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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER


Telling A Different Story
Normally I would start this blog with something like, A hostile crowd, the weather conditions unbearable, a young quarterback making his first start on the road against a formidable opponent. You know something to try and grab your attention so that you will be kind enough to read until the end. But today I really don’t want to talk about the game itself. Instead I’d like to talk about the team. Our team. Our Auburn Tigers.
This young group of Tigers, even the coach is young, went on the road to one of the most intimidating venues in all of college sports to play what is arguably the best team in the SEC at the moment. Tiger Stadium, Death Valley, Baton Rouge Louisiana, number 6 LSU waiting. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. And in the beginning our Tigers didn’t handle the pressure so well. 2 quick touchdowns by LSU coming courtesy of Auburn miscues put the real Tigers in a deep hole. Add another score and at 21-0 you had to know we were in trouble. But something happened from the midway point of the second quarter and the end of the game. Auburn went toe to toe with a national championship contender. They gave as good as they got.
Auburn actually won the second half of the game 21-14 but unfortunately lost the first half 21-0. Once down 21-0 I do believe last years team would have folded the tents and gone on to lose by more than 40 points. But not this group of Tigers. Instead they fought back. They showed poise in the face of adversity. They stood tall when they could have crumbled. They played like men against one of the best teams in the entire country. They may have lost the war but they won enough battles to be excited about the future. And by future I mean the next 8 games in the schedule.
Running Like A Boss
Tre Mason had what might be described as his most complete game as a tailback. Rushing for over 100 yards against a stingy defense like the one LSU puts out on the field is no small feat. He was quick through the holes. Maintained his balance well. And fought for every inch of yardage he could get out of each carry. Simply put he ran like a boss!! Auburn won’t face many more defenses the likes of LSU’s. Maybe only one. Yeah you know who I’m talking about. (I despise them so much their name will not be mentioned in my blog until we meet them in Auburn later this year).
The running game as a whole generated over 220 yards of offense. Pretty good if you ask me. Especially considering the crowd, the weather, and especially the opponent. 220+ yards will win you a lot of football games. Unfortunately for Auburn, Saturday was not one of them.
The Young Guns
Names like Adams, Daniel, Lawson, Therezie, Frost, Holsey, and Garrett are the building blocks around which an SEC caliber defense will be built. Folks, these kids are good. There is no doubt in my mind that there are 2-3 potential All-Americans in that group of young players. They are talented and hungry. They will be playmakers as their careers advance. They will bring Auburn’s defense back to the glory days of old. Mark my words, we are just a couple of players shy and a bit of experience shy of being a top tier defense in the toughest conference in college football.
By the end of the season these bad boys of Auburn Football will be making the routine plays look even more simple and the outstanding plays look routine. They will change the opinions of even the most ardent detractors. They will be great. What the coaching staff is asking of such a young group is immense yet they seem to rise to the challenge when they have to do so. The future is bright with this core group. Recruiting will make the difference from here.
As The Seasons Turn
As it does every year at this time, we move from summer to fall and with the change comes the heart of the schedule for Auburn. 8 games to go. 6 are in the SEC. 3 against three of the biggest names in college football. It’s time to put up or shut up. I can’t wait to see how the Tigers respond to the challenge.
Last weeks game can be a turning point also for Auburn this season. With their first loss under Head Coach Gus Malzahn occurring, these Tigers now know the heartbreak of a loss. Will they use it as a learning tool and go on to a successful season? Or will they let it break their spirits and collapse from here on out. I’m saying, based on Saturday’s performance after getting behind by 3 scores yet fighting back, they learn, the progress, they come out fighting and win.
The Off Week
The first off week of the season comes at a good time for Auburn. 1/3 of the season is in the books and there are a lot of banged up players. This week will give them a chance to heal, rest, and rejuvenate. A quicker, more powerful, healthier team is what I expect to see take the field a week from Saturday against Ole Miss.
I feel Auburn will enter the game with the…well are they the Rebels, the Black Bears, or the Rebel Black Bears? Who knows but I feel Auburn will enter the game as a slight underdog. Probably a 3 point dog. I also expect Auburn to win outright and begin what I’m sure will be a move back towards dominance over the Mississippi schools.
The Final Word
Although every loss hurts we as fans have to realize that this is a team that is learning how to win on the go. A first year quarterback who didn’t even have a spring practice, freshman defensive linemen being asked to contribute like they were seniors, injuries galore, and an all new coaching staff have made this a work in progress. And progress is definitely being made.
The game against Ole Miss is huge for Auburn’s season. A win and the sky’s the limit. So that’s what we should focus on. Getting that W will be big for the program. It’s a win Auburn needs. A win I believe Auburn gets. From there the possibilities are endless.
This team has come a very long way in a short amount of time. With each game they get a little better. A little more football savvy. A little bit more confident. Although the loss to LSU hurt it is not the end of the world. It’s just time to practice harder, to play smarter, to avoid that happening again. This team, with this coaching staff can certainly do that. Because they will Never Give Up, and Never Surrender!!
Until next time. War Eagle! Enjoy the week off Tigers!
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