Sunday, October 07, 2007

The "real" Auburn



The B'ham News's Charles Goldberg titled his blog post in the wake of Auburn's 35-7 blitzkrieg of Vandy "Is this the real Auburn?"

Not to get all Foucault n' Derrida n' stuff on you, but yes, the Auburn that took the field Saturday and blasted a talented Vandy team clear back to Nashville was the real Auburn. But so was the team that fell behind 10-0 and then tossed away a win with special teams and defensive line fiascoes at home vs. Miss. St. That was the real Auburn. As was the team that defeated the (accurately-rated, if you ask me) No. 4 team in the country on the road. As was the team that turned it over five times and could easily have another three times at home vs. South Florida. These are all the real Auburns.

Because this has been Auburn football at its most quintessential, ever since Tubby's first three games at the Tigers' helm in 1999 saw his team beat Appalachian St. and Idaho by a combined 14 points and then turn around and obliterate LSU 41-7 in Baton Rouge. Auburn is a world-beater on the perpetual verge of nationwide domination; Auburn is a sheep in wolf's clothing on the perpetual verge of self-immolation. Both these halves are part of Auburn football at all times; every game the Tigers have played this season has been the "real" Auburn.

The point of all this rambling? That I 100%, wholeheartedly encourage Auburn fans to enjoy Saturday's demolition to its maximum extent. I don't want to sell short 35-7 SEC wins over anyone, particularly when they occur mere weeks after a 19-14 Crooming. But the best reason to enjoy it (aside from the ammo it gives us to fling in the Tide's general direction) is because there's precisely zero guarantee good times like these are going to last any longer than the seven days between last Saturday and this Saturday, when Auburn will be favored against a talented-but-wounded Arkansas team playing for its not insubstantial pride. Auburn could win by 20. They could lose by 30. And either result will be--and feel--just as real as this week's.

Not enough time this weekend (sorry) to spit out a recap, but here's a few choice bits from the JCCW's game-time notebook:

--Welcome back, Brad Lester. Like the fried catfish at the backwoods diner you return to on a trip to your hometown years later, you're just as good as we remembered.

The best part? That Lester's return seems to have sparked a preemptive response from Ben Tate, who ran with an authori-TAY that seems damn near night-and-day difference from his adequate but uninspiring plodding vs. Kansas St. Add in that Fannin seems to having tough-actin' Tinactin'd away that nasty rash of fumbling, and the AU tailback position finally appears to be the multi-headed, chain-moving, fear-inspiring Cerberus we expected in those halcyon days of July.

--Wes "Bad-Ass" Byrum kicked the ball out the back of the friggin' end zone from the 30. Four-year starters V****n and Bliss leave and Tubby simply replaces them with different, better four-year starters--at two of the singularly most difficult positions to recruit accurately. Unreal.

--How complete has Cox's resurgence been? He was even throwing on the run in the first half. Bring on the wing-ed pigs and Limbaugh's endorsement of Hillary '08, because clearly nothing's outside the realm of the possible now. That TD toss to Smith where he scrambled, for, like, longer than all his scrambles from 2006 combined? Swear on everything holy, right after that happens, I turn on the radio, and it's the Pope, and he's like "You know what? I was out at this bar last night and yeah, I'd had a few, and I get to talking to this girl and I guess she's pretty cute and all, and anyway, long story short, I think contraception maybe isn't such a bad idea after all." True story. (Yes, Evil Brandon resurfaced for a throw in the second half. Evil Brandon seems to surface much more often when the pressure's not on, so I'm not sweating it.)

--No one's going to accuse Robert Dunn of being "that fundamentally sound guy with the flypaper hands," so at least give him credit for so quickly developing a niche as "that guy who's skinnier than a tomato stake and still somehow breaks more tackles than video-game Jerome Bettis."

--On one hand, Vandy fans can be proud that Bobby Johnson coached like a man in the fourth quarter and went for TD's repeatedly instead of taking the coward's way out of shutout-spoilage with a field goal. On the other hand, where was that gumption when the 'Dores punted from Auburn's 35 on their opening possession? Of course it sailed into the end zone, of course the 'Dores gained a whopping 15 yards of field position out of it, and it wasn't so much "all downhill from there" as "all down the sheer side of K2 from there" for Vandy. Johnson seems like he has testicles; he shouldn't wait until the game is out of hand to apply them.

