Monday, November 21, 2011

New at Rivals: You Are What You Are

My Monday-morning Rivals column for the Samford game is up at  A preview:

Under normal circumstances, Homecoming gives a team a chance to get the starters a decent workout in the first half, then clear the benches all the way down to the waterboys by the fourth quarter, giving every long-suffering walk-on a chance to get at least a few snaps.

This being 2011, things didn't work out that way. Auburn never trailed against Samford, and was never in serious danger of losing the game, but played such lackadaisical and ugly football that the Tigers couldn't really declare victory and pull the starters until well into the fourth quarter. Coming after one of the most awful losses in the modern history of the program, it wasn't the kind of game to give AU fans a great deal of confidence for the season closer next week.

I could spend a few more paragraphs running down the issues in this team's roster, but the reality is, after eleven games, you are what you are. What Auburn is right now is, unfortunately, about what they were in the opener: mediocre and inconsistent. And while you can certainly point to holes at the "skill" positions (particularly at receiver and in the secondary), it still all starts and ends up front.

From the very first game against Utah State, the Tigers have struggled to win in the trenches, and with a few exceptions--the South Carolina game accounting for most of them--those struggles haven't yielded much success. Put bluntly, Auburn still has a lot of trouble blocking on offense, and a lot of trouble getting off of blocks on defense. That's not a great combination.
The rest is on the subscription side. Rivals is offering a free first month to new subscribers coming over from FTB.

I didn't write a column for the Georgia game; my mom passed away that Friday, and football hasn't been much on my mind since.

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