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abw0004

My thoughts from the 2017 season

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Good morning all,

As I promised I would do a few weeks ago, I wanted to share my thoughts from the season as a whole.  I decided to wait a few weeks to give space from our bowl game, as well as to wait for college football to be officially over.  I also wanted to see how recruiting has done as of late.  As I always do, this is my perspective from the experiences from the stadium, as well as the experience of the season.  I will not get into the specifics of any game and ask you refrain as well as those arguments are now getting old.  Here we go:

Gameday experience:  Every year I keep saying Auburn can't top what they did the year prior, and every year they always amaze me.  The one thing I liked this year was that there was a video tailored to each individual game.  As a huge fan of hype videos, these are always welcome.  Our course, we still kept to our traditions that we always do.  One of the best ones is always honoring our military.  It makes me proud of what we do for our military, and proud that we have one of the best ROTC programs in the country.  I always tell people, if you do not enjoy watching football, you would enjoy going to an Auburn game.  There is so much to see and keep you entertained that you will still have a blast.

Marching Band:  This is a subset to the gameday experience.  A huge shoutout to our marching band.  Many do not know but we have a very good marching band.  As far as how well everything is executed is top notch.  Many college bands are maxed out with personnel to where not many sets can be produced because there is not much space to move.  This also can make the music sound "dirty" and cluttered with the notes being played.  While Auburn's band is not small by any means, they found a great balance.  This year's marching band hype video is one of the best I have ever seen as well.  And the Vegas show with the LED lights is truly a sight to see.  Not many universities can top Auburn's marching band.

Potential Distractions:  One thing many fans may have forgotten was how many distractions Auburn had to face this year, and the media did its best to try and make sure the program knew it.  Do you remember that Kyle Davis and Byron Cowart left the program?  At that time people were claiming Gus lost the faith of his players, that everyone was jumping ship.  It has been largely forgotten these instances happened because, well, the program did not pay attention to outside distractions.  Gus kept the ship sailing straight, and kudos to him for this.  That is no easy task, but he kept fighting, and so did his players.

High's and Low's:  Everyone knows that we lost some winnable games with LSU and even Clemson.  We also won some games in a convincing fashion with UGA and Alabama.  One thing I did notice this season is these peaks and valleys are starting to even out as Gus gets better settled into his head coaching role.  This season we also began to see depth being built up to where we can start to reload, instead of rebuild.

Coaching staff:  I have been pleased with this coaching staff of 2017, and am happy to see almost everyone return with the addition of Marcus Woodson.  One thing I think everyone can agree on is Malzahn knows how to hire coaches.  In the moment of news breaking of a coach we have hired, many wonder how he hired this person.  And then we learn it was a great move.  Remember when everyone said Steele was an underwhelming hire?  Remember the concern with Travis Williams never having a full time coaching gig before?  Or Kodi Burns.  How can a young guy like him ever recruit?  Or who is this Marcus Woodson?  Well everyone has panned out nicely.

Seniors:  I wanted to take a second to thank each and every one of our seniors.  This class was an honor to watch over the last few years.  I truly will miss watching Tray Matthews hunt down a runner.  And Daniel Carlson nail a long field goal.  Or Braden Smith completely blow up a defensive tackle/end.  Or that smile Tre Williams always had on his face.  Or simply hearing Jason Smith switching positions because he simply wanted to help the team wherever he could.  And lets not forget our players who declared early.  Whether it was watching KP bowl over defensive backs, to KJ literally throwing defenders off of him, to Jeff Holland giving quarterbacks nightmares.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  And please come back for games.  It is always fun to see former players on the sidelines.

Depth moving forward:  I first saw this with Steele's defense this year.  We could have been ranked higher in the country in all defensive categories (although we are already at our 2008 levels), but I saw Steele stop chasing that and start to focus on the younger players.  Our defensive line has been deep for a while now so that was nothing new.  But our linebackers were showing depth, as well as our defensive backs.  On the offensive side, our receiving corps flexed their muscles, and even our offensive line with the injuries we faced and little to no drop off.  Our running backs need more experience, but I would say the depth is still there.  And for the first time in a long time we have good depth at quarterback.  With Stidham returning, Willis in the wings, Gatewood using this year to develop, and Nix coming in next year I would say we are doing well.  We can breathe a little bit easier heading into this next season, compared to season's past.

