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Monday, October 6, 2008

Auburn-Vanderbilt redux

That was an interesting weekend to say the least.

I didn’t have time yesterday to blog anything yesterday because of the drive back, but that kind of weekend deserves a recap. I’ll break it down fact and fiction style:

FACT: Auburn’s best offense is lining up under center with two tight ends and plowing straight ahead with the ground game. Nobody who watched the first quarter of Saturday’s game could think otherwise. The spread might be a nice option when the Tigers have the right personnel, but with this current group – especially with the quarterback choices – it’s just not going to be effective.

FICTION: Tony Franklin’s duties have been relieved or reworked. Plenty of message board speculation out there, but the beleaguered offensive coordinator remains at his post. Head coach Tommy Tuberville said Franklin will still call the plays and that any changes to a more traditional offense come from Franklin. That part I don’t know if I necessarily believe.

FACT: The quarterbacks will rotate for the remainder of the year. I can’t envision a scenario where they won’t. Neither one is head and shoulders ahead of the other and both bring a different set of skills to the game. If Kodi Burns doesn’t play, I think Auburn risks the chance of losing him. When a quarterback starts talking about how this wasn’t the school he thought he was being recruited to, like Burns did after the game, you have to take note.

FICTION: The defense is vulnerable. Yes, Vanderbilt scored the go-ahead touchdown and gained a good chunk of yards on the Auburn defense in the second half, but look at the players the Tigers were without for plenty of series after halftime – DT Sen’Derrick Marks, CB Jerraud Powers, LB Tray Blackmon, DE Antonio Coleman, DE Michael Goggans and LB Chris Evans. That is 6 of 11 starters and still the defense kept the team in the game.

FACT: Place-kicker Wes Byrum is just not right. The missed extra point was obvious. But according to a couple reporters on the beat who made it down to the sidelines in the final minutes (I did not make it immediately because of deadline), Byrum had troubles keeping kicks in the net while warming up. And that’s only, what, five or six feet in front of him? Plenty of kickers come out of these slumps and I think Byrum can do the same. Above all else, I think Byrum just needs to make an easy field goal attempt in a non-pressure situation to get back on the right track.

FICTION: Vanderbilt should be ranked No. 13 in the country. Sorry ’Dores fans. I just don’t buy it. It was a nice win against a ranked team (one clearly ranked a bit too high), but I don’t think the Commodores will continue their run. When Auburn’s defense was healthy, Vanderbilt didn’t do anything. Before the Tigers abandoned the run, Vanderbilt didn’t stop anything. With remaining games against Mississippi State, Duke, Kentucky and Tennessee, Vandy will clearly get the one more win necessary for a bowl game, which in itself is a major accomplishment, but I can’t see this team going 10-2 or anything close to it.

FACT: I saw M.J. from the Real World holding court at a bar in Nashville. Talk about a D-list level celebrity sighting.

FICTION: Commodores fans know how to celebrate a big win. Seriously, you knock off the No. 13-ranked team in the country, are 5-0 for the first time since World War II, lead Florida and Georgia in the SEC West and nobody rushes the field. Nobody!? I’m sure everyone will cite safety and decorum for not doing so, but rushing the field to me feels like a college birthright, police presence be damned. Maybe Vandy fans were saving their rush to the field for later, like if the ’Dores knock of Florida on Nov. 8.

1 comment:

Scott H. said...

Auburn's ofense is a complete disaster. At this point, Auburn has basically a zero chance of winning the SEC West and a good bowl game is in high doubt as well. Auburn needs to go back to the drawing board with their offense. Chris Todd's arm is obviously not healthy and he runs like my 75 year-old grandmother. I say, stick Kodi Burns in, at least he is a running threat, and with time, his throwing game can improve.

If I'm Tony Franklin, I'm looking around for a new job, Auburn fans will be wanting his head on a post if this continues, and Turberville's job may be on the line as well. Auburn fans stood up for Turberville when he was almost fired in 2003, but I don't think they will this time.