Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Ball State Preview
Truth be told, Auburn is preparing for two teams this week...by personnel--Ball State, by scheme--Tennessee. Sure, the coaches say all the politically correct things, i.e. "We take one game at a time, we respect every opponent," yada, yada, yada. But in reality the coaches are looking forward to and preparing for Tennessee.
It's a sneaky type of preparation. They do not admit to the players what they are doing. "Ball State is multiple and they do a lot of things!" they exclaim at practice and in the film room. But every few plays the scout team runs in practice, whether by formation, blocking scheme, pass route, defensive alignment, etc., it will look eerily similar to what Tennessee was doing last Saturday in Gainesville. Because that's exactly what it is...the coaches preparing the players for Tennessee schematics without saying so to the players. When I was a freshman, I had no idea. As I aged, it became quite obvious.
Tennessee will never be mentioned. No one will say, "Remember this because we'll use it next week!" No, instead, highlight reels will be made with every good play Ball State has made this season, and probably even last season, making Ball State look like the New England Patriots. The players will be given bios on the Ball State personnel to read about how great they were in high school, what their major is, what their favorite color is, and what their girlfriend's name is.
Ball State will start this game with more emotion than any game they play all year. Their coaches are already pumping them full of stories ranging from David and Goliath, to outright fabricated propaganda...the likes that could only be rivaled on social-progressive smear sites like the huffingtonpost.com. This will be their biggest stage all season and they'll relish the role. Expect teams like this to hang around for a quarter before reality sets in.
I'm looking for Auburn defenders capable of form tackling and getting off of the field on third down. Offensively, I'd like to see a few additional receivers become relevant, no turnovers, and increase the tempo to full tilt. All in all, it's a tune up for next weeks challenge in Knoxville.
Trust me...I'm a doctor!