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Plainslinks takes sides

Pull off something like this again, Gabe, and it'll all be worth it.
Pull off something like this again, Gabe, and it'll all be worth it.

Everything old is new again. Look who’s back on the side of the ball that doesn’t score points might need the help:

Saddled behind two or three players on the depth chart — depending on the position — and still playing catch-up from missing the entire spring, (Gabe) McKenzie has been moved to defensive end for the second time in his Auburn career.

Coach Gene Chizik said he hopes McKenzie will benefit the Tigers most on third-down pass rush situations. The Tigers rank last in the SEC and 104th in the nation in opponents’ third-down conversion percentage.

“Obviously, he’s played defense before,” Chizik said. “With the D-line we’re always trying to build up depth at different places. I’m not saying that’s the answer but we’re just looking at some things that could be possibilities.”

OK, first: yes, he could probably help out at DE. With Eguae hobbled, Ford a freshman, Clayton not a natural DE, and Carter still a question mark, there’s an opening at end.

Second: 104th? I knew Auburn was having trouble, but goodness gracious goshamighty, we know the first place to find room for improvement, don’t we?

Third: opportunity at DE or not, this is still kind of unfortunate to hear. McKenzie hasn’t made any secret of his preference for offense, and he’s generally been productive (or better) when he’s seen the field as a tight end. He’s a senior who’s put a ton into the program. It’s a shame he’ll have to spend his final year plugging away in an unfamiliar position battling freshmen for playing time …

but that’s football. I don’t fully understand why McKenzie hasn’t been able to make any headway on the offensive depth chart–I love what Jay Wisner’s done, but doesn’t McKenzie seem capable of all he’s brought and a little more?–but when things are working the way they’re working for Auburn, obviously you don’t upset the apple cart. Here’s wishing McKenzie the best of luck at whatever position he settles into.

More from the Beat. Charles Goldberg with an excellent rundown on the operation of the Wildcat and why Kodi lining up behind center doesn’t automatically equal “Wildcat” … Auburn is third in the nation in total snaps, but Malzahn wants things even faster, not that that’s news …  Luper loves him some Ben Tate, with good reason … Evan Woodbery discusses the success of Auburn Football: Every Day ….

Pollin’. More evidence that bloggers are smarter than their AP/coaching counterparts: Auburn nearly snuck into this week’s BlogPoll, finishing 26th. Yours truly very nearly took home the dreaded CK Award, saved only by the esteemed Matt Hinton voting Auburn No. 2 on his resume-only ballot. (Speaking of resume voting: I find it absolutely hilarious and a little unfair that the AP voters taking ths approach are being hailed as revolutionary visionaries when Hinton’s been doing this for years.) I naturally blame the close call on other bloggers who aren’t properly recognizing Auburn’s brilliance.

Elsewhere, Auburn’s up to No. 6 in the SEC Power Poll. This is higher than I ever expected them to climb this year, to be honest with you. (Please note here and here that the poll’s Auburn blogs are saying nice things about Alabama and Georgia while the Tide and Dawg bloggers go out of their way to avoid giving Auburn any credit. Sigh. It’s always so lonely up here on the high road.)

LSU. Hey, speaking of Hinton, Dr. Saturday wonders what’s up with the Bayou Bengal offense:

LSU’s production is only slightly down from last year’s totals, but against the non-conference chafe of the schedule, that’s still good for dead last in the SEC in total yards, and no better than ninth in any other major category — not where you want to be after playing three teams (Washington, Vanderbilt and Louisiana-Lafayette) with one bowl game between them the last six years.

Food for thought. Elsewhere, Will has a few words about Miles admitting his coaches’ poll ballot might as well be done by monkeys.

Prepare. Here at TWER, Kevin explains why Auburn will “annihilate” Ball St., which, goodness, I think the Cardinals have suffered enough already this season. I’ll settle for beat soundly. (Also, Kevin has a Conan O’Brien vs. Dr. Gustav photoshop you really ought to see. Click or die.)

Both Rob Pate and Dr. Z of Eyes on Auburn also have previews up.

Etc. Acid looks at the SEC’s yards-per-pass-attempt statistics and why you might not believe you everything you see when it comes to Auburn’s stats … via WRAS, Sports Illustrated briefly profiles Gus Malzahn’s impact on the Plains … Auburn’s offered a punter for the 2010 class, which frankly makes me think Shoemaker hasn’t inspired a lot of confidence in practice … Beaver also wraps up the weekend action for the 2010 commitments … Steve Spurrier recalls a classic Pat Dye quote … and while your humble Auburn Blogger hasn’t followed the Braves nearly as closely these past few years as I did back in the proverbial day, I’d still like to take a second to send a shout-out at one-time WBE hero Bobby Cox, who’s retiring after the 2010 season. JRS’s thoughts are here.

Photo via al.com.

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