Jump to content
Null

Chances of a classic Darkhorse year?


Recommended Posts

Honestly. It's the elephant in the room. Auburn tends to shock the world when Auburn is seemingly in a dormant state. This particularly happens in the wake of a coaching change. 

Bowden took over a 5-5 squad and won his first 17 games. Malzahn took us from 3 wins to an SEC Title and a natty appearance in a calendar year. Chizik won it all in year two after Tubbs sputtered out. And the 2004 team was laughed at after the dud of the 03 campaign. 

The conditions feel similar to those other darkhorse teams. There are a few key similarities. Let's look at 2021 in comparison to the 3 latest Auburn teams to shock the world.

- Returning O Line: 2004 had 3 returning starters, including Marcus McNeill, and a ton of future NFL talent on the 2 deep. Ziemba and Pugh anchored a veteran line in 2010. In 2013, AU pretty much brought everyone back from the previous year and was led by Dismukes at Center and a future #2 overall pick in Greg Robinson. 

2021 will see every single OL from the previous year return.

- Strength in Secondary: 04 - Rogers/Rosegreen/Herring. 10 - Thorpe/Etheridge/Washington. 13 - Chris Davis/Therezie/Whitehead.

Arguably the best all around position group on the 2021 team - Monday is a star, so is McCreary. Simpson and Pritchett are back as well.

- Dual Threat QBs: Jason Campbell. Cam Newton. Nick Marshall.

Bo isn't Nick or Cam, but certainly runs better than most. J-Camp got the job done with his legs in crucial spots. 

- Stud in Ground Game: Ronnie and Cadillac. Cam and McCallebb. Mason/Grant/CAP. 

Tank is a proven talent. May have to carry more of the burden than the others mentioned. 

- Georgia and Alabama at Home: Big deal here. While we have pulled off 2/3 recent magical runs winning in Tuscaloosa, we played UGA at home each time. 

Who knows? I'm not EXPECTING that, as it's unfair to Harsin, but also wouldn't be surprised.

If we make it out of Happy Valley with a dub, watch out. 

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites




  • Replies 174
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I get why people have these thoughts. There are similarities.  IMO, the difference of this years team being a 6-6 or 10 win team is how much better the OL and Bo Nix can get between now and fall. Main

Honestly. It's the elephant in the room. Auburn tends to shock the world when Auburn is seemingly in a dormant state. This particularly happens in the wake of a coaching change.  Bowden took over

That’s not being “laughed at.” Ranked is being respected. 

1 hour ago, AUght2win said:

Honestly. It's the elephant in the room. Auburn tends to shock the world when Auburn is seemingly in a dormant state. This particularly happens in the wake of a coaching change. 

Bowden took over a 5-5 squad and won his first 17 games. Malzahn took us from 3 wins to an SEC Title and a natty appearance in a calendar year. Chizik won it all in year two after Tubbs sputtered out. And the 2004 team was laughed at after the dud of the 03 campaign. 

The conditions feel similar to those other darkhorse teams. There are a few key similarities. Let's look at 2021 in comparison to the 3 latest Auburn teams to shock the world.

- Returning O Line: 2004 had 3 returning starters, including Marcus McNeill, and a ton of future NFL talent on the 2 deep. Ziemba and Pugh anchored a veteran line in 2010. In 2013, AU pretty much brought everyone back from the previous year and was led by Dismukes at Center and a future #2 overall pick in Greg Robinson. 

2021 will see every single OL from the previous year return.

- Strength in Secondary: 04 - Rogers/Rosegreen/Herring. 10 - Thorpe/Etheridge/Washington. 13 - Chris Davis/Therezie/Whitehead.

Arguably the best all around position group on the 2021 team - Monday is a star, so is McCreary. Simpson and Pritchett are back as well.

- Dual Threat QBs: Jason Campbell. Cam Newton. Nick Marshall.

Bo isn't Nick or Cam, but certainly runs better than most. J-Camp got the job done with his legs in crucial spots. 

- Stud in Ground Game: Ronnie and Cadillac. Cam and McCallebb. Mason/Grant/CAP. 

Tank is a proven talent. May have to carry more of the burden than the others mentioned. 

- Georgia and Alabama at Home: Big deal here. While we have pulled off 2/3 recent magical runs winning in Tuscaloosa, we played UGA at home each time. 

Who knows? I'm not EXPECTING that, as it's unfair to Harsin, but also wouldn't be surprised.

If we make it out of Happy Valley with a dub, watch out. 

