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Friday, October 18, 2013

CAN AUBURN SURVIVE COLLEGE STATION?

The Game
     On what looks to be a perfect football Saturday (high of 71 and sunny) my beloved Auburn Tigers will take their 5-1 record on the road into the hostile confines of Kyle Field, home of the 7th ranked Texas A&M Aggies. Home of the 12th Man. Home of current Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. And home to one of the worst defenses in college football this year.
     For Auburn to survive the Aggies they have to obviously play their best game of the season. But what does that really mean in terms of production? Well it means a lot. I’ve read how people think that to beat A&M we must win the turnover battle. We have to stop them on third down. We have to stop Johnny Football. Yes all of those MIGHT be true but I am thinking along a different line.
     Auburn needs to keep Johnny Football on the sidelines because, as much as I love my Tigers, I really don’t think we can stop him. But maybe we don’t have to. He can’t go crazy on our D if he doesn’t have the ball. So, here’s how it goes. Auburn pounds Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne between the tackles over and over again. I mean relentlessly pound these two up the middle. With the absolutely terrible defense the Aggies have shown this year that should spell success for Auburn.
     After a thorough bruising by these two big backs run Corey Grant in the jet sweep. The D line for A&M should be sucking air after the first quarter. Then when they finally cheat a 9th man into “the box” have quarterback Nick Marshall drop back and hit Sammie, Ricardo, Trovon, or any other receiver on a deep post for the score. Then…onside kick. (Yes folks, I remember the AU-USCe game in which ex coach Tommy Tuberville did just that and Auburn held the ball for the ENTIRE third quarter). The key to making this work of course is the receivers catching the ball. The running backs wearing down the defense do they get little to no pressure on Nick. And RECOVER THE ONSIDE KICK!!
     Do that at least once during the game and they are forever thinking about it. It also keeps Johnny Football just where you want him, on the sidelines. Fact is Auburn has the talent on the offensive line to push A&M around. They are a strong, physical group that has gotten better as the season has progressed. On Saturday they need to Believe in work. HARD WORK.
Johnny Football
     Over 300 yards per game through the air. 19 touchdowns already. Carving up defense like a thanksgiving turkey. Making plays with his arm AND his legs. Simply put..CRaZeE!!! Oh yeah, he’s pretty good at this game of football. So we wonder, (sometimes aloud) can Auburn stop Johnny Football? Nope. But we can contain him. Now what I am about to tell you is critical to our success and it is twofold. First Auburn’s defense MUST play under control. Especially the front 7. The D line needs to push that Aggies offensive line straight into the back field. But they need to do it in such a way as to close off the running lanes that somehow become so open for Mr Manziel.
     Keep containment, win the game. Not allowing him to turn “busted plays” into huge gains is critical. He uses his feet so well to avoid pressure, roll out, and run that it becomes imperative that Auburn plays smart on the defensive side of the ball. We just can’t give up the 30 yard broken play. Well, we can’t do that if we want to win.
The Tigers
     At the beginning of the season, I too am one that thought a win in College Station Tx was going to be nearly impossible. But this 5-1 start has me (and a lot of others thinking differently). Oh I wasn’t down on the team because of last year. Flukes like that happen. You learn and you move on. I just figured that it would take Coach Gus a couple of years to weed out all the negativity that has been brewing.                                                                              Gus and the tremendous staff of FOOTBALL COACHES (sorry Ex coach Gene Chizik) he has assembled has done an absolutely mind boggling job of changing the attitude surrounding this team. They are confident and conditioned. They play hard every play and they don’t hang their heads when things don’t go their way. THAT is true Auburn Football!!
What A Win Means
     Saturday’s game means so much to both teams. An Aggie win and they are very much in the hunt for a BCS National Championship Game berth. They have to have a little help but that is a very real possibility. For Auburn, well there is even more riding on it.
     Beating a team like A&M, at home in front of a national tv audience, with Johnny Football leading the way will go a long way towards validating what Gus and company are trying to establish at OUR beloved University.
A win gets Auburn to 6 victories and makes us bowl eligible. (Not to shabby after last years misery). But, it does more. It shows recruits we are on the right track as a program. It builds confidence in a team that was so down after last year. It gives a HUGE amount of momentum going into the UGA and that team that must not be named games. And it puts Auburn back on the map. Oh, by the way, did I mention that it puts us squarely in the hunt for the Western Division Title (with a touch if help) and a possible BCS berth too!!
     Now I know most are thinking I’m getting ahead of myself with saying stuff like that. But look at what’s happening at Auburn. A storm is brewing. The team is showing signs of life not seen since 2010. There is a quiet confidence. The swagger is coming back. Auburn is becoming Auburn again. Don’t discount this team. Don’t over look them. Because we a comin’! The Gus Bus is in 4th gear. Next stop OVERDRIVE! Get on before you get run over. Because, boys and girls, men and women, alumni and casual fans. THIS IS AUBURN FOOTBALL!!
Until next time
War Damn Eagle Everyone!!!
Now Let’s Beat the Aggies!!!
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