Search This Blog

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Time to Play the Tigers

photo courtesy of facebook

Date: October 4th, 2014
Place: Jordan-Hare Stadium
 
Good day everyone and War Eagle! It's now October in our preseason look at Auburn's upcoming football schedule, and October means it's meat grinder time. Two of the nations best teams will square off with a tremendous amount at stake.

Last season, LSU defeated Auburn in Baton Rouge. The game looked out of hand in the first half, but Auburn kept clawing back into it. A late touchdown pass by LSU, and a questionable call on an onside kick derailed the Tigers chances. After this game the LSU players were asked if they had slacked off on Auburn in the second half, and they denied this. To a man, the Bengal Tigers players said that Auburn made the adjustments, and kept playing hard to get back in the game.

This game proved that Auburn could indeed play with the big boys of the SEC West. Working a little harder to correct some mistakes, the lessons learned that night in Baton Rouge would set up the rest of the Auburn run toward the BCS Championship game.

In 2014 the tables will be turned. It will be Auburn at home. It will be Auburn with the experienced future NFL draft pick at QB. It will be Auburn that wins. Let us look at how and why.

On offense LSU is starting a new QB. With Zack Mettenberger gone, the Bengal Tigers have very little experience at the QB position. Other than the 1st game of their season being at a neutral site, this will be the first road trip for a team that lost 9 players to the NFL Draft, and another 4 players offered Free Agency deals. There will be a lot of first time SEC road starts on the LSU squad.

With that amount of inexperience, and the raucous JHS crowd, I expect that LSU will have some troubles with offensive line penalties, and turnovers. This should give the potent Auburn offense at least two more possessions in the game.

Last year, LSU was 21st in scoring defense, 36th in rushing defense, 13th in passing defense, and 15th in total defense according to CollegeFootballStats.com .  Although these numbers are great, two big run stoppers were lost to the draft, and running the ball is Auburn's forte.

Offensively is where the biggest challenge is for the LSU team. Losses of 2 RB's, 3 WR's, and the QB position will be too much for this team to overcome in their first SEC road game. Coupled with an improved defensive squad from Auburn, the visiting Tigers could find scoring points very difficult.

If Auburn is not at its best LSU has more than enough talent to win this game. Les Miles is a proven winner, and not a man to be trifled with when it comes to game strategy. Miles has been known to call plays that nobody expects. His teams are always prepared, and focused. Our Tigers can ill afford to allow turnovers, and penalties.

I don't see this Auburn team not being prepared. Therefore, I predict a decisive victory over our Louisiana cousins. Make it Auburn with a couple of late drives for points and a 31 -21 victory at home.

WAR EAGLE!


Friday, May 23, 2014

The Ragin' Cajuns Visit Pat Dye Field

La Tech will find their reception very cold at JHS

Date; September 27th, 2014
Place; Jordan-Hare Stadium Auburn, AL
Time to be announced.

Louisiana Technical College is located in Ruston, LA which is in the North Central part of the state. La Tech is a member of Conference USA, and is coached by Skip Holtz. The Bulldogs are in their second year under Coach Holtz.

La Tech had a very rough campaign last season. Losing twice as many games as they won. Don't be misled by the previous seasons record, usually teams are much better the second season under a coach the quality of Skip Holtz.

Auburn will hopefully be very healthy going into this game, and be more than able to dispatch the Bulldogs. One should not forget that La Tech has been known to destroy the dreams of other SEC schools in the past.

These are the type of games you hate to write previews for. You have to defend against giving the underdogs any locker room material, but you can only say so many positive things about an opponent of this caliber. If Auburn is to reach the newly designed College Football Playoff, then this needs to be over with by halftime. Let the back up personnel get some playing time, at home.

This will be the fourth game of the season, and Auburn's offense should be hitting on all cylinders. I don't look for this to be a close ball game, but you never know.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Struggles Continue for AU Baseball

photo courtesy of AU archives
Religion and sports are intricately intertwined. Especially so here in the South I believe, as nearly every athlete give's God the glory for his or her talents.

Within the two we learn lessons that stay with us throughout our lives. These lessons serve us well. One such lesson is to treat everyone else, as you would like to be treated. A simple axiom, and yet one I fear not all have learned.

