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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Improvement? Yes or No

Did we improve that much or was Missouri that bad?

I think this is the question that every single Auburn fan is asking themselves this morning, I know I am, so I decided to put some thoughts out there as I am sure a bunch of us will. The question is not as easy as it seems as most times nothing is as easy as it seems. Life would be wonderful if it was always a zero or a one.

Let’s tackle the “are we that good to start”. The definition of good is “to be desired or approved of.” I think last night heading into the game every Auburn Fan was not sure what to expect. We are ranked 15th, Vegas has us as HUGE favorites (just like last week) and this is against an SEC opponent. For the past two days, I refused to listen to the prognosticators and look at the picks. This game was about “getting better” and “being good.” Let’s face it we have not been good in the past three games. We had parts of the team that were good but we had parts of the team that were mediocre and at times probably could have said sucked. Let’s break it down a bit: The Offense players and coaches, Defense players and coaches, Special Teams players and coaches, and then our Head Coach.

Now it’s time to throw in an analogy.  While in Navy ROTC I met a USMC Colonel who wrote an open column to us while at Auburn. He basically said for you to be a complete Sailor or Marine you had to equate your career/life to juggling. Drop a ball, you are not juggling anymore and therefore you cannot be good or the best because those that are good and the best juggle all the balls and they do it well. The balls we juggled were fitness, education, family and military discipline. I bet you can see where I am going! Yes, in football our team juggles Offense, Defense and Special Teams. The great teams keep all the balls up in the air and do not have any of them dropping. Why did I jump to great? Because, to be a “good” team you must be juggling those balls, you cannot be dropping any one of them and claiming to be good. Good is a place where you are keeping all the balls in the air. Once you can do that then you are ready to to optimize your timing and maybe even start to get a bit fancy to show people just how in command you are. Just to be clear what “great” is I’ll throw this definition in; “of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average.” Just so we do not get hung up on what I am referring to.

In my very humble opinion, I saw us juggling every ball last night. Throws were being made, we were closing in the deal the red zone, we were physical, penalties were under control, there was confidence, we were getting them off the field on 3rd down, there was teamwork and most importantly there was ball security and ZERO yes ZERO turnovers after last week where we had five and had a turnover differential of -5 heading into this week (which we are at -1 now)! So, yes Auburn Family we improved, we played well and we executed, we should be very excited for the rest of the season. We should also realize we need to juggle.

Video rights owned by CBS Sports - no claim to rights

Now the second part of the question, is Mizzou that bad? I hate this, as a former athlete when someone makes this statement it hits you at your core. Every athlete believes they are going to win before they step out on the field before the clock starts or the first pitch is thrown. To say a team is “that bad” you are basically saying they don’t deserve a shot to play the game. We play them all and Arizona State took their opportunity and beat a ranked Oregon team as well as Stanford destroyed UCLA and, if you listened to the press on them, their QB could be the second coming - not. So, before you start taking away from our players and loading up on Mizzou players know this - no one gets on a field and says, “Let’s lose today!” Yes, Mizzou was not juggling and they had turnovers, but that is the game. To say that Mizzou does not come out next week and beat a very good Kentucky is just not fair, not fair to them and not fair to their opponents. On any given Saturday while our team is on the journey to attain football perfection you can get beat if you cannot juggle the balls given what your opponent is doing.

Focus on us.  Measure and ask yourself, did we get better? Did we do what needed to be done? Did we exhibit greatness at points in the game? If that answer is yes, then we did improve and we are getting better at juggling and on our way to good with a target of greatness.

So, in short, yes, we improved and got a lot better and no, Mizzou is not that bad, they are on their journey to greatness and in a different place.

War Eagle! Love comments, feedback and even a well spirited debate!



The Offense Wakes Up for Auburn

Ironically, Auburn and Missouri have only met 3 times. I was in my second year at Auburn when Auburn lost to Missouri in the Sun Bowl 34-17. Of course, we can all remember the 2013 SEC Championship game where Auburn won 59-42 and put on an offensive show that day in the Georgia Dome. 

