Friday, September 21, 2007

A conversation with Captain Sunshine

With more than nod towards Dan Loney's superior Captain Bringdown columns.

Seems Auburn fans have been just a wee bit low lately. It's understandable, seeing as how the senior QB who carried our hopes and dreams in his arms just lobbed them towards a triple-covered receiver off his back foot, how our defenders have been dropping like flies competing in a dropping contest, how both of Auburn's losses have come at home and the second to a team with the "You Could Be a Bulldog For a Day!" sweepstakes winner playing most of the game at quarterback. It's enough to make any Tiger fan sing the orange-and-blues.

So I thought I'd try to do my part to cheer Auburn fans up. Not sure how well it's going to work, but with me today anyways to discuss Auburn's problems and maybe help ease a few of us back from the ledge is a special guest, the champion of turning frowns upside down, writer of the song Mr. Brightside and Vice President of the international Optimist's Club, Captain Sunshine. Welcome, Captain Sunshine.

CS: It's marvelous to be here! Your blog has an unlimited future and will soon be name-dropped on international football and basketball broadcasts. The children of Taiwan will send you birthday cards! I'm not sure about the black, though ... don't you think a green background with yellow spots would be better? It would remind people of a sunny field full of daisies!

JCCW: I'm kind of attached to ... Look, Captain Sunshine, this may have been a bad idea. But Auburn fans have really been down in the dumps this week after what happened against Miss. St. and seeing a bunch of our own alleged fans act like classless baboons. Do you have any advice for us? Any reasons we shouldn't feel so sad?

CS: Start with your wonderful coach! He was 35-5 in his last 40 games before losing one game in overtime to a top-25 team and another where his team was nine yards away from the win despite turning it over five times in each game. That's the kind of record Gandhi or a mother bear protecting her adorable cubs would have had if they had been coaching a college football team! Plus, he has the hearing of a bat!

JCCW: Um, right. You know Gandhi drank his own ...

CS: (interrupting) And now that his team has had so many mean things said about them and written about them, he's going to come out fighting like a bunny rabbit!

JCCW: A bunny rabbit? Can't we just say "rabbit"? Sorry, but using the word "bunny" to describe our coach isn't going to make me more confident about Saturday.

CS: Yes, a bunny rabbit! Remember the book Watership Down? When threatened, bunny rabbits can use their sharp claws, powerful hind legs, and long incisors to inflict painful, bloody wounds on potential predators and enemies!

JCCW: I do remember that book. Ended with a big fight inside the good rabbits' "warren" between, um, Bigwig and the evil General Woundwort. They were clawing each other's eyes out and stuff. Pretty awesome, actually.

CS: It was awesome! And that's how Tommy Tuberville will have his team defend their beautiful home this week! Remember when they beat Tennessee after that awful-wawful start in 2003? Remember when they beat No. 1 Florida with hilariously klutzy Daniel Cobb at quarterback after being blown out by Syracuse in 2002? It will be joyful to see, unless you are a fan of New Mexico St., and even they can take comfort that merry victory comes to all teams in time!

JCCW: Not sure about that last part, but you might have a point. Tubby's teams have been better with their backs to the wall. But this team doesn't look anywhere near as good as those other teams you mentioned. Why should we feel any confidence about them?

CS: Your offensive line has already grown so much in just three weeks, like Jack's magic beanstalk, but with Oprah giving away cars on top! From five sacks week 1 to two each of the last two weeks, and yards-per-carry up from 1.7 to 3.6 to 4.7! And they're so young, they'll only get better and better! It'll be like Make Way for Ducklings, but the adorable ducklings will be plowing opposing defenders into the dirt! Make way, make way!

JCCW: I think Dunlap's and Hart's injuries might hurt more than you think, though admittedly it's not like they'd been tearing it up to this point regardless (though we should express some sympathy for Hart, whose senior season and career are probably over and who will never shed his "bust" tag. Sorry, Leon.) I also like the idea of Lee Ziemba pancake-blocking in a duck suit too much to argue. But the injuries are even worse on the other side of the ball. Of our top six linebackers coming out of the spring, four are gone and only one of our projected starters will be available for, hell, what looks like weeks.

CS: Is the beautiful terror of Quentin Groves still available? Is Pat Sims still playing like a cuddly teddy bear possessed by a nightmarish tackle-for-loss demon? Is Chris Evans still flying around from tackle to tackle the way a swallowtail butterfly does when bent on unholy vengeance?

JCCW: Swallowtails can be bent on unholy vengeance?

CS: In certain cases, yes, they can get their charming antennae bent way out of shape, so to speak.

JCCW: Well, I guess I would say yes.

