Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Works, revisionist history-style


No, we're not real happy, either.

One result of one's college football team playing Tennessee friggin' Tech (has anyone raised the possibility this is some sort of weird favor to Jeff Lebo?) is that it's not easy to come up with blogging material about that week's actual, you know, game. After Hey, did you know they're coached by Watson Brown? there's not much to say. Actually, I think the Lebo thing is about the extent of my Tech-related material. And that's frankly the way it should be; I feel it's my duty as a blogger to not dignify a "game" that's barely more significant than the hoops team's exhibition win yesterday over What Boise St.'s Famous For College (see, their real name is Bluefield, so, like, LOLZ!) that Auburn will nonetheless merrily charge full price for. Blecch. I don't think it's a coincidence that Jay, TWER, and myself have all been a little less, uh, prolific than we would normally be.

But there's always other topics. Like for instance, the guy who's picture is at the top of this post. Lots of Auburn fans have been pleading, pleading, to see this first precious year of Burns's eligibility not get flushed down the toilet on one (or less) quarterback draw a game so predictable various earthworms, house flies, centipedes, and Dennis Franchione see him enter the game and go "Well, gee, are they going to run a quarterback draw here? I'll be so shocked if they do." The Mobile Register nicely sums up Burns's efforts since NMSU in the first line of this article: Run right. Run left. Repeat.

But the piece makes a couple of points worth repeating, the first being that when people start throwing the same "Eh, just a running QB" accusations they tossed at Tebow this preseason at Burns in preseason 2008, remember that Burns aired it out on a regular basis in high school--just as (here we go again) Tebow did before Meyer turned him into a kind of alternate-universe Owen Schmitt.

Also, there's this quote from Tubby:
"A lot of people would say, 'Why did you play him?' But if you look six weeks ago, you know the reason why."
Yep. As desperately as I wanted to see Burns redshirt, Evil Brandon forced Tubby's hand. There was no sane way he could stay on the field after the USF game and the start of the Miss. St. game. And with Blake Field apparently going to see the field never under any circumstances and Neil Caudle hurt, Burns was the only option.

Which is why, when it's the final game of the 2010 season and Burns has played his final game for the orange-and-blue, I think the history books will record that the single biggest injury, suspension, off-the-field-that-went-awry for Auburn in 2007 was the shoulder knock to Caudle. With Caudle around and healthy, I wager Auburn's coaches give him a look, he does well enough to give Cox the necessary time on the bench (really, relatively solid as he was, was Burns so much better than, well, any decent QB recruit would have been?), and Burns is back for 2011. Maybe I'm wrong. But if Burns develops the way we all (the earthworms included) expect him to, I bet I'm not.

A surprising surplus is still a surplus. Jay G. Tate had some cool stuff this week on Groves's sorta-ballyhooed move to linebacker (which sorta basically amounts to him standing up rather than getting down into a stance) but also writes:
"LB Merrill Johnson is either hurt or in the doghouse. Johnson was a starter to begin the season, but coaches don't seem enthusiastic about getting him back on the field. Tuberville said the other day that Johnson is 100% healthy. Draw your own conclusions."
OK. My conclusion is this: you only get three starting linebackers. When Blackmon is healthy, that's one. Chris Evans has established himself as an unshakable No. 2. Tate doesn't seem high on Craig Stevens, but the defense's outing against Arkansas--the most impressive of the season--was fueled in part by Stevens's five solo tackles, behind only Blackmon. He wasn't exactly a force vs. LSU or Ole Miss, and it doesn't fully explain why Johnson didn't get a single play at LB vs. the Rebels, but the prevalence of the nickel means that an LB rotation doesn't have to be too deep and I'm not sure Stevens had played so badly to get benched just because Johnson was healthy again. Auburn has, essentially, four starting-quality linebackers and three spots. The hunch here is that Johnson plays himself back into the rotation this week.