I received reports from Auburn fans at the Missouri stadium that there was a lot of orange and blue in the stands and by the start of the second half, many of the Missouri fans had left for their tail gate spots. I was surprised at some of the predictions that I had heard from the talking heads during 
the week. No one that I heard felt that Auburn would cover the spread and some even called for an upset by Missouri. I sometimes wonder if these people are watching any football games at all on the weekends. 

Here are some highlights from the game:

1) Auburn now ranks 4th in total defense and 7th in scoring defense. This Auburn defense is legitimate and Kevin Steele has done a great job. The Auburn defense accounted for two key turnovers in the first half that did result in touchdowns. Also, I felt that the Auburn secondary did a great job containing the Missouri receivers. 

2) Auburn had 482 total yards. 219 passing yards and 263 rushing. 

3) Jarrett Stidham was 13 of 17 for 218 yards. He connected on long passes of 58 yards to Kyle Davis on the first play of the game, 46 yards to Will Hastings and 57 yards to Nate Craig-Myers. He now 
has now completed 70.6% of his passes for the season.

4) Kerryon Johnson returned from being injured in a big way. He scored 5 touchdowns which does tie the record for the most rushing touchdowns in FBS college football this season. It is obvious to me that Kerryon is the answer when Auburn is in the "red zone". Kerryon did finish the night with 18 carries for 58 yards. Kerryon is in good company. Joe Cribbs scored 5 rushing touchdowns against Vandy in 1978.

5)  Daniel Carlson was able to keep his leg fresh in this game by hitting on field goals of 41, 52 and 54 yards.

Auburn needed a game like this to prepare for the future. All of the back up players got some valuable game experience and Malik Willis was able to take some snaps. Auburn now faces Mississippi State and Ole Miss at home and then they will have 3 road games before they arrive at "amen corner". I will make no predictions, but I now feel much better about the rest of this season. Hopefully, this Auburn football team will now carry this momentum into the game with Mississippi State next Saturday. Perhaps it just took Auburn several games to work out the kinks in the offense. We will know the answer in the next few weeks. 

Enjoy the games and War Eagle!

Total Team Win vs Mizzou

Artistry by @AURobUSA

What a difference a week makes. An efficient Auburn offense, and a stingy defense, lead the Tigers to a 51-14 victory over the Missouri Tigers in Columbia, MO. 

Kerryon Johnson showed zero effects from an injury that had kept him out of the last game as he rushed for five touchdowns on the evening. Two of which came in the first quarter, as Auburn opened up a lead that was too much for the struggling Tigers of Mizzou. 

Stats sheet provided by the AUfficial Auburn sports website.
Team TotalsAUMU
First Downs2221
Net Yards Rushing263124
Net Yards Passing219216
Total Offense Yards482340
Fumbles: Number-Lost0 - 03 - 3
Penalties: Number-Yards5 - 507 - 55
Punts - Yards3 - 1186 - 231
Possession Time34:2025:40
Third-Down Conversions7 of 15 (0.467)4 of 13 (0.308)
Fourth-Down Conversions0 of 1 (0.000)0 of 2 (0.000)
Sacks By: Number-Yards2-171-11
Field Goals3-3 (1.000)0-0 (0)

Daniel Carlson was perfect on the night, going 3 of 3, and helped seal the win with two Field Goals of 52 yards, and 54 yards.

The Auburn defense continued their stellar play by allowing just 124 yards rushing and creating three turnovers. 

It was a complete team win. Next week Auburn hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kick off is set for 5 pm CT and the game will be televised on ESPN.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Note to all the #Fake Fans

Let’s be clear about something. We give our money to our Universities so that they can educate and coach the future leaders, thinkers and innovators for tomorrow’s challenges. If you think for one second your dollars should go for “W’s” then you are missing the point. Yes, successful programs generate money but I would hope as we are true Auburn men and women that we realize we support every student with every souvenir, hot dog, sports ticket and donation we give to the University that we believe in. Furthermore some of us have had the privilege to attend, graduate and represent this great institution in the world as graduates.

