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Ole Monday morning musings

November 2, 2009
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Saturday’s win is safely in the books (no tricks this Halloween), Etheridge is expected to make a full recovery (even if his football career is still in doubt), and Sunday brought another day of rest in the form of film study and meetings.

The win put the whole village into a festive mood and talk of a bowl game transitioned from, “will we,” to “which one.” If you’re looking for in-depth bowl game predictions specific to the conference and Auburn, look no further than Jerry’s post at TWER. My own take on the bowl picture is we’re still likely to see the inside of Shreveport or Memphis, but Nashville or Birmingham are still real possibilities. Coach Chizik told us at the initial Tiger Talk of the season that we were going bowling – and although Furman hasn’t surrendered yet, it does look like Coach Chizik knew what he was talking about.

The Ole Miss recap: Coaching, players and various and assorted notes

It is tough sometimes as a blogger to offer anything new to a win or loss come Monday. The wins seemingly are full of feel-goodisms and the losses full of criticisms. We’ve had our share of wins complete with, “wow, I hope we get that fixed asap,” but all three of our losses threatened to turn the Auburn family upon itself.

Although several of us out there began doubting Coach Chizik and Roof, Joe will maintain his stance that Coach Boulware is the weak-link on this staff. True, the play calling of Coach Malzahn has seemed predictable and yes, the inability to come up with an effective play for 3rd or 4th and short is puzzling at best, embarrassing at worst. However, let’s not forget this is an Auburn squad playing as if they’ve been on the most severe scholarship restriction probation for the past 3 years. No comment on Tuberville’s recruiting or acting here.

There have even been some to point to the success of former Auburn defensive coordinator at Iowa State and say, “maybe he was our guy?!” Please keep in mind, Coach Rhoads is a fine individual and no doubt a great coach – but he’s playing with a team chock full of players OUR current coach recruited and developed. If you believe that old coaching mantra that it takes three years in a system to see the real results, you have to be even further encouraged by the news out of Iowa and what that means for Auburn in 2011 and beyond.

The team Saturday looked so unlike the previous three weeks you’re almost tempted to throw those out and start over. Our defense IMHO, played their best game of the year. The forced three and outs late in the game are not what we’ve seen consistently this year and the stop after Todd’s ridiculous retreat stands out as THE true measure. Yes, giving up the big play was again there, but seriously, Dexter McCluster is the type of player who is going to break that one off eventually.

Losing Etheridge is a blow, no question. In the giveth-and-taketh-away world however, the improved play at D-End to close out the year couldn’t have come at a better time for a defensive backfield now closely resembling a one-armed man in a paper hanging contest.

On offense, Ben Tate really is the rock star I thought he could be. I saw him play in high school in Maryland and I predicted then in a hallucinogenic concoction of vanilla vodka, stale beer and white russians he would be one of the best all time at Auburn. Congrats Ben!

Chris Todd probably won’t be missed next year. I’ve been one of his few defenders since early last year, but even my patience is worn thin. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how he can place a ball into a receiver’s hands like the bomb to Zachery one play, and then run backwards for a mile and fumble like he did in the 4th quarter Saturday. Confounded and praying Saturday’s Todd stays with us until mid January!

It is homecoming week on the Plains. It is a great time to catch up with old friends, make a few new ones, and hopefully, pleadingly, get some rest for our starters before the trip to Athens. Joe and Josephine will be spending the weekend in ‘Dawg country. I’d love for this trip to more closely resemble the one in 2005 than 2007.

War Eagle and remember to keep the Etheridge family in your prayers.

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