Monday, October 22, 2012
Vanderbilt Review (AU 13 Vandy 17)
I hope you've long ago stopped swinging by this site looking for a silver lining. It doesn't take a James Spann forecast to identify the colossal dark clouds hovering over Auburn athletics, the torrential downpour of discouragement, dejection, despondency we've endured, and the immense need for gale force like winds to usher in transformation.
The product on the football field Saturday in Nashville sunk to a new low, replacing the team I played on in 1998 as the worst Auburn team in memory. For many, that realization had long ago occurred. For me, I saw too much talent in 2012 to reduced these guys to 1998 level. I expected the light to come on at some point this season. Amazingly, they blew right past us Saturday. Not only is the light not on...there's no electricity.
Like Zack said below, we've written the same review every week. What's left to say? What positives can come from dropping to 1-6, extending the longest losing streak in conference play to seven. And the way we've lost them...blown out by UGA, destroyed by Alabama, don't show up against State, tremendous battle versus top 5 LSU, embarrassed by Arkansas, blown out by Ole Miss, perennial cellar dweller Vandy outcompetes. How can this be acceptable? How can this even happen? It's everything Auburn football should never be...passionless, aloof, hopeless, appalling. As I walked out of Vanderbilt Stadium Saturday, even a Vandy fans said the following..."Chizik is toast, no? You can't lose to us and keep your job at Auburn can you?" His theory will be tested and we shall see.
I feel sick for the players. They play for coaches that make an insane amount of money given the task to put these guys in the best possible position to be successful. With this task they have failed miserably this season. Too many times we can't not only get our best players the football, we can't get them on the football field. It's one thing to recruit great players to Auburn. It's quite another to keep them there and to make them better than they were when they arrived. I believe one hand would be sufficient to count the number of players that have consistently elevated their game and grown as football players since their arrival. In fact one hand may leave plenty of room. That's a major problem.
This team has zero confidence and minimal true playmakers. We're quarterback challenged and woefully underwhelming at defensive line. Non-opportunistic defensively and penalty-laden at the worst possible times. Void of leaders and an offensive pulse with playcalling painful to watch. We can't stop the rush, we can't stretch the football field vertically. We can't score touchdowns in the red zone and we can't stop teams from scoring when we finally do. We look helpless, clueless, defeated as a staff.
And I commend the Auburn supporters for making the trip to Nashville. There were more Auburn fans than Vandy, and for a group struggling as mightily as our team, that speaks volumes about the passion of this fan base. Someday soon however, this program must give us something to be passionate about, other than the need for wholesale change. With the trajectory of this program regrettably, that would likely unite us all.