Photo by AURobUSA

A win or a loss pales in comparison to knowing that we have had Auburn Alumni in space, leading cutting edge technology companies, breaking new ground in veterinary sciences and serving in every branch of the United States military defending this great Nation.

So as you reflect on this past week’s game, be thankful for the privilege and the opportunity to be affiliated with a University that embraces hard work, education, honesty, a sound mind, body and spirit to compete. We all also believe in the law because we embrace and know it protects all of us. Know that we believe in the power of human touch and support for our fellow men.

Video Source: Justin Ferguson via SEC Country

Walk humbly with God and be thankful. We are blessed and should always be ambassadors no matter what the circumstances are. It is our responsibility to always represent what Auburn University stands for. I love Auburn University for what it represents and what it means to me and not what the score of any single game is.

Do not think that I accept mediocrity or apathy for that is not within me, what I do accept is that with every trial and challenge there are a set of outcomes. Some that I can control and some that I cannot. It is from those outcomes I learn how to be smarter, stronger and better at representing myself and the University that I cherish.

Everyday I am thankful to be blessed that I found Auburn on my life's journey.

War Eagle!

May your week be AUsome,

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Long Night in Clemson

The Auburn/Clemson football rivalry began on 10/28/1899. Auburn won the first game 34-0 and the two teams have now met 51 times on the field. Auburn has won 34 lost 15 and tied 2 games. Sadly, Clemson has now won the last 4 football games.  At least, Dabo Swinney was gracious this time with his comments about Auburn.

I really had a great feeling about this game and then my positive attitude left me last night after a 14-6 loss. It was one of the most disappointing losses that I can remember and you just have to realize that we do not have any control over the Auburn Football program.

A football team who had 117 total yards and the victim of 11 sacks will not win many games in the SEC. As expected, Kamryn Pettway did get the start at running back, but it evident to me that he was not 100%. He did finish with 74 yards on 22 carries and I am still wondering why the other running backs did not play. I do feel that Kam Martin or Malik Willis would have been good to use for short pass situations. Running the ball off tackle or up the middle was not a good game plan against the Clemson defense. 

The offensive line was challenged all night and Jarrett Stidham was running for his life most of the night. He is used to playing in the Big 12 where the defenses are not as athletic; therefore, perhaps he just needs a few more games of experience to deal with the blitz. I wondered where the Auburn receivers were all night. Perhaps they were not on the same page as Jarrett Stidham. One observer at the game commented that the Auburn receivers were struggling to get open. Despite the poor offensive performance, Auburn could have won this game. Of course, they failed to put the ball in the end zone twice early in the game and once again had to settle for field goals. Clemson did give Auburn several opportunities to score in the second half.

The Auburn defense played well enough for Auburn to defeat the former "Crystal Ball Champions", but the play calling and offense continued to fail. I saw no adjustments being made at all on offense and it was obvious to me that Gus Malzahn was still calling the plays.

Auburn must now regroup and try to win enough games this season for a decent bowl game. Expectations were high at the start of this season and now I fear that my alma mater will now struggle to have a winning season.
I am now wondering if Auburn will be able to get it together to win at least 8 or 9 games. I do feel that Gus Malzahn will need to win at least 9 or 10 games this season to keep his job and this does include a win over UGA or Bama. It will be an interesting to observe if the players can bounce back from this game. 

War Eagle! 

Auburn Stymied at Clemson

Images provided by  @AURobUSA

Auburn's offense put on an anemic performance Saturday evening at Clemson's version of "Death Valley."

The vaunted Auburn running game netted a mere 38 yards, while the total offensive output was just 117 yards. Jarrett Stidham seldom found time in the pocket, and when he did his receivers weren't open.  

