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JMR last won the day on October 24 2016

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  1. Podcast: Play in new window | Download Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS
  2. To me, yes. A huge disappointment. And I really wanted him. It's like he skips the basic stuff and moves to the more advanced, schematic stuff.
  3. I'm not sure I can bring myself to watch one more game with Malzahn at the wheel. The man has got serious issues.
  4. Fred, Roberts made the tackle/caused the fumble, and Davis picked it up. At least that's how I remember it.
  5. First of all, these are no fun to write when Auburn loses and/or doesn't play well. I try to be as objective and unbiased as I can, and I do not like to criticize individual players. They work extremely hard, and give their best on the field. Sometimes that translates into a winning effort, sometimes it's not enough. There were some who got outplayed by their opponent yesterday, and some who did not. That's kind of the nature of team sports. All that said for whatever it's worth, here are some things that caught my eye in the game.... Darius James blew his assignment on Auburn's first offensive play. There were two defenders for him to choose from, and he chose the wrong one. Did not hurt the play, which resulted in a completed pass, but it was disappointing to see a veteran player make such a simple error. Cornerback Carlton Davis struggled more in the game than I've seen from him this season. He was beaten by LSU's D.J. Chark on LSU's third play for a big gain. Fortunately, Chark fumbled and Davis recovered. The big play later in the game where Davis went for the pick on what would have been a three-yard pass but ended up being a 39-yard catch-and-run for LSU was much more obvious, and did much more damage. Austin Golson is recognized for his ability to play multiple positions on the offensive line, and deservedly so. But as experienced as he is, Golson almost never "brings his feet" to the point of attack. He makes contact, his feet die where they are, and he generates very little movement of the defender. Seems like that would be relatively easy to fix, but it's gone on for a long time now. Braden Smith, whom I believe is one of the most capable offensive linemen in college football, allowed his man to cross his face after contact yesterday, resulting in some failed short-yardage plays for the AU offense. Smith is better than that, but yesterday was not the first time that's happened. Easily corrected, but those kind of corrections should have been made by now. Going into the game with Mike Horton out, I was concerned about Prince Tega being able to deal with Arden Key. Tega did reasonably well, but because he lets his feet stop, he is often drawing a stalemate on run plays. A stalemate on those plays is a win for the defense. Again, correction, repetition, success. Simple habits to instill and reinforce, but we are 7 games into the season. I saw the play Casey Dunn injured his knee on. A defensive lineman got pushed back onto the back of Dunn's leg just below the knee. Seeing it, I was surprised Dunn returned to the game. Still, he was not able to get any push at all after that, and eventually left the game again. Hope he is ok, as we need him badly. Especially if Horton is out long term. Marquel Harrell was forced into action at left guard by the injury to Dunn. He wasn't terrible for his first action with the starting offense, but he did look a little lost at times. On the 70-yard run LSU's Russell Gage hit on the jet sweep, it was a breakdown on the part of Nick Ruffin. Ruffin has been improving steadily throughout the season, but on that play he got sloppy with his assignment, and instead of getting wide to force Gage back inside, he slowed down to take a peek into the LSU backfield, and was beaten to the outside by Gage. Huge play that should never have happened. Ruffin was also beaten by Chark on a wheel route late in the game after he had recognized the route and was all over it. When the season started, pretty much every Auburn fan knew that while we had some exceptional athletes in the defensive secondary, we did not have the depth to deal with injuries back there. As often happens, there have been plenty of injuries to that group, and the lack of depth is causing some problems. Some guys who would normally be getting playing time here and there are on the field far more than that, and getting experience and building skills in this league is costly. Dropped interceptions, missed tackles, blown assignments, or just plain getting beaten on routes.....all are the price those key injuries exact. Missed tackles have reared their ugly heads often over the last couple of weeks. Paul James III missed a big one on a jet sweep on LSU's first scoring drive, and Jeff Holland missed one on the 4th down TD that LSU scored. In Holland's defense, he played exceptionally well most of the day. We are missing linebacker Tre Williams, not only for his individual play, but also for his leadership in the linebacker group. Auburn's linebackers misfit several LSU run plays yesterday. They were aggressive and hustling, but they fit the wrong gaps some of the time. I don't know what Kam Pettway's injury situation is. It's pretty obvious that he is not the same running back that excelled last season. He look healthy compared to the last time I saw him, but "ineffective" is a generous assessment of his play. I am unable to fathom why other running backs are not getting opportunities. With KJ getting 30 carries per game, we may find ourselves at Amen Corner with no Pettway, no KJ, and no experienced youngsters. I don't know what is going on with special teams. There is a lot more to that part of the game than having a great kicker and/or a great punter. We don't appear to hold anybody up on punt returns, we cover punts and kickoffs with little regard for lanes. Special teams is a great way to get players