Friday, September 26, 2008

Down, up

Let's be honest: after Auburn-LSU got the Gameday-plus-primetime pregame treatment and then the "another SEC classic!" postgame treatment, it's hard to imagine that the Spread Eagle isn't sitting pretty prominently in Chris Brown's mind when he writes at Smart Football that:
(T)his year's college football season has wowed me with the number of just awful spread teams. Now, there's some good ones: Florida has great talent, and just about every top team has some kind of "spread" element to their gameplan. But there's a ton of just awful spread teams. This topic deserves a much more in depth treatment, but the basic gist is what I forecast a few years ago: the offense just isn't an equalizer anymore, but instead more of an amplifier. If you have great athletes you can isolate them in space, but if you don't then you're just giving them one-on-one matchups they can't win and asking your quarterback to play perfect or you can't win.

I remain skeptical the spread has reached its saturation point in the SEC already when Auburn and Florida are the only upper-echelon programs that run it, but no doubt it's not the novelty it once was. More damning is the point about match-ups a bad spread team--Auburn--can't win. Sure, getting Robert Dunn and Brad Lester into space isn't a bad idea, but a guy like Rod Smith's better off running slants than bubble screens and there can't be much doubt Ben Tate would be better suited to plowing away behind a fullback rather than slipping through a crease on the zone read. To really make this work--and despite what I've written this week about Tony Franklin, I still believe it can--Auburn will need athletes that better suit the spread.

The good news is that one of those athletes appears to be on the way:

I really don't want to be "that guy" who foams at the mouth over his college football team's future players while simultaneously dismissing the team's current players, despite the fact they were, of course, the same ones "that guy" foamed over when they were recruits. Honestly, how excited can we be about a guru-approved prototypical spread quarterback when there's already a guru-approved prototypical spread quarterback on the roster and he hasn't seen the field in two games?

That said: Cotton's ascension from consensus raw-meat project to four-star, Elite 11 Spread Eagle Savior is nonetheless an indication that given Tubby and Co.'s prowess at recruit evaluation--aside from perhaps wideout--it's possible Auburn's going to find the athletes to make this work.

So, yes, "awful" might be an accurate assessment of the current version of the Spread Eagle. Yes, I'm far less confident about Franklin's ability to adapt to SEC defenses after watching him against Mississippi St. and LSU. But it's still ages too early to throw in the towel. This is our offense. This is the offense, barring a complete collapse, Auburn will run next year. We've still got reason enough to believe in it.

HTs to Blutarsky and TWER.


jrsuicide said...

i too feel gross and dirty getting excited about a highschool kid. wait, that came out wrong...anyways having too much faith in a program saving recruit is almost always a bad idea, that being said how can we not get a little twinkle in our collective eye over a 6 foot 5 QB with a pencil thin 'stache? the last one of those worked out pretty well.

Sullivan013 said...

It's hard not to get excited about the quality of talent lined up for next year's recruiting class. Auburn seems to be picking up athletes with incredible potential. Cotton (Campbell clone) and LaDarius Perkins (Rudi Johnson clone) are just two of a couple of dozen that have unbelievable numbers.

However, we are talking about an 18-year-old who still has eight more months of high school. No telling what could happen between now and then. If he pans out, great. If not, well, that's the breaks of recruiting.

Hopefully, it will work out. But just as likely, someone like Pybus will emerge and do just as well or better. You never know.

Sure is fun to watch, though.

Hostpph said...

As you know there are people that they always look to the bad side of things and they express it in their articles.