The following chart is from the official Auburn Football website.

Team TotalsAUCU
First Downs1318
Net Yards Rushing3899
Net Yards Passing79185
Total Offense Yards117284
Fumbles: Number-Lost1 - 02 - 2
Penalties: Number-Yards5 - 438 - 60
Punts - Yards8 - 3246 - 256
Possession Time32:2527:35
Third-Down Conversions6 of 17 (0.353)9 of 16 (0.563)
Fourth-Down Conversions1 of 2 (0.500)0 of 0 (0.000)
Sacks By: Number-Yards3-2311-72
Field Goals2-2 (1.000)0-1 (0.000)

The Auburn defense however, continued to play extremely well. 

Clearly there is a ton of work still to do. With a new offensive coordinator, and quarterback, the Tigers are going to have to find a cure, and quick. After the Mercer game, the road becomes even more difficult.

Hold you heads up Tiger fans. There is still everything we want to play for, in front of us. 


Monday, September 4, 2017


My good friend Rob ( @AURobUSA ) created this video. Tell us what you think.

War Eagle!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Just my thoughts...

No big secret here but I get extremely anxious before games. I am always very excited but nervous in the back of my mind. I do not remember feeling this to this extreme before 2004. The girls in my family got together and make some cake pops and cupcakes early in the afternoon. Ella made a banner. Emma drew the AU on the cupcakes. I thought she did pretty well considering she's 10.

The day progressed.  There were not really any games keeping my attention most of the afternoon, so I just felt more and more anxious as the afternoon passed. (If yall laugh at this, I will not believe that you do not also feel the same way) Southern Miss did not do as well as I had hoped. The USM band played a song for Texas usually reserved only for senior day. Finally it was time for the game. I was all a jumble of nerves and excitement. Then of course, we hear about the suspensions because it wouldn't be Auburn football without last minute drama (although I had heard rumors of suspensions earlier in the week on local sports radio. A couple of them made me feel more anxious. The game started finally! I got a little anxious around the beginning of the 2nd quarter but I was glad when I could relax a little. Since you don't need me to recap the entire game, here are my thoughts:

Jarrett: Not bad, I knew he needed to shake off some rust. I was impressed that he was able to keep it together and get back in rhythm.

Kerryon: I hope he's ok! He was having a heckuva game. He sure does have a pretty smile.

Kam Martin: Stepped up to the plate big time! Did his home state very proud!!! For the most part, you would never think he wasn't the starting RB. I was incredibly proud of what he was able to do. I think he was fantastic.

Will Hastings: (almost called him Will Herring- Not that it would be a bad comparison ) Wow! So glad he got a scholarship. That catch in the endzone was a thing of beauty. I have really missed touchdown passes, especially that corner of the end zone catch.

Prince Tega: Proud that he got to start.

Braden Smith: Made some great blocks. There was one in particular that was very "To the bus, Coach."

Ryan Davis: His TD catch and run was also a thing of beauty. I've missed seeing the passing touchdowns.

O-Line overall: Needs a little bit of work but they finally seemed to get in the swing of things.

Daniel: Have faith in him. Just a little bump in the road. He is human after all. I tell you though. Every time the announcers mentioned his streak for PATs, it made me nervous. Not that I don't have faith in Daniel but I'm so superstitious in sports!!

Devin Adams: I was really proud to see him play. I thought he did well.

I know I am probably leaving someone out. I know it got a little rough there for a little while but what I liked best was the adjustment and energy. I think the adjustments were something we have not seen in a while.

Defense: Like whoa. I was super impressed.

Tre: Wow, what a performance. I cannot say enough about how well he is playing. If you haven't watched the video on Deshaun and Tre, you need to watch it.

Deshaun: He amazes me every year. So happy for his success.

