Auburn, you're not exactly making us feel better.
I mean, the fact that I have to wake up Saturday morning and even have concerns about Auburn winning against a supposed cupcake is bad enough. And later I find my concerns validated with a struggle against a team Auburn blew out just last season. We can make lots of excuses, but for whatever reason, Auburn 2015 does not equal 2014. Not. Even. Close.
Yeah, I sound discouraged. I'm not in the mood to pump sunshine on the masses. But Auburn got outplayed (again) and won the game. The defense forced turnovers, but got gashed again and again and could not get off the field. The offense ran the ball poorly until the fourth quarter, averaging just 3 yards a carry until that point.
And Auburn will not throw the ball down the field. White made two throws deep, basically a jump ball to Ricardo Lewis and a sure fire touchdown that Jason Smith dropped. The rest of the throws were short ones, as Auburn elected to stick to the run game. White threw just 2 passes in the second half. And again, Duke Williams is M.I.A. I'm afraid that guy cost himself some coin by returning for his senior season.
I think the thing most perplexing to me is how the offense really has continuity. I get that we put all of our eggs in Jeremy Johnson's basket, but he wasn't the only problem plaguing this offense. Looking at game film the routes just do not seem as open as we are used to seeing. Is that a result of receivers not being as good as we thought or just stale pass routes or both? I'm not sure. But combine that with no big time running threat at quarterback and we see why Auburn's offense is stagnant. You can see it in the body language of the players and the coaches. Nothing looks like it's in sync.
After Saturday, I think Auburn needs Roc Thomas to touch the ball more. I liked seeing him and Peyton Barber in the game at the same time. Having to account for both of those guys can create problems for defenses, and besides that Auburn needs a home run threat and I think Roc can provide that.
In the end, the result is a win, which we desperately needed before the break week. But as we look down the schedule, wins are hard to find. Can Auburn go on the road and beat Kentucky ? Arkansas? A&M? If the Tigers go 1-2 here, the odds of making a bowl game look long with the likes of Ole Miss, Georgia, and Bama as the teams left we have to manage. So at this point in the season, it looks like Auburn will have to pull an upset or two just to make a bowl game.
That's a big time reality check for a team many had picked to make the final four.
I enjoyed seeing Al Borges on the sidelines again. I would argue that he's one of the underrated coordinators in college football. I tweeted Saturday that I wondered if Tubbs often regretted his decision in 2007 to let Al go and try the Tony Franklin experiment. That decision eventually cost Tuberville his job at AU. If he leaves Borges in place, Auburn likely wins 8 or 9 games in 08 just based on the results. Keep in mind AU lost 4 very close games that year even with Franklin/Nallsminger calling plays.
Back to 2015, I can't tell you how disappointed I am at the way this season is turning out. I knew it in my gut, though, when I heard pundits sticking Auburn in the title game. But as fans we gotta keep out heads up and keep on keeping on.
Who knows? Maybe Gus will get it turned around in time.