We’ve gotten several diary entries (see right sidebar) this week from readers expressing their opinions on the Auburn football situation. I thought I would share a few of them with you. Each of the writers makes excellent points and I appreciate them taking the time to write. If you’d like to express your opinion on a topic related to Auburn, please use the diary section and share your thoughts.
My Two Cents
Running Game: I can't help but place a hefty portion of the blame for our, so far, dismal season, on our running game, or lack there of. It all starts with the suspension of Brad Lester.
I think most tiger fans, including myself, didn't really think the loss of Lester would have hurt us this bad, but it has. Ben Tate, more and more, has looked like a disappointment than the four star back out of Maryland that we all thought he'd be.
He seems sluggish and unable to hit the holes quick enough. He also appears to lack the creativity needed to create holes, something that is more so necessary this year than in prior years due to our lack of inexperienced offensive line.
Mario Fannin, is no doubt, an electrifying player. I see a very bright future for him, but as for the current, he has too much trouble holding on to the football, leading to a lack of confidence by the coaches. I do believe that with the return of Tristan Davis, the running game should drastically improve.
Passing Game: There isn't much that hasn't been said a million times over. Brandon does not look like the QB from '05. He seems hesitate to step up into the pocket and is making poor throwing decisions. But, I believe he can still be a great QB for us this year.
He understands the offense, he knows how to read defenses and he is a great playmaker. He appears to lacking self-confidence and seems to be trying to "avoid" big hits, likely an effect from the beatings he took last year.
With Kodi Burns now thrust into the forefront, he has to step up his mental game. There’s no doubt that he is physically ready to play at this level, but mentally, he needs more time and practice. He will be great for us one day.
Also, let us not forget tiger fans, just as much to blame for our awful passing game are the wide outs and tight ends, all of which who seem to be unable to catch a football.
How many dropped passes have we seen this year? More than I care to count. This is a young group (only 2 seniors) and no doubt, they'll improve. The only question is, how long will it take?
Play Calling: Al Borges appears to have been broken down by Tuberville’s conservative offensive style. I don't believe that Al has lost the spark that he displayed during the 2004 season, I just believe that he has been blindsided by the dismal individual efforts of his offensive stars.
Imagine if you will, writing a 125 play playbook based on a returning 5th year senior quarterback, a completely loaded backfield and arguably the best three person tight end tandem in college football! Then to find out in the first game of the year that none of them are as you expected. I'd have to say that would throw me for a loop too.
Al is struggling to revamp his offensive scheme to fit the level of talent and understanding that is being displayed by his players, all the while trying to nurse the self-confidence of a broken down Brandon Cox.
I just wonder, if Al would just throw all haste towards the wind and open up the playbook, would Brandon and the others rise to the occasion? Sometimes, a coach just has to put it all on the line. I personally believe that Brandon would respond.
All and all, yes, Auburn is not the team this year that we all had hoped they'd be, but maybe they are? Maybe this is the team that will be talked about two, maybe three years from now as the team that stood up in the face of adversity, got back up after time and time again being knocked to the ground.
Maybe this is the team that develops the character and determination to be eventual national champions. It's important for players to know how bad, bad is. It drives them to always want to be nothing but better, never to look back, never to take anything for granted. This team can rise from the ashes. This team has the talent. They'll soon have the character.
So, I know we are all steamed over this season so far. It seems the Tigers can't do anything right... that is until last weekend when Tubs benched Cox. All the Tiger fans got extremely frustrated with Cox's performance once again, which explains the boos... which may be uncalled for but certainly not over exaggerated.
But probably none is more frustrated than Cox. Some facts need to come out. One, no matter what, I do not see the NFL in Brandon Cox's future with the mistakes he has made. Maybe as a holder.
Two, Brandon Cox really does care about the Tigers... so it is my thought that he should take himself out and leave Kodi Burns in to get the experience needed to get us back into the Top ten again next year if not for the Top 25 this year(with a prayer).
Some thoughts keep coming through my mind...
Why are people dissing Tubs... because it took three disappointing games to bench Cox and because in his interviews he doesn't seem to care that Auburn is losing. Why are we not ranked? Because of Cox's interceptions... and disappointing "throw into double coverage" to try and win it. Not Fannin's fumbles... he is a freshman... Cox is the Senior and the "backbone." He sets the pace.
When will we get better? With all of the freshmen, hopefully next year or 09...
And some hopes... I hope that Auburn can get fired up with a big win over New Mexico... I pray that happens and that Kodi Burns shines bright, or that Cox gets fired up because he may just get fired. I hope that we can show up and give LSU a run for the money, that Florida may fall to a pooch kick again... that Alabama suffers again! If all is lost I hope that we still rock the Tide...
And my last thought...WAR EAGLE!