible that I did something I’ve only done two other times in recent memory: I turned the game off and went on with my life.

That’s right. The first time was against Texas A&M in 2012. The second time? Alabama in 2012. At least I had a viable reason for both. I was at a corn maze in 2012, the second was my 30th birthday, and in both cases, I wasn’t going to ruin a good evening because of a very, very bad Auburn offense.

There’s no excuse for turning off the game this past Saturday except that Auburn’s offense wasn’t fit to watch. And for that, I am sorry I ever said what I said on the podcast, though I can blame getting sentimental on Good Time Gus after having a few beers while Derrick Roberts and I ranted for an hour. 

And for that, I am sorry. 

Lastly, I owe Kerryon Johnson a massive apology that is way overdue.

Coming out of Madison Academy, a school I sort of follow because of my ties to the school and its location near me, I never thought he would make it at Auburn. There was no doubt that Kerryon was talented.

I watched the state championship his senior year as the young man scored on almost every single touch he had. I just thought, it’s Madison Academy, a private school that recruits players but still manages to play small-time schools, which I still maintain isn’t fair. With that said, he wouldn’t be able to play big-boy football. 

Of course, Kerryon showed up and showed out his freshman year. While he did get hurt a good bit, I thought he would end up being the next scatback for Auburn with his skill set. Boy, was I wrong. Last season was fantastic for Johnson and earned him tons of well-deserved honors.

But when he declared for the NFL and was drafted by the Lions, I had my doubts, yet again. I was asked by a Vol fan if I thought he could make it in Detroit, a team that hadn’t had a good running back in a very long time. No. He’s injury prone. He doesn’t have the skillset for a three-down back, much less the physicality.

But Kerryon Johnson became the first 100-yard rusher in Detroit in 70 games. Before I could even say “fluke,” Kerryon Johnson ran over a Dallas linebacker for a touchdown on Sunday, sending said LB to the locker room.

So, Kerryon, I apologize.

I apologize for ever doubting you. I apologize for not realizing your worth to an Auburn offense last season. Because, obviously, it wasn’t Jarrett Stidham or Gus Malzahn that scored those points and won those games. It was you, and as each week goes on, it becomes more and more apparent just how valuable you were to winning games for Auburn.

6 Comments

  1. neonbets says:

    Too often people talk past each other on player assessment. [I do this all the time.] In assessing Stidham, are we discussing whether Auburn can win the SEC with Stidham at the helm? [Sure, a team could theoretically win big with a 3rd stringer. But it would need a Bo Jackson or Adrian Peterson, so that doesn’t count.]

    OR

    Are we discussing whether Stidham is a great QB on the cusp of NFL stardom?

    These are two very different discussions that unfortunately often get muddled together.

    Of course Auburn can win the SEC with Stidham. The guy has amazing arm talent. He has a great release, and is accurate too. And he’s tough.

    But I don’t think he’ll make a good pro. He has a frustrating inability to make a play beyond his 1st read, and he does not improvise. Compare Stidham to Burrow (with LSU). Burrow doesn’t have near the arm talent as Stidham, but man that guy is a ‘gamer’. When the play breaks down, he still finds a way to make something good happen. Stidham–for the most part–doesn’t.

    The positions aren’t mutually exclusive, and one could say simultaneously—Stidham is outstanding (as a QB who could win the SEC), and Stidham is not outstanding (as an NFL talent).

  2. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..I had to turn the game off and go to work, but I deliberately rewatched the next Sunday morning. Took FOREVER to fast forward through the rain delay! Stidham actually had a decent game. Not a great game, but he got the ball out, usually accurately.

    …..I also kind of liked that they ran the ball, and ran the ball, and ran it some more, even when it wasn’t working very well. I remember the Mississippi State game in 2005, when Tuberville did that. It wasn’t a thing of beauty, to be sure, but it paid dividends down the road, when Auburn flattened a Steve Spurrier team 48-7, and finished the regular season knocking off eventual SEC Champ Georgia in Athens, and put up a 21-0 first quarter on Bama.

  3. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    I have to say that mobile computing and wireless have transformed my Saturday viewing. Now my ‘Game Day Experience’ is likely to involve my laboring at a ‘Honey-Do’ project with a Bluetooth headset and a tablet (or phone) conveniently placed so my hands can still work while I listen/watch as needed.

    The rain delay made last Saturday into a loooong day, let me tell you, as I had promised a reorganization of our attic ‘as long as I can watch the game’ – a factor my dear wife exploited to the utmost.

    Note to self: Wait until October for such agreements as the late summer storm season always seems to give us a rain delay in September.

  4. Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

    Great article. Kerryon was huge no doubt and I’ll agree he was taken for granted a little.

    What’s skewing all of this for me right now is just how awful the offensive line has been. There’s plenty of blame to go around but until that clears up, it really isn’t apparent who’s really at fault. We couldn’t block a girl scout troop right now.

    • dyingculture dyingculture says:

      What surprises me most of all is that it appears that the guards are the ones who have struggled, less so the tackles. Before the season, it was taken for granted that we have good, experienced guards but the tackles are the question mark. Latle we don’t hear a whole lot about the tackles (which for is a good thing since OL usually gets noticed only on a mistake), and Tega especially is regarded the best on the OL. Instead, it is Horton and Harrell who seem to be struggling the most. Who could have guessed? And why would that be? Both of them seemed so reliable last year.

  5. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    i HAVE TO PUMP the sunshine.
    Auburn beats MSU 41-17

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