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Notes from the Beat, 9/27

Woody Parramore is totally thinking the same thing the rest of us are thinking.

Looking around the Auburn beat on this Monday afternoon:

Newton for Some Other Award That Might Not Be Such a Distraction. So God2illa is having his name mentioned in the same breath as that award, you know the one, the what’s it-called; the Davey O’Brien. That’s it.

OK, not really. And it’s not just Auburn fans who are saying he’s in the middle of the race at the quarter-pole, either. And it’s not like it’s crazy talk when you look at his numbers, either; if you can lead the SEC in both rushing and passing efficiency (has anyone even come remotely close to that kind of double in the modern era of college football?), you’re doing something extraordinarily right.

But let’s be serious: an invite to New York is the best Newton can hope for. Unless Auburn rips off 11 wins and an SEC West title, it’s probably going to a higher-profile player on a higher-profile team … and if it doesn’t, it’ll probably go to Robinson, whose numbers are similar to Newton’s but even more mind-boggling.

So I’d sort of like to have the whole thing nipped in the bud before it spirals into “This week: Cameron Newton takes on LSU! Also, Newton will be playing alongside some other guys called his ‘team’!” That won’t be good for Auburn, and it won’t really be good for Newton, who needs to stay as hungry as possible at all times to get where he and Auburn want to go. It’s easy for him to say he doesn’t care about the thing now, but if it’s Week 10 and it’s not just Bitter and Tate and Goldberg asking him about it on a weekly basis but the SI and ESPN guys and he sees his face every time he turns on the TV … well, it’ll still be easy to say. But it’ll hard for it to be the truth.

All that said, if Newton keeps playing the way he has to-date, he and I both will probably just have to get used to it.

Schedulin’. The Kentucky game will be another evening kickoff, very likely on ESPN2, and so I suggest preparing yourself mentally right now to hear Marc Jones ask Bob Davie a series of questions about 19th-century Southeast Asian politics as Auburn drives for a game-winning score early in the fourth quarter.

And oh, if you missed it somehow, this Saturday’s game will in fact take place during something called “daylight” after an 11 a.m. kickoff, and air on ESPNU.

Fix it. Remember when I said after the Clemson rewatch that Daren Bates looked tentative, a little unsure of himself? This is because he maybe feels unsure of himself:

“It’s just a different world. You can’t come down every time full-speed. I’ve just got to learn not to do that every time.”

Bates is saying he’s playing too aggressively (in response, apparently, to a question about missing tackles), but the conflict between what his instincts are and what he’s doing is evident. He just has to play faster. He’ll get there, but in the meantime, Auburn’s just going to have to resign themselves to less production than we’d like out of that spot.

Eguae. Ted Roof on why he got the nod Saturday:

“We want to reward performance, because if you want to have good things happen to them when they perform, we want them to understand that,” Roof said. “And Nosa played well. And he’s rewarded with a start. Anytime there’s competition, that’s the kind of environment you want to create. And it’ll make everybody better.”

Eguae added that he’d known he’d be the starter since last Sunday. Putting the two of “reward performance” and two of “Sunday” together: man, the coaches were not terribly happy with Michael Goggans.

While we’re on the subject of the d-line, Mike Blanc is this week’s SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after collecting seven tackles vs. the ‘Cocks. His role right now is probably the role he was born to play at Auburn: take first downs or running downs off (since he doesn’t stand up as well to straight-line blocks), then come on on later downs to take advantage of his strengths in pursuit, pass-rush, and pass-batting without wearing him out. Tracy Rocker is a genius. But you knew that already.

Time to Dyer. Chizik with an intriguing take on his prize tailback:

I think he’s starting to see some more cuts, where I thought earlier in the season he’s thinking protect the football, put my head down, make tough yards, which at times didn’t allow him to use his vision that he did in high school. He’s got really good vision, and I think he’s getting more comfortable being able to see those things, combined with the fact that he had 20-odd opportunities to do it.

As freshmen go, he’s a great one, and he’s a freshman at running back on top of that. But he is still a freshman. A nice 17-carry game against UL-Monroe with lots of holes sounds like just what the doctor ordered, doesn’t it?

Pollwatch. You know already that Auburn is 10th in the AP and 11th in the coaches, but for any of you out there complaining about Auburn getting leapfrogged after a win last week, please note that Auburn jumped five teams that won this past week in the AP. The pollsters are actually responding to, you know, events on the field for once instead of moving teams around on a conveyor belt. This is a good thing.

Photo by Van Emst.

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