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Where Do We Go from Here?

By on December 6th, 2018 in Football 7 Comments »

An offense in limbo
(Photo by Acid Reign)

     War Eagle, everybody! The postseason begins in earnest this week as championship games have wrapped up, and only the Heisman presentation and Army/Navy game remain before bowl season. I know that most readers here will have seen tons of speculation on what went on, and did not go on, in the Auburn administration’s dealings with seemingly lame-duck coach Gus Malzahn. And even with that label, I’m parroting various reports and not any solid knowledge. I can’t tell you what really happened behind closed doors. I do feel that the various rumors have done nothing but hurt the reputation of the Auburn program.

     Probably the most important short-term administrative decision has to be the question of who will run the offense, going forward. I’m assuming that current offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, who’s been told that he won’t be retained, won’t be involved in the bowl preparations. It remains to be seen what offense Auburn will try to run in the postseason. A new offensive coordinator could try to install a new system in less than two weeks and run it in the bowl game as Tony Franklin and Tommy Tuberville did 11 years ago. Auburn needs a good decision here, even on an interim basis, to get a good situation lined up for the bowl. It will do head coach Gus Malzahn no favors if he falls to 1–5 in bowl games at Auburn.

     I opined earlier in this space that Auburn was likely headed to the Birmingham Bowl. I was wrong as the SEC got multiple teams into New Year’s Six bowls. Plus, it appears that the mid-tier bowls can choose SEC teams based on whom they think will bring the most support and fans.

     Auburn ended up in the Music City Bowl at noon on the Friday before New Year’s weekend. That’s not an optimal time for either a TV audience or rabid fan support, especially in the toxic sea of Auburn commentary out there these days. And coupled with playing at a bad time, Auburn will have to take on a dangerous Big Ten opponent, Purdue. No, this won’t be a University of Podunk, SE Group of Five conference opponent. If you’ll recall, Purdue was the single team that beat B1G champ Ohio State and did it by 29 points.

     Defensively, Purdue can be had, by a patient and pressing attack. The Boilermakers gave up 27.2 points per game this season, a number comparable to the Ted Roof/Brian vanGorder/Ellis Johnson defenses at Auburn. Auburn will need something more than plain vanilla, though.

     The guy to watch on offense for Purdue is receiver Rondale Moore. The Boilermakers try to get it to him at least 2/3 of the time. Moore had 103 catches during the regular season this year and managed 11.3 yards per catch. He also got 18 carries for 103 yards. Moore is also both the top kick returner and punt returner for Purdue and leads the Boilermakers in all-purpose yards with 2,048. The next nearest guy is running back DJ Knox, who has 1,048 rushing and receiving yards.

     Auburn needs to win this bowl game, lest it falls to another 7–6 record. That mark would make for very difficult recruiting in coming months.

7 Comments

  1. AUFan1 AUFan1 says:

    The Boilermakers are scary. It will take a good running game and I don’t know if Auburn can produce that but at least Boobee should be more healthy by Dec.28.

  2. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Of all the teams that were projected as a possible matchup for Auburn in a bowl game, Purdue is the one I didn't want to draw. Additionally their coach says they are motivated (like UCF last year) to prove themselves against a traditional SEC power. It would be tough even if the coaching staff was intact, but no OC or a new OC ….?

  3. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    Yep a big challenge in the bowl game. Its another must win. Thanks for the preview Acid.

  4. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    I had moore on my fantasy team this year and boy….that’s one guy you dont want to see touch the ball.

    This is just a bad bowl situation. Lots of people believe that gus is gone with a loss.

  5. AUwaterboy AUwaterboy says:

    "Where Do We Go from Here?" …… Gus promotes Kodi Burns to OC but really does all the play calling himself and has a 10 win season in 2019 and a berth in a New Year's Day Six bowl.

  6. maryland tiger says:

    Just saw on al.com that Asa Martin is transferring. Another big time recruit leaving the program because of coaching stupidity. I’ve had enough – wake me when the Auburn “powers that be” decide they want a legitimate coach that can compete with Alabama, Georgia, and LSU. I blindly supported Gus, but now I’m just angry and bitter! I keep thinking about Gus’ boasting that “the next few years for Auburn football are going to be the best ever”! I wouldn’t even hire him to run a high school program!

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