Recruiting:  I think too many people focus on star rankings when it comes to recruiting.  That is not all that matters.  Those rankings are based on opinions from reporters or scouts.  If a coach only goes off of those rankings, they could be in for trouble.  Each coach needs to do their own evaluations, and base their offers off of that.  I think our staff does a good job of finding under-the-radar guys, as well as attracting big-time recruits.  I believe we are in for a monster 2019 class.  Why?  There are a few factors.  For one, we are starting to develop players constantly that are going into the draft, and we are seeing an uptick in juniors that declare early.  Although it is sad to see them go, this means they have developed well enough to give the draft a shot.  Second, big time classes usually revolve around a big time quarterback that has signed.  This has happened with Alabama and Georgia.  With Bo Nix on board early, I expect to see many blue-chip recruits follow.

Looking forward:  In the offseason we do have some areas to focus on.  The depth of our safeties is important, along with our offensive line reload.  One thing I can say confidently about my attitude going into this offseason is I am no longer worried about a "rebuild" year, and instead looking forward to a reload year.  Gone for me are the days of "This was our shot, and now we need to rebuild."  I think this should be your mindset as well.  Auburn Athletics as a whole is on its way up.  Auburn Basketball is suddenly relevant and thriving, Auburn softball is showing they are going nowhere when is comes to being dominant, an Auburn Baseball is up and coming.  We now have sports all year round that gives us something to be hopeful for.

As always, this 2017 season has been an absolute pleasure with each and every one of you regular posters and I look forward to the offseason with you.  We have a lot to be excited for, and man, is it great to be an AUBURN TIGER.  :wareagle:

Edited by abw0004
OL coaching change today
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1 hour ago, abw0004 said:

High's and Low's:  Everyone knows that we lost some winnable games with LSU and even Clemson.  We also won some games in a convincing fashion with UGA and Alabama.  One thing I did notice this season is these peaks and valleys are starting to even out as Gus gets better settled into his head coaching role.  This season we also began to see depth being built up to where we can start to reload, instead of rebuild.

I have no idea how you came to this conclusion, particularly after the last 4 games of the season.

Mostly a good post otherwise. 

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Thanks @abw0004. I'm not able to attend many games in Auburn, usually one every two to three years. Your comments on game day experience and the marching band are welcomed. We don't see much if any of that on TV. I appreciate your optimism. I hoping for brighter days ahead and consistency. I think Auburn is gaining momentum but it is critical that we sustain it. Never a dull moment being an Auburn fan but I wouldn't trade it for anything else. It's special indeed. 

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48 minutes ago, McLoofus said:

I have no idea how you came to this conclusion, particularly after the last 4 games of the season.

Mostly a good post otherwise. 

Was going to say the same exact thing...all the way down to the "good post otherwise". I'm on board with pretty much all of it except for the portion you highlighted. 

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1 hour ago, McLoofus said:

I have no idea how you came to this conclusion, particularly after the last 4 games of the season.

Mostly a good post otherwise. 

Thought the same.  This season was the very definition of "peaks & valleys".

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1 hour ago, McLoofus said:

I have no idea how you came to this conclusion, particularly after the last 4 games of the season.

Mostly a good post otherwise. 

I will tag @Tiger and @AUsince72 in this since this was a concern of their's too.  There is reasoning behind it, but like I said I didn't want to go into detail on the individual games as it has been beat to death.  The main reasoning is we are seeing more consistent play on both sides of the ball.  Still work to do, but gradually better each season.  

Edited by abw0004
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6 minutes ago, abw0004 said:

I will tag @Tiger and @AUsince72 in this since this was a concern of their's too.  There is reasoning behind it, but like I said I didn't want to go into detail on the individual games as it has been beat to death.  The main reasoning is we are seeing more consistent play on both sides of the ball.  Still work to do, but gradually better each season.  

Don't get me wrong, I like you a lot as a poster and enjoy the positive outlook you have.

Unfortunately, though, this falls under the "if you say so" category.  Must be a to-ma-toe / tom-mah-toe thing...

Other than that, like Loof said... Solid post!

Edited by AUsince72
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3 minutes ago, abw0004 said:

I will tag @Tiger and @AUsince72 in this since this was a concern of their's too.  There is reasoning behind it, but like I said I didn't want to go into detail on the individual games as it has been beat to death.  The main reasoning is we are seeing more consistent play on both sides of the ball.  Still work to do, but gradually better each season.  

I'll respect your opinion and agree that we don't need to drag down another thread. 

Agree with the above post that it's always good to see love for the band!

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The YouTube video of the band at the end of the (2013) Iron Bowl taught me something about the Auburn Band. Specifically how disciplined they are and how much practice it

must have taken to achieve that. It has become my second favorite highlight from that game. For those that haven't seen it they are as excited as any fan during the kick return, but at the very end of the run back they all refocus to play the fight song. Take a look if you haven't seen it before or just want to see it again.

 

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