Thursday, October 18, 2012
What is there to say at this point? We control the market on putrid offensive statistics. Name an offensive category...we're in the bottom ten in the nation. Combine that with the single worst turnover ratio I've ever seen, at any level, any time in my life. It's a precise mathematical formula yielding no surprises, rather exactly what we'd expect: Terrible Offense + Turnover Kings = 1-5...and 8 point dogs to Vanderbilt.
We've seen a lack of leadership, play-making ability, urgency, fight, adjustments, attacking. We've seen guys we thought would loom large play minuscule roles, guys we thought would live up to their billing fail to arrive, players we expected to take over the reigns look timid and confused, guys make tremendously athletic plays only to be unseen/little used the rest of the game. Schemes we thought would suit our players executed poorly, mental errors mount continually placing our football team in untenable positions. Players question effort, coaches question themselves, starters benched, true freshmen elevate to starting positions, fans split on the direction of the program, former coaches call our manhood into question. It's been a disaster by nearly every measure.
Even so, I still can't fathom consecutive trips to Nashville resulting in losses. Every player on Auburn's squad could have gone to Vanderbilt. Very few on Vanderbilt's squad could say the same about Auburn. I have seen this Auburn team operate in a foolish, self-inflicted, poorly executed manner, but I haven't seen them quit. I can't say this staff has lost this team. But, with a loss to Vanderbilt...I'd have to rethink my position.
Vanderbilt will be hungry and they are a capable football team. In fact, there's not a game on their schedule that's not winnable for them...perhaps they'll be favored in the rest. Regardless, there's no reason Auburn should be losing football games to Vanderbilt...period. No matter how down a year we're having. No matter if we play true freshmen at every position. Auburn should always be better than Vanderbilt. And it's time for Auburn to grow up and start acting like Auburn. I'm ready to see a defense play with scary intensity, with a nasty demeanor. Forget about making mistakes and just go run to the football and bring hell with you when you arrive. That's the gameplan. Just beat the guy in front of you. Offensively, it's about time we see a QB that looks the part, a guy competent and willing to sacrifice his body for the team. A guy his team can count on. A guy that will lead. You don't even have to complete many passes. I don't care. Just throw the football away and don't throw it to the opposite colored jersey. You take care of the football and we have a chance to win football games. I'm ready to see a coaching staff ride the hot hand. If a WR makes a big play, reward him with another opportunity...don't substitute for him. If a we're running it down their throats, don't start running it sideways. If it's fourth one...show the offense your confident, you believe in them...make calls that are obvious to your team you came to win...not to keep things close for 3 quarters.
We're all pissed, frustrated, and embarrassed by the first half of this season. I assure you no one is more upset than the guys wearing the jerseys. The devotion it takes to just don the jersey is beyond explanation...most of you wouldn't want or allow your children to be pushed to those extremes. Kids come to school at Auburn because of they way Auburn makes them feel...supported, loved, united, passionate, devoted, important. Not a single guy ever thought it possible to struggle as much as this team has during their Auburn careers. Make them remember and forever appreciate your level of support in the lean years. Reward their effort with unwavering support regardless of the outcome. You can scold them, yell at them through your TV, abhor them, pray for their early graduation...but on Saturdays...you love them...you appreciate them...you root for them, even when they make doing so nearly impossible. I remember those days well, in fact I treasure those days.
I hope we win Saturday...I hope we compete four quarters and play mistake free football. For the players, I hope they get to taste the satisfaction of winning on the road. For the fan base, I hope we remember what makes Auburn so special.