In the heart of football country breaths America's game. Baseball. Yes, baseball is important to us. We take pride in our teams, in our schools, and in our local hometown players. We care about the players themselves.
 
when Coach Golloway arrived on The Plains he said he had inherited a team with talented upper classmen, several of whom should have already been drafted. In addition, he expected his new recruits to challenge for the league’s Freshman of the Year honors.“This is going to be a great situation,” Golloway said. “There are some outstanding athletes (here).” - See more at: http://trackemtigers.com/?p=27229#sthash.2REaAQC9.dpuf
when Coach Golloway arrived on The Plains he said he had inherited a team with talented upper classmen, several of whom should have already been drafted. In addition, he expected his new recruits to challenge for the league’s Freshman of the Year honors.“This is going to be a great situation,” Golloway said. “There are some outstanding athletes (here).” - See more at: http://trackemtigers.com/?p=27229#sthash.2REaAQC9.dpuf
Auburn's baseball team did not have a very good season. Many are asking why. Especially considering the bold talk of the first year head coach who boasted that his team was "Going to Omaha" every chance he encountered.

For the coach to say we are going to Omaha doesn't bother me in the least. Every Auburn team should aspire to play for championships, period! No exceptions. 

It takes a lot of work, and a total dedication to the task. Which makes me scratch my head, when I think of this next point....
Apparently, it took getting into the season a few games to see that three veteran players "had to go." 


This next quote is from the Plainsman posted by Kyle Van Fetchmann; “We’re going to have to continue to push the elements, and ultimately we’ll win the battle,” head coach Sunny Golloway said after a rough 5-0 loss to California Feb. 22. “I don’t want it to take all year, but if we’ve got to minimize our roster then we’ll do that.” & “If we’re going to end up having some cancer in our clubhouse we’re going to end up having to cut that out and move forward,” Golloway said after the 3-2 extra innings loss to East Tennessee State Feb. 23.

If, and I mean if, those players that were dismissed were truly cancerous to this team, how does a coach not see that before the season starts? No way to defend that. Sunny Galloway made that mess, and in the process, destroyed any chance at this team reaching its potential.

If any of those three had been my son, I don't know that I wouldn't be in prison right now. Not after all of that hard work. Not after all the sacrifices that all involved incurred while getting to that level.


 This is from an article posted on AL.com by Joel Erickson;
"This has not been smooth," Golloway told Auburntigers.com. "It's been very, very bumpy. It's been bumpy because of the demands put on the program by me. I'll take full responsibility. That's why we've minimized our roster and why we will continue to minimize our roster until our attitude and effort are there.

"If the attitude and effort aren't there, you aren't going to be here." 

The surgery was not a success. The result ended with Auburn being worse than the previous season, not better. That is not acceptable. 


I will continue to support the players. 

WAR EAGLE!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Auburn/NFL Draft/The Future

70K plus attended A Day 2014. photo by Celeste Bell

This post will probably ramble around a bit. Hang in with me as I try to convey my thoughts on what a tremendous turnaround Gus Malzahn and his staff have navigated within the Auburn football program.

Auburn has been on national television many times this past season. Especially so, when the latter part of the season heated up. When the rest of the country gets fully interested in the teams that are in the national title hunt, and the conference championship games, Auburn was in the picture. Literally.

Winning the South Eastern Conference, sending a player to the Heisman Trophy presentation as a finalist, and playing in the BCS National Championship game, all gave Auburn many millions of dollars in advertising, and a leg up on the recruiting trail.

The Auburn spring football game, known as "A Day" was televised nationally by ESPN. The Auburn faithful came out and gave the world notice. Over 70,000 seats were filled. Media notables and potential recruits alike took notice of the fact that Auburn was where football mattered. The players mattered. It's great to be an Auburn Tiger!

On NFL Draft day, Auburn again received national attention as Greg Robinson was the second player selected. Robinson, the "mauler" offensive lineman was picked by the St. Louis Rams. His highlights were played and replayed all day by every sports network in the country that covers football and the draft. Auburn again was in the national limelight.

Near the end of the first day of the NFL Draft, Auburn got another shot in the arm as Dee Ford was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs. More Auburn highlights, and The Voice of the Auburn Tigers Rod Bramblett excited call of the final sack of Johnny Manziel in this season's game against Texas A & M. "He's running around back there, he's in trouble, he's going down! Tigers win!"

So, the question now is; What happens next for Auburn? 

