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Auburn has a solid team returning . . .


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Auburn Tigers Preview
Head Coach: Bryan Harsin, 2nd year at Auburn,
10th year, 82-31 overall, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 6-7, Conference: 3-5
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Auburn Top 10 Players | Auburn Schedule & Analysis

Auburn Tigers Preview 2022

Did anything interesting happen with Auburn this offseason?

Blow off the five straight losses to close the year, and the way the Tigers came this close to knocking Alabama out of the College Football Playoff – oh yeah, and almost winning the Iron Bowl, too – and the loss of several players through the transfer portal, and head coach Bryan Harsin almost getting whacked for a whole slew of alleged reasons, mostly because of all the above things …

Welcome to the SEC.

You beat Alabama and every else gets swept aside. You collapse late against the Tide and in the bowl game against Houston to finish 6-7, and there’s a problem.

SEC and Auburn fans never quite bought into the Harsin hiring. He went 69-19 at Boise State with three Mountain West championships and two other division titles in six years, and that was coming off a Sun Belt championship in his one year at Arkansas State.

To be cynical about all this, and to hammer this home even harder – if Tank Bigsby stays in bounds late against the Tide, there’s a very, very different narrative to the offseason, Harsin still doesn’t have a losing season on his resumé, and the program is building back up on the right path.

That’s why there’s one key aspect that’s been lost here – Auburn has a solid team returning.

It might not win the SEC title, but even with all the big departures among the coaches and personnel, the team should have a better record and be in for a stronger season.

And if not, buying out Harsin’s contract is a lot cheaper now.

Auburn Tigers Preview 2022: Offense

Out goes Mike Bobo as offensive coordinator – Auburn finished 11th in the SEC scoring and averaged just over 400 yards per game – and in steps Eric Kiesau into the role after coaching the receivers last year. First and foremost, he’ll try to get the passing game going.

Bo Nix is off to Oregon, but the parts are in place to start coming up with more deep shots, being more consistent, and most of all, being far more efficient to keep up with the high-octane attacks across the SEC West. That starts with …

The quarterback situation has to be settled. Former LSU transfer TJ Finley is the most likely choice for the gig after seeing enough time to throw for 827 yards and six touchdowns with one pick, but Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada and Oregon transfer Robby Ashford will get a shot.

The receiving corps is fine, but it has to be more explosive. Leading receiver Kobe Hudson is gone to UCF, but almost everyone else returns with enough depth to play around with the lineup a bit in fall camp.

The running backs are fantastic. Tank Bigsby needs to come up with a few more big dashes, but he’s a tough runner who hit the 1,000-yard mark with ten scores, and Jarquez Hunter averaged close to seven yards per carry. They’re good, the offensive line – once everyone is healthy – should be a positive, and the balance should be there.

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Auburn Tigers Preview 2022: Defense

The defense needs to be better. It was good at times at getting behind the line, and it held up relatively well against the big boys on the slate, but it had a weird way of not coming up big when it absolutely had to. Experience should help that, the recruiting classes have been good, and a few transfers will help round things out.

The back seven needs work, but …

As long as everyone can stay healthy, the front four should be one of the team’s biggest positives. Getting 6-6, 328-pound Jayson Jones in from Oregon to help gum up the works helps, and everyone else up front is back.

The pass rush was there last season, and the run defense allowed just eight touchdowns – none in the last five games – and just 3.5 yards per carry. However …

The secondary and linebacking corps could need a little bit to get going. Owen Pappoe is back after missing most of last season from his spot in the middle of the linebacking corps, and the rotation will fill in around him.

Most of the key guys in the secondary have to be replaced around veteran safety Zion Puckett – CB Roger McCreary and S Smoke Monday are the biggest losses. This group got ripped up at times last year and didn’t hold up well enough in several clutch moments, but that’s life in the SEC. The passing game are just that good.

