— If you’d told me ahead of the game “Auburn will have 17 points at halftime, then fail to score on any of their four possessions in the second half,” I’d have assumed they’d have lost by 10 points at least. Incredible job by the Auburn defense. I think, just maybe, Ted Roof’s job is safe for a week.
— I said ahead of the game that as long as we came out of Starkville with a win, this game was a success. And it is. But good heavens, do we have a lot of question marks about this team. I don’t even know if we’re supposed to be vulnerable on defense or offense any more.
— I can’t put 2 and 2 together when it comes to our offensive philosophy. We have the cojones to throw a double-pass back to the QB behind the line with the game in the balance, but we don’t run Malzahn’s tempo any more or make a real effort to put points on the board at the end of the first half.Either be conservative or run the hell out of the thing, guys, not one or the other.
But one man’s opinion: run the offense Malzahn wants to run and get the hell out of his way.
— Here’s to hoping Ziemba can return next week. No one wants to see the starts streak ruined. But at the same time, Mosley was not bad in relief, not bad at all.
— Only Auburn could commit two offensive penalties all game and have them both negate first downs inside the 15.
— I’m so sorry, Mario. But I’d rather see the ball in Dyer’s hands.
— You know ahead of time that James and Palmer are going to be a Hindenburg-quality disaster, and yet they still manage to fall short of even the lowest possible expectations.
— Weird that for all the 3-2 “look how far they’ve come” reminiscing, the game still ended the same way: Auburn unable to put it away and clinging for dear life to a slim lead.
— So, yeah, that last drop was kind of heart-rending. But it’s only fair to say that Auburn did outplay the Bulldogs: the total yardage read 349 yards to 246, and the teams finished even in turnovers. Auburn got a little lucky, but not that lucky.
— Thanks, again, to the defense. Fairley: unreal. Freeman and Bynes: outstanding. The secondary: good enough on a night when the State quarterbacks were this scattershot.
And so Auburn is 2-0 and coming home for the Carolina schools. I’m not going to complain a bit.
Well, maybe just that one bit about the offensive tempo. That’s it.
— 17-7, huh? Yes, Virginia, that’s perfectly fine at this stage. Wish we had the ball to start the second, but things could be worse.
— That last McCalebb draw: DAMMIT. An absolute ton of room, perfectly blocked, a certain 15-yard gain and maybe more, timeout to follow … and he trips. Cost Auburn three points, most likely. Between that and the two turnovers, Auburn has left a lot of points out there …
… but Mississippi State also handed us an easy three with that fumbled snap, so no worries. Almost: not many worries.
— Well, I think it’s safe to say Nick Fairley has taken the leap forward we all wanted. Auburn’s defensive line is something different–and better–than we expected now that that’s happened.
— I swear, Auburn must commit more third-down illegal formation penalties than any other team in the country.
— Why can we not find a punt returner who can just make a fair catch? WHY? Or hell, if you’re in any kind of traffic, RUN AWAY. We have more than 100 players. Surely, surely, sweet merciful heavens, one of them can not fumble a punt. SURELY.
— That said, the kickoff coverage team is suddenly legit. Craig Sanders could do nothing but play like this on special teams for the rest of his career and I’d still want to retire his number.
— Back at full-time.
PREGAME, 6:35: Nothing else worth passing on, other than that apparently MSU is at least trying to tell the fans not to ring at the times they’re not supposed to ring. I’m sure that will work just fine.
See you at halftime. WAR DAMN EAGLE!
PREGAME, 6:15: Kodi Burns and The Toro are starting. The consensus amongst the beaterati is that the heat and humidity in Starkville could have an impact on the game; I’m not sure if that favors Auburn or not, since the offense will look to wear out the Bulldogs but the defense is (still) so thin. It probably favors whichever team can hold a lead in the fourth. Interesting note from Andrew Gribble:
This game pits the nation’s two best teams in terms of pass efficiency. Yes, I realize we’re only one week into the season.
PREGAME, 5:50: Andy Bitter reports that Trovon Reed has made the trip, with a heavy wrap on his left knee. Sounds like he’s still moving around pretty well, though. Nothing unexpected: no Stevens, no LaDarious Phillips, Steven Clark around in case Shoemaker gets hurt.
Jay Tate has a Davis-Wade photo gallery; am I allowed to say how their gigantic video board reminds me of how some of the people I knew growing up who had the least amount of money also had the most loaded, state-of-the-art entertainment centers available?
PREGAME, 4:10: Geez, less than two-and-a-half hours until Auburn plays football again? It seems like the season opener kicked off just this morning.
