AUBURN, Ala. – I need your help.
I want to do more of these mailbags, which will be comprised of e-mail and Twitter questions. We can’t really call it a ‘mailbag’, though, since I’ve yet to receive an actual piece of snail mail evaluating something I wrote or commenting on the Auburn football team. (And that’s fine. Don’t waste your postage. It’s 2012.)
But ‘Twailbag’ just sounds … weird, doesn’t it? What about ‘Twemail”? Or ‘Twitbox’? Yeah, these are all awful. Forget I said anything.
So, I need suggestions for what to name this segment. I also need you to keep those good questions coming. I’ll only attribute questions to Twitter handles and e-mailers’ first names to protect anonymity.
One idea that maybe I’ll ponder for the 2013 season, but I need total permission from the blogging higher-ups (since we’re newspaper-affiliated): a Sunday follow-up piece in a running diary style, complete with gameday tweets from myself and my followers. I think that could be pretty interesting.
Anyway, here we go.
Obviously a popular opinion. How many true freshmen do you know who could master a collegiate offense? Not to mention, one that’s a first-year pro-style installment which even the veterans are struggling to learn? We don’t need to be so quick to put poor Jonathan Wallace through baptism by blowtorch. Now that Clint Moseley’s healthy, he’s a viable backup … or maybe even starter, depending on what the coaching staff decides within the next day or two. J-Wall might provide better results than Kiehl Frazier in the long-run, seeing as both players were used similarly their freshman years. But as we saw with Moseley Saturday, a quarterback change didn’t have much effect even against a porous defense. Wallace might be better than we think, but Cam Newton ain’t walking through that door.
Do you go down to Auburn to interview the coaches etc? If yes, do you sense there is a panic in the air?
Rob sent this on Sept. 17, after the unconvincing overtime win over Louisiana-Monroe. (And I actually live in Opelika, a short drive to the athletic complex, while commuting to Columbus every now and again.)
I didn’t sense panic after the ULM game … relief’s a better word. I didn’t sense panic after the LSU defeat … encouragement and optimism are better words.
Yesterday? Yeah, I’d go with panic. Seniors are feeling the heat. Regardless of what Gene Chizik or Scot Loeffler or Trooper Taylor or anyone else says, the coaches have to as well.
Avery Young had his ups and downs (remember the Clemson second-effort block, springing Emory Blake’s 54-yard playaction TD?) and he lost his starting job. Chad Slade has had his ups and downs, and he’s in there at right guard for now. It would sure seem puzzling if right tackle Patrick Miller keeps his spot after Saturday’s troubles. Chizik’s a caring cat who won’t throw his players under the bus, hence calling out the offensive line Sunday without naming names, but Miller was the weak link Saturday. Christian Westerman would be one guy to consider giving an opportunity in Slade, but the guess here is Slade’s experience keeps him in line.
Chelsa Messinger of WLTZ NBC 38 in Columbus put forward a spot-on theory this weekend: you need a good pocket passer and bullish offensive line to execute Loeffler’s system.
The reason a pro-style system works in the pros is most NFL teams have exactly that recipe. So until Auburn’s quarterback (whoever it is) has the wherewithal and quick decision-making required to run Loeffler’s offense – and it doesn’t help when a normally sturdy O-Line puts up stinkers like Saturday – either the Tigers have to change their schemes, or settle for what looks like a 3-9, maybe 4-8 season.
Moseley overthrew Emory Blake on what would have been Auburn’s first touchdown, and the ball traveled 55 yards in the air. Shoulder’s fine. Coaches say he’s healthy enough to play the rest of the year.
Please join me in barking up that tree, which I’ve done for a few weeks now. But maybe this next e-mail helps with an explanation.
Perhaps Frazier doesn’t run because he doesn’t like to run. I got the below listed from your January archives. I logged this information in my memory banks. Maybe, just maybe, its not the coaches, but Frazier’s own unwillingness to run. Just because a player has all the tools doesn’t mean he wants to use them. Running the ball at Shiloh Christian is a bit different than running the ball in the SEC. Anyway…just food for thought.
“Following the decision by (Gus) Malzahn to insert (Barrett) Trotter in the game rather than let Kiehl Frazier run the entire offense, Frazier rushed for 55 yards and two touchdowns, but he would like a chance to run the full-fledged offense. “I really don’t like running the ball,” Frazier tweeted after the game. “Wish I could throw it. Whatever gets us a win though.””
Obviously I wasn’t here for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against Virginia, but Joel was, and that’s excellent attention to detail. Good on Stan to remember it, too. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t like running the Wildcat, I just get hit head-on like a running back” … and another to have an aversion to moving around out of the pocket. That’s the way the college game is today: very rarely do you see statues succeed, no matter how good their arm is. (Ask Zach Mettenberger about this.) Look, West Virginia’s Geno Smith isn’t a tuck-it-and-run guy, but he’s mobile, so he can extend plays and that’s why he’s putting up stupendous numbers.
I’m planning to put together a piece later in the week comparing Frazier to another SEC sophomore quarterback at a school with a first-year OC. (You can be savvy and figure out who it is.)
By the way, Frazier deactivated his Twitter account a few days before the season began. Thought it was a smart move at the time, to remove distractions. Looks like a genius decision now, eh?
@wareagleextra I just haven’t seen a leader step up. Show it on the field! Team looked deflated from the start. No Alpha leader.
I’ve heard this complaint a ton this fall. You have your vocal leaders (Lutz, T-Bell, Moseley) and you have your lead-by-example guys (Blake, Daren Bates, Corey Lemonier), but there’s not really a ‘heart’ of the team in the form of one or two guys doing both of those things. Probably hasn’t helped along the journey these first six weeks.
Why wasn’t Prosch in there blocking instead of (Tre) Mason? It makes no sense and that is on Loeffler too. Prosch not in there blocking when Miller was having so much trouble applies to a lot of other plays too by the way.
Pro Football Weekly named Jay Prosch a first-team All-American fullback last year at Illinois. CBS’ Bruce Feldman listed him as one of college football’s ten athletic “Freaks”. Yet the guy gets on the field for maybe a half-dozen to dozen snaps per game. I’m not in those coaching meetings. But it’s puzzling, head-scratching, daunting, whatever adjectives you’d like to put on it. Chizik acknowledged Sunday night the Tigers need to look at Prosch’s playing time as part of an exhaustive evaluation this week.
@wareagleextra What do you find more annoying at a restaurant? Having the wait staff visit your table too often or not often enough?
That all depends. Don’t repeatedly bother me and my guest/family/date/whoever when we’re clearly in deep conversation. But when it’s time to settle up the bill and we’re ready to go, don’t disappear on us. I love treating my wait staff well both with courtesy and tips, but you gotta follow those few basic steps.
Hangover Part V, previewing Ole Miss, to be posted after dinner time. Talk to you guys soon.