Monday, November 14, 2011
Georgia Review (AU 7 UGA 45)
What an embarrassing display...an utter disrespect to a storied traditional rivalry. The South's oldest rivalry became the nation's most lopsided affair. Sure, other teams may have lost by a larger margin on the scoreboard Saturday, but no team was dismantled as severely as our Auburn Tigers. It was sickening to endure and can only imagine how frustrating it was for those of you whom traveled to Sanford Stadium. I was glad I didn't drive 30 minutes across town to watch the game with Dr. Z, never mind making the trip to Athens. If I had gone, I'd write to Jay Jacobs and demand a refund for the price of admission. If I had shown up, I'd expect the team I came to support return the favor.
In my time at Auburn I played in some games we were completely overmatched in. Florida had our number in 2000 scoring on its first 5 possessions. Arkansas crushed us in 1999 in Fayetteville. Virginia dominated us in 1998 to open the season. I'm sure there were many more games that left a bitter taste in your mouths over the course of my playing career...maybe even the way I played. But I never walked off of a football field between 1997 and 2000 and felt myself or my teammates cheated Auburn by cashing in and not competing for four quarters. I wonder if this group can look in the mirror and say the same? Quoting Emory Blake after the loss..."I think a couple of guys shut it down...we need to keep believing..." That's what's unacceptable. I can live with getting beat by superior talent. I can live getting completely run out of the stadium if I think everyone gave maximum effort. I can't live with guys that "shut it down." It disrespects you...it disrespects me...it disrespects the player...his family...his teammates...his coaches...and everyone associated with Auburn University.
I scratch my head and sit baffled at the way we go about running our offense? If we can't protect the QB in the pocket, then why don't we move the pocket? Can we not throw on the run? If we think Trovon Reed is a special talent and one of our premiere playmakers (in practice) why can't we get him the football? I guess my frustration stems from repeatedly doing the same things yet expecting different results. Isn't that the very definition of insanity? At this point, why not go to the I formation and pound Dyer behind a lead fullback (Ladarious Phillips perhaps) with two TE's and play action pass? The former player in me knows it's not feasible to revamp an offense and make an unconventional offense conventional overnight, however the fan in me says show me you're willing to try something different.
Many fans message me during and after this (and multiple other) games stating Roof should go (I'll address that next), but nary a word about the disaster we see offensively against teams with a heartbeat defensively. This offense has been anemic at best against the best competition without a human highlight reel running the show in Cam Newton. We need to either find a Cam Newton clone or find a little more willingness to adapt a game plan to what we do well.
And the defense. It was a crime scene...take your pick as what you want to call the offence the Georgia offense committed on the Auburn defense. Battery? Assault? Mayhem? Theft? What they did was steal Auburn's desire to compete and pretty much had their way with our defense. The sentence...a defensive coaching shake-up is in order.
I've been a supporter of Coach Roof...not so much because of what his defenses have done on the field, but more so because of who he was trying to accomplish it with. He doesn't have the luxury of studs on defense. He did last season in Nick Fairley, the most dominant defensive lineman I've ever seen. Yet we still played most games from behind. Every game we play against a legitimate offense turns into no contest. I could live with a deficiency here or there. I can't live with complete annihilation both on the ground and through the air. And compound that with poor fundamentals? It's time for a change (and I don't make that statement lightly...as a former player who endured a coaching change myself, I know firsthand the difficulties created). And the change may not involve the dismissal of Coach Roof. Perhaps he's a stellar linebackers coach, a terrific recruiter...if so, keep him on staff but remove his DC title. Coach Chizik should take the reigns. Never understood why many head coaches double as the offensive coordinator, but no head coach ever remains the defensive coordinator anyway?
I know I sound frustrated and sarcastic. My intention is never to be a pot stirrer or anything less than a fine representative of Auburn University. I am also aware that things are never really as bad as they seem nor as good as they seem. I've tried to maintain a realistic optimism regarding this season and fully expected a decline from last year...who didn't. Not many understand the difficulty in winning on the road against the top 10 talent we've fallen to this season as much as a former player in this league does. I didn't expect to beat Georgia. If you read my blog you'll see I picked us to lose...just as I did against LSU and Arkansas. But back to back road games of being completely noncompetitive has ME reeling. And I really don't live and die by Auburn football. I can't even imagine how those that do feel! So I feel like my views represent the majority of Auburn fans? Maybe I'm wrong? Let me know on air Tuesday night on EYES ON AUBURN...6-8 PM across the state of Alabama via the War Damn Radio Network.