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Thanks for nothing Tin-of-pee

September 14, 2009

A big shout out to the loud-mouth Lane Kiffin for embarrassing the SEC this past Saturday against UCLA. Although my prediction remains that THE FLORIDA will scrub the locker room with the Tennessee jerseys, now I hope it happens. Were it not for the Kiffydom, Joe Auburn would be sitting on a perfect prediction record after week 2. As it was though, Joe picked all the conference action correctly with the noted exception.

Ahhh well….I’m at least happy with the following: Auburn 49, MSU 24. And if you want to see poetry in motion comparing this year’s result to last you have to read Will’s column.

Auburn dismissed the MSU Bulldogs on Saturday night. The only exception to the thrashing was the second quarter where Auburn gave up 10 points on defense and 7 on ri-damn-diculous special teams play. Tiger Walk was busier than I’ve seen since an Alabama game and although the announced crowd was a whisker over 85k, there appeared to be more empty seats than the week before (81k). The crowd seemed subdued to me – which considering we were rumored to have big recruits on hand, was disheartening. However, the good far outweighs the bad, especially any Sunday that begins with an extra digit in the Win column.

Auburn Offense. Chris Todd lost some favor with the fans in my section. Although I have forgiven, if not forgotten, last year’s performance, there were plenty of folks around me who were on the verge of booing. Thankfully it never came to that atrocity. I will say his completion percentage was disgusting, going 10 for 23, and at times appearing to hold the ball too long. Otherwise, as much as Todd “directs” the offense he was on target enough for Tate and McCalebb to set a new tandem rushing record and to put the ball in the end zone before the half. I still think most of us are waiting for a true test of the offense and West Virginia should provide that. However, I do wonder more and more that as long as Auburn runs the ball and the O-line holds up, how stiff a test do we need? Sure, there are losses on this schedule and there are teams who have offenses every bit as potent in their own right, but suddenly the bar being set at 6 wins seems, dare I say, “low”? Don’t worry, I just bit my tongue.

Auburn Defense. I was wrong about Eltoro Freeman and I am glad. Man was he fun to watch on the field. He reminds me of a young Ray Lewis: nose for the ball, aggressive and with a flair for showmanship that reminds me of the Gladiator. Let’s hope he stays healthy and breathe the collective sigh of relief that he got a warm up against MSU before the Mountaineers come calling. A dual threat QB again presented some matchup difficulty for our D, but the concern over Anthony Dixon never truly materialized. Again in the second half, the Auburn Defense was stalwart and true and in a trend to be envied, clamped down on the opposing offense.

Auburn Special Teams. Ugh, gasp, choke! What previous was thought to be a strength turned out to be the weakest link. There were so many Bulldogs in the backfield on the blocked punt, I don’t know who to give credit towards. Needless to say, our return yardage left a great deal to be excited for, and on several occasions I held my breath while I watched the State kickoff return specialists scoot too far up the field for my comfort. I’m at least thankful Coach Gene Chizik came out after the game and said the problems would be fixes. No excuses, no ifs, ands or buts, just that it would be fixed. Very nice Coach, very nice. Don’t take my word for how bad it all is, read Jerry’s brilliance here.

The early read on the look ahead is a cloudy one. West Virginia returns some studs and are loaded on defense. I don’t read anything into their early struggles against East Carolina, because everyone has a few struggles this early in the season. I do hope the Auburn fans show up and fill the stadium and are LOUD this weekend. I also hope Todd gets his timing back and Tate and McCalebb are well rested and avoid the flu this week. Again, assuming Auburn runs the ball with even 70% of the ease they have these first two weeks and it is hard to believe we aren’t on the reasonable side of going 4-0 in the month of September.

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