There's almost a relaxing feeling when you go into the Iron Bowl and no one expects Auburn to win. For one, the favored team usually does win. So, it's almost as if it's a foregone conclusion and you don't have to feel too stressed. Most importantly, though, there's that feeling that starts to build that says "we can pull off this upset and shock the college football world."
Crazy, right? Probably. However, the opportunity is there. Much will depend on just who plays quarterback for the Tigers, tomorrow. A passing game is going to be absolutely essential to the Tigers hoping to have any success scoring points. Alabama's run defense is just too strong to rely on Peyton Barber and Jovon Robinson up the middle play after play.
Who will play at QB? Well, Sean White is supposedly ready to go. Whether that means he's full speed or not, I don't know. Does he play, then? Honestly, I think you still go with Jeremy Johnson to start. If he can't get anything going and Sean is healthy, then put White in. If Sean is still not 100%, though, I still lean on not playing him at all. That's just me, though.
What will the play calling look like? I think it's going to be Gus at his wildest. He knows he has to pull out all the stops. That doesn't mean trick plays like Woody, either. It also means the end-arounds. The throw back out of the Wildcat. It means deep bombs, Statue of Liberty (both the play action and the run) and more. It should be interesting, that's for sure. Will it work? I don't know.
On the defensive side of the ball, Auburn has to stop Alabama's running backs. If they don't, it's going to be a long afternoon. Alabama wants to grind away at your soul through yards gained by the running backs. The QB isn't going to kill you, but you also have to be mindful of the tight-end at all times.
This may sound nuts, but Auburn's defense is in a good place, right now. The only running back that has just destroyed Auburn was Leonard Fournette. I'm not saying Auburn will shut Henry down, but I think they'll do a better job than many expect.
On Special Teams, they have an excellent kick returner, so we're going to need Kevin Phillips to get his usual 4-5 seconds of hang time on the punts to let the coverage team get down. Or we can just go Spurrier against us last year and not punt. That type of gamble may be what we need. When it comes to field goal kicking, that's definitely in Auburn's favor. #Legatron may be the best kicker in the nation.
So, in short, slow the running game, have success with the deep ball, get into a tempo and disrupt the defenses that Saban so relies on. Do that, and Auburn has a chance.
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