Thursday, October 13, 2011
The Florida game is a pivotal game for both teams. Both teams are practically mirror images of one another at this point struggling with the same issues...youth, injuries, poor QB play, brutal gauntlet of a schedule. Both teams badly need this win for confidence, bowl positioning, and to stay relevant in the SEC race.
Keys to the game...
1. Coach Malzahn needs to get Barrett Trotter comfortable and allow him to have some early success. Give him some easy throws, establish a rhythm, throw on 1st down some, give him some play action to work with. By no means am I saying we shouldn't pound the ball with Mike Dyer, but rather allow Mike Dyer more success by making the Florida defense defend both the run and the pass.
2. We must win the turnover battle. We were fortunate to get four against South Carolina and survive on the road. Three more last week against Arkansas was too much to overcome. With Florida starting an inexperienced QB, on the road in one of the most hostile environments college football has to offer, we have no excuse to not win this battle!
3. Speaking of inexperienced QBs...the Auburn defense under Coach Ted Roof has a miserable record of allowing wide-eyed, inexperienced, young QBs to come into Jordan-Hare Stadium and look like Heisman contenders. We can't afford to sit back and let another young (but talented) Florida QB get comfortable and play the game of his life. I hope Coach Chizik/Roof and Co. throw the kitchen sink at the young QBs and make life absolutely tortuous. They need to be hit all game long and by nights end feel as if Auburn played defense with 13 guys!
4. Fan support. Jordan-Hare needs to be rocking and rolling for a prime-time night game. This is an enormous recruiting weekend and these high level recruits should leave having experienced a truly unique and raucous setting. And as player, I used to admire the fact our support never wavered, even during years we made it hard to be Auburn fans. Bring your 'A' game to the stadium Saturday night and support a group coming off of consecutive road games against Top 10 talent.
5. Tackle! Florida's only chance in my opinion is to break the big play. I don't see Florida driving consistently without making mistakes of their own. Auburn can not afford to give away cheap TDs with poor tackling, poor assignment football, poor angles, a short field with turnovers. Florida will give their QBs easy routes to throw and hope their speedy play-makers can be just that. Tackle well and Florida's offense will struggle.
I like our chances!