Happy Labor Day. We’ve survived another summer. With the move from St. Louis, the kids had a few extra weeks. Now it’s officially coming to an end as they head out to their new schools tomorrow. I’m looking forward to some semblance of a routine again, specifically the kids going to bed early!
Football marks the official end of summer to me. Cooler temperatures, hot grills, hickory smoke, cold beverages… this is my favorite time of the year. We had a mini celebration this weekend with Auburn’s first game. We’re looking forward to many more this season.
Expectations are high on the Plains and with the new sensation at quarterback it’s clear why. A second year of the same offense with no coaching turnover is nearly a luxury at Auburn. The critically acclaimed recruiting classes of the last two seasons are also new for our program. Usually we pride ourselves on getting the “value” guys. Although the program has had its fair share of NFL talent, it’s nice to have the publicity in recruiting.
It’s clear the recruiting has paid off in having guys that swarm around the ball. The receiving group is now poised to make a monster impact now that there’s a QB that can get them the ball. Cam Newton’s SportsCenter highlights will push Auburn’s PR effort over the edge. Not since Bo Jackson has Auburn had the kind of player that has the potential to transcend the game.
After Saturday’s matchup with Arkansas State, I’m pleased to see we continue to land quality running backs. Michael Dyer looked strong, real strong. He seemed to find holes that the other’s had trouble with, or was it the time and the call that worked to his advantage? The Dyer vs. Marcus Lattimore comparison will be interesting when the Tigers play the Gamecocks later this month.
Defensively and on special teams there is speed, plenty of it. The young guys just need awareness and technique on defense to become great. Hopefully veterans Zac Etheridge and Aairon Savage can provide leadership on the field to keep the young guys calm. However after coming back from injuries, these guys too are looking for consistency.
I don’t have any big observations that differ from many of the Auburn blogs. Here’s a couple thoughts ringing in my mind though:
- Easy schedule. You kidding me?! Many experts say that Auburn has the easiest road to the SEC West title. I don’t think so. Arkansas’ offense will be improved. Mississippi State is improved. South Carolina may be undefeated when they visit the Plains. Kentucky will be no push over in Lexington. The rivalry games can go either way. The only sure fire win is Alabama.
- The defense stinks. Nah, the defense can play when prepared, motivated, and focused. Case in point: the Iron Bowl of last year. Consistency and leadership is what is needed most. It doesn’t help when a leading tackler gets suspended from game play.
- Gene Chizik and his staff have the potential to build Auburn into a top tier program. I’m not proclaiming Chizik the best ever but one thing’s clear to me: he has more urgency to achieve a standard of excellence than those before him. To fill the seats each week – not just fill but sell out season after season – Auburn will require more change. Are they ready?
So here’s another fun item to think about… I was so excited about the upcoming season I ran out and bought NCAA 2011. I ran through the first season in about two weeks (anyone got a tip on how to recruit?). In the game, Cam Newton left Auburn early to go pro before season two.
Back in the real world I have to wonder, is Cam a two year starter or only here for the next step? Regardless, we’ll enjoy every minute.
War “Cam” Eagle everyone! Cheers to the season.