Monday, February 11, 2013
Addressing The Need
What a great day Auburn had on National Signing Day. Many needs were filled, and only one true swing and miss happened in Mackensie Alexander. Which did not really upset the apple cart, because of the numerous other defensive back prospects that were signed.
Looking back, every position that I had previously thought Gus Malzahn would need to concentrate on, was addressed.
Quarterback: After Clint Moseley decided to hang it up, I knew we needed a couple of QB's, and actually thought if Jeremy Johnson, and Jason Smith were signed, that would be enough. Then Nick "June" Marshall entered the picture. He gives this staff some experience at the college level, and someone who wasn't put through the Scot Loeffler drills for QB's. I give Wallace an edge to start, but ever so slightly over June Marshall. It will be an interesting battle for sure.
Linebacker: Losing Daren Bates from the Line backing corps at Auburn was a big loss. Bates, who is truly a defensive back by trade, gave up his position to fill in at LB for Gene Chizik who failed to recruit enough players for this position in my opinion. Two big players were brought on board in Kenny Flowers and AU prospect/recruiter of the year Cameron Tony. Along with the likes of Kris Frost, Cassanova McKinzy, Justin Garrett, and Jake Holland, this should give new defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson plenty of talent and depth at LB. Coach Johnson only uses two at this position in his defenses.
Defensive Line: Easily the most undeveloped part of the Auburn defenses over the course of the Gene Chizik era. Watching our defensive line get pushed around by every one of our rivals, was disgusting at best. Once Coach Rocker went to the NFL, Auburn never had a defensive lineman step up and take over a game like Nick Fairley could.
I do believe Auburn has more than a couple of guys that can step up, and become the down linemen that they need to become, but it will take tremendous effort to turn all those bad habits into SEC caliber play. That is why Gus and his staff went into the JUCO ranks and got the #1 rated JUCO Defensive Tackle in the country in Ben Bradley. Auburn needs help now, and Bradley gives them that.
When you add what has to easily be one of the, if not THE top defensive line class out of high school, it's clear that the coaches felt there was an urgent need. Carl Lawson, Elijah Daniel, and Montravius Adams give them the talent to push on the older guys to step it up, or get out of the way.
The key to this whole process now, is developing this talent. The single biggest complaint about the previous staff was their lack of ability to develop all those Top 10 recruiting classes into championship caliber teams. Auburn should be among the teams in the discussion for the National Championship race this coming season. That lack of development is the clear reason why it is not.