Separated at birth. Couple of interesting pieces in the Plainsman recently, one of which must be read simply for the use of the adjective "pecuniary" (as well as a fascinating definition of "self-medication") and the other for the helpful information that "not just that the government did it and the Raptor Center did it" when it comes to the bald eagle finally getting off the endangered species list. (It wasn't just Auburn's Raptor Center acting alone? Are we sure?)

But honestly? I bring it up because Alabama Gov. Bob Riley was on hand for the eagle thing, and I have to point out the similarity between Riley:



and this Sullustan pilot from Star Wars (a relative of Nien Nunb, no doubt):



Uncanny! Big tip of the hat to my buddy Adam on this one.

Points of interest elsewhere. Have to say I'm a little surprised so, so many bloggers, pundits, fans, etc. are back on the Ohio St. Kool-Aid. Weren't all these exact same things being said about the Buckeyes last year? Weren't they all proven to be about the most misguided theory since spontaneous generation? Fool me once ...

Could not agree more with SMQ on Hawaii and I fully believe the Blogpoll at least keeping them down in the poll's nether regions rather than in--God help us all--BCS bowl-clinching position is proof all by its freaking lonesome it should replace the Harris Poll yesterday.

Lastly, I understand there's a game of some consequence going on in T-Town this weekend. I'm going to thoroughly enjoy watching said game because from the Auburn fan's perspective, this is your classic win-win situation: LSU wins, great, the SEC's still in the national title hunt and more importantly Alabama loses; Alabama wins, great, Auburn's still got an outside shot at Atlanta (Arkansas would have to beat LSU, decidedly not as unlikely as it looked before the Hogs obliterated the Rebs in Oxford and exactly the sort of insane thing Nutt would manage to do) and Alabama might come into J-Hare with the calm, casual feeling they've already gotten the important win out of the way. That'd be nice.

On another level, this game has made us all winners already, because a new (cougar-enhanced!) cover got added to the Bocephus Album Cover Worry Index.

Yes, that is Bjork chilling in J-Hare.



Bjork! The full story behind the pic's been up at the War Eagle Reader for more than a week, but I'll be damned if I let a post like that one go un-linked.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

with apologies to Iggy...
Squeaky Clean again!

Pat said...

This week's joy is unfortunately not in Jordan-Hare, but at Bryant Denny. I'll make the bold prediction of Alabama being publically humiliated by LSU in a blowout. JPW will throw 3 picks and the Bama D might as well be wearing 'kick me!' signs. Expect the spread in that game to exceed Auburn's over Tennessee Tech.

Gotta love it. WDE!

Richard said...

pat,
Bwhahahah, yes it will (Bammer vs. LSWho that is) (hehehehe). BTW, I think we'll find a way to look 'not too good' against TennTech. That game will almost be the football version of anti-matter.We just don't do well in games that the players and fans don't care about. Darn, I might be on to something there....

Acid Reign said...

    As is often the case, the Bama/LSU tilt is a no-lose situation, for me. My only regret is that I have to go to work before it will be over... The Auburn A-Day-II matchup SHOULD be over, unless Watson Brown takes us to quintuple overtime!

    Should Alabama pull the upset, we're back in the running for Atlanta, and a date with Tennessee. Mmm. Doesn't THAT sound delicious, our line and backs against Tennessee's powder-puff defense?

    LSU SHOULD win, but in this wacky season, you never know. LSU DOES have a penchant for self-destruction. They tried to give the game to us a couple of weeks ago, but were just too danged talented to pull it off. If they can just limit the mistakes, I think Bama will get a serious beat-down at home. Is that ever a bad thing?

    It has to help that Ryan Peril-oouxps is left at home. That guy, I think has his picture in the dictionary next to "happy feet." He was a liability to LSU every time he took the field against Auburn...

Jerry Hinnen said...

Anon, thanks.

I think it's fair to say LSU once again were "just too dang talented" to let themselves give away a game, but boy, they tried like the devil. Even Flynn got in on it. If Auburn had seen that version of him, they'd have won by 10 points. Up yours, Matt Flynn, now and forever.