Thoughts – Week 9

Chizik and Auburn had a Happy Halloween becoming Bowl worthy after a 33-20 victory over Ole Miss.

Chizik and Auburn had a Happy Halloween becoming Bowl worthy after a 33-20 victory over Ole Miss.

By: THS

Back when I was playing football in high school, we were expecting to be terrible my senior year.  Our quarterback was debating quitting to focus on baseball, we were starting two sophomores on the o-line, and we had a tall skinny white kid playing running back.  Along came a surprise on the first day of spring practice by the name of Montez Billings.  He was tall, skinny-style ripped, and could do a 360 degree spin in the air before dunking a basketball.  After the first day of practice, my o-line coach looked at us and said “he’s going to be the spark that keeps us in ball games.”

Auburn…

– Montez Billings didn’t lead Pelham to anything of note, but we weren’t terrible.  He caught 70 balls and averaged over ten yards a catch with 10+ catches of 50 yards or more.  We finished the year 4-7 after losing to Tuscaloosa County in the playoffs.  When County was up by 14, Montez took a screen pass and broke 7 tackles before running 70 yards down the field for a touchdown.  In the end, we still lost by 14, but we were in the game.  We had a chance.  He gave the rest of us a chance to be competitive when we were all obviously scrubs lucky enough to earn a starting position.

– Say hello to Eltoro Freeman.  He’s the spark that this defense has needed all year long.  I told a friend of mine yesterday that he looked like a man amongst boys.  He’s blessed with a strong body that is complemented with tremendous speed.  He has good vision, and he’s relentless when going after the ball carrier.

– “The Bull” couldn’t do it all by himself.  In fact, he didn’t.  More truth – he hurt us on a few plays.  Freeman doesn’t have the experience or technique (yet) to be consistent on every play.  He was out of position and missed a few tackles.  What he did do, however, was slow down the offense just enough for our other guys, who have very much looked like scrubs all year, get to the ball carrier in time to make a tackle.  He was enough of a threat blitzing and in coverage that our defensive line finally had time and the ability to rush the passer.

– “The Bull” is an apt nickname for Freeman especially this year.  In a bull fight, the bull rushes the matador with reckless abandon and with the intent to kill on the first hit.  He tucks his head, scratches his hoof against the dirt, and just goes.  The matador, being more intelligent and more experienced, steps aside and the bull misses.  Eventually, the bull wears down and is dropped dead by the matador.  But imagine if there was one other bull in the ring.  Imagine if the first bull rushed the matador just enough to keep the matador’s eyes off of the other bull.  The end result would be much different.  The end result would be two perfectly happy bulls and one bloody impaled matador saturating the dry dirt of the bull ring.

– I haven’t changed my mind a bit on Ted Roof.  We still look very much out of position, and our tackling skills are beneath SEC level.  But we got the spark we needed.  We made the plays and were determined to win.  Determination and heart can lead to a lot of victories, but I still haven’t seen the consistency we need to be a championship caliber defense.  Maybe a few more sparks in the next recruiting class can turn Auburn back into the program renowned for great defense.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

– I’ve come to the realization that I simply disagree with Gus Malzahn’s style of offense.  It’s just a personal preference.  Malzahn’s offense does work; don’t get me wrong.  I’m very happy to see us score 31 points against a top SEC defense.  I just don’t understand the “big play” offense mentality.  Maybe I’ll get used to it.  Actually, if we keep putting up numbers like that, I know I’ll get used to it.

– There’s no reason not to expect a victory over Georgia.  Chizik did it.  He persuaded me to believe he knows how to get this team prepared.  The question returns to “Can he be consistent?”  Can we continue this effort, or will we suddenly revert back to the same ole excuses after we lose?

– Talent and depth is no longer an excuse for losing.  You don’t beat Ole Miss with offense.  No one has this year except us.  There’s no reason to see performances like against LSU and Kentucky.  We obviously have the tools to do it; it’s up to the coaching staff to get it done.

– Furman, Georgia, Iron Bowl.  We have a chance to shoot some fireworks to close out the year.  No longer should anyone joke about the Papa John’s Bowl.  It’s not a joke.  We’re shooting for the Chik-Fil-A Bowl.  It’s very much a possibility.

Ole Miss…

– Snead is the worst quarterback in the SEC.  Not because of talent, but because of how much of a letdown he is.  A stud with an arm, smarts, and surrounding talent.  A stud with a slew of running backs to take off the pressure.  A stud with a good defense to allow him to take chances and not worry about turnovers.  Good lord he sucks.

