Normally in this spot I would be discussing my thoughts on the game Auburn most recently played. As we are in the midst of a bye week, there was not a football game to discuss. Therefore I had to come up with something and this works, at least as filler.
Three questions have been asked the most by you our faithful followers. Whether you be on facebook, Twitter, or just following along on the blog, these are the most discussed subjects concerning our Auburn Tigers.
1.) What are the coaches doing to improve Linebacker play?
The Middle linebacker is the QB of the front 6 or 7 defenders in this style of defense that we play. Not only is the "Mike" supposed to line everyone up, he also has an assignment himself to carry out.
Bluntly, this question has been centered around one individual, instead of the group as a whole. I do not treat our players that way. I will not call out a certain player just to run his name in the ground, because I thought he may not have done his assignment correctly. First, I don't know enough to coach the position, and second, It is really bad form to single out some player for any mistakes he may have made. If there was a clear difference between the players competing for this spot on the field, the coaches would have pulled the trigger long ago.
Coach Johnson has repeatedly stated that LB'er play hasn't been terrible, but it "hasn't been outstanding" either. That tells me that nobody has stepped up to take the reigns here.
What appears, to my untrained eye, to be the repair for a lack of continued excellence in our Linebackers is the use of the "Dime" package on defense. That is where Auburn is playing more defensive backs,usually that number is 6, and less LB's. It is what it is, and we as fans have to accept the fact that until someone steps up and plays excellent at this position, we are going to have problems here. Rest assured the coaches and the players are doing the very best they can.
2.) How much longer before our QB play is where "we" want it to be?
I don't think the QB play is awful, I think we let ourselves believe another Cam Newton walked onto campus to lead us to the promise land. Recently I read that the AU starting QB has maintained a 150+ passer rating. That all by its self shows me that not everything "wrong" with the AU offense is the QB play.
Looking at it from another perspective, I see a tremendous improvement in our offense over the one we saw last season. Leaps and Bounds! Yes we have much improved coaching this season. Realistically we have to give this team enough time to get really good. They will, you just wait and see.
3.) We are 1/3 of the way thru the season, what would you most like to see from this team from here on out?
I actually picked this question out because it was the most intriguing to me.
What I have witnessed thus far in the season is a young team waiting to see what happened in a ball game. The coaches knew very little of what to expect from this team when the first kick off took place. The players had been thru mortal hell the last two seasons, so they were not 100% confident in what they were going to do this season either. In short, there was a learning curve. That makes for timid play at times.
I could go on, and on about what we saw last season. Since this is "A New Day" in Auburn football, suffice it to say this team is playing head and shoulders above the way they played toward the end of last season. So....
I want to see this team assert its will for the rest of the season. I want to see them take the fight to the other side of the line, and make the opposition back pedal to gain their footing only to see hungry Tigers pouncing on their prey!
Many have compared football games to the sport of boxing. Lots of jabbing and a few really big hits. Using that analogy, I want to see us take the fight to the opponent. Not meet them in the middle of the ring, not wait for the other team to come to us, meet them suckers as soon as thy get off the stool, and knock 'em back down on their respective butts!
The defense needs to set the tone early, and that tone should be PAIN! The rest of the schedule is filled with tough teams, and they all are very well coached. So are we. Play like it! Make them suffer when they come into JHS. Send them home without victory, and with multiple bruises.
The offense needs to be focused. Quit thinking about anything except the snap count, and be ready to unleash punishment on those who would dare try to stop you from scoring. Do this from the very first snap of the ball. Don't wait to see what works, make every play work.
If we can accomplish this we can win some games the "experts" say we can't. Let the whole world know that this is our house!