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9.26.2008

Pump report, 9/26

Hey everyone. Someone in yesterday's comments said I'm a (sunshine) pumper now because I said a few positive things about Kodi Burns and Mario Fannin. I'm continually astounded by how disaffected people are on the Internets.

Speaking of that, yours truly actually became somewhat enraged yesterday at my daughter's soccer game. Her team had a goal taken away because the opposing keeper took a shot off her chest, allowed the ball to bounce away and one of The Good Girls scored on the rebound.

Goal disallowed on the grounds a batted ball constitutes a save. Goal kick.

I'm peeved yet calm until a father from the other team rolls over to our parent area. He proceeds to start lecturing us about our players' dangerous behavior. Look, homes, our team won 10-1, so take your hater show on the road. What a goob.

You came here for Auburn, so it's Auburn that you now receive.

POSITION-BY-POSITION
QUARTERBACK
Advantage: Tennessee
Neither quarterback has lived up to billing so far. Jonathan Crompton gets the nod because he has a stronger arm and gets more time to consider his options. His pocket is a better work environment. That breaks what I consider nearly a tie.

RUNNING BACKS
Advantage: Auburn
It's a tough call. Both Ben Tate and Arian Foster would produce better numbers in offenses that used them more effectively. Tate gets the nod because he has a broader set of skills. I expected more from Montario Hardesty.

RECEIVERS
Advantage: Tennessee
Not close. The Vols have Lucas Taylor and Gerald Jones, who are better than anyone Auburn has. Each guy is a home-run threat. Auburn doesn't have one.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Advantage: Auburn
Another tough call. Tennessee's line does a really nice job limiting sacks and handling business on that end. Run-blocking has been more of a challenge. Auburn, in general, is pretty good with both sets of responsibilities.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Advantage: Auburn
Fatigue was the Tigers' only problem up front last week. LSU has an outstanding offensive line and was forced to all but abandon the run later in the game. Auburn is loaded here.

LINEBACKERS
Advantage: Auburn
Tennessee's Ellix Wilson is having a nice season. Rico McCoy has played well so far. Five Auburn players are piecing together useful sets of numbers. Depth matters.

SECONDARY
Advantage: Tennessee
Safety Eric Berry and cornerback Dennis Rogan are really good players. Auburn's second-best defensive back, safety Zac Etheridge, is struggling with an arm injury that could affect him today. Check to Tennessee.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Advantage: Auburn
Auburn has a better punter in Clinton Durst -- UT's top guy has been suspended -- and a better placekicker. Robert Dunn is the better punt-return man. Rogan is the better kickoff guy, but that's still three spots in Auburn's favor.

COACHING
Advantage: Auburn
Tuberville's program seems more healthy overall. These two programs have been on the same tier for several years now, though Tuberville has been better lately. Phillip Fulmer's 1998 championship is fading from memory.

SCOUTING REPORTS
TENNESSEE
Lucas Taylor (No. 12)
5-11, 185, Sr.
Last week: 2 catches for 24 yards (vs. Florida)
Scouting report: Taylor was an elite high-school prospect who transitioned well into college ball. He's a pretty complete player now. Taylor has 4.5 speed -- enough to pull away from most defenders -- and knows how to maneuver away from coverage. He's smart on the field. Smallish size makes blocking a challenge, but he's willing to hit some opponents. On a team with more efficient play at quarterback, Taylor would have a much higher profile. He simply doesn't get many chances to shine.

AUBURN
WR Tim Hawthorne (No. 13)
6-3, 209, Soph.
Last week: 2 catches for 87 yards (vs. LSU)
Scouting report: He doesn't receive much fanfare, but Hawthorne has made more progress than any receiver during the past year. His speed is only average. He overcomes that by playing intelligently -- thinking along with the quarterback in scrambling situations and running routes correctly. He seemed drop-prone during two-a-days, but he's been reliable so far this season. He's steady.

