I was in the middle of my state's optometry annual meeting last weekend, and just before I rushed out the door for kickoff I hear that Sean White is out and Jeremy Johnson is starting. My hopes immediately sank. "We have no shot" was my immediate thought.
But something odd happened on our initial drive. Jeremy actually came out and looked the part of the guy we all thought he could be.
Much of this is due to safe play calling by the AU offensive brain trust. Jeremy was asked to do minimal reading of defenses. Lots of early high percentage throws just to get the guy some confidence.
And the up tempo running game that has been largely absent this year actually was there in force at Kyle Field.
Auburn came out and smacked the Aggies in the mouth, then did it again. And after going up 14-3, A&M had no answer.
Much of this was due in part to the Auburn defense. It was the best game I've seen a defense play at Auburn since the title game in 2010. Auburn was disciplined and prepared. And for a team that has had trouble with speedy quarterbacks for years, Muschamp's crew looked salty as hell.
Yes, Carl Lawson is a difference maker. He makes the people around him better, especially Montravius Adams and Cass McKinzy. McKinzy has played arguably his best 2 games in these two weeks that Lawson has returned to action.
It is really amazing that one guy can make such a huge difference. And Auburn's defense took a huge step forward against a very good offense, even with a backup quarterback.
I have heard the rumor that Gus actually let Rhett Lashlee call the plays Saturday night. I have no no idea if that is true, but if so, let it continue.*
Now there are 3 games left. One cupcake sandwiched between our two biggest foes. Georgia is a shell of its early-season self (as usual) and Bama is Bama.
I see no reason to think we can't go 2-1 in that stretch. I may surprise many of you given my gloom and doom all year by saying it wouldn't surprise me to see Auburn win them all in November. We are very close to seeing the Auburn team we all thought we'd see before the season started. Yeah, I know it's week 10, but better late than never.
*Editor's note: It is true, straight from the horse's mouth in Gus' post-game press conference, apparently. I'm shocked this hasn't been more of a topic of discussion by the beat writers. If someone lauded for his play-calling ability and offensive genius turns the majority of play-calling over to his OC for a game, it seems like that should be a big deal. If it works really well, it seems like it should be a bigger deal.