 
 
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I could possibly agree if we shored up depth in the portal. Our first strings may be decent, but our depth is Vandy level. We'll have walk-ons in the EDGE two deep if we don't add anyone, which I'm starting to think we're not

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This article doesn’t really paint a fair picture. 
 

Yes the QB situation needs to be figured out. But that’s a huge part, and even if we settle on a starter, we don’t seem to have a ton of talent in the 3 guys we have.

RB is great, but they can only go as far as the Oline will take them.

He barely mentioned Oline, and when he did, he said that it should be a positive. Based on what? 
 

WR is 50/50 and can only go as far as the QB will take them (see my comment on our QB’s.)

TE is great and should be the best unit we have on offense.
 

I agree with him on the defense, but we have very little quality depth. 

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2 hours ago, AuCivilEng1 said:

This article doesn’t really paint a fair picture. 
 

Yes the QB situation needs to be figured out. But that’s a huge part, and even if we settle on a starter, we don’t seem to have a ton of talent in the 3 guys we have.

RB is great, but they can only go as far as the Oline will take them.

He barely mentioned Oline, and when he did, he said that it should be a positive. Based on what? 
 

WR is 50/50 and can only go as far as the QB will take them (see my comment on our QB’s.)

TE is great and should be the best unit we have on offense.
 

I agree with him on the defense, but we have very little quality depth. 

Outside of bigsby, we don't have anything special at RB. Someone may prove themselves, but only tank is exciting. 

 

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2 minutes ago, ThurstontheWelshCorgi said:

really? Hunter seems very capable and exciting to me.. more capable than tank sometimes tbh

Hunter is definitely talented but Tank is easily the most talented back. Once Auburn got into SEC play Hunter hit that freshman wall and was almost non existent other than the LSU game 

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3 minutes ago, Sizzle said:

Hunter is definitely talented but Tank is easily the most talented back. Once Auburn got into SEC play Hunter hit that freshman wall and was almost non existent other than the LSU game 

I don't doubt that tank is more talented and athletic but hunter brings a certain level of pain that lacks with tank -- I honestly can't remember how hunter did in sec play so I'll take your for it but an average of 7 yards a carry is pretty serious.

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27 minutes ago, ThurstontheWelshCorgi said:

really? Hunter seems very capable and exciting to me.. more capable than tank sometimes tbh

Hunter did jack against quality opponents.  Of his 600 yards, 300 we're against the 3 cupcake teams. His LSU statline is skewed by one big run. Without that 44yarder, he is a 4.0 average down from 10.8. Against sec opponents, he averaged 3.5 yards. Take out the skewed LSU game and he is at 2.5 against sec opponents. 

He showed flashes, but wasn't a true threat. Don't be surprised to see him as rb3 by season end. 

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40 minutes ago, Sizzle said:

Hunter is definitely talented but Tank is easily the most talented back. Once Auburn got into SEC play Hunter hit that freshman wall and was almost non existent other than the LSU game 

Tank's a beast but gotta improve his vision and patience. If he does that watch out 

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12 minutes ago, GunsmithAU said:

Hunter did jack against quality opponents.  Of his 600 yards, 300 we're against the 3 cupcake teams. His LSU statline is skewed by one big run. Without that 44yarder, he is a 4.0 average down from 10.8. Against sec opponents, he averaged 3.5 yards. Take out the skewed LSU game and he is at 2.5 against sec opponents. 

He showed flashes, but wasn't a true threat. Don't be surprised to see him as rb3 by season end. 

Lol, you don't think he can improve? He's absolutely a home run threat, and if Kiesau and Harsin are smart they'll find ways to get him the ball in space. And let's remember, this dude was a 3 star last minute pull that many didn't think would do jack last year. You think Sean Jackson or Alston's taking RB2 from him? Lol

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1 minute ago, au302 said:

Lol, you don't think he can improve? He's absolutely a home run threat, and if Kiesau and Harsin are smart they'll find ways to get him the ball in space. And let's remember, this dude was a 3 star last minute pull that many didn't think would do jack last year. You think Sean Jackson or Alston's taking RB2 from him? Lol

I never said he couldn't improve, just pointed out that his statline is very poor against quality opponents. He was a best available backup, last minute oh s*** we need a guy type recruit. He isn't bad but he isn't great. 