NG Tez Doolittle (No. 99)
6-3, 280, Sr.
Last week: 4 tackles including one-half sack (vs. LSU)
Scouting report: Doolittle began the season as an enigma after losing the 2007 season due to a torn Achilles tendon. The Opelika native has regained all that strength now and has been promoted into a starting role. He's an outstanding run-stopping element. Doolittle has the build and guile to close his designated running lanes as directed. While teammates try to extend themselves beyond their responsibilities, Doolittle stays true to plan. He doesn't miss tackles. He's generally not a pass-rush threat and durability remains a concern.

KEYS TO THE GAME
Auburn offense
Tennessee's defense provides some scouting difficultly because it's balanced. There aren't any true weaknesses. There aren't any major strengths, either. The Vols' defensive front is a step down from what Auburn faced last week, which should help the team re-establish the run game that evaporated against LSU. Still, developing better passing rhythm is Tony Franklin's primary goal right now. The Tigers showed last week that its aerial game can be an asset against top teams. It's unclear if tailback Ben Tate can be the home-run threat the Tigers so badly need. I don't expect many philosophical adjustments this week, though I believe Burns and Fannin will play bigger roles.

Auburn defense
This ought to be fun. Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton is supposed to be better than this. He made too many mistakes and misreads in the Vols' first two games. His approach was simplified for the Florida game last week. He wasn't a liability. He has to be a strength if Tennessee wants to win today. Auburn's defensive front will have a stout challenge today because UT's line provides outstanding pass protection. It's hard to hit Crompton. Still, the line is less powerful when it comes to run blocking. Auburn's defensive backs struggled against LSU's wideouts last week. If Crompton gets hot, Jerraud Powers and Walt McFadden will be tested on their ability to learn from last week's mistakes.

23 Comments:

Blogger Phormerly Phred said...

dude ... you are such a pumper.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

I mean, seriously, 10 years on the beat on Otc. 23 and never have I been branded a pumper.

I'm starting to think one of my fellow beat hacks wrote that as a joke. I'll be investigating.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Crudup said...

Jay, don't worried about what those douchebag Bama buttsniffers say, man.

Once again, Auburn is at a disadvantage at QB. And it's true. But I don't see Crompton being as effective against LSU as Todd was. We'll see if Todd makes another improvement.

Fannin will line up all over the place finally. But will the ball actually call his name enough to make an impact? I will be shocked.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Phormerly Phred said...

I hope you are shocked. We badly need something electric, threatening, and "dynamic" on the O. I'm hopin' a healthy Mario is it.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You go, JGT.

Don't take it from the soccer dads.

You tell that cheese-eating, ascot wearing, wuss you and the Hotties can dial up a can of whoop-arse fo0r him real quick if he doesn't like it! HA!

Thanks for the updates.

Hey Hotties, JGT joins us on The Gridiron Breakdown again tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. Show is on live from 9:300 -11:00 (central time). Gridiron Breakdown

9:40 AM  
Blogger AUnMobile said...

Jay,
Did you jump the other dad and get in his face.... that's what the HOTTIES expect from their number 1 guy... Defend you territory!!!!

Hey great anaylsis i look forward to the game.....

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great analysis.

I happen to be a "bama Butt-sniffer" and I like your blog.

I am also from Montgomery and went to JEff Davis (glory years, thank you).

Keep it up and keep it real. We love you in North Alabama.

Good Stuff

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert Strichik is a whiner and so is Longshore.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no pumping on this one. Just great analysis.

Like I said on the other blog post, I am just being cranky, cause the Tigers are dragging their hind parts all over.

I wanted so bad to dog those guys last week.

Peace !?!?!?!

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay,

Do you think Kodi has the attitude to stay next year if his playing time does not increase substantially?

10:11 AM  
Blogger Phormerly Phred said...

From Rivals ... Chris Todd on Chris Todd. I like it. It's winner talk.

