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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thoughts On Auburn vs Washington State

Victory over WSU and Gus Malzahn's era begins

  Initially, I had mixed emotions. There was the relief of not starting the season 0-1. There was the relief that we did not lose to one of last season's worst PAC-12 teams. There were  times of excitement and times of "oh boy, here we go again." It was definitely exciting to watch Tre Mason return a kick off 101 yards for a score. It was exciting seeing Corey Grant, and Cameron Artis-Payne run the ball.

 Nick Marshall played well enough. Some overthrown passes, that can be attributed to nerves, and a few runs that were less than spectacular. Under pressure in the pocket though, he proved all the hype about him is truth. I'll say this, he played well enough for his first game ever at QB in the SEC.

 However, it was frustrating to watch our linebackers play out of position, and miss tackles. It was a tremendous relief to watch an Auburn defensive back play up close to the line of scrimmage, and cover a man from the start of the play. I did not see a 10 yard cushion given to any receiver all night. That made me happy.

Three interceptions. Against a team that throws the ball 75% of the time, you would hope for chances to intercept the ball, at least some of the time. Our defensive backs were .500 last night. They intercepted three, and dropped three sure fire chances at others. Two of those dropped chances at turnovers, were during drives that led to WSU scoring drives.

 Cody Parkey was good, nay very good. He nailed his career long Field Goal last night, after missing badly on the first chance from an even greater distance. He didn't miss any others. Special teams, as a whole played decent enough. Steven Clark looks as though he just picked up from the previous two seasons, which is a good thing.

 Now to the part of the defense that gave me chills of excitement. Montravious Adams is a total beast, at barely 18 years of age. When Adams got into the flow of the game, he performed head and shoulders above any other Defensive Tackle that played last night. Craig Sanders played a great game in relief for the injured Dee Ford.

 There is a lot to work on, and we all knew that going in. There is no way a total transformation could take effect, especially defensively. Overall though, the team played better last night than at any point in the 2012 season.

 I saw true effort. I saw Auburn men making plays on the field, and not celebrating too much. They got right back to business. I like that more than anything else I saw last night. That tells me they will improve as the season goes on. That is all any of us can ask.

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