Monday, October 4, 2010
Louisiana Monroe Review (AU 52 LA Monroe 3)
I don't think the game could have unfolded any better than it did for the Auburn Tigers. It's not the easiest task in the world to motivate yourself to perform at peak potential against a Sun Belt opponent at 11:00 AM after back to back to back emotional, physical contests. I was very pleased to see our guys mentally sharp and responsive. The opportunity to rest some key people, build depth and experience with others, and escape relatively injury-free are huge pluses. The defensive effort keeping Monroe out of the end zone is a confidence builder and truly a valiant effort because it was done with guys who don't normally play together as a unit. In a game like that, giving up several dink and dunk passes is fine...you just don't want mental lapses and busted coverages and allow a team like the Warhawks a freebie. Offensively, probably could have scored 100 on LA Monroe...did a fantastic job protecting Newton, getting him comfortable distrubiting the football to various weapons, and kept him from taking unnecessary hits.
When you look at the schedule, it really breaks down into 3 equivalent 4 game stretches building to a crescendo at the conclusion of each stretch. The scheduling is remarkably similar in each stretch....Each one has a nonconference tune-up (Arkansas State, La Monroe, Chattanooga). Each stretch begins SEC play on the road against a lower-tier SEC opponent (State, Kentucky, Ole Miss). The third contest in each stretch is a home gut check (Clemson, Arkansas, Georgia). And the final game of each "mini-season" is the money game...where championship seasons are won or lost (South Carolina, LSU, Alabama). This team is getting better every week. I've had a blast watching them this season purely because of the character and "never say die" attitude they take the field with. I still get the feeling this year could be something special.
Thanks again to all the folks (Ben Leard, Bo and Laura Megginson, Phillip Pate) that coughed up enough tickets (10) for our family and 3 friends to attend this game. My kids only made it to midway through the first quarter before we were gone, but the experience is one they'll remember and we're appreciative. Now this week, an adults only road trip to Lexington (the only SEC campus I've never seen) to cheer on the orange and blue.