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Sunday, May 17, 2015

What Must Auburn Do: Louisville Cardinals

 2015 Auburn Football Schedule
Date Game Location Time

09/05/15 vs. Louisville TV Atlanta TBA
09/12/15 vs. Jacksonville State TV Auburn TBA
09/19/15 at LSU TV Baton Rouge TBA
09/26/15 vs. Mississippi State TV Auburn TBA
10/03/15 vs. San Jose State (HC) TV Auburn TBA
10/15/15 at Kentucky TV Lexington TBA
10/24/15 at Arkansas TV Fayetteville TBA
10/31/15 vs. Ole Miss TV Auburn TBA
11/07/15 at Texas A&M TV College Station TBA
11/14/15 vs. Georgia TV Auburn TBA
11/21/15 vs. Idaho TV Auburn TBA
11/28/15 vs. Alabama TV Auburn TBA
SEC Championship

We have looked in depth at what these Tigers must accomplish to be a better football team. First we looked at the defense, then the offense.

It's the time of year when the players are working with their strength and conditioning coaches, and participating in voluntary workouts. This is where team chemistry, and trust, the two essential building blocks of any successful team are built.

Like Gus Malzahn, our head football coach, always says "We need to worry about us." Meaning that the players need to work hard on continuing to get better. Improve on the fundamentals, and get in the best physical shape of all the teams they will face.

The schedule, although not as brutal as the 2014 campaign, is still a tough and demanding course in which our Tigers must navigate unscathed if another national championship is to be achieved.

Lets look now at our first opponent of the upcoming football season, the Louisville Cardinals

Date: September 5th, 2015
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic
Atalanta, GA 

Head Coach: Bobby Petrino
Offensive Coordinator: Garrick McGee
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Grantham
Pertinent Info: Schedule  Roster

The Cardinals run a pro-style run and gun offense that will mimic what we saw when Petrino and McGee were teamed together in Arkansas.The following video shows basically the type of offense we will see from the Cards.

Petrino was once the Offensive Coordinator at Auburn under Tommy Tuberville. In his book titled Orange is Our Color: The Tuberville Years Through Navy-tinted Glasses, Josh Dowdy writes: 

"So in 2002 Tuberville faced the challenge of restructuring, of refocusing. He needed coordinators who could translate Auburn's success in recruiting into more wins on the field." 
Auburn and Tuberville picked Bobby Petrino to run the offensive attack. All that Bobby Petrino had accomplished at Auburn has been overshadowed by his deeds away from Jordan-Hare Stadium. First there was "Jetgate", and later while at Arkansas "The Ride."

We know full well what type of offense Auburn will run, and so too the staff at Louisville.

Arguably, the man with the most success at stopping the Gus Malzahn attack resided in the state of Georgia for four years. Todd Grantham's UGA defenses finished those 4 seasons ranked 23rd, 5th, 32nd, and 45th respectfully in Total Defense.  

Grantham's defenses were particularly good vs. teams on 3rd down. Allowing less than 40% in his final three seasons he was with the 'Dawgs.

What Must Auburn Do?

First the Tigers must not turn the ball over. Fumbles and interceptions will be costly in any game, and Louisville will not need added adrenaline in this game. The Tigers will come into the contest with at least a Top10 ranking, and the Cardinal would love nothing more than to knock off the Plainsmen. Add to that the ACC vs SEC factor, and the hype will give the winner lots of carry into the playoff selections near seasons end.

Auburn must be able to run the football, especially needed is to convert on those 3rd and short situations. 

While Louisville is not completely settled on a starting QB yet, 5 different guys threw passes last season for the Cardinal. If the 2010 Arkansas game at Auburn is any indication of Bobby Petrino and his QB's, Louisville will have more than one QB ready to compete on September 5th.

Auburn must win the Special Teams. Kick off coverage, and Punt coverage must be very good to win this game. No breakdowns as in the 2013 BCS Championship game. Louisville will have plenty of speed on these return teams.

Most importantly Auburn has to come into this game with a mental toughness that they are here to win at all costs. Open field tackling is a desire, it's a mindset that the other guy will NOT beat you. Every play is important, every block, every run, every thing!

Accomplish these things and the season will be off to a wonderful start. 

Auburn 47  Louisville 23


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