The Auburn Tigers gutted out a very ugly contest Saturday night. It took the biggest comeback since 2002 for Big Blue to comeback. That, I guess, is a bright spot. Two years ago we did not have the offense to do it.
There are a lot of things to work on before South Carolina comes rolling in next weekend. A match-up that, at this point, has me biting my nails to the quick. Clemson, I mean Clemson, absolutely thrashed us with the running game. Short passes also left us badly out of position and did their fair share of damage. Now, Clemson is a good football team, but we were supposed to be the 15th best team in the country. Who's pretending here?
Run blocking was marginal at best. Many times Dyer was trying to hit a hole, he ended up hitting a pile of catastrophe that was our o-line last night. Pass blocking was a little better, but then came this problem: Cam couldn't stop throwing it the other team. He has got to start looking defenders off or this is going to be a long year for him (on the bench, because Trotter will be playing). To his credit, he bounced back and made some plays in the second half, after he threw his second interception.
At first I wanted to absolutely rip into the play calling of Gus Malzahn. After thinking about it however, a lot of things contributed to that. The clock problems at the beginning of the game totally threw off our rhythm. A great team shouldn't let that happen, but either way it affected us. And after seeing some of the execution on the field, I can't blame him for not wanting to open it up a little more. At the same time, I DO think there is some cause for concern here. This is the second year in this offense for many of our players. We have to get this thing rolling or we will find ourselves in a world of hurt very soon. The offensive line was a huge let down last night, they got their butts whipped.
The defense should be let off the hook a little. Phantom pass interference calls along with Clemson running 2,317 plays from scrimmage didn't help them out at all. I am disappointed we couldn't put much more pressure on Kyle Parker after getting him hurting and rattled. That was a missed opportunity to really get their offense reeling. I think that big credit needs to be given to the defense for the way they stepped up in the second half. from giving up 17 to 7 and giving our offense the time it needed to catch up was the difference. .
Special teams was solid. Byrum was perfect. Carr caught everything. It wasn't a great great night, but it was good. Demond Washington looked very close to breaking a couple of returns and that is good to see a dependable threat from that position.
Looks like we lost AJ Greene to a nasty leg injury. Let's hope that all of the stabilizing was done precautionary. Onterio McCalebb appears to have been knocked out and was probably given a concussion when he was run over by that Mack Truck Clemson defender later in the game. Antoine carter got just a stinger I think. He'll probably be ready this weekend for South Carolina.
Darvin Adams had the kind of game we have been waiting for from him. Some great catches and some serious footwork near the pile on for a touchdown catch.
Mike Dyer didn't have the debut we all hoped for. Don't worry, next week ESPN will drooling all over Lattimore and Dyer going head to head as true freshman running backs.
I don't remember Fannin playing at all. I'm guessing his shoulder injury was worse than expected?
Trovon Reed's debut was bleh. But then again, so was the offense and the play calling.
Overall, I was disappointed with this win. Call me selfish, call me stupid. But it was embarrassing. We had the big stage (you know the one we usually blow it on). We had a chance to send a message about this offense, about this whole team putting it together and becoming a serious contender. And this win doesn't do any of that. The coaches can say what they want, but everyone is going to look at the missed FG and Kyle Parker going straight Byron Leftwich on us and barely making it to the line of scrimage for each snap, and still making plays against us. All the voters will see is a game in which Auburn very easily coulda/shoulda lost, and had some breaks and it went the other way. I don't like winning like that, not against teams we should handle at times we should handle them. We've got South Carolina coming to town next weekend. There has to be landing on the moon,over the rainbow improvements made between now and then or we will be getting embarrassed again next weekend by Spurrier and the Gamecocks.
I'll leave on this. The celebrating at the end of the game made me sick. I get thanking the fans. I get going over to the student section. Guys I promise I get all of the happiness they felt. But you've got to have some humility about yourself. When you just got your ass whipped at home, you don't need to go crazy like you've won the Rose Bowl when you win on a missed FG in overtime. They should have acted like they have been there before. There is nothing wrong with celebrating a win. But I think they got a little carried away because I think they got away with a win after an atrocious game. Have some class. Clemson deserved better after basically hitting us in the mouth for 4 quarters.
Here's to a much improved AU team next weekend against South Carolina. War Eagle! Beat South Carolina!