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Phil Paramore: Auburn must get better quick


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http://www.dothaneagle.com/content/gulfcoasteast/dea/sports.apx.-content-articles-DEA-2007-09-04-0010.html

By Phil Paramore

If clear-thinking Auburn coaches, players and fans were using their noodles in the aftermath of Saturday evening’s 23-13 Houdini escape over Kansas State, they likely arrived at several sobering conclusions. Yet for all their legitimate concerns, they could take solace in one of a precious few positives: Auburn isn’t Michigan.

Not that the two football teams are that far apart. Based on the sluggish performance Tommy Tuberville’s troops turned in against the Big 12’s Wildcats, it’s a good thing they weren’t facing the Southern Conference’s Appalachian State bunch that embarrassed the Wolverines to the point there is rampant speculation Lloyd Carr will step down at the end of the season.

We’ve all been there, done that with Tuberville. And before anyone pushes the panic button,

we’re talking one game here, a victory at that  the 34th such accomplishment in the last 39 outings. But to ignore the stark tell-tale signs of a ballclub that must improve in virtually every area is akin to the same mind-set Michigan surely had when Appy State came calling.

Here are a few key causes:

1. Offensive line  Anybody believe how critical it was to lose four starters now? The all-freshmen right side got annihilated by K-State, and to make matters worse, the only returning veteran, King Dunlap, had what coaches said was the worst game of his career. Five sacks, eight hurries, eight forced scrambles. That’s 21 bad results in 30 attempts.

2. Running back, wide receiver  Brad Lester may never take a snap. Plodding Ben Tate’s not the answer, at least not solely. Coaches say Mario Fannin wasn’t ready to pick up a blitz. When, pray tell, do they intend to instruct him in that art?

Meanwhile, with ’State stacking as many as nine men within four yards of the line of scrimmage, Auburn’s no-name receiving corps couldn’t generate enough separation to give poor punching bag Brandon Cox a chance to burn the Wildcats’ gambling plan.

3. Pass defense. Auburn made Josh Freeman look like Donovan McNabb. Yes, he’s big and talented. And Tim Tebow, Matt Stafford and Matt Flynn aren’t? Fact is, Auburn let the same guy who committed six turnovers in a 39-30 loss to Kansas in Week 12 last season complete 33 passes, most all of them on the same delay crossing pattern over the middle. Adjustments, anyone?

4. Overall coaching  Kansas State out-hit, out-hustled and generally out-played Auburn in every phase of the game. The only reason the ’Cats didn’t win is because they don’t yet know how against top-flight teams. That, and the indisputable fact Cox is as gutsy a play-maker as any Auburn quarterback to ever come down the pike. Not as talented maybe, but as tough as they come. Tuberville and Company simply have to get more out of the talent this roster purportedly owns.

Again, one game doesn’t comprise a season and nobody expected this edition to be world-beaters. But it’s hard to find anyone this side of Ann Arbor, Mich., that doesn’t realize if the Tigers don’t improve drastically, they have no chance to win the four grueling SEC road tests to come. Then again, they haven’t beaten Saturday foe South Florida yet.

Phil Paramore’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in The Dothan Eagle. He can be heard weekday mornings from 6 until 9 on AM 560 WOOF. He can be reached at www.woofradio.com.

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one of a precious few positives: Auburn isn’t Michigan

joke of the week, maybe the season

At least we aren't Michigan.

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I think the SEC will be surprised at the "Big East Speed" that we will show them.

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What worries me against the SEC teams we've played has always been that our lack of depth has always come back to bite us in the later parts of the game and stupid penalties crop up at the worst times. I'm hoping for the best against Auburn. I've been saying this since the offseason, it's going to come down to special teams and playing error-free ball.

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Quote from: crambone on Today at 01:53:41 pm

I think the SEC will be surprised at the "Big East Speed" that we will show them.

After Elon I don't think we are in ANY condition to talk any kinda trash....

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It's still going to take a virtually flawless game on our part to beat them.

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Guest JulmisteForPrez

I think the SEC will be surprised at the "Big East Speed" that we will show them.

are you for real?

Why not?

USF has insane team speed -- especially on defense.

We're probably the fastest team in the Big East.

I know Auburn has great team speed as well, but I agree with Crambone -- we can match up with just about anyone as far as speed is concerned.

Now, as far as everything else goes........we'll find out Saturday night.

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I think the SEC will be surprised at the "Big East Speed" that we will show them.

We have Florida speed not big east speed.  ;)

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