Auburn starts the 2014 season in nearly every preseason poll in the Top 5. That's more exposure. Staying in contention for a newly formed College Football Playoff spot is the goal. If Auburn can manage to earn a spot in the CFP,  things really get crazy then. That is even more exposure of the Auburn brand.

From here, there are a ton of hypothetical situations. Maybe another player in New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation. Maybe another shot at a National Championship game. Almost certainly, more Auburn players being taken in the first round of next year's NFL Draft. That just compounds the exposure, all positive for Auburn University, it's athletic department, and of course, the football program.

Yes, It's great to be an Auburn Tiger!

WAR EAGLE!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dear Shon a Tribute

photo courtesy Auburn Athletics via Google images

Every now and then something happens that makes you stop and appreciate the life that you have. You also get a sense that maybe you can do more in helping others. We all need help at certain times in our lives. Nobody has made their way in life without help from others. I do not believe in the adage "self made man." It's just not possible

When you get the urge to help in some way, it's easy to read the headlines where someone, or some company has misused the funds that you, and people like you, have donated. You will not have that worry with the Children's Hospitals across America. I know, I have seen first hand, how these hospitals use those funds. 

The following is a tribute to the St. Jude hospital in Memphis, TN There is another Children's Hospital in Birmingham, AL Which one you choose to donate to is up to you. There may be another Children's Hospital nearer to you. I would encourage you to donate to any one of the hospitals in the "Children's Miracle Network"

WAR EAGLE!

Dear Shon from Brian Havens on Vimeo.

Coach Malzahn drives Talladega Pace Car

No. 2 Overall Draft Pick, Greg Robinson, Speaks with the Media

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Auburn softball SEC Tournament: Game 1 Highlights

Auburn Travels to Kansas State


Far from home, and far from easy. That is how I would describe this game between two of the winningest programs in college football since the 1990's.

The Kansas State Wildcats are an above average team led by legendary coach Bill Snyder (178-90-1) with 2 outright Conference titles.  Aptly named the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium, the place the Wildcats call home is under renovation. Check out this video depicting the next phase scheduled to start after the 2014 season.



Now lets take a closer look at K State and how they operate. 

Offense;
K State is led by QB Jake Waters, a 6' 1" 210 lb.Senior, (159-260 2,469 yds.)  an accurate passer who threw for 18 TD's last season against only 9 INT's. Waters shared the QB duties with Daniel Sams, a 6' 2" 207 lb. Junior in 2013. Together they orchestrated a mid-season turnaround in 2013 winning 6 of its final 7 games including a walloping 31-14 victory over Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.This may not be the case in 2014 however, as Sams has listed on his twitter feed that he is now a WR.

The Wildcats return all three Seniors from the interior of their offensive line, and return All-American Tyler Lockett who is a fantastic Kick Returner/Wide Receiver. 

Defense;
The defense of Kansas State also returns an All-American from the 2013 season. DE Ryan Mueller who led the team in sacks setting a school record at 11.5 with a total of 18.5 tackles for a loss. Experience also returns at the Line Backer position, and in the defensive backfield.

The defense allowed only an average of 22.9 points per game last season, and a workman 3.9 yards per carry. 

Outlook;
This game can be very tricky for the Tigers. A Thursday night game on the road against a strong opponent is a challenge. The one saving grace is that the previous week the Wildcats will have traveled to Ames, Iowa to play in conference foe Iowa State.

If Auburn can control the line of scrimmage offensively, and I think they can for the most part, the Tiger offense is versatile enough to keep the defense guessing. Auburn will run a lot more, at least early in this game, to avoid the All-American Mueller from giving the home standing Wildcats any momentum.

Defensively, Auburn must bottle up the middle of the line, and keep K State from running the ball inside. Force them to run outside, and the overall team speed of the Tigers should keep that part of the game in check. 

Passing will be another matter. Auburn's defensive backfield will be tested in this game. A second year starter for the Wildcats, Jake Waters, who really found his groove in the second half of last season, accompanied by a returning All-American at WR, spells trouble for the secondary. This game will go a long way in telling how much the Tigers have improved defensively in 2014.

Both teams will have exceptional Special Teams play. An edge may fall to the Wildcats who have a returning FG kicker, and for being at home. Although last season on the road at Tennessee, the Tigers proved they can be just as devastating away from home as they are in the last 0:01 of a ball game.

Because Auburn hold a 3-0 lead in the series, and this Auburn team seems to be more focused than any in recent memory at this time of year, I give the edge to Auburn. But it won't be easy. Lets say...

