Every Auburn fan has an idea of their favorite players at certain positions. Some of them have even tried to put together their favorite all-time teams. However, what if we added a wrinkle? In this series, we’ll attempt to put the best team together within certain parameters.
Let’s say the aliens have landed and challenged Auburn to a game with the fate of the world in the balance. We have a time machine to pull any Auburn player from the past into the game*. Today’s wrinkle? We need to pull together the best players for Gus Malzahn’s Hurry-Up-No-Huddle offense.
QB - Cam Newton**, Dameyune Craig
This is the easiest one. We know what Cam can do in this offense. If we have to win this game, I'm going with Cam. He’s never let us down before.
I've always wanted to see Dameyune in this offense, so if I get a backup choice I'll go with him.
Also considered: Pat Sullivan, Nick Marshall, Travis Tidwell, Jimmy Sidle
RB - Bo Jackson**, Ronnie Brown
Bo is the second easiest choice. He was also a pretty decent receiver. Brown supposedly had the best hands on the 2004 team. He's also a tough between-the-tackles runner who would be great running the counter, power, inside zone combo. I preferred Carnell in Borges's "Gulf Coast Offense", but if Malzahn is in control, I want Ronnie. Both of these guys should do just fine running the Buck Sweep as well.
Also considered: Carnell Williams, Tucker Fredrickson***, James Brooks, Tre Mason
H-Back/TE - Fred Beasley, Philip Lutzenkirchen
Beasley would be more like a rich man's version of Eric Smith from the 2010 team. Having Jay Prosch would be nice, but Cam is enough of a power runner that I probably don't need him. Beasley gives me a great combination of receiver, runner, and blocker. Lutzie isn't the blocker that other Auburn TEs are, but Cam needs a red zone target, and why not make it one he used well?
Also considered: Jay Prosch, Kevin McLeod, Harold Morrow, Tony Richardson, Robert Johnson
Sweep Back - Corey Grant
McCalebb was faster, but Grant was a tougher runner. I also considered a WR here that I'll get to in a moment. Grant also gives me a backup running back if something goes wrong.
Also considered: Onterrio McCalebb, Lectron Williams, Tristan Davis
Outside receivers - Terry Beasley, Lawyer Tillman, Alexander Wright
I worry about Beasley's talents transitioning to a modern age, but I think he and Tucker Fredrickson are the two pre-1975 skill guys that could handle it. Plus I have all the talent in the world with the other two. Tillman is perfect for the over-the-middle stuff, and Ace Wright was the NFL's fastest man during his years with the Cowboys. Given the running game, Wright and Tillman should have one-on-one coverage all day. Good luck aliens.
Also considered: Devin Aromashodu, Ben Obomanu, Sammie Coates
Inside receivers - Frank Sanders, Freddie Weygand
Sanders gives us a big body close to the formation. Think Duke Williams when he cared. Bowden used him more as an outside receiver, but I think Gus would use him closer to the quarterback. Weygand might have had the best hands in Auburn history. For the zone read + bubble play that was a staple in 2013, I’d move Ronnie Brown out to fill the role originally played by Quan Bray.
Also considered: Trey Gainous, Kodi Burns (for blocking), Courtney Taylor, Thomas Bailey (for the Quan Bray-type role)
Tackles - Marcus McNeill, Greg Robinson
Robinson was a #2 overall pick, and McNiell would have been a first rounder if it weren't for questions about his back (he was picked with the first pick of the second round anyway). I would put McNeill on the left. He was the better pass blocker. We’ll be a right-handed running team behind Robinson.
Also considered: Willie Anderson, Jeno James, Victor Riley, Wayne Gandy, Kendall Simmons
Guards - Ed King, Ben Grubbs
King was a bit of a bust in the pros, but he was incredible at Auburn. Grubbs was enough of an athlete that he was used as a TE in 2003. With the amount of pulling Malzahn requires from his guards, I want the best two athletes I can get.
Also considered: Kendall Simmons (he played some there in the pros), Zeke Smith
Center - Reese Dismukes
I was tempted to go with All American Ben Tamburello, but I'll go with the Rimington Award winner. Dismukes also knows all of the calls specific to Malzahn’s offense already.
There’s the line-up. I think I like our chances. Who do you think I left out?
*-yes, I stole this premise from Bill Simmons’s final chapter of The Book of Basketball.
**-Expect future versions of this to exclude Heisman winners or All Americans. Otherwise Cam and Bo get picked every time.
***-If I were also picking the defense, I’d pick Fredrickson no matter the scheme so that he could play both safety and running back.