— This, first of all: the better team won. No team that scores 7 offensive points deserves to win in any way, shape, or form.
— Giving up 14 fourth-quarter points is tough, but when your offense spends so little time on the field in the first half, and your defense doesn’t have a second string to fall back on, that’s just what happens. Malzahn and the offensive staff had better be the ones getting the criticism from Auburn fans this week.
— Look, you can’t win throwing for 3.8 yards a pass. You just can’t. Until further notice Auburn is … well, a lesser version of Kentucky: a team that can run the ball OK, but can’t throw to save its life. Except that Kentucky runs it a little better, apparently.
— So much for the idea of Auburn as a second half team, huh? Fewer punts, I guess, but penalties in torrents, five possessions with no points, and the world’s worst-timed case of the dropsies. Bleah.
— I don’t understand our crowd. Huge swaths of empty seats in the lower bowl with Auburn tied in the fourth quarter against an SEC team. I know it’s cold. But it’s not raining, it’s not a blowout, it’s not some cupcake, those tickets are already paid for, and people for whatever reason aren’t there. It hurts.
— Obviously this is a tough, tough loss to take. But the season’s not over. Save a particular game at the end of the schedule, no one on Auburn’s schedule has been so impressive we can’t at least conceive of Auburn winning … and as 2008-like as this performance was, we still have a long way to go to hit those depths. It’ll take more than a year to make everything right again after that kind of disaster, and as much as we wanted to believe otherwise after those first five weeks, we’re just going to have to grit our teeth on nights like these and wait.
See you tomorrow. War Eagle.
— Well, here’s the good news: Auburn’s been a second-half team and they’re ahead at the half. Can’t complain too much when that’s the case.
— So … anyone still think the defense needs more work than the offense? It helps that Kentucky is every bit as bad throwing the ball as we expected them to be, but still, holding any offense with that kind of line and those kinds of skill players to 7 points–after three straight three-and-outs–is a hell of a performance. Full kudos to Roof and the defense.
— Probably time to give Jay Boulware (or maybe Tracy Rocker?) some credit: one way or another, he’s figured out how to get our tackles through the middle of the line on placekicks. Auburn’s swatted two extra points this year and has now gotten 7 critical points out of a field goal block. Once is a fluke; this many times means something’s going right.
— The passing game is broken. Todd is 5-of-11 for … wait for it … 18 yards. And most of those came on Zachery’s broken tackles. Malzahn and Todd and the wideouts have to go back to the drawing board this week, because Auburn can’t survive going forward–and hell, may not survive this half–being as unbalanced on offense as they’ve been these past two weeks.
— In a similar vein: 108 total yards that half. 108. Must get better.
— We’ve all been led to assume Auburn will after the half. But if they don’t, Kentucky’s going to win this game, because the defense is just too thin to hang on if the offense isn’t moving. We’ll see what happens.
This is awesome:
Click that for some other sweet submissions to this week’s photo contest, but if you’ve got time, there’s even more to poke around at here at TWER this morning: John Magruder looks back at the Arkansas game and updates his Spread Sheets with topography (!), Kevin Strickland previews tonight’s contest against the ‘Cats, and Thor Burk continues the Sunday sagas of Tigers in the NFL and beyond. Consume!
Update: I don’t remember the quote verbatim, but I’m in mind of the radio voices from Bill Murray’s alarm clock in Groundhog Day: “Hope you have your jammies on cause it’s cooooooooooold out there!”
Or at least that’s what the reports from Auburn are: it’s cold, it’s windy, there’s been some sleet. Yikes. I think this plays into Kentucky’s hands a little bit–they’re not going to want to throw the ball much anyway–but it should affect both teams.
Personnel reports from the above links:
— Walt McFadden is on the field, stretching, and looks capable of playing.
— Eltoro Freeman is back, and he’s getting the start at WLB. Did the time off help?
— In a bit of a surprise, Antoine “Hot” Carter will get the start over Michael Goggans. Carter looked good in his limited action last week; here’s hoping he keeps it up.
— Anthony Gulley is back from his concussion, but I can’t imagine he’s goign to see too much playing time.
See you at halftime.
Some other links for your pregame enjoyment and edification:
— Big recruiting weekend as a whole host of big-name visitors will be on the Plains (as an offensive lineman, Ed Christian might be the biggest of them) and Chizik knows Auburn’s got a lot of slots to fill between now and Signing Day.