Jeff Holland: Have yourself a game, young man. I noticed on the Football Review, he said he thought he played pretty well. Yeah, I'd say you did, Jeff!!!

Derrick Brown: excellent game- dude played great.

Marlon Davidson: Enjoyed seeing him go at full speed!

Tray Matthews; Great as always

I know there are some that I have left out. This is just what I can remember.  I was thoroughly excited and impressed with the defense. I know they know some of the things they need to work on and I have faith there will be improvements. I was glad to see halftime adjustments and improvements which is something that I think we missed last year. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. I cannot wait to see Kam P and Kyle next week. Anyone else experience anxiety all throughout the day of a game? I will have it especially if we have a late late game. I do not know why. I do deal with anxiety on a regular basis.

Assessing Jarrett Stidham Week 1

Jarrett Stidham & Coach Lindsey reflecting after Auburn's victory over Georgia Southern.  photo by Julie Bennett

Jarrett Stidham started played his first game in 22 months against Georgia Southern Saturday night. Amongst all the preseason hype, and all the fans expectations, we wanted to look at how well Stidham performed. 

First, here are the highlights of the game via Auburn Athletics.

This next video of Gus Malzahn's post game press conference, comes to us via Justin Ferguson and our friends at SEC Country Auburn.

Stidham's performance was a mixed bag. Understandably he dealt with the emotions of playing the game he loves, after being out of game day festivities for nearly two years. That nervousness, was clear in the series opener, when he dropped a snap on Auburn's first 3rd down play. 

At least three passes were dropped, one for an easy TD. Some of his passes were behind the receivers in route. That's a timing issue, that should get better as the season progresses.

The first interception, was well behind allowing the Georgia Southern defender to pick it off.   

Still, there was a lot to like when looking at the overall passing performance. Stidham was mobile, and made some key throws while moving around inside the pocket, as well as when he rambled outside his protection.

The pass to Will Hastings in the corner of the end zone was sheer perfection! Jarrett managed the game well, and never looked overwhelmed. He never looked confused about where the ball should go. 

Overall I'd say he played good. Not great. All things considered, it was a good start to what I think will be a stellar season for Jarrett Stidham.

War Eagle!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Georgia Southern Recap

Artistic Impression by @AURobUSA

Wow! Auburn manhandled Georgia Southern in a 41-7 old fashioned whipping. The 750th victory in program history. 

Game Stats via the official Auburn Athletics website.
Team TotalsGSAU
First Downs825
Net Yards Rushing70351
Net Yards Passing8184
Total Offense Yards78535
Fumbles: Number-Lost0 - 04 - 2
Penalties: Number-Yards3 - 154 - 42
Punts - Yards11 - 4281 - 42
Possession Time29:2830:32
Third-Down Conversions0 of 15 (0.000)6 of 16 (0.375)
Fourth-Down Conversions1 of 2 (0.500)2 of 3 (0.667)
Sacks By: Number-Yards3-115-37
Field Goals0-1 (0.000)2-4 (0.500)

 Allowing only 78 yards total for the game, the Auburn played defense as well as I have ever seen. Georgia Southern went 0 for 15 on 3rd down attempts. 

Other key  notes:

After making his first attempt, a 50 yard FG, Daniel Carlson missed 2 in a row in the first half. Carlson then righted the ship, and made his final attempt. 

Kam Martin had to play much more than anticipated because of a hamstring injury to Kerryon Johnson. Kamryn Pettway was suspended for the game.

Jarrett Stidham finished the night 14 of 24 with 185 yards passing. Throwing 2 TD passes. Stidham had one interception, and one fumble. 

War Eagle!

Auburn Football: Every Day: Episode 1

Friday, September 1, 2017

Another Football Season in Auburn

Another Auburn Football season is upon us and many of the predictions from the various sports writers and talking heads will be answered in the coming weeks. I look forward to reporting on some of the future Auburn games. I do feel that this season could be special for the Auburn Family.

War Eagle and enjoy the season!