Auburn 42 Kansas State 34

WAR EAGLE!







Sunday, May 4, 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014

Time to Name Your Opponents

There is no place like home.

The SEC has made it official. Eight conference games with each school having one permanent cross division rival and rotating the rest of the opposite division. There is one caveat; Each school must now schedule at least one "Out of Conference" (OOC) opponent from any of the following conferences. ACC, B1G, Big 12, or PAC 12. 

The thinking is that the strength of schedule will factor into the playoff committee members selection. This is the first year of the new format for determining the national champion of college football. 

With this in mind, there are some interesting options for teams in the SEC as to the scheduling of these OOC games. I want to give you the readers a chance to tell us who you would like to see Auburn play in these games.

As an added bonus, let us know about some of the other teams in our division of the SEC West, and who you think they should play.

You can answer on twitter by following us HERE

If you are reading this on Facebook, then leave your answers in the comments section either on Facebook or here on our blog page.

I have already gone on record as stating that I would love to see a renewal of the "Wreck Tech" parade and a rotation with Georgia Tech on a home and home basis. We could schedule them at JHS on the years that we play UGA and Bama on the road. It would help with season ticket sales as well. My schedule looks something like this.

2016 Ga. Tech at Auburn
2017 Auburn at Ga. Tech
2018 Northwestern at Auburn 
2019 Auburn at Northwestern
2020 Ga. Tech at Auburn
2021 Auburn at Ga. Tech

The above example shows where I intend to renew the rivalry with Ga. Tech, and include some quality OOC games from the other conferences as well. In the even numbered years those OOC games can held at JHS. Those are the years that we play Bama and UGA on the road. In the odd numbered years, we can visit their venues, and allow Auburn fans a chance to see some of the other college campuses we might not otherwise get the chance to see. 

Now it's your turn. This should be a lot of fun.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Spartans of San Jose State

Auburn is set to host San Jose State on September 6th

2014 AUBURN FOOTBALL


Overall
0-0

Conf.
0-0

Home
0-0

Away
0-0

Neutral
0-0
Date Game Location Time
08/30/14 vs. Arkansas TV Auburn 3:00 p.m. CT
09/06/14 vs. San Jose State TV Auburn TBA
09/18/14 at Kansas State TV Manhattan TBA
09/27/14 vs. Louisiana Tech (HC) TV Auburn TBA
10/04/14 vs. LSU TV Auburn TBA
10/11/14 at Mississippi State TV Starkville TBA
10/25/14 vs. South Carolina TV Auburn TBA
11/01/14 at Ole Miss TV Oxford TBA
11/08/14 vs. Texas A&M TV Auburn TBA
11/15/14 at Georgia TV Athens TBA
11/22/14 vs. Samford TV Auburn TBA
11/29/14 at Alabama TV Tuscaloosa TBA
SEC Championship Game
12/06/14 SEC East vs. SEC West TV Atlanta TBA


 In case you missed our start of this series, we have already talked about the season opener against Arkansas.  Next up for our Tigers is a home game against San Jose State(SJSt). SJSt finished the 2013 season 6-6 with a final game victory over Fresno State by a score of 62-52.

The Spartans have a high powered offense that averaged 32.4 points per game last year. Their defense however averaged giving up more than 35 points per game, and ranked 104th in scoring defense. If SJSt wants to leave JHS with a win, the west coast Spartans will need to do much better than that.

This will be the second year under their coach  Ron Caragher. Their Defensive Coordinator is 2 time Super Bowl Champion DC Greg Robinson. Robinson has coached on four NFL teams. History tells us that teams make a huge jump in improvement during their second year with new coaches. This team should know the coaches systems well.


Auburn will be able to let the starters rest some in this one late, and get the back ups some game time in front of the home crowd. Playing in Jordan-Hare Stadium the Spartans are likely to be playing in front of the largest crowd many of their players will get to experience in their careers. Lets make sure they remember the experience. Be loud!

I always find pride in the fact that many fan bases that visit JHS for the first time, are very complimentary of our Southern Hospitality. Lets make sure to roll out the welcome mats for their fans.

Welcome to Auburn. We sure hope the rest of your season is enjoyable.

War Eagle!

Coach Malzahn in Dothan, AL

Gus Malzahn visited Dothan, AL as one of the Tiger Trek Tour stops. Listen in as he takes questions from the local media.