The Tigers notched their first conference victory, yesterday, scoring three goals on what had been a pretty stingy Tennessee defense so far this season. It was a good game - their only one of the weekend - that hopefully propels them to great things in conference play.
Both the men's and women's teams had good weekends at their respective events. Max Hinnisdaels won singles and doubles titles at the Duke Bonk Invitational. Meanwhile, the ladies combined for twenty victories in Miami.
Somehow, Auburn is still ranked in the Coaches' Poll. I'm guessing there are some SIDs who just don't pay attention. Or maybe a lot of SEC West coaches voted the Tigers high to keep them ranked for their Strength of Schedule, as someone else pointed out on Twitter. Not only that, but the Tigers opened as favorites over Mississippi State, who will come to town this weekend.
Officially it's still just a hip flexor, in spite of some message board rumors. It still doesn't sound great when the coach just says we're hopeful he can play again this season. It's even more heartbreaking when you read about him watching the game on TV and apologizing to teammates for not being able to play. Stay strong, Carl. We're all pulling for you.
As you would figure, the team is pointing to the 2013 LSU game as their guide post for being able to turn a season around. One big difference in that season was that the second half showed an offense with a lot of promise. There were flashes of promise in the second half of this one - JJ running free on a QB draw for 60+ being a big one, not to mention the touchdown pass to Duke - but I just don't know that they're even remotely on the level of that team. I hope they are, though.
Rhett Lashlee says the offense is ready to respond. He also said Jeremy Johnson is still the quarterback right now. Unlike many, I still think the issues with Johnson are mental and fixable. Maybe I'm wrong, but we saw what he's capable of back when he had no pressure on him because Marshall was the confirmed starter. Hopefully he can relax and get back to that.
One position that still doesn't have an official starter is the running back slot. I don't even know what to think about that. Auburn's running backs didn't gain much on Saturday, but I have clear memories of them running the ball well when they got carries. Out of all of them, I think Kerryon Johnson looked the best on Saturday. Roc looked good catching the ball out of the backfield. I'm starting to become a fan of a two back set with JJ running the inside inverted veer like Cam did. Keep Roc as the screen pass catcher and have a power back for the hard yardage. That's just idle Sunday night speculation without giving it too much deep thought, though.
Lost in the discussion of the offense - which has shown moments and flashes of finding things that work - is a defense that is just the worst. And I mean that literally (1). Out of the Power 5 teams, Auburn has the worst run defense in the nation. I don't know how you fix that. Not having Carl Lawson doesn't have an effect on the inside runs.