After months of waiting, SURELY you didn’t think that Auburn football would change, did you? You didn’t think that the queasiness and worry would abate from a football game simply because we got a new offensive line coach and a couple new running backs, did you?
Nope, that was Auburn football at its most recognizable. Flashes of brilliance, flashes of struggle, and that nagging seesaw feeling behind your bellybutton for about three hours on a Saturday afternoon.
So what did we all think right after the game? Check out the snap judgments:
First off, lets start where the game was won. The Auburn defense was fantastic for most of the game. Sure, there are somethings to work on (looking at you secondary) but I think any smart fan knew that would be the weakness of this defense, mainly because of how strong the front four and the linebackers were. Once Auburn rotated to two high safeties to help out over the top, things looked much more under control though Washington was able to move it better between the 20s. Kudos to Kevin Steele for going with the all out blitz on the final defensive play of the game. Browning looked completely caught off guard and it sealed up a huge win.
Ok...now the offense. I have heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, the inside trap was the real world example this week. Kam Martin going for 80 yards is fine and 147 for the team is close to pretty good, especially against a salty UW defense, but I need to see more push from our offensive line as the season goes on. Again, that might sound nit-picky for a bunch of young guys that haven’t had much experience against a team that has been in the top 10 for the past couple of years. Also on offense, I would ask that we stretch the field a bit more. Just off the top of my head, I can only think of one deep pass (to Slayton in the endzone that was caught out of bounds) and that’s about it.
That said, I loved how the freshman looked. Seth Williams had a opener to remember and I can’t wait to see him develop. Jarrett looked sharp, except for those happy feet in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. And let me just say, it won’t take much for this offense to get really right, and when/if they do and do it consistently....WOOOO BUDDY, will they be fun to watch.
Overall, this is a fantastic, team building win. This means nothing for the playoffs right now. It just means Auburn has the best win in the country....for one week. Its about this win, and the next one and the next one and so on. But I have high hopes for the 2018 Auburn Tigers, and if they get these small things fixed, it could be a really special season on the Plains.
Well, call me crazy but I had a good feeling this morning that we were going to win. I also felt like the first to 20 would win. It wasn’t easy (never is), and we didn’t play out best game, yet we beat the #6 team in the country. If that doesn’t have you fired up for the season, I don’t know what will.
First off, that is a REALLY good Washington team. If they lose another game this year that will be a tremendous upset. Go win the PAC-12, Huskies.
Let’s start with the offense. The #1 concern moving forward with this group is run blocking. I said in defensive preview that the key for AU against this front would be not letting those 2 down lineman eat up two blockers at at time. Well that’s exactly what happened. Linebackers were running free to the football and there was not really anything Martin or Whitlow could do. That has to get fixed ASAP. I need to rewatch the game to understand if it was one 1-2 people struggling or the whole group.
On the flip side, I thought they did very well in pass protection. There were very few instances where a free rusher got a shot at Stidham. The sacks were usually related to Stidham taking too long to get the ball out.
Speaking of Stidham, I thought through about the 1st quarter & half he was playing his best football in an AU uniform. He was decisive, timing was great and he was pinpoint accurate. However, he then fell into a funk. Started looking gunshy, wasn’t playing fast enough and frankly just looked rattled. Last year, when that happened he fell apart and AU’s offense never recovered. This time, when AU needed to get it together and drive down the field he found his groove again. That conversion to Chandler Cox on 3rd down was huge. I thought Stidham took a big step yesterday. Would love to see him play like that 1st quarter all season but downturns in performance will happen. You have to be able to bounce back and he finally did that Saturday. Excited to watch him continue to develop this season.
Now for the defense. Here’s the truth. Washington could not do much of anything except throw deep fades and hope their WRs make spectacular catches. Credit to those Huskies WRs, they stepped up and did just that. My only real concern with this defensive unit is the pass rush. It disappeared at times and Steele had to result to using more blitzes than he has in the past. We really missed Jeff Holland out there. If we can find a consistent pass rush, this group is going to be special. Overall, incredible debut performance from this group.
As for special teams, I am now actually excited when teams punt to us. Ryan Davis is gonna be a problem for opponents. He had two huge returns (one called back). He’s gonna get himself a punt return TD at some point. Anders shows plenty of potential but also you saw what happens with a redshirt freshman kicker. He’s only gonna get better. Siposs is the punter in my opinion.
It was frustrating at times but that’s what happens when you play top 10 teams. They turn out to be pretty good themselves. But Auburn found away to fight through adversity, make plays when they absolutely had to and got away with a victory. Hopefully this gets Gus’s away-from-home-woes monkey off his back. This team is gonna be a REALLY fun season this year.