Nothing out of Starkville just yet (not that we expected anything) save Jay Tate’s report on cowbell instructions. But that’s OK, because there’s no shortage of worthwhile game-related reading material: EDSBS has a Factor Five preview up, my Ann Arbor-based buddy Jamie Mac previews the game via a series of prop bets (and takes Auburn on the actual line, currently at Auburn -1.5), and the Auburner updates us on the spread of the Tiger Walk. And of course there’s like eight new things on the home page today if you haven’t seen them.
Back when there’s something to report. By the by: I have never been more fired up for the Mississippi State game. Ever.
I think AU pulls away sometime in the 2nd half…. 31-20 the final
“I have never been more fired up for the Mississippi State game. Ever.” True that.
Yup. Totally geeked for this game. Cannot wait. Also: more than a little stressed the heck out.
I’ve got a time conflict for kickoff (kid’s soccer practice), so I’ll be watching on a DVR “tape delay.” Hoping to get caught up by halftime.
War Eagle, y’all!
War Eagle folks. I’m alot more nervous than excited, but outside of the homecoming game- -that’s about right and normal.
Let’s go and get this thing!
I woke up in the middle of the night to come in to work to watch this game. And our TV in here doesn’t get AFNxtra. NOOOOOOOO! Now I have to hope the MWR has a TV to watch it on.
That sucks, Walt. Good luck!
Why does ESPN keep showing the same four Bulldog fans in overalls and body paint … Five … Six times?
Pass interference. . . . HELLO?????
I’ll take it. That was a hell of a game. Outstanding job by the defense! I thought I was watching a tuberville game for a minute there. Whew. War Damn Eagle. Cam was very smart with the football. Great job all around. Not worried about the offense at all. Gus called it very conservatively. Makes sense, for Cam’s first road game.
Somebody go check on Jerry. Did he survive?
Auburn Elvis says
Jay Boulware, better be updating his résumé.
I’m OK, beef. But like the rest of us, only just. Not the game I was expecting to see tonight, that’s for sure.
AE, sorry, but I don’t get that. The punt coverage and kickoff coverage units are both dramatically improved. I don’t think you can pin Carr letting a ball go smack through his arms or a half-assed blocking job on the field goal on him. At some point the players really do have to make the plays.
Justin / AubOrange says
WHERE? IS? THE? HURRY-UP???
If folks were calling for Roof’s head last week, then those same folks better be calling for Malzahn’s this week. Just calling them like I see them.
Wes Byrum’s perfect season ends before it can gets started. And it wasn’t his fault. Absolutely sickening.
All in all… Good win.
Not concerned about the play calling. It was conservative by design. Remember, it’s Cam’s first road game. They’ll open it back up when the situation calls for it, ala Bama last year. If we can consistently play D like that, we should be just fine.
I don’t think the tempo was Malzahn’s decision
Justin / AubOrange says
J.D., what makes you say that? No one has ever stepped in front of what he’s wanted to do before.
I’m going to try and “answer” that tomorrow, after we hear what Chizik has to say. I can’t imagine he won’t be asked.
Smyrna Tiger says
I totally agree with the “offensive cojones” statement. Backed up inside our 20 and we positively went into a tubershell – where was the hitch and go that worked so successfully last year? Where was any pass whatsoever? The lead up to halftime was inexplicable, why call a timeout after a first down if the object is to score? Why run run run when the clock ticks away? The failure to score in the second half brings back many bad memories.
The Defense, however, earned the capital D this week. Fairley, my goodness. If both sides of the football get “on” the same week, watch the hell out, this is a scary good team. Let’s hope the coaching staff can make it happen more often than not.
Don’t know about everyone else, but I am so thankful to be able to relax going into the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I hate Auburn Thursday night games. But I love the “off week”. Watching the rest of the nation heave and hurl with our game already out of the way (and a win, of course), just makes for a nice, relaxing weekend.
God love him, but I sincerely hope that Chizik isn’t having a chilling effect on Malzahn. The wide open, up tempo attack is just too damn effective to interfere with. Like it or not, it IS our identity now, and by God, Cam Newton can make this happen.
Lets take advantage of the long week preparation for Clemson and regain some confidence against the “tigers with a lake”. I’ve got buddies coming in from up there and they won’t make it pleasant should we stumble. Tailgate drop-ins welcome.
On the broadcast they mentioned Chizik wanting longer offensive possessions.
Also, how many times did Onterio trip in open space?
I think our offense will be fine in the long run. It’s just great to see some hope for our defense. Fairley is a Destroyer of Worlds.
He never ran ball-control offense at Tulsa
On that last series leading up to half time- -I could clearly hear Malzahn screaming “SNAP IT, CAM! SNAP IT, HURRY UP, GO!” Which is amazing considering all those dadgum cowbells.