— Phillip Lolley’s not that worried about Neiko Thorpe.
— Andy Bitter breaks down the game, and if you want even more from your humble Auburn Blogger, my answers to Tru’s questions are up at A Sea of Blue.
— Lastly, last night was a busy one for Auburn athletics: the Auburn men’s hoops teams got their practice on for the first time, and a star-studded Home Run Derby raised a buncha money for Lee County’s Boys and Girls Clubs. Make double-sure you check out the AUfficial site’s gallery of shots from the Derby.
I’ll be Tweeting all afternoon long as we follow the Red River shootout, Florida-Arkansas, etc. Whether you’ve signed on with Twitter or not, you can follow along here.
This post will be updated with any kind of late-breaking news if it, uh, breaks. Otherwise I’ll be back with some quickie halftime analysis as Kentucky and Auburn head to the locker rooms.
Chris Todd SUCKS!!! Put his bum @$$ on the bench.
Well, so much for my intuition…I’m going into the fetal position now…wake me when 2010 rolls round.
Todd doesn’t suck, but his arm has died. We now know that after the surgery, he had fall camp and four games left in the arm. Nobody wanted to talk about it, but there was no zip on any of his throws against Tennessee. He did have just enough, however, to make the throws that he had to make. Tonight was not a case of no heart (stay classy, al.com posters), it was a case of ‘can’t.’ Fannin should have had a TD in the third quarter, but Chris simply couldn’t get it there.
When your body won’t allow you to do what you want and need it to do, the mind has a nasty habit of settling for options that work about one time in twenty. Todd’s decision-making was bad tonight–sometimes even inexplicable–except that wasn’t Chris Todd. That was a physical shell of a serviceable SEC quarterback who was left to simply hope for miracles rather than to execute in any systematic way.
I feel terrible for the entire team. Chizik took a big gamble this week with the in-week hitting, and it might have burned him (although the first-half defense was very solid, so it might still have been a net benefit) in the fatigue department. But the bottom line is that Tuberville left the cupboard bare. There may have been a couple of decent dishes left out on the table, but the cupboard is bare. That problem isn’t going to be solved overnight.
As frustrating as it is to watch the defense struggle, it’s especially painful to realize that short of taking the red-shirt off of Rollison, there are no options at quarterback. Todd’s arm is cooked and won’t ever recover. But Kodi can’t make SEC throws, and Caudill isn’t the answer either. So what do you do if you’re GC and GM? You take your medicine and definitely leave the red-shirt on Rollison. This team may only beat Furman the rest of the way. And some games may get ugly.
But this wasn’t going to be a half-season turnaround for the coaching staff. Things aren’t quite as bad now as they were in ’99, but they’re in that ballpark. This is about building for the future while trying to make the best of the present. If Chris Todd’s arm is has regressed to near-2008 strength as I believe it has, it’s over for him. As much as I admire the courage it took to stick around Auburn, it’s not in the best interest of this team for him to continue to play.
This team is going to need a back-up quarterback next season, and there’s no reason that Kodi Burns shouldn’t be that guy. And he’ll be in much better position to help next year’s team should he be needed in that capacity, if he plays the last five or six games this year. This makes sense no matter what Auburn’s record in those games. Because let’s face it: Furman excepted, Auburn can’t beat anyone left on the schedule without some semblance of a passing game. This team probably wouldn’t score against Ole Miss or Alabama, and they’ll do no better against LSU than they did tonight.
Kodi gives Auburn chances. They won’t be big chances, but they are chances nevertheless. To Chris Todd: you have my eternal respect for the dignity with which you’ve carried yourself through the last two seasons. I appreciate your contributions to Auburn University and the Auburn Tigers, and I wish you every success as you take your first post-graduate steps in life.
don’t give up yet, people. i’m not happy to see AU lose to UK either, but we’ve dramatically improved over last year, when THIS game would’ve been confirming what we had seen all season.
Mark Owsley says
First of all, this one is on Chizik and Malzahn. Leading 14-7 and not doing too well converting, you GO FOR IT on 4th and 5 ???!!!! Plus, this is Kentucky !!!!!