"I went back and watched an hour-and-a-half of cut-ups from all the games this year, looking at all the fundamental changes we've made, improvements we've made and stuff I still need to get better at," he said. "I'll continue to do that. I need to do what the team needs me to do.

"Instead of making most of the plays, I need to make all the plays – when there's a chance to make a big throw, make it. When you get to that point, I can lead this offense to where it will be really good and putting a lot of points up on the board."

10:24 AM  
Blogger scottie b in tennessee said...

alright HOTTIES, i'm on my way to the plains. holla at your boy Phred. wave at me on our way down past section 12 JG.

BEAT TENNESSEE!!!!!

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have nightmares of a Todd wounded duck being picked off by Berry.I hope A Foster returns the favor by putting the ball on the ground, something he is known to do. Seriously, how nice would it be for the AU offense to have a short field to try and do something with? Seems like the O was backed up inside the 20 for the whole game against LSU. A scary game for Auburn this weekend.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JGT....are Soccer Dads as prone to "zero tolerance 'tudes" as soccer moms? We'll be watching you for any personality changes and stand ready to bust you for it if necessary(LOL).

Dang....it is so self-affirming when great minds agree. great analysis of the game...I approve.

Sunshine pumper....really?...I swear there is no man-crush going on here......I would say you are considerately objective with no positive spin or negative sensationalism and have stepped up your game a notch or 2 since Fall camp started.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous aubigcat said...

Jay some of these soccer parents are just overzealous! I had a similar incident last night at my son's game. They obviously dont know who we are Jay. The HOTTIES need to start building our street cred! We gotta keep our "pimp hand" strong! Show the blog (and kid soccer) world that we aint no punks! LOL

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Crudup said...

Anon, Auburn had its chances with a short field vs. LSU. And Auburn detroyed those chances with mental breakdowns. There were only a couple, but they should have resulted in at least 3.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

We definitely need to keep the pimp hand strong! I was reppin'. I probably went a little too far -- our team was much better from the get-go -- but I don't like games being "softened" because they're girls. Or because they're 6 and 7. So what? Why not teach them to play strong and with an appropriate amount of aggression now?

Thanks to all the HOTTIES for making this a daily stop on your journey through the internets. We've grown a lot and you're to blame. Or credit.

re Kodi: He's not a sour kid. If he thinks he has a fair shot, he'll stay here and play. It helps that Tuberville is a major fan of his. Also, we have plenty of football ahead. There's no guarantee Chris Todd will be The Guy a month from now.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Sullivan013 said...

Jay,

Sports are all about competition. When people try to remove that competitiveness and make a given sport a 'fun game for all' they remove what separates deep fulfillment from simple amusement.

That is a lesson that can't be learned in a 'we all win' game. Even in losing, there is still a self-fulfilling dignity when you know in your heart that you tried your best.

My two cents.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Bulldog354 said...

Great analysis as usual however I don't recall LSU 'all but abandoning the run late in the game'

Can't wait for what surprises are in store for us from this week's offense

2:30 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Scottie, I'm aiming to swing by your place before the game ...

3:48 PM  
Blogger Phormerly Phred said...

I'll be at home watching with "the future" Yea I know, he's only three, but I'm telling you, the kids gonna be good. ya'll pull em through for me. Scottie b, I''m thinkin' about a road trip to WVA. What do you think?

4:32 PM  
Blogger ron mexico said...

It's really awesome what doolittle has been able to do so far this season. Coming into the year I thought he was going to be a glorified cheerleader and maybe get some mop up duty. During the LSU game he played every bit as good as josh thompson did last year, in my opinion. Which leads me to my next question... Where in the hell is Jake Ricks?

5:20 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

I've never had a coach tell me this directly, but I sense that Jake Ricks doesn't play with the same enthusiasm as, say, Tez or Clayton or Sen'Derrick or even Blanc.

As such, he gets shuffled to the No. 5 slot.

5:42 PM  

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