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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Auburn-Tennessee redux

Now that Auburn's 14-12 win against Tennessee has had some time to soak in , here are some day-after thoughts:

-- If you didn't like all the quarterback controversy stories between Chris Todd and Kodi Burns earlier this year, you're not going to like this week. It will start today (though I can't imagined Tommy Tuberville will make either available). Still, Tuberville and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin will speak today, so we should get some preliminary thoughts.

Here's my take: play them both. It's not ideal, but neither are either of them. Todd looked good, particularly early on, with the passing game, and Burns was definitely a shot in the arm when he entered the game.

I saw Virginia Tech employ a similar tactic last season with Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies won the ACC. I don't see anything wrong with riding the hot hand or playing a certain quarterback more due to matchups.

-- I think the defense did a pretty good job in proving the LSU game was a fluke. Tennessee, a major Division I school for those who might have fogotten, had 191 total yards, 67 passing yards and only 9 first downs.

A funny stat is that no Volunteers receiver had more than one catch. Eight different players had one reception.

-- This "Wildcat" offense or Single Wing or whatever the heck you want to call it, is all over the place. I just saw an NFL highlight where the Jaguars used it for a 40-yard touchdown run. It seems like a nice wrinkle. Honestly, Tennessee's best offense was when it snapped the ball directly to Gerald Jones.

It will be interesting to see if Auburn continues to use this formation with Mario Fannin. He looked comfortable running it and it gives defenses another thing to think about. It's not a bad idea.

-- It kind of got glossed over in the win, but Tuberville sounded serious about kicker Wes Byrum losing his job if he doesn't get his act together. Quite simply, you can't miss field goals from 20 to 39 yards. The question is, does Auburn have anybody else who can take his place? It would seem to be Morgan Hull or nobody.

-- I wouldn't want to be Phil Fulmer this week. Just looking at Tennessee's schedule, it's not going to get much easier. The Vols still play at Georgia, vs. Alabama, at South Carolina and at Vanderbilt. Eesh.

More later once we hear Tuberville talk this afternoon.


Anonymous said...

I disagree. have you seen VT lately. Doesnt work all the time. Give burns all the snaps and look to future

Anonymous said...

I agreed with the previous comment. Spread Offense requires dual-threat QB. Neither Todd or Burns is the Spread QB at this time but we should focus on Burns and develop him into that future QB. At the same time, the play calling must improve. It's too predictable. Even TV Analyst can make better call at times.

Andy said...

VT has struggled this year because it lost four senior wide receivers and its top running back.

The Hokies had a pretty good thing worked out last season, which is why I think a two-quarterback system could work.

Anonymous said...

Wow -- Where to start?

First of all, this game did not prove that the defensive effort against LSU was a fluke. Tennessee's offense is awful, and yet they still managed to pound the ball on the ground, just as LSU did. And just like against LSU, receivers were open all game -- UT's QB just wasn't capable of getting them the ball. Trust me, Auburn's speedy but undersized D will be exposed at least a couple more times this year, just as it was in the second half of the LSU game.

On the single wing offense, I don't have a problem with it. But when Auburn has a great running QB sitting on the bench, why not let him run it instead of using a RB/WR like Fannin? It makes no sense whatsoever, other than as an excuse to get Fannin some touches. But did you ever see West Virginia put Steve Slaton under center instead of Pat White? That makes about as much sense as using Fannin instead of Burns.

Auburn Tiger info said...

Wow -- what to say back.

If you find fault with that defensive performance Saturday, you're reaching. I don't care what Tennessee's quarterback situation was, Auburn allowed next to nothing in that fourth quarter -- when it mattered most. It's hard to argue with those results.

As for Fannin, Tuberville said Sunday -- and I don't necessarily agree with him -- that Auburn uses him instead of Burns because as a running back, Fannin is more durable.

It's flimsy logic, but I don't think getting Fannin touches is a bad thing. He's buried on the running back depth chart (or as a WR) and clearly has some skills. Why not try to get him on the field?

Plus, Burns ain't Pat White at this point of his career.