I get why people have these thoughts. There are similarities.  IMO, the difference of this years team being a 6-6 or 10 win team is how much better the OL and Bo Nix can get between now and fall. Mainly the latter. We know that Tank can average 6.0 ypc with the current OL. We know that the current OL can provide a decent pocket...but Bo has to stay in it and HIT open Wrs.

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Georgia and Alabama will be toughest opponents  Georgia will be the toughest game IMO  I think they will win the SEC  

LSU, TAMU, and PSU will be the second toughest games. 

Today, I would bet on us beating LSU and PSU. TAMU will be tough. They’ve recruited well recently. 
 

We have the talent to compete in every game. This new culture and attitude will hopefully allow us to destroy teams like MSU, USC, and Arkansas. 
 

If the injuries are kept to a minimum, we have a real chance to make some noise. I want to win, but I really just want to see competitive Auburn football. If that happens, everything else will fall into place eventually. Not just on the field, but on the recruiting trail as well. Dream scenario: Auburn wins the Iron Bowl and Emmanuel Henderson de-commits from Bama the next day and signs early with Auburn. 

Edited by woodford
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the mystery and the mystique Auburn has created over the last 50 years in football.

With GA and AL both at home this year, we have a CHANCE at that mystical season. We tend to do it in the first or 2nd year of a new HC. But staying healthy and winning early will dictate that. Penn ST will be an interesting measuring stick. 

I just look forward to seeing a different offense on the field and seeing how Harsin coaches on games days...

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Bowden team and the 2004 teams truly had some talent on them. As you pointed out, many of those players were high draft picks and went on to good NFL careers. I do not think the current AU team is that talented across the board. Too many questions in both lines.

As for Chiz team and Malzans team, they both had game changers at QB in those years. As of right now, I don't believe we have that either. All that being said, is I do not expect any type dark horse year. I actually expect a very  hard year.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

It all comes down to the QB position. That was the real difference for any of those teams: elevated QB play compared to the prior years. I hope that Bo (or somebody) can step up with the new coaching staff

Edited by fredst
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll say its possible we could have a magical season. We have some nice pieces. A QB with 2 years of experience. Entire offensive line returning. Game changer at RB. Talent and speed at WR position. On defense we have a lot of experience at LB, CB, and Safety returning. But we also have plenty of things not going for us. The QB experience is in a vastly different scheme. The OL is returning but i don't see many NFL talents on it. Council may be but he is recovering from an injury. Thin behind starters at both Safety and RB position. And then the DL if a concern for me...we need some game changers to emerge on the DL and i'm not sure who those guys will be. 

But the biggest concern for be on is changing the scheme on Defense. From Saturday's scrimmage it sounded like we will be seeing a lot of 3-4 looks and it is just really rare for a team to not struggle the first year making that change. There is a reason UGA and Bama both struggled their first years moving to that scheme. Its just a lot different in terms of run fits and coverage responsibilities. And you have got to have a tough guys on the DL to avoid getting pushed around and to free up LBs to make tackles. Maybe we have those guys on the DL that will require double teams and free up our LBs to make plays....but its an open question at this point in time. 

We've also got Harsin and Bobo coaching and designing the offensive scheme together and this is the first time they have worked together. Will they be able to mesh their ideas into a coherent offense or will it look like a too many cooks in one kitchen type of offense? I have high hopes for the 2 of them doing awesome things together but all it is is hope at this point. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Tigerpro2a said:

I get why people have these thoughts. There are similarities.  IMO, the difference of this years team being a 6-6 or 10 win team is how much better the OL and Bo Nix can get between now and fall. Mainly the latter. We know that Tank can average 6.0 ypc with the current OL. We know that the current OL can provide a decent pocket...but Bo has to stay in it and HIT open Wrs.

It "appears" Bo is getting properly coached and is receptive to new ideas.  Obviously, we will see.  The o-line is the biggest concern.  Gus Malzahn dug a very deep hole with the o-line and now is gone.  Harsin needs to make a big splash this years because after this season there is a major rebuilding job.  Auburn has signed four high school offensive linemen over the last two years..  NOT GOOD

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Could this be a magical season ? Maybe, but a lot has to happen and first we have to take care of the basics. First of all, as the OL and DL go, so goes the season. One of the critical keys to that will be in the continued strength training for both lines during the summer. That is a must. Also important is whether the DL will take to the 3 man front or have a slow start with it. Finally, will the defense do their tackling with a vengeance and punish people ? If so, that will give us an early tell on the culture of the defense.

On offense, the key will be considerable improvement in the QB play. It has to happen. The current starter has to do it or someone else does. At RB, the Tank-Worm duo seems to be a perfect change of pace combo. All is well if they make it through the entire season. If not, the concern is if Tank is out, who can realistically carry that heavier load ? Finally, the goal should be that Auburn's typical season is close to magical (10+) every year, not the exception. This instead of what we have experienced the last decade or so. Let's hope Harsin can do that. He seems to be off to a good start so far.

