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Auburn's Top 5s


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http://www.al.com/auburnfootball/birmingha....xml&coll=2

Auburn's Top 5

Sunday, August 27, 2006

TOP 5 PLAYERS:

1. Kenny Irons: Worthy heir to Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown. He's SEC's top rusher.

2. Brandon Cox: After a solid first season as a starting quarterback, Cox figures to only get better.

3. Will Herring: All-SEC safety slides down to linebacker, where his big hitting will be appreciated.

4. David Irons: New defense will free this cornerback to make big plays.

5. Karibi Dede: Experienced linebacker makes an impact.

TOP 5 STRENGTHS:

1. Running backs: Start with Kenny Irons and go to Brad Lester and beyond. Tigers run at least five deep here.

2. Quarterback: Brandon Cox's passing arm and knowledge of offense are a big plus.

3. Defensive line: Big and fast. Experienced middle clogs things up for defensive ends and linebackers.

4. Offensive line: Two big-time tackles are gone, but experience abounds with four seniors starting up front.

5. Punter: Kody Bliss and place-kicker John Vaughn return for their fourth year.

TOP 5 WEAKNESSES:

1. Wide receivers: Three 1,000-yard career receivers are gone and most new starters have barely played.

2. Defensive backs: All-SEC cornerback David Irons returns, but lots of newcomers must prove their worth.

3. Linebackers: Small and quick as usual, but unit starts season without much depth.

4. Center: Offense doesn't like it when Joe Cope doesn't play.

5. Dealing with expectations: Auburn's not always the best when starting a season with so much acclaim.

TOP 5 HARDEST GAMES:

1. LSU: SEC West showdown comes in third game of season.

2. Alabama: Toughest of the road games.

3. Georgia: Bulldogs should have a QB by Week 11.

4. South Carolina: A Thursday night trap?

5. Washington State: Auburn's recent history suggests reason for concern in season-opener.

TOP 5 EASIEST GAMES:

1. Buffalo: Bulls were 1-10 last year.

2. Arkansas State: And this isn't even homecoming.

3. Tulane: Poor Green Wave is homecoming fodder.

4. Mississippi State: Not close in the West.

5. Ole Miss: Short on talent.

TOP 5 SUDDEN IMPACTS:

1. Coaches: Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and linebackers coach James Willis bring youthful exuberance.

2. Tray Blackmon: Once the redshirt freshman linebacker serves his suspension, look out.

3. Tristan Davis: The fan-favorite tailback takes his shot at safety.

4. Carl Stewart: Former tailback finds happiness and yards as hybrid fullback.

5. Josh Thompson: Five bucks if you can knock over this 6-foot (maybe), 300-pounder who is taking over at noseguard.

TOP 5 CHANGES FROM LAST YEAR:

1. Where there's a Will: New defensive coordinator Muschamp comes from LSU, via Miami Dolphins, with a new approach.

2. Trading places: Will Herring and all his tackles go from All-SEC safety to All-SEC linebacker.

3. Missing from action: Wide receivers Devin Aromashodu, Ben Obomanu and Anthony Mix are gone.

4. Now that's good PR: Former part-time starting TE Cole Bennett is already All-SEC. And Tigers might even throw it to him.

5. Back to the future: Look for Auburn to return to 2004 two-tailback offense.

TOP 5 SUBPLOTS:

1. The hype: More than a subplot, this is the plot. Can Auburn live up to preseason expectations?

2. The long, long road ahead: 12 games without a break until the week before the SEC title game. Presumptuous?

3. Thanks for small favors: Tough games come at home, so schedule sets up a run at the SEC championship.

4. Taking the punishment: Can Auburn's small defense hold up?

5. Put me in, coach: Tigers will try to spread the wealth among running backs.

TOP 5 UNSUNG HEROES:

1. Brad Lester: Injury-plagued season opened door for Kenny Irons, but Lester is now healthy and wise.

2. John Vaughn: Take away last season's disaster at LSU, and you're talking about one of Auburn's best kickers ever. :thumbsup:

3. Tim Duckworth: Former noseguard should have big season on offensive line.

4. Kody Bliss: Good grief, he's already punted for 6,712 yards.

5. Robert Dunn: Wide receiver becomes big-time threat returning kicks.

TOP 5 MOST LIKELY FINAL RECORDS:

1. 11-1: Hey, Florida replaced Kentucky on the schedule.

2. 10-2: You try playing Georgia and Alabama back-to-back every year.

3. 12-0: On to the SEC Championship Game.

4. 9-3: Never schedule Washington State as an opener. Never.

5. 8-4: Nobody's happy here.

TOP 5 MOST LIKELY BOWL GAMES:

1. Sugar Bowl: Teams, time and place to be announced. :thumbsup:

2. Cotton Bowl: It's about time Auburn goes to Dallas.

3. BCS National Championship Game: Awkward name, big results on Jan. 8.

4. Outback Bowl: This trip to Tampa beats return trip to Capital One in Orlando.

5. Chik-fil-A Bowl: Never on Sunday. Compiled by News staff writer Charles Goldberg.

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3. Defensive line: Big and fast. Experienced middle clogs things up for defensive ends and linebackers.

Not sure about expierenced in the middle.

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Glad he mentioned Kody Bliss and John Vaughn. They're rarely mentioned but I do think they are two of our most valuable weapons. Thanks to Kody, we usually win games that become a battle of field position. And John Vaughn is usually a sure three points under 40-45 yards. It would not surprize me at all if John gets a chance to redeem himself in another tight battle with LSU this year, and is the difference in another close game with Georgia.

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Courtney Taylor > Karibi Dede. By a mile.

It is kinda strange that he omits Courtney from his list of top players. On the other hand, Karibi Dede's importance has grown significantly for the first 2-3 games because of injuries and suspensions at LB. (We aren't hurting for depth at receiver, just experience.) I expect Courtney will go higher in the draft at the end of his college days, though.
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4. Center: Offense doesn't like it when Joe Cope doesn't play.

WTH? We ran all over :ua: #2 D last year with Cope out....

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