Once again, just a collection of thoughts and links while time permits:
Unreal. Have you checked out the possession chart for Auburn from last Saturday? Not counting the meaningless possession at the very end of the game, Auburn had the ball 11 times. They scored touchdowns six times, field goals three times, fumbled once, and did not punt until 2:46 remained in the third quarter. Again, the ratio of scoring drives to punts: 9-to-1. Touchdowns to punts: 6-to-1.
You can’t expect that kind of production against Chattanooga this Saturday, much less on the road in the SEC. And we got it anyway, seemingly without the offense even having to break a sweat. I’m not even sure how to process an offense this lethal.
Baby steps. No, the passing attacks of Ole Miss and LSU are not what you’d call “advanced,” and the collective quarterbacking prowess of Jordan Jefferson, Jarrett Lee, and Jermiah Masoli probably didn’t keep Ted Roof up at night. (Jefferson’s and Masoli’s mobility aside.) But still: this is an Auburn secondary that without Aairon Savage or T’Sharvan Bell suddenly finds itself working a walk-on into its safety rotation and fielding a true freshman (one a year removed for playing quarterback/return specialist) as its nickelback.
And still that secondary allowed just 4.3 yards an attempt against LSU and 5.7 against Ole Miss … the same Ole Miss that had averaged 9.1 the week before. That’s not quite domination, given the difficulty levels we’re talking about here, but it’s a damn sight better than what we saw against Kentucky and Arkansas. Some of that is McNeil holding the line, Washington and Thorpe sharpening up a bit, but some of it is also Chris Davis, who has held his own every bit as much as we would hope he would. Things aren’t great (I’m already worrying about what Georgia’s array of threats might do), but they’re getting better. And now they get a week to get that much healthier.
Apologies in order. Well, gosh, I guess the problem with Auburn’s special teams last year really was the lack of scholarship players available and not Jay Boulware’s coaching, huh? Now that, I mean, the special teams have been responsible for three touchdowns in three weeks, haven’t turned the ball over since the Carr fumble in Week 2, rank in the top 50 in both kickoff and punt coverage, and are fourth in kickoff returns. Amazing what having guys like Sanders and McNeal and Goodwin around can do, I’d say. (Demond Washington helps, too. Might as well remind you that Tuberville’s staff ignored him and it was up to Chizik and Co. to swoop in and steal him away from Ole Miss.)
Happy Halloween. You don’t want to read too much football-wise into the Halloween party, of course. It’s a Halloween party.
But forgive me: those pictures are funny, but they are also the pictures of a team that’s enjoying its season and is enjoying its season together. Part of the reason they played like they weren’t under any kind of pressure Saturday might be because this staff has them in a place where they really don’t feel that pressure. Maybe the reason they hang together as a team when they fall behind is because they actually feel like a team.
Crazy, I know.
Cam and the draft. I posted what I wanted to say at CBS; yeah, he might bolt. He might not. But he’d be an idiot not to at least wait and see what he could get if he left, and what exactly he’d be leaving behind (i.e. another shot at a championship).
BlogPoll. This week’s ballot:
No change at the top. Mizzou and Michigan State dropped, but I didn’t think Utah and their dreadful schedule had done enough to move up; Wisconsin has two outstanding wins in vs. Ohio St. and at Iowa (the second of which is enough for me to justify ranking them ahead of the Michigan St. team that beat them) and LSU’s wins over Miss. St. and Florida both got bumps in value.
Oklahoma and Iowa should maybe be higher … but unlike Wisky and Sparty (and Nevada and Hawaii at the end of the ballot), I don’t think there’s enough separation in the resume to justify screwing up the head-to-head.
STFU. Srsly. Nick Saban says it’s “not fair” that Auburn has a open date the week before the Friday Iron Bowl. Even though, you know, each team got to choose their open dates before the season and Alabama picked a different one. I guess what would be fair would be for Alabama to have two open dates. Or to get to pick when Auburn has their open date. That would work.
What’s funniest about this is that if Gene Chizik said anything similar, the other side would howl itself hoarse calling him a coward.
Photo by Van Emst.