I know we were all a little hungry for some offense, but, dadgummit, get 3 and then you are up 17-7 and you begin to break their WILL. Ninety percent of the game is half mental, to quote Yogi Berra. As it was, you played into their plans and made Rich Brooks who happens to be 114 years old with a mediocre record at a BASKETBALL SCHOOL look good. ARKY was okay. Petrino is a real jerk, albeit a former AU coach, but he was not going to be kept down forever. And Arky proved today they are no fluke…
But we gotta have some sensible coaching on the sidelines or else.
As for ALA. they have become a MACHINE just like the political apparatus dowm at the Tuscaloosa campus. They just chew up and spit out anything fed to them. Not surprising. When you buy everything you want, coach, players, cheerleaders, you eventually get what you ae paying for. We have no chance …no chance against THE MACHINE. The only chance we have is two years and one big NCAA investigation away. They will eat FL alive….in the championship game everybody already knows they are going to…the only shaky part is Tebow and his group. The automatons are already there.
On the pleasant front today, Purdue beat OHIO ST. GA TECH beat VA TECH (VPI to old folks like me). And ND lost another which means that ND might just be looking at the end of the season, and they are only looking at Urban and Ol’ Nick….hold onto the rope….
First of all, I want to say it sucks to lose to Kentucky. It’s something I’ve never experienced in my life, and it’s something I don’t particularly want to ever experience again. They outplayed and outcoached us tonight. Nothing else can be said. It easily could have been a 27-7 game if not for their kicking game meltdowns.
Secondly, something’s wrong with Todd. His arm must be dead or something because the arm strength and accuracy from earlier this season is gone. He looked like he did last season tonight; he couldn’t get enough zip on the throws that he needed to and that led to him hesitating on most throws. If his arm is re-injured, we have to go another direction at QB. I’d go with Caudle but I’d be surprised if they didn’t go with Rollison.
Bad loss, but this season is just going to have to endure some growing pains. Remember, Saban went 6-6 in his first year at UAT, and he has turned them into a monster. Our #1 priority right now needs to be recruiting to build depth and bring some talent in.
Is it too late to send Todd to Franklin at Middle Tenn?
Also the Refs in that game where atrocious. There is no way in hell that K did not commit a single penalty in the entire game. I saw 3 sitting in the student section.
I agree Jerry I do NOT want to hear anyone blame the defense. They played great through the first half and most of the third, but when the offense goes three and out as much as we did, any defense, depth or no depth, will start to, uh, suck.
As for the crowd thinning out, I think it has to do with these late kick off times. Most people I know are tired of them, you have to tailgate all day and then there is no time to go out after the game. Plus it was cold, windy, and even a little rainy all day and I just had a hard time getting pumped to play kentucky coming off a bad loss. I can’t speak for everyone else but as for me, I felt a little less than enthused about the game.
Some great comments here, guys.
Harrison, I hear ya–it’s not like I felt like this was some make-or-break game, either, and I didn’t have to stand around all day in the cold. But I still can’t help but feel like for there to be THAT many empty seats reflects poorly on our fans and support … would there have been that many no-shows at other SEC schools for this game? Maybe, I don’t know, but it still looks bad.
I could not agree more about the empty seats in the stadium. It is embarrassing. I don’t know if it is the economy, ticket prices are too high, people are still ticked off about whatever that blatant lie was Jacobs and Tuberville put together, or what, but we need more butts in those seats. I get mad when I remember how when I was a kid AU had one of the largest stadiums in the country and now I look around the league and see other schools doing expansions and passing us or closing in on us left and right. But when we are not filling the stadium we currently have it is hard to justify closing in an end zone.
Alabama is winning because they spent the money to make people excited about crimson tide football again. And I guarantee you it is paying off for their university. I have a friend who works in Samford Hall and he talks about seeing both the numbers of and the quality of applications skyrocket after 2004. Do you realize that less than half a century ago Boise State was nothing more than a junior college? Likewise, I heard a segment on NPR the other morning that cited how even schools like Notre Dame used the success of their football program to vault their academics to excellence. It is more than evident that a successful football program only fuels success on the academic front.
The point I am trying to make is that whatever is keeping folks from sitting in the stands and being excited about Auburn Football, the administration should figure it out and rectify it. The University will not benefit by letting the success of AU Football flounder.
Well we have that Navy Nightmare against Ole Miss coming up, so maybe that will get everyone pumped up and fill the stadium. I don’t know about you guys, but nothing makes me more STOKED than a navy blue t-shirt. lol