I personally thought that the situation dictated us playing deliberate. Our D was impressive, their QB’s couldn’t convert- -so why gas our D with all the up tempo. But what I did have a HUGE problem with- -was why it was taking SOOOOO long to get the plays in. It was too loud to wait until 12 seconds on the play clock, then get it in and think Cam could individually tell all lineman the call. It costs us on the busted play on several 3rd downs which maybe we convert- -and things look different.
We sure do seem to know how to throw on the brakes on ourselves as we approach the red zone, though, huh.
I’m hoping Fannin isn’t out long for depth sake- -but he looks slow and unsure with the ball. The play that he lost 6 yards on 2nd and manageable- -he could have followed E Smith through the hole and still be running. But he bounced it outside and was swarmed under.
I think we relax. We wanted to see better out of our D (against for real competition) and we did. Our O will be better. And now we have 10 days to rest (get ziemba, stevens, and fannin back hopefully) and kick the other tigers to the curb.
Cam is larger than those how oppose him. That is nice. DA steps up as the player he is. Fairley is just stupid.
Defense improved – mos def
Why did we run OM up the middle so many times? yo no se
D-Line was solid…AGAIN.
Corners/Safeties…still need to be on the same page.
we gave them their 7 points in the first half.
They had to run a major trick to start the 2nd half in slight/major desperation to stay in the game.
We were/are better and will have our “cohesion” game later this season…if not next week.
My biggest issue was seeing the D improve. They did.
we should have won by more but we didn’t
pressure back on the offense…and I think we held back a good bit this week
WBE, defense stepped it up BIG TIME for us tonight.!
I will tell you – Fairley got some much deserved pub but Zach Clayton was as responsible for his play as anyone. ZC caught more than a few doubles and blew them up.
Keeping those two and Carter healthy is the key to this D.
Also remember, we still dont have Stevens so, add a few more tackles to the list.
One other thing – Is there a more unproductive senior DE than Goggins? I watched a few times where it was all hussle plays and he wasnt up to it.
And McCalleb goes down way too easy. Dyer will be a workhorse because he has to and theres no reason AU won’t be able to bring in a monster RB recruit this yea.
A win is a win and it wasn’t three friggin two……War Eagle — C in the I
As far as play calling – I just saw the out route/ look-in to TZach with 2:14 to go in the FIRST and the stanoonze James said he saw a major cusion but I can;t remember AU exploiting that much.
There was a thrid down conversion on an out pattern but dammit — wheres the square ins and the outs?
He’s got the arm and for the love, how many did Chris Todd FLOAT last year where you were crapping youre pants?
Maybe the worst called game save the Bammer second half — In my humble opinion on my second look at the game.
On the Sunday Knee Jerk last week, I went back and forth with some of y’all about the defense, saying the defense was very poor and would have to improve.
Well, they certainly improved. FAIRLY IS A BEAST! Someone last week, either here or on sports call was calling him Cookie Monster. I like it. I hope it sticks.
The linebackers and secondary played better too, I thought.
I am not worried about the offense, other than hoping the injuries, Fannin and Ziemba get back..Whether Fannin remains the starting tailback or just catches balls out of the backfield, he is valuable.
Cam didn’t have the major huge 30+ yard runs he had on Saturday, but I thought his lowering the shoulder on those defensive backs for an extra three yards was just as important.
Was that pass interference call on Thorpe on the last drive really pass interference? His coverage looked legit to me.
In conclusion, I think we played well, just left a lot of opportunities on the field. The field goal at the end of the half, twice in the second half when we were just outside of field goal range, and failed to pick up the first which would have allowed us to put another 3 or 6 points on the board, of course the blocked field goal. The score was a lot closer than it needed to be. I say we win the next two games, the Clemson game handedly, the SC game not as much, but more comfortably than this game.
Great thoughts by everyone. I told myself that this year I was going to judge Chizik fairly and not look for the silver lining on every cloud, and things are not starting out too well for the Chiz. My 1 cent observations:
– No more Fannin please. Sorry, but his RB career should be over. Cam can just take a knee to compensate for each of Fannin’s lost touches.
– McCalleb can’t cut very well and I think he’s been coached to avoid contact at all costs… which includes sliding. I’m fine as long as he isn’t our starting back. He can still do some things.
– Cam needs to sell his fakes. he’s not even trying.
– I can’t figure Malzahn and his play calling out. The potential seems to be there to blow a team up but we just keep not doing it.
– Where would we be without Michael Dyer? He is our only hope at RB.
– Malzahn needs to cook up some pass plays that don’t take 30 seconds to develop.
– I’ll let others judge the defense because my football IQ isn’t very high, but I wonder why State didn’t throw the wide receiver screen or quick out or whatever it is on every single play.
