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A look back, a glance ahead

September 15, 2009

So the Auburn Tigers are 2-0 at the mid point of September. I believe most of the experts and followers agreed we would be at this juncture, which likely means no one really knows the character of this Auburn team taking shape under new Coach Gene Chizik and staff.

How much stock do we place in the win over La Tech in week one? Not much based upon their follow up performance against Navy. Were we all trying to make La Tech out to be better than they really were by crowing over returning Coach Dooley and his skill position players? Probably. The La Tech Bulldogs scored one offensive touchdown against Auburn and Navy. Auburn surrendered two field goals, while Navy kept the Bulldogs stymied after the opening drive. Navy gave up a huge return whereas Auburn did not. After the Mississippi State game though, no one would declare Auburn’s special teams unit as remarkable.

So, can we gauge the effectiveness of our Auburn Tigers based upon our opponents subsequent games? My guess is, not really.  Is it a useful drill? My guess again is, not really. Does it help fill the time between Saturdays – absolutely!

And so, all of this is to say Auburn faces a stiff test this coming Saturday in Big East opponent, West Virginia. Almost no one I know of the proper color of Orange and Blue who ventured in Appalachia last year ever wants to return. Their fans made LSU’s look like a religious charter school’s traveling performing arts group. WVU boasts a QB and RB tandem which will quickly make us forget about Pat White. Their defense has, like Auburn’s, been very effective to date. In fact, Jerry has a nice addition to an updated worry chart for the season over at the revamped War Blog Eagle.

My early read is Auburn simply has to dominate the line of scrimmage. Our defense is going to have to be prepared for longer stretches of time on the field as the WVU offense seeks to establish the Devine and Brown running game to set up the Brown passing game. Stopping WVU on third down will become a huge task, but catamount to giving the Auburn offense every opportunity to establish their own brand of run and play action dominance.

I still think Auburn wins this one, but in a much closer match than what we’ve seen the past two weeks.

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