Scattered thoughts from last night's game between Auburn and West By-God ...
-- This was the second time Auburn has built a big first-half lead, then lost it after halftime (LSU was the first). Unlike the LSU game, however, Auburn didn't lose this game necessarily because the other team just played outstanding -- WVU gashed the Teagle defense in the second half, and Auburn tackled like they hadn't practiced it during their bye week at all. They did figure out some things that would work for them offensively, but fell into that disturbing pattern they've had for the last two seasons, in which they move the ball effectively early, grab a lead and then basically go into the tank for the rest of the game. Let there be no doubt: when the 'Eers went up 10 in the fourth, the game was basically over.
-- On the other side, West Va. basically did the opposite of Auburn, coming out with a head-scratching game plan centered around Pat White throwing the ball (???) before reverting to running the option with Devine and White and giving them chances to use their speed. I wouldn't have believed that kind of game would cause Auburn to back up the way it did. Shows what I know. While we're here, the last Moutaineer TD -- the zone read to Devine -- was an example of Pat White's intelligence and maturity as a QB: he read Auburn's defensive alignment, shifted Devine to the opposite side of the formation and then ran the play to perfection. Impressive. I'm willing to re-think the whole "Bill Stewart can't coach a championship team" thing.
-- Tommy Tuberville keeps taking subtle shots at Tony Franklin through the press. During last night's pre-game -- I was listening to it on the way home -- he said something to this effect: "We want to run the ball and establish a good line of scrimmage -- the last 6-7 weeks we've been putting our quarterbacks in positions that kids who haven't played much don't need to be in."
You get the idea. He does that a lot, and it's pretty clear the implication.
-- The bigger picture: Auburn suddenly looks like a team that will struggle to reach Shreveport. Remaining on the schedule: at Ole Miss, vs. UT-Martin, vs. UGA, at Alabama. All of those games look loseable except for Martin (Homecoming). And there's something else -- my cousin Jamie sent me the following text message: "Never have I seen a team so cursed again winning. Best the off. has played = worst def. has played."
Well, who does that sound like? Answer: Alabama in 2000 (or 2003, whatever). Sometimes everything converges in a perfect storm of bad -- poor coaching, a few bad breaks, an injury here or there -- and eventually it seeps into the team's (and the fans') consciousness, with everybody ready to jump ship at the first sign of trouble (the opposite of 2004 for Auburn, if you will).
Let's hope that's not the case -- I have no vested interest in seeing Auburn fail. But that trip to Ole Miss suddenly looks like a make-or-break moment for Auburn's season.
Wait, this is supposed to be a "Lost" post, isn't it?
And you're right: it is. While searching for the connections that might help us better understand this complex program. And what I found was this site, through ABC. There's also this blog, with a very similar vein.
Please discuss amongst yourselves.