Edited by IronMan70
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

All of them from the previous decade included (arguably) top 3 QB play in the conference. It simply isn’t happening unless Nix has another tier he can access. Not saying he will or won’t, but it really is that simple 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, fredst said:

It all comes down to the QB position. That was the real difference for any of those teams was elevated QB play compare to the prior years. I hope that Bo (or somebody) can step up with the new coaching staff

Thank you . 

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, IronMan70 said:

Finally, the goal should be that Auburn's typical season is close to magical, not the exception, instead of what we have experienced the last decade half-century or so. Let's hope Harsin can do that.

This. I want to get to the 10 wins is a given every year. Competing for the West is a given every year. Improve from there and compete for a championship on a consistent basis. Tired of the roller coaster fairy tale mystical seasons every 10 years or so.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, IronMan70 said:

Could this be a magical season ? Maybe, but a lot has to happen. As they say, as the OL and DL go, so goes the season. One of the critical keys to that will be in the continued strength training for both lines during the summer. That is a must. Also important is whether the DL will take to the 3 man front or have a slow start with it. Will the defense do their tackling with a vengeance and punish people ? That will tell a lot on the culture of the defense.

On offense, the next key will be considerable improvement in the QB play. It has to happen. The current starter has to do it or someone else does. At RB, the Tank-Worm duo seems to be a perfect change of pace combo. All is well if they make it through the entire season. If not, the concern is if Tank is out who can realistically carry that heavier load ? Finally, the goal should be that Auburn's typical season is close to magical, not the exception, instead of what we have experienced the last decade or so. Let's hope Harsin can do that. He seems to be off to a good start so far.

I think the transition to the 3-4 front is a big limiting factor on the ceiling for this season. It takes one of the deepest position groups on the roster and turns it into much more of a question mark. I just think we're a year away on that side of the ball. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

New coach. New coordinators. No super star qb. This will be a rebuilding year in every sense of the word. A 6 and 6 season would be a reasonable expectation in my book

  • Facepalm 1
  • Dislike 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, shabby said:

New coach. New coordinators. No super star qb. This will be a rebuilding year in every sense of the word. A 6 and 6 season would be a reasonable expectation in my book

Heck no. 8 wins is doable with this schedule 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Chances?  Slim to none.  Which are the exact chances each of those years you mentioned.  
There are a lot of similarities to those teams, including the low expectations.  
I don’t expect much this year, so an epic season would be a wonderful surprise!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, DAG said:

Heck no. 8 wins is doable with this schedule 

Yeah, that's the thing. We really should win 8 games a year just by showing up. Which is why the coaching change was necessary.

And the only things we're "rebuilding" are the WR corps and the staff. It's not a roster rebuild at all. 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, DAG said:

Heck no. 8 wins is doable with this schedule 

I think you totally underestimate the impact of having a completely new staff and philosophy on players. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, shabby said:

I think you totally underestimate the impact of having a completely new staff and philosophy on players. 

I can say the same thing about you . Ironic 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, McLoofus said:

Yeah, that's the thing. We really should win 8 games a year just by showing up. Which is why the coaching change was necessary.

And the only things we're "rebuilding" are the WR corps and the staff. It's not a roster rebuild at all. 

Exactly there were teams last year we had no business losing to or playing competitive with. I am tired of hearing that nonsense. I will give a pass next year regarding the likes of Bama, UGA and The Aggies but the other teams are very much beatable .

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, shabby said:

Oh goodie you understand the concept of opinions. 

Oh goodie you understand the concept of a great retort. Don’t get mad because I used your own vices against you. You upset because my opinion contrasts yours? 

Edited by DAG
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, oracle79 said:

This. I want to get to the 10 wins is a given every year. Competing for the West is a given every year. Improve from there and compete for a championship on a consistent basis. Tired of the roller coaster fairy tale mystical seasons every 10 years or so.

Thank you. I started to post something very similar this morning. It's past time for Auburn to move beyond the occasional contender status and to actually be in the conversation at the beginning and end of every season for titles. That can only happen by beating Alabama, Georgia and LSU 50% of the time. Not saying it's simple to do but nothing that matters ever comes easy. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sick of these so called one hit wonders that end getting fired as Bowden and Malzahn.  Would rather somebody come in an prepare us for the long term even if we have to take lumps in the first couple of years..

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • WarTiger changed the title to Chances of a classic Darkhorse year?

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...