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Auburn Remains in Good Hands

What do you know? The sun did rise this morning. After spending Sunday reading message boards and Facebook posts I began to wonder whether East Alabama would wake up at all today. It's amazing how fast some fans become accustomed to winning.

After 17 games and 659 days Auburn finally lost a football game. Hell, it's time to make wholesale coaching changes. We need to start with that bum, Ted Roof. What does he know about coaching defense? And what about Gus Malzahn? Is he going soft on us? I knew he should have taken that Vanderbilt job. Is it just me or does Gene Chizik seem detached from what's taking place on the field?

Those comments sound ridiculous don't they?

If you spent anytime online after Saturday's 38-24 loss to Clemson, you came across such remarks; and those were some of the milder ones. It's time for some Auburn people to face reality. This team is not winning nine games. It's not defying the odds on the way to Atlanta.

Intelligent Auburn people know it. For our less intelligent brethren, we need to do a little education. Roof is not stupid and Malzahn is still among the best offensive coordinators in the country. Nothing has changed.

Sitting in Memorial Stadium listening to the public address announcer go through Auburn's starting lineup, I marveled at how Auburn found a way to win a week earlier at home against Miss State. Quite frankly, it should never have happened.

I haven't done a thorough stat check, but this Tiger team has to be among the youngest in program history. Auburn's not playing just a bunch of young players; they are playing nearly all underclassmen. We haven't seen something like this since SMU came back from the death penalty.

I'm only half joking.

Auburn's defensive stats continue to get a lot of play in the media. By now, we know them verbatim: 117th in total defense. 107th in points allowed. Giving up an average of 534 yards per game.

While there's no sugarcoating them, it's also important to put them in context. Malzahn runs the fastest hurry-up offense in the land this side of Oregon. When your defense is inexperienced and struggling, things looks even worse.

While quite different from Auburn's system, top-ranked Oklahoma also runs a fast offense. Despite being number one in the polls, their defense ranks 44th nationally. What about Oregon? They rank 62nd nationally.

The point is that even in the best of times, Auburn's defense will never be among the nation's best with Malzahn's offense. He says as much in his book. It won't happen - ever.

With a bunch of freshmen and sophomores on the field, you see the struggle that's likely ahead for Roof and Co. We now know that Auburn had no business being among the preseason top 25. They earned that honor based on program prestige and nothing else.

This team still has a chance to be special. The Auburn offense will likely be very good by year's end. The defense will mature. Will it translate to more wins? It's hard to see that happening now, but who saw the win over Miss State coming?

This season will not end with a division or conference championship; but all is not lost. We should look forward to watching these babies grow into men each week. You can count on this team beating somebody they shouldn't by season's end.

As for those fringe Auburn fans, be sure to spell it out for them and maybe suggest they are better suited to wear crimson.

True Auburn people are different.