God girl grill gridiron

Monday, September 15, 2008

Your Auburn Tigers, still cloaked in mystery

The Mississippi State game marked the second Auburn game in a row that I didn't get to watch. Last weekend was a wedding in Pittsburgh (during which a helpful hostess kept me up to date on the score.) This past weekend, my fiancee hiked up to Hanging Rock. Plus, she doesn't yet have cable. But I've learned my lesson, tigers. You can't miss a single game if you're an Auburn fan because hey, a different team takes the field every Saturday. Which Auburn tigers will we get this week? The team that won't even pass on play-action? The team that airs it out all day long? Or the offense-is-just-another-name-for-specialer-special-teams team? This football-free regime of rabbit-eared television will end.

To be fair, it's all academic so far - every incarnation of the Auburn tigers so far (whether that be three or six) has won. War Damn Eagle!

by one point or a hundred!... hey, wait a second....

Unfortunately that was the weirdest game I didn't see. Yes, it blows my mind that we can brutalize a team to the tune of 34-zip one week, 27-13 the next, and then win by the smallest margin possible, having scored the least possible number of offensive points. That we can demolish our opposition while sneering at any semblance of balance and then run a statistically balanced football game and not get one measly touchdown. By all reports, the Spread Eagle was more of the Banana Split.

But honestly, I'm not too worried. It's strange... but it's almost too strange. I'm hoping that it turns out to be eerily strange, if you'll permit that. Take, for instance, Tuberville's post-game comments:
  • I never really felt threatened last night of losing that ballgame once we got ahead 3-0.*JGT
  • Had we opened it up a little more, [Chris Todd] would have done a little more.JGT
  • [The team gets] an A+ for winning.JGT
What we have so far is one game in which we run the ball, but only before and after we run the ball. A second game in which we pass nearly as much. And a third in which we basically play special teams and defense. And every account there of has come back as "Hasn't quite opened up yet." So I'm with you, naysayers, when you say this offense can't win in the SEC - metaphorically speaking, that is, as it won in the SEC last Saturday. But I have to point out that the Spread Eagle has revealed little of its designs. All we know of its true power comes from the Clemson game. And we know that Franklin hasn't forgotten the brilliance he conjured up from nine practices. He can't have. We just have to know what we are doing.

For one, I think a big part of our dour offense to date is that we're saving the best for the best. I'm a fervent believer in the look-ahead rope-a-dope game, a tactic for which Auburn - for better or worse - should be famous. More pejoratively, one could call it "playing down to your opponent" as it seems we did versus the Fighting Croomers. Doing only what's necessary to beat the pipsqueaks, you save the haymaker for them boys down on the bayou. This is not merely to rest our players and keep them injury free: fate will always have her price. In this day and age of multi-angle full-game footage and DVD-R's, the wiliest of coaches will find a way to beat every play you've run as long as they can see it once - the effectivenes of your plays (and therefore your offense) decreases as you use them. It's wise not to let ol' Les see it comin' until it's about two inches away from his mad, mad nose.

I'm not denying that we've played anything but flawlessly, or that there aren't significant kinks, or that I would have dearly loved a touchdown please. I simply think we turned it down a notch and did only what was necessary, in preparation to unleash the full fury of the Spread Eagle on an unsuspecting band of pseudo-tigers. When Tubby says "A+ for winning" and "Chris Todd would have done more if we'd let him," I hear "Y'all just wait and see..." Which is why we haven't seen more of Super Mario than we have. He's gettin' just enough to keep him hungry...**

hahaha we could've gotten Croomed again Sen'Derrick hahahaha

The one really ominous sign was our offensive line play. Ziemba, Pugh, and Bosley all earned the polecats' affections in a significant manner - where on earth did that come from? Chris Todd is going to have to put down his beer. Should we be worried that the flags started flying in our first SEC contest? I guess I'd almost rather we hold than let Todd get slobberknocked in his first conference tilt... but Ziemba shouldn't need to do that. We oughta be doin' the slobberknockin'. Oh, and Ryan Pugh apparently chuckled at the safety which he committed, the safety that negated a second shutout that our thermonuclear defense so justly had earned. Kudos to Pugh and all for his strong work in the switch to center, but I'm with The War Eagle Reader: he is just beggin' to get jacked up by a vengeful AC.

I'm imploring our offense: do not anger our defense by committing any more safeties. It is desperately unwise to provoke their fury. Coleman don't hurt 'im!

breathing of fire, crushing of souls

Another week is past, another offense's hopes and dreams are splattered across the gridiron, grisly tribute to the absolute dominance of the Auburn tiger defense. The rushing attack? Crushed to powder, ground to dust. The passing game? Blanketed, picked off, rushed to oblivion off the edge and up the gut. Last Saturday night was absolute carnage - Starkville was ground zero of an unreal defensive performance that, frankly, I've only seen in video games. When have you ever heard of 1.3 yards a rush? Zero of 15 on third down? Good lord I wish I'd been able to see it! I'd almost pity the poor bulldogs but I don't - they saw what came to the warhawks and the golden eagles, they knew what was comin' to them. And allow me to recant any trepidation regarding Paul Rhoads. Those lazy coach-scalping Longhorns don't have any clue what they're missing.

The path now leads straight to Armageddon. Look out you bastards - we are comin'.

* Bold words, Tubby. After all, MSU missed that one field goal. All the bulldogs needed was to sink it and we would have given 'em another win. The Riverboat Gambler lives on.

** At least, that's what I'm hoping. These may yet be homeriffic words I am forced to eat, and Auburn may indeed be the place where brilliant offensive minds come to wither away. But I don't think so just yet.

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