I have been to Auburn for the last two weekends. I don't
think I have gone to two games in a row in a long time. The week of the UGA
game, the AUMB put together a spectacular halftime show. If you did not see it, take the time to watch
the video. Try to watch the split screen version. As an alum of college
marching band, I cannot imagine the work that went into this show. The timing had
to be perfect. It is not easy to get that timing down with 300 members, but add
the timing of the video and the Aubie events (notice how the beat of the band's
music matches the movements in the video).
This past week, there were several things that went on that
were special. Shon Coleman was honored pregame with the James Owens Courage
Award. I cannot think of a person more deserving than Shon. He has exemplified
bravery and has demonstrated that he is a true Auburn man.
Pictures from my personal collection @tatershell
Since it was Veteran's Appreciation Day, Auburn honored many
veterans. None was more moving than when they honored Bennie Adkins. He and his
wife just celebrated a REALLY long wedding anniversary- I do not remember the
exact number. He had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The large
groups of military at the game all saluted. When he returned the salute, I had
tears running down my face. I just couldn't help it. If you were there, you know what I am talking about. There is just no way to replicate that moment.
Then the AUMB gave yet ANOTHER amazing performance. Perfect
formations. Fire batons. Patriotic music. What else could someone ask for?
picture from my personal collection @tatershell
It is always nice to see the non-regulars get some playing time. Johnathan Wallace has been unselfish and a true Auburn man. He stood tall when he was called upon and he took a backseat to others for the better of the team. All along, he has been ready.
Picture from my personal collection @tatershell
Another great moment was when Tucker Tuberville got to play. Tucker has sweated and sacrificed to be the scout team quarterback. It
meant more later, when I found out his dad was there to see him. At the end of
the day, the players and coaches are sons, brothers, and dads. They are more
than just the number, position on the field or a name in the program. Turns out, I was sitting only a few seats away from Tommy. I wish I had been able to say hi!
Auburn is family to me. All of my life, we've gone to Auburn games. When my grandparents and aunt and uncle were alive, we'd all go together. Those are sweet memories.
Picture from my personal collection @tatershell
Then, there is always the Auburn Santa. Emma was excited to have her picture with him!!
Pic from my personal collection @tatershell
Together all these things are what makes Auburn so precious
to me. There are things that are bigger than football. Auburn is one of those. It's a spirit, a moment and a love.
That week that divides our great state, our paternal family, and even our friends. This week is #BeatBama. This week is #AllIn. This is the greatest rivalry in all of sports. This week is the Iron Bowl.
I am not a fan of the early kickoffs, but I have always enjoyed attending the the Auburn/UGA game in Auburn. Also, I had planned on attending the Auburn/SE Louisiana soccer game later in the evening. By the way, Auburn did win the soccer game 1-0 in their first NCAA Championship game. It was a beautiful day and I arrived in Auburn expecting to have trouble finding a parking place, but parking was plentiful. I had heard that a lot of the UGA fans had decided not to attend this game due to the early kickoff time and their unhappiness with Mark Richt. It was the most unusual Auburn/UGA game that I have ever attended. It was evident that the UGA fans did not show up as they had in prior years. In 2013, Auburn and the Auburn Arena open and the game was on the big screen. The arena was packed on that day and I still remember watching the"miracle pass" by Nick Marshall to Ricardo Louis on that big screen. This time, the arena was closed and there were only a few people watching the game in the food service building nearby. The UGA fans that I talked to after the game were indifferent to the win. One fan told me that both teams were not very good and either team could have won the game. Another told me that this game had no meaning since UGA had already lost to Bama, Florida and Tennessee and their season was over. By the way, the Auburn tail gate experience was exceptional this time. I will always feel that Auburn has the best tailgating in the SEC. It was another disappointing SEC loss to one of Auburn's rivals. There was very little talk about this game as I walked through the tail gate area outside the stadium after the loss. It almost seems that the Auburn fans have accepted that this season has been a big disappointment and are apathetic. I continue to be baffled by the play calling by the Auburn coaching staff. Auburn had control of this game in the first half by running the ball and then they changed QBs with a hobbled QB and could not move the ball. Of course, as a fan and alumnus, I have to continue to remind myself that the path of this Auburn football team is completely out of my control. Perhaps this is a transition year and Gus will do better next season. I do feel that the Auburn defense is improving. They did perform well enough on Saturday for Auburn to win this game; however, the offense did not perform in the second half. Some possible future remedies for this Auburn team are: 1) Auburn needs to find a good tight end. 2) Auburn does need a read option QB to run the Gus Malzahn offense. Auburn tried to persuade Deshawn Watson to be the Auburn QB. If he had signed with Auburn, this season would have been very different. He is the reason that Clemson is number 1 in college football today. John Franklin is supposedly coming to Auburn this December for early enrollment and he will be ready to play. I do expect him to start at QB next season. 3) It is time for Gus Malzahn to hand over the responsibility of the play calling to an offensive coordinator. We must weather this storm and hope for sunny days ahead. War Eagle!
