AU’s D-Line: So, Does This Mean Pack it In?

In the run-up to the Clemson-Auburn game, the Eyes on Auburn blog noted this key to victory:

This game will be won or lost up front. We are better than Clemson in the trenches. Our defensive line should outplay every defensive line in the SEC minus LSU (however, we have more depth than LSU here) this season. Clemson’s OL is young, unproven and not ready for what will roll into the Georgia Dome. It should be the difference in the game. If our defensive front doesn’t harass Tajh Boyd all night and control the line of scrimmage against an inexperienced offensive line, pack it in for a long season.

First, I rolled my eyes big-time at the “our defensive line should outplay every defensive line in the SEC minus LSU.”  Really?  Folks like Phil Steele disagree a bit.  Steele listed five other SEC defensive fronts in his top 10 with no mention of Auburn’s.  Just sayin’.

Second, this extremely talented and deep Auburn defensive line got rolled by Clemson to the tune of 320 yards rushing.  Sure, not all of the 320 yards rushing can be blamed on the d-line, but things do start-up front.  And this was against CU’s inexperienced offensive line.  Here’s what Gene Chizik had to say about the bunch:

A four-man rotation at defensive tackle struggled at times Saturday, prompting coach Gene Chizik to say the group “has to significantly improve.”

I would agree.

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“We could have a true freshman start anywhere”

What’s the old saying about playing freshmen in the SEC?  Whatever it is Auburn, may get a dose:

** [True freshman] Alex Kozan, a guard who has seen plenty of time with Auburn’s first-teamers in scrimmages, said he is willing to let the coaches sort out who starts.

** Avery Young has been working exclusively at tackle, and mostly right tackle, given Greg Robinson’s stranglehold on the left side. Young, a true freshman, got some snaps with the first team during Saturday’s scrimmage.

** Fellow lineman[true freshman] Jordan Diamond has been moved all over as offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, but he’s settled mostly at guard. Diamond was working at left guard this season.

[Italics added]
I’m sure their situation is fluid as they sort out their depth chart, but, man, having to play three true freshmen on the offensive line would be brutal, regardless of how many stars they have.

 

Quarterback Battle on the Plains

For some reason, this battle doesn’t seem to have the same tone or intensity as the one in Tuscaloosa last year:

Moseley said he had to “throw through the pain” during Wednesday’s scrimmage in Jordan-Hare Stadium, but promised to carry on, leaving him in the same place as he was in the spring. He’s trying to learn a new offense while rehabbing his throwing shoulder.

Coach Gene Chizik didn’t hint who would be his starting quarterback when the day was done, but the immediate beneficiary of Moseley’s injury figures to be quarterback Kiehl Frazier, though neither Chizik nor offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler handed the keys to the offense to him when the scrimmage was over.
Too inconsistent, they said.
An Auburn quarterback throwing with a hurt shoulder.  Don’t we hear this every year?

Auburn Breathes a Sigh of Relief

Old news by now, I know, but Dabo manned-up and suspended Sammy Watkins for two games:

“I told Sammy this past May that there would be a high-end (number of games) and a low-end, and it would be up to him as to the length of his suspension,” Swinney said in a prepared statement. “He has done everything we have asked and then some, so the two-game suspension is the low-end. He just finished his responsibilities last week and I met with Bob Arial (Watkins’s lawyer) today to make sure everything had been completed properly.

“The game of football, or a game of football will never be more important to me than teaching young people important life lessons. I have learned that many times something that seems to be the worst thing that can happen to you can become the best thing. I know Sammy will learn from this and use this to make a difference in other people’s lives. I look forward to having number-two back on the field soon.”

Meanwhile, Auburn’s defense breathes a sigh of relief wishes they had another shot at Watkins:

“Aww, don’t tell me that. We want him to play, because you want the best players on the field,” said cornerback T’Sharvan Bell. “I’m kind of upset that you just told me that.”

I’m sorry, folks.  I have a hard time believing that.