CS: Then your cup of hope overfloweth like a glass of Coke poured too quickly by the stunningly-cute offspring of two of People's 50 Most Beautiful People! Perhaps the defense will not scale the full heights of the Big Rock Candy Mountain you had dreamed of when the season began, but they can still draw close to the summit!

JCCW: Great, now I'm going to have that song in my head all day. Look Captain Sunshine, this is all well and good, but when it boils down to it we're not going to be able to do anything if we don't have a quarterback. And we don't have one. Burns isn't ready to do anything dependably but run, there's no way Caudle's up to speed yet, and Cox is as dependable and stable as Lindsay Lohan the day after St. Patrick's Day at this point.

CS: Your metaphors may be promising but they should be cheerier, and less dependent on easy-joke starlets, talented as they may have been at one time! Because in your diversity of quarterbacks, you have strength. Just as a pod of the most delightful dolphins can destroy a shark by stabbing it with their snouts, so the ability of Burns and whichever strong-armed quarterback is available will keep the defense off-balance and ripe for a marvelous snout-stabbing!

JCCW: Sounds nice, but this sort of thing works only on very, very rare occasions. Just because Florida managed last year doesn't mean a thing for us.

CS: Have you lost faith in the genius of Al Borges so quickly? He is as round and jolly as Santa Claus, but much, much smarter! If he was in charge of a toy shop, he'd have moved it out of the North Pole and into a major manufacturing and shipping hub like Gary, Indiana long ago, cutting costs and increasing profit! With Burns's rapid improvement, the many, many tools and skilled workers he will have at his disposal will make Auburn's offense more productive than even the most efficient of elvish workshops! Ho ho!

JCCW: Maybe. We'll see. I guess I can see your reasons for optimism, Captain Sunshine, but we had most of these at the start of the season, too, and that was before Cox broke down and the injury bug really hit and, well, we lost to Mississippi St. I have a terrible feeling about New Mexico St. Their offense is good enough to score at least a few points no matter what Auburn does, and who knows what's going to happen when we have the ball? I'd like to think the Tigers could push them around, get Tate and Fannin and Burns some running room, then come back with some play-action or a series or two with Cox. But even against NMSU it's going to take a lot more execution, with a lot more consistency, than we've shown this season. And if the turnovers continue, forget it.

If Auburn loses this one, people are going to start talking seriously about removing Tuberville, and that's only going to make things worse and worse. And don't even get me started on how I'll feel if Bama beats Georgia at the same time. Thanks for the attempt, Captain Sunshine, but I think I'm not going to feel much happier unless we get a win.

CS: Perhaps. But what has always been the single biggest, nastiest, most wonderful complaint for you, and for most Auburn fans, under Tuberville?

JCCW: The biggest one? Well, that sometimes his teams just haven't shown up. That whn they're playing teams they think they ought to beat easily, they don't give a full effort.

CS: Has that been the problem this season?

JCCW: This year? No, actually. It hasn't. I can't say I've thought at any point they weren't giving it everything they've had. Even Cox. And the effort on defense has been tremendous, in fact.

CS: And you cannot take some measure of pride in that? That the single biggest problem you would have had with Auburn's coach entering these three games has been at least temporarily solved, and you still feel utterly disappointed? You know, there are many, many, many teams whose terrific and baby seal-like fans cannot say the same, who cannot look at their team and say that they feel they have given a complete effort at all times. You know, it only takes 16 muscles to smile at the fact that Auburn has given it their all, but it takes 84 to boo at the top of one's lungs!

JCCW: You know, what, Captain Sunshine? That's a great point. As long as Tubby hasn't lost his team, as long as this team hasn't quit, we should be proud of our boys' dedication even when they're playing like diseased lemurs. Not happy, I guess, but not completely unhappy, right?

CS: Just a spoonful of respect for the splendiferous effort can make the medicine of defeat to MSU go down!

JCCW: I wouldn't go so far as "splendiferous," but I get it, that's your thing. And I reserve the right to bite the heads off of animal crackers in fury and throw breakable items off my balcony if Auburn loses again Saturday, but assuming they take the Aggies seriously I'll try to keep their effort in focus. Thanks for stopping by, Captain Sunshine. So where you off to next, Notre Dame?

CS: Even my powers will have no traction there, so black and bleak has that cesspool of decay become! Plus, Charlie Weis told me personally he would stuff my cape down my throat if I ever showed up at his office again! Even I hope they finish 0-12! Until next time, enjoy this beautiful day! Ta-ta!

JCCW: It's raining, but whatever. See you later, Captain Sunshine.

1 comment:

Drew said...

I'm an idiot and meant to comment on this post, not the previous one. Captain Sunshine made me LOL. Anyway, this made me laugh too, so I thought I'd share.