To me our season is like a father having a daughter who enters a dance recital. She picks out the dance she wants to do and begins to practice. Everyday she puts in hours learning her dance steps until she has every step, every tempo, every movement down to perfection. You are so proud of her. The work she has put in. The discipline. The memorization. All of it. You are sure she will win. Or at least, place. Then two days before the big day, the program director says the dance isn't one that has been approved by the committee. So she must learn a new dance. She has 48 hours to learn this dance well enough to compete. How well do you think she will do? Exactly. IMHO that is exactly what Gus & Co have encountered this year. All throughout their summer camp everyone couldn't say enough about JJ. Even analysts were talking JJ and the Heisman. Gus at SEC media days was pumped. But it all fell apart. There is no way anyone could have predicted JJ would fold under pressure. Or that Duke would get himself kicked off the team. Or that Lawson would get injured. But it all did and suddenly Gus is having to teach his team a new "dance" right in the heat of SEC West football. With a QB who had never taken a snap in college ball. A defense trying to learn a new DC's schemes and injuries on key starters giving him a roster of freshmen. I doubt that Saban could have done any better. And when you compare Gus with other coaches his age, Sumlin, Freeze, etc....they aren't doing very well either. I don't count McElwain. Seems like a lot of coaches have a charmed first year. So we will see. Fisher has some loses himself. The only young coach that is being consistently good is Dabo( Clemson's Head Coach) and he learned a lot of what he does from Gus. But he also coaches in the ACC and he stays with dual threat QB's. So really, who do all these fans plan on replacing Gus with? Meyer, Saban & Harbaugh are older and are not going to come to Auburn anyway. Les Miles & Mark Ritch have had up and down years. We need to stick with Gus. I'd almost guarantee you that next year we will see a difference. If we don't then I might question Gus's abilities. But not now. Not this year. War Eagle, Martha
I am sure that we were all surprised when we heard that Jeremy Johnson would be the starting QB in the game against TexasA&M on Saturday night. Gus Malzahn and the coaching staff did a great job keeping the news from the news media, although it was evident to me from watching Sean White play in the Ole Miss game last week that he might not be able to play on Saturday night. Jeremy Johnson performed admirably and managed the game with confidence. A great quote from Jeremy after he got the news that he would start at QB read "I'm all about winning. I'm a team player and I just feel good about where we're at as a team". The Auburn coaching staff kept the passing plays simple with a heavy dose of running plays and Jeremy made some good reads. Auburn used Jovon Robinson and Peyton Barber in the backfield. Jovon Robinson rushed for a season high of 159 yards on 27 carries and the offensive line did a great job opening up the holes in the Texas A&M defense. Auburn was successful in moving the ball on Texas A&M throughout the game and the defense played well in this game with 3 interceptions and holding TexasA&M to 303 total yards. Also, Daniel Carlson continues to show why he will be an all SEC place kicker and he added 4 more field goals to his portfolio. This was the first complete game that I have seen Auburn play all season and I do feel that Auburn can now have a positive end to this football season. War Eagle!