– Is there another receiver on this team who’s name isn’t Darvin Adams? Are all the rest really that bad that we won’t throw them the ball past the line of scrimmage… ever?
– Cam’s a monster running the ball and I love having that, but what’s his ceiling in the passing game against skilled defenses?
– Got caught with our pants completely down on that on-sides kick. that’s on Chizik.
I was thankfully able to watch the game at the MWR building. Not enough can be said about the defense. I thought the pass interference play against Thorpe was a load of equine feces. As was the non-call when Kodi was hit. We definitely gave them their first 7 points, and they only had one real sustained drive the whole game (and Savage should have come up with the pick on that “Tebow-esque” (excuse me while I vomit) jump-pass/deflection).
As for the offense; clock management at the end of the half was horrible. I don’t mind ball control late in the game, but when it’s very much in the balance (as this one definitely was) then just let Gustav the Mad Scientist of Football do what Gustav the Mad Scientist of Football does! They had no real answer for Cam, and Dyer looks fantastic running the ball. McCalleb looks great on the corners, too. If we string all this together into consistency on both sides of the ball, then watch out for the Tigers!
OK, time to start my day now while y’all are all heading to sleep. Briefing the full-bird colonel right off. Wonder if he notices how exhausted I am after the hour and a half nap I had after the game (granted, combined with a few hours of sleep beforehand as well).
Justin / AubOrange says
Glad to hear you got to catch the game Walt!
Oh, and one more thing y’all will get a kick out of… I tried to explain to a Kosovar Albanian working at the MWR how major college football chooses it’s champions through polls, bowls, etc. after he asked me if the game was league play, elimination, etc. His response: “REALLY!?!? This is STUPID!” Yes, my friend. I agree.
Upon further review, I’m going to believe that the coaches were confident enough in this team that they played conservative just to give the D an easy start to the year. This is really an absurd thought (who ever has that feeling in an SEC game?), but it’s what I choose to believe to make myself feel better about the offensive game plan.
Alex P in Smyrna G says
we were lucky he dropped the pass, but there were several instances where MSU was lucky for us not to put the game on ice.
Van P in Illinois says
I think it was great that Tuberville could come back to create the game plan for this game. Or wait– “great” is not the word I was looking for there…
One of my favorite moments last night was when State decided to try the shovel pass on our Tigers again. Not. Happening.
Joe Blow says
That looked pretty vanilla and slow for a Malzahn offense. Anyone else notice this?
As others have said, probably by design: first SEC start, on the road, super noisy (God the bells were annoying on TV, can’t imagine in the friggen stadium). D stepped up in a big way, and like others have said, that was the important thing. I questioned the slowness of it, too, but after thinking about it this morning it was probably the right call. No sense throwing our QB into the deep end with concrete shoes to make him sink us faster, heh.
This meeting happened in the wee hours of last Sunday morning, the meeting minutes were recovered by an anonymous Auburn intern:
Chizik: Well done coaches, tonight was a good night.
Trooper: (sneezes) NOTCOACHROOF. Sorry, really dusty in here, maybe we should fire the cleaning staff.
Chizik: No finger pointing here tonight. But seriously, coach Roof, what the blazes is going on out there?
Roof: Coach, we’re getting run ragged. My boys need more ti..
Chizik: (interjecting) Blah. Look, I’m supposed to be a defensive guru. Don’t believe me? Check out that hardware in the middle of the conference room table! (demonstratively stands up and points at his Broyles Award)
Roof: Coach, if your boys were on the field for 80 plays a game, you might wet your pants after the game too. Err, I mean your defensive unit might give up a ton of yards too.
Chizik: Not a compelling excuse coach Roof. But I’m here to help. Coach Malzahn, what do you think of slowing our offense down?
Malzahn: (nervously looks up from his play sheet as he guzzles his 16th cup of coffee since the game ended) I’d say, ‘adumbass says what?’
Roof, Chizik: (in unison) What?
Chizik: Coach, move that styrofoam cup away from your face so we can hear you.
Malzahn: Bad idea coach. We need to go faster. I wrote the book on this stuff. Literally. If you want a copy, I’ve got a box full in my office. I’ll sell to you for 10 bucks.
Trooper: NO DROPS!
Chizik: Thanks for that coach Taylor. Sweet towel by the way. I text message g2g to all the recruits. They love it, makes me seem hip.
Roof: Coach Malzahn, you have got to slow the pace down. The defense will never make it if you don’t.
Malzahn: I’m sorry, I stopped paying attention. Are we still talking about emasculating my offense?
Chizik: Coach, for us to be successful, it’s probably our best option. Let’s at least look at slowing the pace down.
(Malzahn jumps up from his chair and walks out of the conference room, furiously thumbing a text message to his agent asking who he thinks will be hiring next year)