Todd92 stole my thunder with his reply in WEAs post yesterday. There was no chance that mine would as good or well written but the content was much the same. It was about how Coach Chizik is the X-Factor in the upcoming game against Tennessee. He studied the so called "Tampa 2" defense and Auburn used it very well in 2004, so well in fact that the Tigers went undefeated. Does anyone remember that year?
Monte’s defense this season has a stud in safety Eric Berry, and the Tigers had a stud at cornerback named Carlos Rodgers. Eric Berry has the speed and all around athletic ability to save the Vols rear ends should Chris Todd make the correct read and beat a corner deep. Carlos Rodgers was just a shutdown corner. He allowed the safety to help out the linebackers or opposite corner in coverage. What I am getting at is that the linebacker is the key player in the Tampa 2. What they do after the snap is the read that Chris Todd will have to make… quickly. Eric Berry is going to have to help out the linebackers when the drop into coverage. Especially now that they are down a starter in Nick Reveiz and his backup Herman Lathers as well. The Tampa 2 is based on deception in that the pass protection and run defense look very similar at the line of scrimmage. Can Chris Todd make the decisions quickly enough and make the big play?
Well if we look back over the first quarter of the season, the answer is yes. Chris has made very few bad decisions. As a matter of fact off the top of my head I can only think of two. The most obvious one was not seeing the linebacker falling into coverage and tossing the interception right to him during the West Virginia game. The other was a Todd version 1.0 wounded duck, off his back foot, into double coverage pass against Miss State. The good news is that that pass was deflected out of bounds. So we think that Todd is going to be okay… right?
On to the running game. Ben Tate, Onterio McCalebb, Eric Smith, Kodi Burns and Mario Fannin are going to be needed sorely. One or all of them is going to have to find a hole even when one might not be there and make a big play. The Tennessee Vols line is very good. They are big and who knows what the status will be of Byron Isom is going to be. I hope the big time junior plays because the Auburn backups John Sullen and Bart Eddins did not look to hot last week against Ball State.
Defensively, I think we will be ok in the secondary. Darren Bates is maturing, and I am not really worried about Jonathon Crompton making huge plays behind them. He could have a great day throwing in the flats though, that pass seems to be open all game long. Especially if it is a linebacker is the one in coverage. What is the deal with them? Eltoro Freeman is lost absolutely out there when it comes to coverage. He might turn out to be the next Karlos Dansby, but right now he is green. If I was Lane Kiffin, I would pick on him all night. Josh Bynes is not much better either. The only difference I see with him is that he has an idea of where he is supposed to go, but he is a step late.
Bottom line is this is going to be a hard fought battle. Our defense is going to have to get stops, and create some turnovers. Crompton is going to make mistakes; Auburn just has to capitalize on them.
We will see how well Coach Chizik has prepared the offense to handle Monte and the Vols. Coach Chizik knows the Tampa 2 very well… now can the players make the right decisions on the field. Coach Chizik is the X-Factor, if Chris Todd is prepared and we don’t turn the ball over every time the Tennessee punter comes on the field, Auburn wins.
War Damn Eagle