in the game who are not ready to contribute at a position, but ONLY if they are ready to *contribute* on special teams. With the exception of Daniel Carlson's kicking skills, our special teams look pretty ugly to me. I wasn't thrilled with the officiating in the game. I don't feel like there was any bias, and I don't believe the officials affected the outcome of the game. But I felt like there were a number of missed calls, both ways. I think I mentioned here two or three weeks ago how impressed I was with the ball skills of our defensive backs. Time to go the other direction with that. Our guys are not reading the receivers, and therefore don't know where the ball is, when it's arriving, or much else. Some of that may be due to injuries and resulting substitutions, but it's happening with some experienced players as well. Time to get back to the drills that seemed to be so productive early in the season. Saw Chandler Cox get absolutely crushed attempting a block of Arden Key as Auburn was trying to come off its own goal line. From a coaching standpoint, I don't know who was in charge of the offense in the second half, but there were *numerous* times when LSU had 7 or even 8 in the box on first and second down, and Auburn ran the ball anyway. When Auburn did opt to pass, it was "Deep ball or bust!". You can't have that many defenders in the box AND cover deep AND cover short/intermediate. I am amazed sometimes at how difficult the simplest things can be made to look. Defensively, I thought AU "played well enough to win" as the expression goes, but not nearly as well as they are capable of playing. Lots of critical missed tackles (though not as many as vs Ole Miss), and some breakdowns in the secondary. Kudos to Marlon Davidson for chasing down Russell Gage at the 5-yard line after Gage went 70 yards on a speed sweep. Hell of a play, and even more so for a defensive lineman. Back to work. We fans can be disgusted, disappointed, and so forth, but the players and coaches have to try to put this one out of their minds and get ready for the next one. Still a lot of football to be played. WAR EAGLE!!
  6. Auburn All-Access podcast, Episode 155, Oct. 11, 2017 Are the Auburn Tigers man enough to beat LSU in Death Valley? The 5-1 and 10th ranked Auburn Tigers certainly appear to have hit their stride through the midpoint of the season, as the once anemic offense has lit up the scoreboard for over 40 points the last two games, while the defense continues to play at a very high level (notwithstanding 4th quarter lapses against Ole Miss by Auburn backups). But how real is the progress, given the questionable level of competition from Mizzou, to Mississippi State, and this past weekend, a faltering Ole Miss team? Baton Rouge has a way of sorting out that uncertainty, as evidenced by the Auburn Tigers not having left victorious in Death Valley since 1999. So join Coach John Ray and Doug Dean as they discuss the question at hand in this podcast, are the Auburn Tigers man enough to go win in Red Stick? Mash here: Podcast: Play in new window | Download Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS
  7. I watched Cannella's JUCO tape and had high hopes for him as a flexed receiver. But my admittedly sloppy count, he's been targeted three times, caught one, and dropped two. So I don't know.
  8. I feel like they do a lot of counter-productive things. Canada's pre-snap shifts and motion will give Steele a busy week, but Florida almost ignored it, especially up front, and I didn't see a numerical advantage gained. I would THINK that's the purpose of it, but I haven't seen it. At least not yet.
  9. I don't understand it either. But I've never made $4.7 mil a year, and maybe that's why.
  10. Apologies for this being so late in the day. Busy day working on Hurricane Irma clean-up around the farm (still two or three days' work to go). I enjoyed the first half of yesterday's game, and like most AU folks, was a little disappointed with the third and fourth quarters. I've never been interested in embarrassing anybody, and had no problem with playing lots of backup players in the second half, but I'd like to have seen more of Malik Willis, Devan Barrett, et. al. With that out of the way, here are some things I think I saw in the game..... There appeared to be some confusion in the AU secondary early in the game. Saw lots of arms waving, some "what the heck is this?" signals from one DB to another. I wouldn't think there would be any surprises from the Ole Miss offense, but the absence of starting corner Javaris Davis may have been a problem, however minor. Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson is very good for a youngster. Got a great arm, and great mobility. And Ole Miss had some quality receivers in Metcalf and Brown. I saw some "deception" things in their throwing game that I hope Chip Lindsey noticed. Football coaches are notorious for stealing from each other. Jeremiah Dinson, who is a favorite of mine after making his way back from a devastating injury two years ago, was not himself in this game. Dinson has made some critical, difficult plays in the open field, but missed some of those this week. No idea if he is at less than full health or not. I believe there may have been more missed tackles by AU linebackers and defensive backs in this game than in any game this season. Lots of attempted arm tackles, and poor pursuit angles. No clue why that would happen, but it did. That's not to say the defense played poorly, just to say that they didn't appear quite as sharp as they have been most of the season. The combo blocks we've talked about here before were executed with more frequency and efficiency by the OL than in recent weeks. Part of the reason for that was the use of jet-sweep motion and even pulling the backside guard in the opposite direction of the play. That action moved the OM linebackers, setting up the Auburn offensive linemen. Some nice combo blocking by Smith/James, and by Dunn/Horton