Thank God Its A Labor Day Weekend

I swiped this photo from Christina Turner’s blog, Turner Loose.  She posted it late last night after Auburn’s victory over Kansas State as she felt it symbolic of the defensive battles of the night.  It did turn out to be just that, which surprised the heck out of me.

One thing is for sure, this is not the same Kansas State that routinely gave up 30+ points to Big 12 opponents in 2006.  These guys have definitely improved on that side of the ball.  And the K State QB?  Hats off that guy.  He played his heart out.

I sure hope I’m not turning into one of those Auburn fans who expect perfection.  About mid-way through the third quarter I became very agitated at our QB play and the offense’s inability to move the ball.  I knew all along that there were three first time starters on the line (one a true freshmen).  I just didn’t expect this Brandon Cox to be the same Brandon Cox of 2006.  It certainly looked that way to me last night.

Cox is so darn calm and relaxed, it doesn’t appear there is any sense of urgency about him.  He seems to have a posture of “oh well, I threw an interception.  That’s ok the defense won’t let us down.”  Ok, when you’re playing an inferior opponent that can’t get it into the end zone.  Not ok when you’re between the hedges.

I hate to compare Cox to Jason Campbell but you can’t help it when Campbell was the last 5th year senior to start for the Tigers.  Campbell played with an enormous chip on his shoulder, like there was always something to prove.  He walked onto the field every game in 2004 with the objective of taking it to the opponent on every play.  As a result the entire team played that way – take no prisoners and expect nothing less.

I don’t see that in Cox.  He plays long-term.  In other words, “we can make the drive at the end of the game to win it, we don’t need to do it all now.”  And the offense plays that way.  3 and out?  “ok, we’ll have another series.”  Auburn was fortunate last night.  They won’t be fortunate too many more times.  There will be more games like the Arkansas and Georgia from last year if they continue to play with this attitude.

But hand it to Cox.  He got knocked down and injured his shoulder.  He came back and rallied the team.  Perhaps it was the hit and he got angry.  Perhaps it was a coach telling him he would continue to take licks like that unless he stepped up.  Whatever it was, praise Jesus.  The drive that produced the go ahead score had the sense of urgency that reminded me of 2004.  Let’s see if the lesson is learned and these guys produce the kind of results we know they are capable of next week.  The media won’t give us much of that chance.

Defensively I thought most of the mistakes were first game jitters.  Missed interceptions and coverage can be corrected in practice.  For the most part it looks as though this defensive unit has the ability to be one of Auburn’s best.  Of course, SEC opponents especially on the road are an entire different animal.

War Eagle everyone and happy Sunday.  We’re using today to see another Air Show and rest up after last night.  Tomorrow will be spent just resting up in general.  Oh by the way, my ribs and chicken were superb.  Sorry to play with your emotions with the picture from yesterday.

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