Auburn spent the hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this past Saturday almost losing to an FCS team. I spent most of those hours screaming at my television and scaring my dog. While the defense couldn't seem to contain a dual-threat quarterback*, the part that has most of us lying awake at night** was the offense. I mean, except for Peyton Barber.
But outside of our precious Demon Barber of Donahue Drive, there wasn't a whole lot to cheer about on Saturday. At the end of the day, the defense held Jacksonville State to 20 points. That's not a great number, but considering they were playing without their best pass rusher and down three starting DBs, 20 points isn't surprising. It looked worse because Auburn should've scored 40. But like the second half of the Louisville game, the offense struggled to get into a rhythm. And, much to my chagrin, a lot of the stagnation had to do with the inconsistent play of Jeremy Johnson.
I know I passionately defended him last week and during the game on Twitter, but something is off. Something is different. I don't pretend to know what's going on in Jeremy's head or in the locker room--I just know that I love that kid with everything I have. But I'm not sure I have a whole lot of good news to give you.
Let's have some fun with GIFs!
So just who the heck is Jeremy Johnson? Because there are flashes of brilliance (like the touchdown pass to Roc) and there are flashes of bone-chilling terror (like when he throws the ball to linebackers). Luckily, I've been keeping track of the various and sundry Jeremys Johnson*** and have assembled a guide to the many sides of our quarterback.
Base Model Jeremy. This is the quarterback we saw in the first half against Arkansas**** last year and heard about during the pre-season. This is the man that keeps opposing defensive coordinators and DBs watching film until the wee hours of the morning. Obviously @WarRoomEagle is what we all aspire to be.
This is the quarterback everyone wants him to be. This is the man that people can't stop comparing him to. But he's not Cam, and he never will be. To be fair, though, who is?
3. Laissez Fairemy
This is the quarterback who doesn't set his feet when he lobs the ball up in the end zone for anyone to pluck out of the sky. This guy is just living life, throwing bombs, and not watching where they land.
This quarterback just wants to pass the ball around...to everyone. Look, no one ever accused this guy of being a ball hog. Sometimes DBs need practice catching the ball, too.
5. Lord's Prayermy
This is the quarterback that causes us all heart palpitations when he throws the ball into triple coverage because it seems fun. This one keeps us in the pews on Sunday morning.
6. Visual Impairemy
What is this quarterback seeing? Is he colorblind***? Does he need contacts? Does Anne Sullivan have any NCAA eligibility?
7. Reasonable Caremy*****
This is the quarterback we see when the offense is at its most vanilla. This guy throws eight straight out-routes to the right side and refuses to throw to the middle of the field. You know, 3/4 of this past Saturday.
This is the man we all hope shows up in Baton Rouge on Saturday. This quarterback can make it rain touchdowns if he's on. Even though we've seen flashes of all these other guys, this is the one we're counting on.
No matter the outcome on Saturday, we'll probably have a few more answers about this Tiger team. Was the Jacksonville State game a case of overlooking a talented opponent with a closed playbook and an injury-decimated defense? God I hope so. Will Auburn be able to keep its composure in Death Valley? Hard to tell. Lots of babies. Will my LSU-loving former roommate and I still speak to each other after the game? Of course. We always pretend this game isn't happening. Plus, we're going to see the US Women's National Team****** in Birmingham on Sunday.
If you're making the trip to Baton Rouge, enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of a beautiful campus. If you pretend they're kidding about hating you, it's actually not a bad experience.
Until next time--War Eagle!
* Colloquially ironic, right? I do not enjoy poetic justice.
** Actually, I sleep like a baby, but it's because I'm 100 years old. I'm actually staying up past my bedtime to write the column. Totes worth it though :)
*** Honorables Mention (I love the plural joke way more than anyone should):
Did I miss any? Think of some better ones? Share your favorite Jeremy in the comments!
**** Speaking of Arkansas, LOL THANKS FOR MAKING US FEEL BETTER BERT!
***** That's a law joke. I'm genuinely sorry.
****** I'll be there with bells on in my Abby Wambach shirsey. #wambachoclock