and Dunn/Smith. Those blocks, efficiently executed, create big plays like some of Kerryon Johnson's runs in the first half. Prince Tega didn't play a whole lot, but I noticed him on a couple of plays. On one, he put his head on the wrong side of the DL he was blocking, and KJ had to take a stutter step to let the penetrating defensive lineman overrun the play before taking off for a good gain. On another play, Tega showed excellent quickness and balance. The kid has the tools; he just has to understand the game. Head placement for an offensive lineman is as important as anything he does. Chandler Cox had several good seal blocks on the edge. Cox appears to have learned to be "under control" when approaching a block, then accelerating into the contact. Cornerback Jamel Dean showed lots of physical play in the game. He left with some kind of injury, but it didn't appear to be serious. I love the way Dean plays. He is bigger than most defensive backs, but has the athleticism to cover, and he doesn't shy away from contact. I think I mentioned here last week that one area for Jarrett Stidham to improve on was his accuracy on the wide receiver screens. The little screen that Ryan Davis took 75 yards for a score was a perfect example. Stidham's throw actually led Davis inside the block of the pulling Austin Golson on the play, and could not possibly have been any better. Kerryon Johnson looked to be close to 100% with his hamstring injury. I noticed he said after the game that he was about 95%, and that appeared to be accurate. Glad we were able to sit Bubba Pettway. I've never had a heal/ankle, but I've studied some sports medicine, and was led to believe rest is about the only reliable prescription. Again on KJ. His blitz pickup technique out of the backfield is picture-perfect. Stidham's throw to Darius Slayton on the fade route was a thing of beauty. The ball was placed perfectly, and timed just right. Kudos to Slayton for knowing where his feet were relative to the boundary, and making the catch! I was disappointed (and downright ticked off, to be honest) about OM's A.J. Moore's hit on Stephen Roberts on the punt return. As an old-schooler, I'm aware those kind of plays were celebrated at one time. But knowing what we know today, there is no place for that kind of play in football at any level. Hard to believe Ole Miss tackle Rod Taylor was called for holding only once. His holding was as flagrant as I've ever seen. Kudos to Marlon Davidson and Jeff Holland for having the self-discipline to not react to it. I've complained before about the predictability of our play out of the sugar huddle. I guess Wesley McGriff doesn't read this little column, as OM lined up 5 defenders to Auburn's 6 blockers, leading to KJ's 3rd TD run untouched. An offensive coordinator's dream is to outnumber the defense at the point of attack. It was pretty obvious that the Ole Miss "pace" took a toll on the Auburn defensive front. Rushing the passer is an exhausting task, and even with Auburn's depth, we had linemen not ready when the ball was snapped. I actually saw one AU starter go down on his belly at the snap of the ball once. Not sure I'll be able to say anything nice about that player for a while. With Javaris Davis held out for injury, Nick Ruffin played a lot in the secondary. He wasn't flawless, but I thought he played pretty well overall. And the experience will only make him better. With the aforementioned "fatigue" of the AU DL, Tyrone Truesdell got a good bit of playing time. He did a pretty good job, and I couldn't help remembering Rodney Garner riding him hard in fall practice. Good to see the kid in line for some positive reinforcement. If you remember the little "flip" that Patterson completed on the sideline for a small gain, it was Truesdell that had him in a bear hug. I don't want to jinx anybody, but the improvement of our wide receivers the last couple of games has been impressive. They are catching the ball ($1 to Will Hastings for his drop), and they are blocking. There are huge plays to be had on the perimeter when the wide receivers make their blocks. I saw Jarrett Stidham change the pass protection several times in this game. That is a HUGE improvement and will help prevent negative plays. On the down side, there were more missed tackles, attempted arm tackles, and poor pursuit angles in the Auburn secondary this week than I've seen this season. Don't know what that was about, but it will need to be cleaned up this week. I watched most of the LSU-Florida game. LSU has some talented players, they are aggressive, and they play hard. IMO, they are not particularly well-coached, and they have very little depth. If Auburn goes to Baton Rouge and plays to win, it's there to be had. I don't like to predict games, but AU is the better team at this point in time. WAR EAGLE!!
  11. Auburn looks to keep momentum going against Ole Miss With the arrival of the October phase of the 2017 Auburn football schedule, the Tigers find themselves in a relatively enviable position at 4-1, with the sole loss to the # 2 ranked Clemson Tigers. As such, the Tigers do indeed control their own destiny on all fronts, but what work is most urgently required in this week sandwiched between the two Mississippi SEC West teams to give Malzahn’s team a legit shot to contend late into November? Join Coach John Ray and Doug Dean for the analysis, including a scouting report on this Ole Miss team which is coming off a 66-3 drubbing by Alabama. Go HERE at iTunes: And War Eagle Sports Radio should have the show up in the morning! Podcast: Play in new window | Download Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS
  12. Coach, you know the answer as well as I do. 😎
  13. Good question, Fred. I think the success we are now having with the deep ball will lead to openings underneath the safeties and behind the linebackers. Will be interesting to see how that plays out. FWIW, Lindsey has had a pretty stout intermediate game everywhere he's been.