Stidham threw the ball well. I can’t remember any poorly-thrown balls, though there were a few missed reads on open receivers in the second half. At running back, I’m not super worried. I think we saw a true rotation (!!!) and it showed how those guys were still fresh in the second half. However, the run blocking was ugly. The pass blocking was pretty good overall, but they just got NO push against that big Washington line. I think it was a good wake-up call for them though, and that’ll be the best front seven we play until UGA (maybe Mississippi State?).
The secondary got picked on, especially once Davis went down. The line played well most of the game EXCEPT for the Bucks all breaking contain by rushing upfield and leaving a lane open for Browning. They have to fix that before MSU. The linebackers had a pretty good game, and I’ve already rambled too long. We beat the #6 team in the country. War Eagle, I love you all.
To be honest it was a coin flip. We made the plays at the end, but it was damn close. Hats off to Washington. That’s a damn fine football team. Auburn didn’t play their best and beat a top ten team. That’s a great feeling. The offensive line needs work, but that was, at worst, the third best line they’ll play this year behind State and Georgia. War Eagle.
NSFW. That is mine.
SON OF CROW
A commanding first half, a second half worthy of a top ten matchup. A win.
The first drive on both sides of the ball gave me the kind of hope I had when we beat Louisville three years ago. I was convinced we were going to win the national championship after that (how wrong I was). The difference here is that we beat a legitimately elite team with a ton of starters back from a championship season last year.
Yes, I think we may need to make a move at center and go with Nick Brahms once he gets right. Kaleb Kim didn’t see to be able to generate the push necessary to hold his own against the better teams on the schedule, but thankfully we have a little time to get that taken care of. I thought Stidham might have had his sharpest game with no turnovers and no bad throws. Even when he got happy feet, he didn’t run right into pressure and he was able to motor out and at least get a couple yards.
On defense, it was nice to have the “home” crowd to help out, because I think that was a big factor in getting the road hex out of the way. The pass rush disappeared at times, but I know we weren’t bringing anyone aside from the front guys. You saw what happened when we started to blitz late. Browning had no idea what to do — and how about Smoke Monday getting in there for the sack on the biggest defensive play of the game??
Overall, anyone complaining about our struggles against the #6 team in the land need to take a page out of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1. We weren’t just going to blow out an experienced and wily team.
“The Prime Minister gazed hopelessly at the pair of them for a moment, then the words he had fought to suppress all evening burst from him at last.
“But for heaven’s sake — you’re wizards! You can do magic! Surely you can sort out — well — anything!”
Scrimgeour turned slowly on the spot and exchanged an incredulous look with Fudge, who really did manage a smile this time as he said kindly, “The trouble is, the other side can do magic too, Prime Minister.”
They’re a great team, too. We likely just beat a conference champion. Best win of the opening weekend by a long shot, everyone.
PEANUT GALLERY - LET THE FANS SPEAK!
WHO GOES FOR A TWO PT CONVERSION ON THE FIRST DRIVE OF THE GAME also sorry for yelling but SERIOUSLY WHO DOES THAT— Meagan Jones (@MegEJones) September 1, 2018
Gus was obviously feelin’ himself yesterday.
Washington is good. We should be pleased with any win over a top 10 team.— Ross Hatcher (@HatcherRoss) September 1, 2018
I hope I never see the CoxCat again— Jake Sherrod (@sherrod4AU) September 1, 2018
Whatever you want to say about the CoxCat, Chandler Cox was a big part of the offense yesterday and really helped out in some sticky spots.
The team is just talented enough to overcome the play calling!— Tommy Goodwin (@tommygoodwin) September 1, 2018
I can’t remember if Gus or Chip is responsible for the bad plays.
Washington is Auburn West. Eerily similar teams— Heath Wilson (@AitchDubya) September 1, 2018
That secondary is suspect. The offensive line didnt get a lot of push and Stidham had way too much pressure in his face all night. And the defensive line left a lot to be desired in terms of pass rush. Run D was damn good tho.— Rashid Coleman (@Rashid_Coleman) September 2, 2018
Bring running QB in for entire 3rd quarter. Every game.— whitlami (@whitlami) September 1, 2018
Like the old Georgia David Greene/DJ Shockley combo!
Stidham shouldn’t have got engaged— Just_Only_John (@john_warr) September 1, 2018
HOW DARE YOU, THEY HAVE A BEAUTIFUL AND LOVING RELATIONSHIP.
We don’t have a Gus Bus. We have a Malzahn Moped.— Jeff Hunter (@jdh4999) September 2, 2018
Cam rode a scooter. You got something to say?
Auburn will make people become alcoholics again this year.— Braves (75-60) (@NotSayi66386935) September 1, 2018