 

And yes I do think Alston takes over as 2. 

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25 minutes ago, GunsmithAU said:

I never said he couldn't improve, just pointed out that his statline is very poor against quality opponents. He was a best available backup, last minute oh s*** we need a guy type recruit. He isn't bad but he isn't great. 

 

And yes I do think Alston takes over as 2. 

That's fair. We'll see. Serious question, would you trade him for Armoni Goodwin if you could? He was a lot higher rated

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2 minutes ago, au302 said:

That's fair. We'll see. Serious question, would you trade him for Armoni Goodwin if you could? He was a lot higher rated

In a heartbeat. He didn't get many touches last year, but i think his ceiling is much higher. His HS tape shows everything you look for in a back. 

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1 hour ago, Sizzle said:

We have SOME talent but overall it’s not a talented roster IMO. The DL and RB should be good but everything other than that the talent is thin 

Don’t sleep on tight end group.

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4 hours ago, ThurstontheWelshCorgi said:

I don't doubt that tank is more talented and athletic but hunter brings a certain level of pain that lacks with tank -- I honestly can't remember how hunter did in sec play so I'll take your for it but an average of 7 yards a carry is pretty serious.

Numbers definitely skewed by OOC games and LSU.

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6 hours ago, ThurstontheWelshCorgi said:

I don't doubt that tank is more talented and athletic but hunter brings a certain level of pain that lacks with tank -- I honestly can't remember how hunter did in sec play so I'll take your for it but an average of 7 yards a carry is pretty serious.

You can’t remember how he performed in SEC play because he was nonexistent. He started off hot but that was mostly against inferior opponents. The better the competition, the more he didn’t show up. That Arkansas game specifically was bad but he was a true freshman, stuff happens 

6 hours ago, au302 said:

Tank's a beast but gotta improve his vision and patience. If he does that watch out 

Yeah his vision could definitely be better but so could our OL so it’s not surprising he tries to bounce things as much as he does. 

4 hours ago, toddc said:

Don’t sleep on tight end group.

You’re right. Forgot about them

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5 hours ago, GunsmithAU said:

I never said he couldn't improve, just pointed out that his statline is very poor against quality opponents. He was a best available backup, last minute oh s*** we need a guy type recruit. He isn't bad but he isn't great. 

 

And yes I do think Alston takes over as 2. 

Can’t agree with this. You’re starting to underrate Hunter a little bit now. If Hunter is healthy I highly doubt a true freshman takes his spot especially since Hunter is power and speed which we need. Alston is more finesse

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8 hours ago, GunsmithAU said:

Outside of bigsby, we don't have anything special at RB. Someone may prove themselves, but only tank is exciting. 

 

🤡

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8 minutes ago, Didba said:

🤡

I like Hunter, but he is not proven against quality competition. I think he can be very good, but the jury is out (haha, lawyer talk for you). 

After that, we have nothing proven. It's a thin group. Not our thinnest, but thin. 

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7 minutes ago, cbo said:

I like Hunter, but he is not proven against quality competition. I think he can be very good, but the jury is out (haha, lawyer talk for you). 

After that, we have nothing proven. It's a thin group. Not our thinnest, but thin. 

Is that on hunter or the poor run blocking against SEC opponents? little bit of A. little bit of B

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8 hours ago, Sizzle said:

Can’t agree with this. You’re starting to underrate Hunter a little bit now. If Hunter is healthy I highly doubt a true freshman takes his spot especially since Hunter is power and speed which we need. Alston is more finesse

RB is one if the easiest positions for a TFr to come in and get playing time. If Alston shows he is a better runner, he will get snaps over Hunter. 

I don't underrate hunter, i also just don't overrate him. He thus far has shown potentional to be good, but is currently just a serviceable no.2

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