– Houston Nutt will be exiting the SEC in two years.  I think Ole Miss will be hard pressed to get rid of him soon.  As critically as I’ve been with Auburn’s staff, I think Nutt is doing the worst job in the SEC.  Recruiting isn’t going well, and he’s doing less with more than anyone else in the country.  The biggest problem is Ole Miss’s offense, and who’s in charge of that?  Houston Nutt.

Florida…

– The offense is meh, the defense is looking a bit meh.  Florida is a bit meh.  Besides their punter, everyone seems to be going through the motions.  Watching Florida is boring.  It really is.  I can predict every play, and they always out-talent the opposition.  I bet they option it to one of the speedy running backs or run it up the middle with Tebow or Tebow throws a screen or Tebow kinda throws it downfield.

– Tebow has the worst throwing motion in the history of football.  Worse than Rivers.  Perhaps I noticed it more yesterday, but he brings the ball almost down to his knee before throwing it.  He adds 1/2 of a second to his throw, which is a lot when you only have a total of 4 seconds to throw it anyway.  This won’t hurt him in college football, but NFL scouts are going to puke when they see it.

Georgia…

– It’s a rebuilding year.  Richt seems to have a lot of them lately.  I’m not sure what they can fix, but I think Richt is looking at the end of his tenure.

– Joe Cox is barely good enough to start in the SEC.  That usually translates to 3-4 losses a year.  There’s talent on offense, but they lack a game manager.  I really like that Ealey kid, but he’s not as talented as Moreno, and he won’t do it alone.

– If Richt has any balls, he’ll fire Martinez the day after the GA Tech game.  Georgia’s defense has been terrible for the past few years.

USC…

Don't look now Pete, but thats the Oregon Duck laughing at you....Nelson Style...Ha-Ha!

Don't look now Pete, but thats the Oregon Duck laughing at you....Nelson Style...Ha-Ha!

My how the mighty have fallen.  Don’t any of you be caught saying that.  Don’t think it.  Don’t make that mistake.  USC is starting a true freshman at quarterback and has replaced 7 NFL draft picks on defense alone.  This is the definition of a rebuilding year.  USC will return enough talent on offense next year to score points.  The scary part is that their young guys on D will have experience.

– Hate Pete Carroll and his style of coaching if you want, but I’ve been very impressed with his ability to overcome complacency and keep this team winning games.  A ten win season with a possible BCS berth is nothing to slouch at, and I think Carroll is responsible for their success.  Most people after being dominant for 7 straight years would just expect to be a top team.  Some might even forget how to coach a team up after so many years of running the machine.  To me, this team could have been a lot worse.  They could have lost to Notre Dame and Ohio St.

Oregon…

– Say hello to the new Rose Bowl participant.  I feel sorry for whoever has to face this Oregon team.  Since struggling the first three games of the year, they’ve blown out everyone they’ve played.  They’re on fire with tremendous speed on offense and solid play on defense.

– This is why I hate the college system.  Oregon really has no shot to get into the BCSCG.  Even if a few teams lose and they win out, they’ll have to overcome the arguments for Boise St AND they won’t get in over a 1 loss SEC or Big 12 team.  I think Oregon looks just as good as anyone else, but one goof in the season opener kills any hope.  If the playoffs started tomorrow, I’d put my money on Oregon and Texas.

Texas…

– Speaking of Texas, welcome to the top.  Texas is my new number one.  After a series of games where they struggled early with inferior teams, they’ve gone on a killing spree slashing everyone they’ve encountered.  41 points scored in Stillwater is no small feat.  This is one team you’ll see in the BCSCG.

Alabama-LSU…

– Alabama wins?  They’re in.  The SEC season is over, and the only hope anyone else has is to see Florida or Bama lose a game to get knocked out of the NC.

– LSU wins?  The season gets a lot more interesting.  LSU could lose to Ole Miss or Arkansas.  Not likely, but it could happen.  But still – they HAVE to win those games.

– The conclusion is that we want LSU to win.  Taking the Auburn glasses off, every SEC fan besides Alabama fans should want LSU to win this football game.  Bama won’t be able to slip at all against Miss. St or Auburn.  LSU won’t be able to slip at all against their teams.  It makes for a much more interesting story and definitely makes for potentially an explosive end to the season.

– Bama wins?  It’s all humdrum for everyone.

Final Thought…

– We still need a few more sparks to finish the season the way we want and need to.  We aren’t good enough to be consistent.  I don’t believe our coaching staff is good enough to be consistent.  We need that spark.  We need a few more bulls on special teams and offense.

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