It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger

Aubie knows!

By: Snaggletiger

Saturday was significant for me in a lot of ways while watching pregame festivities, the game itself and my time around Auburn following the game.  Thankfully, this was one of those afternoons that we as Auburn fans, could sit back and take in the entire atmosphere without much stress as the opponent was one that should be easily handled.  They were.  The outcome was clear less than five minutes into the contest and much of the remainder was spent watching Auburn’s football future get as much playing time as possible. However, it was what happened before and after the

game that made me realize that as an Auburn fan, I needed to live in this moment and not take anything for granted.

It goes without saying that this program is going through one of those magical years that don’t come around that often for Auburn.  Not only is Auburn in the enviable position of controlling its own destiny in the quest for a national championship, we have also been privileged as fans, to witness the emergence of a real life super hero leading our team. The stars have aligned in several other areas in ways that we may not see again for some time.  Prior to the game, they introduced Auburn’s seniors and their parents and I saw what is as integral a part of this team’s success as Cam Newton himself.  As the players were introduced one by one, it hit me again that we may never see a group of men with that much experience playing together at a position so vitally important to a team’s success.

Ryan Pugh and Lee Ziemba came to Auburn as part of a heralded recruiting class and stepped in immediately on the offensive line.  I vividly recall thinking how bright our future looked as I watched these young freshmen going toe to toe with the likes of Glenn Dorsey in Baton Rouge.  Shortly thereafter, Mike Berry and Byron Isom worked their way into the rotation and the four have been mainstays in the trenches for the last three years.  Here in 2010, I would dare say this is one of, if not the best offensive line in the country.  The statistics certainly bear that out.  It’s highly unlikely that we ever see a group with this much experience and chemistry as the one we’ve watched steamroll their way to a 10-0 start.

Dyer needs 31 more yards to break Bo's freshman record

Coming into the season, the running back situation was filled with question marks.  Auburn fans were counting on senior Mario Fannin to take over the reigns and have that breakout year; however, most were still hesitant to proclaim the running back position to be in good hands since Fannin’s career had been marred with injuries and inconsistencies.  Many hoped that Auburn would get some major contributions from incoming freshman phenom, Michael Dyer.  Those fears and hopes came to fruition this year as Mario continued to struggle while Dyer has performed beyond expectations and threatens to break the freshman rushing record of a former running back who had a mediocre career at Auburn, one  Bo Jackson.  The emergence of Newton and Dyer has allowed speedy O’Mac to show off his break away skills and thrill Auburn fans by takin’ it to the house numerous times.

In 2004, Auburn was blessed to have a trio of experienced receivers that made life much easier for then quarterback, Jason Campbell.  Ben Obewonabu made the athletic grabs across the middle and tough runs after the catch while Devin Aromashamomado consistently stretched the field.  Teams couldn’t focus their attention too much on those two as big Anthony Mix would make them pay dearly as the third option.  This year’s receiving corp has slowly become eerily similar to 2004’s unit.  Darvin Adams seems to make every crucial catch across the middle or anywhere it’s thrown for that matter.  Terrell Zachary has made a habit of forcing teams to respect the long ball as he consistently blows by defensive backs for big chunks of yardage and several chunks of paydirt.  Like Mix, Emory Blake has made scheming against the Tigers a nightmare and has come into his own as that third receiver.

Defensively, this bunch has had its share of ups and downs. But just as Cam Newton has electrified this team and the entire nation, one player has emerged to become one of the best linemen in the country.  Nick Fairley has compiled a highlite reel worth of jaw-dropping plays that evoke memories of one of the greatest to ever play defense at Auburn, Tracy Rocker.  Fairley’s exploits in the opposing team’s backfield have literally changed games in Auburn’s favor and garnered him attention for several post season awards.  While Rocker built his resume over the course of his career, Fairley has burst on to the scene and like Newton, may be a player we only  get to enjoy for a short time.

And then there’s Cam.  It seems that we run out of superlatives to describe this man’s play and his personality both on and off the field….until he plays the next game and surprises us all once again. The physical attributes speak for themselves.  At 6’6” and 250 lbs. Cam glides fluidly past defenders or when the need arises, lowers a shoulder and punishes any hapless individual who attempts to stand between him and his goal.  His accomplishments would normally stand on their own, much like those of Bo Jackson.  But Newton decided from the day he set foot on campus that this would be his team, that he would lead this group by both his words and his example.  It seems that Newton controls his environment and that of his teammates and fans.  His play gives the impression that it’s Cam making the decisions about when, where and how it’s all about to happen.  His leadership style seems to have developed by taking on the personality of the towel waving, fun loving but demanding, Trooper Taylor.

Especially when a team has success, we as fans want to feel as if we’re as much a part of that success as we can.  Most times, we feel satisfied that the atmosphere we created was as much a motivating factor as anything else in contributing to the win.  But Cam takes it farther…much farther.  Like no other player in Auburn history, he has made us feel like part of the family.  Not only does he take care of his business on the field, his constant playing with the crowd through words,  gestures and physical interaction makes us all feel as we truly had a hand in the team’s success.  That constant, contagious smile gives Auburn fans a sense of security and hopefully a realization that these are truly special times indeed.

Hopefully we will all get to see this site 4 more times. War Eagle!

The win against Chattanooga was not one for the ages nor was it cause for wild celebration.  But there was something special in the air Saturday following that game  We walked around campus, stopping by Toomer’s Corner to let my boy make a few tosses of Charmin.  A 10 year old doesn’t care if you just beat Alabama or Slippery Rock.  This was Auburn and this was the coolest tradition in the world. We walked down the city streets among hundreds of fans, stopping along the way where any television was visible to check on Alabama and LSU and cheer with the Auburn family when the faux Tigers did anything positive.  It seemed somehow different yet somehow familiar.  Perhaps, much like 2004?  It wasn’t until the end of that year that I, along with most of the Auburn nation, came to realize what a special time that was and how much we’d miss “Going crazy” with Carnell.  Regardless of what happens from here forward, I think I’ve just come to the realization that “It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger” means a little something extra in 2010.

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