Monday, August 26, 2013
Game Week-Hope is a Good Thing
It's finally here.
After nearly 10 months of utter despair, Auburn is set to tee it up again Saturday when they take on the Washington State Cougars. We have seen just a few changes to Auburn football since last November. We have also had some changes to the blog.
Rob is of course no longer with us. No, He didn't die. He now requires you to pay to read his commentary about Auburn football, along with his Eyes on Auburn podcasts. Both are worth asking price. You can also catch him on Yahoo Sports, doing live game commentary with former Auburn coach Jack Crowe. We'll miss Rob around here, but I will continue to keep you all mildly amused. Remember I'm funnier when we lose. I hope that when reading the 2013 blog none of you have to laugh.
I am on the fence on how well Auburn can do this season. I think we have a fairly high ceiling as far as wins. But I, like many of you have a ton of questions...
Will the front 7 be any better than last year? They better be. I mean, how can they be worse? I have major concerns about the defensive line. All those can't miss guys Gene Chizik signed back in 2010? Well, they have kind of missed so far. I swear I got a migraine the other day when I said they haven't nailed down a starting group yet, and may not know till late this week. I do have a great deal of faith in Rodney Garner. He has spent his time, I am betting, toughening up a group that has been flat out soft since Tracy Rocker left to coach in the NFL. At linebacker, we have some unproven guys for sure in Kris Frost and Cass McKenzie. Jack Holland has experience, but has been, and let's be kind before the season starts, unspectacular. But many of his shortcoming have more to do with the fact that the defensive line hasn't done its job over the last two years.
Will the secondary cover anybody? I watched several games with a former AU defensive back who now works for Rivals. He would become visibly ill when watching AU's pass coverage, tackling, and overall ineptitude during the Chizik era. I have to think that gets better too. We are thin in some spots, so if the injury bug bites, we could be just as below average here.
How fast will we go? Probably the most interesting thing about the new staff and new system is the ludicrous speed offense. It is enough to have Bert Bielemma and Nick Saban worried about it. Bielemma seriously feels like the HUNH puts his players in danger of more injuries. Well, we can agree on one thing Bert, you are no comedian. Whether you can coach football in the SEC or not remains to be seen. I cannot wait to see how Gus runs the offense with the handcuffs off. Chizik probably cost Auburn 2-3 wins in 2011 by ratcheting back the offense to protect an awful defense. By the Iron Bowl, Gus was probably wishing he still worked for Houston Nutt.
Is Nick Marshall the next Cam? Let's see. How can I answer this? In a word-No. He's not even close to being the physical runner Cam was. He has the big arm. He can make plays with his feet. But reality check-he's not Cam. That being said Gus took a one armed zombie in 2009 and won 8 games. Auburn's offense will be fine. The run game and the offensive line should be solid. As long as Marshall doesn't turn the ball over, the sky is the limit for this crew.
The most important thing AU has going in to 2013? Hope. We have hope that we can return to the peak of college football. Maybe not this year, but soon. And as Andy Dufrane said "Hope is a good thing."