--Think it's noteworthy that not only was the Auburn D that toyed with the Vandy five-senior-returning-starters offensive line missing four starters, two of those starters were expected to be the two best players on the entire D this pre-season. The unofficial mascot of the Tiger defense must be the starfish; cut off Blackmon, and Chris Evans grows back in his place. Chop away Groves, and here's Antonio Coleman; lose Savage, and Zac Etheridge is ready to step in and play like the black Troy Polamalu. Muschamp's been phenomenal, obviously, but goodness Tubby got that cupboard so stocked it'd be a surprise if the door even closes ... assuming it was a real cupboard, I mean, and not a metaphorical cupboard filled with football players.

--Pick the preseason All-SEC third-team QB! Quarterback A: 14-17, 165 yds., 1 TD. Quarterback B: 5-16, 38 yds., 0 TD. Why, it's B, of course! I was a tad worried about Nickson karmically heating up after I nicknamed his arm "Dr. Misfire" Friday, but I think that's probably a much nicer thing to say about his arm than what I'm sure Vandy fans were saying. He was capital-B Brutal out there, and if I'm a 'Dore fan I'm seriously worried about why Nickson's improvement in the second half from last season has so entirely dissolved.

--Maybe, perhaps, I should hold off on making this kind of pronouncement. But really, I don't think it's too soon to call this no less than the greatest single class of offensive linemen ever recruited in the history of college football. (Of course, this optimism gets tempered a bit by the BOSLEY NOOOOOOOOOOOO! development, particularly if BOSLEY NOOOOOOOOOOOO! stretches into the end of the season.)

--I was remiss last week in not pointing you towards two excellent Vandy blogs out there, the Vandy Sports Line and Star and Stripe, both of which would probably have preferred I mentioned them before they had to start breaking down the wreckage of last Saturday. (For the record, as Vandy will never accept the slap-in-the-face of becoming a conference member in everything-but-football, as Will proposes, and they're too productive a member in other sports and of course on the academic front to let go, they're not going anywhere. Meaning the long tradition of the popular "Who should replace Vandy?" parlor game amongst fans of other SEC teams will continue unabated for the foreseeable future. I'm good with that.)

--If Tubby pulls even 9 wins out of this bunch--not likely, I wouldn't say, but given how winnable both ends of the Amen Corner looked last weekend, not a complete impossibility, either--it's going to make that 11-win season last year look like something L'Orgeron could have produced.

--Lastly, I was reminded of something important while watching the Lincoln broadcast: YOU ALWAYS WIN WITH DAUGHTRY.

YOU ALWAYS WIN WITH DAUGHTRY!

5 comments:

TideDruid said...

Saw Daughtry in Tuscaloosa Friday night. He was pretty good, although there was way too much distortion at times.

He seems to have this thing for a megaphone, which is strange.

J.M. said...

Fan-tas-tic blog entry. If we can walk into Arkansas' home this week and gut out a win I'll consider this season a complete success. I can't think of many other teams that could go to Florida and Arkansas and win. I'll be living in the clouds if we pull it off this week. War Eagle!

Joe Blow said...

I'm definitely enjoying this win! It was nice to see Auburn win, but even nicer that it didn't come down to the final seconds of the game.

RE: tidedruid

He's ripping Scott Weiland off with the whole megaphone thing.

Anonymous said...

    Oh, I wouldn't bother with my hometown paper's blogs. Scarbinsky, Melick, Goldberg, they have all drunk headily from the Saban-fountain spew.

    I like Phillip Marshall ok, although al.com's commenting system seems to be REALLY flaky. For the best Auburn writing, tune into this blog, and Track 'Em Tigers, and Turnerloose.

    War Eagle,
Acid Reign

Jerry Hinnen said...

I'm just happy Daughtry abandoned his first name. Classic. The megaphone thing works nicely, too.

Thanks for the kind words, AR. It's not just the commenting that's flaky at al.com's blogs--once a post scrolls off the main page for a given month, there's no way I can find to click to it again. The "archive"'s useless. Oh well.