Sunday, September 5, 2010

Arkansas State Review: AU 52 Ark St. 26

Photo courtesy of Hal Yeager, The Birmingham News

I saw lots of positives and much to build upon in Auburn's opener against Arkansas State. It obviously wasn't perfect all night, but all in all I see a team with enormous potential to accomplish some incredible feats this season.

What I liked...

-Cam Newton's ability to improvise

-Tons of defensive linemen rotating into the game

-Craig Sanders desire covering kicks

-The trio of McCalebb, Fannin, and Dyer. As a former safety, I would not have looked forward to playing against that trio all night.

-The run defense was extremely solid

-Q. Carr's confidence fielding punts as well as emerging as another offensive and punt return weapon teams must account for.

What I disliked..

-The slow start to begin both halves. Better teams will make you pay in a hurry (See Arkansas 2009).

-Fannin's continued case of fumblitis


-No turnovers against a pass-happy team new to the spread with a young quarterback.

-Tempo not as quick as what I observed in practice

I'm hearing/reading lots of concerns about the defense (i.e. poor tackling, no pressure, too many points against a no-name team, etc.). Don't worry about the least not yet. I think this group is different than last years and will improve week to week instead of regress. Much of that will be due to these guys pushing each other in practice for playing time because many positions have back-ups nipping at the starters heels. This defense was mostly vanilla and did a better job tackling than what I saw last season. The safeties seemed to have the hardest time with blown assignments and missed tackles, but this will improve dramatically I'm confident. A broken leg, a ruptured achilles, and a freaking broken neck have hampered each of these three respectivley and this game will go a long way in getting their feet wet once again and re-aquainting themselves with the speed of the game. We also played without arguably our best linebacker in Craig Stevens. With his return from suspension (hopefully this week) we will only improve.

And offensively we are in excellent shape. We have the most dynamic quarterback in the conference, if not the country in Cam Newton. Things will get dramatically more difficult in the coming weeks, but he is obviously a special talent and is surrounded with experienced weapons en masse.

Overall, good initial perfomance...not great. But definitely see a team with all the ability in the world to accomplish all the goals these guys have set. Could be a special year.


  1. .....I hated the soft coverage for much of the first half, but I do understand the need for it. Thanks SO much for this insight! I was hoping I was not the only one of the armchair guys not calling for Roof's head!

    .....So many young guys GETTING AFTER IT! War Eagle! How can an Auburn fan not be excited? Personally, I'm looking forward to Thursday!

    Acid Reign

  2. i was pretty upset with the d during the game but the more i think back on it i don't think it was as bad as most seem to think. zac had a blown assignment that led to the 1st long pass and td, we fumbled a kick off that gave ASU a short field, and they scored on on 2nd/3rd team.

    my biggest complaints were the soft zone (but i guess against teams like that you don't want to give up big plays to let them feel like they have a shot) and it looked like our corners could not get off of blocks from wideouts. that will be a big deal if it continues this week.

    offensively, it probably wasn't as good as it seemed but again we were playing/gameplanning to a lesser opponent. this week i want to see us attack more vertically with both the running and passing game. we were too east/west against ASU and i don't know that we ever got that corner on them. when we went north/south we scored with ease. the passing game seemed to be all or nothing. want to see the 5-15 yard routes this week.

    finally, as good as Cam played he made a lot of throws off his back foot which made him throw the few intermediate routes we ran high and his deep ball short. seemed like every deep ball he threw the WR had to wait on. The incompletion he thew to Adams down the sideline at the end of the 1st half is an easy td if the ball is in the endzone. this will be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. better teams may turn those into int's.

    this week i think the d will play better but may give up as many or more points. AU 38 MSU 31

  3. I'm guessing Drew Cole will never see the field at Auburn, besides on special teams?

    This guy should have been a corner, with his excellent speed.

    What a joke. Is he getting the Heath Evans treatment?