"Bob Petrino joined the groups "Abusing Defenses" and "Looking for Jobs." -- Jet, simulating a certain someone's Facebook feed
AU 3, MSU 2
That was ugly.
Here are some nuggets from the post-game scene:
Tony Franklin on the offense: "We stunk it up. Every time we had an opportunity to do something, we found a way to screw it up."
Franklin on why he didn't play Kodi Burns: ``I didn't think it was Chris. I didn't see him making a lot of mistakes. It wasn't his deal. Kodi has some talent. He has things he can do. This wasn't it."
I saw Brad Lester after the game. He was walking around, though it was obvious that he was in pain. He was diagnosed with a neck sprain. No damage. Coach Tommy Tuberville said he expects Lester back next week against LSU. We'll see.
Tuberville putting his best spin on the game: ``Sometimes you grow up after a game like this. (The offense) had better get better quickly."
Tuberville said Chris Todd's general ineffectiveness wasn't his fault: ``Had we opened it up a little more, he would have done a little more. We thought we could run the ball better than that."
Tough day for a few guys who typically are not problematic:
Wes Byrum missed two field-goal attempts. One was from 22 yards. He also took the post-safety free kick and hammered it out of bounds. Yuck.
LT Lee Ziemba was flagged four times. Two holds. Two offsides.
RT Jason Bosley was flagged three times.
Auburn opponents have converted only three of 46 times on third down this season. That's amazing.
Antonio Coleman earned a sack for the third consecutive game. Remember how he and Hot Carter were going to wager on which player would get the most sacks this season? I'll have to find out what happened there.
Just to stoke your fire ... Mario Fannin had just two touches (one pass, one run) while Tristan Davis had five carries. I will say that Fannin seemed more involved this week. I'll bet he played more snaps than last week. Montez Billings, of all people, was the only passing-game standout. He had 68 yards.
The last time Auburn won a game by scoring only three points? A 3-0 win against Miami in 1974.
The last time Auburn gained at least 300 yards (315 tonight) and didn't score a touchdown? Iron Bowl 2000. That was a 9-0 barn burner.
To those clamoring for Kodi Burns: I don't think Auburn can do that now. LSU is less than one quarter away. Tony Franklin already has invested several consecutive quarters toward Todd as the No. 1 guy. If they move Burns in now and he flops (which is at least an even bet) then they go into The Big Game with no confidence. Untenable.
Hey everyone. This is a great place to tailgate today. Mostly sunny, 85ish, enough wind to keep one reasonably cool.
COMMISH ON HAND: Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive is in the house here at Scott Field. He was watching the UGA-USC game carefully. He has to.
IN HOUSE FOOD: I don't know the logistics behind this stuff, but MSU serves what looks like its own brand of bottled water and ice cream. It's all in MSU-branded containers. I think that's really cool. I remember when I used to eat ice cream all those years ago ...
HALFTIME HONOR: MSU's 1998 team and its coach, Jackie Sherrill will be honored at halftime tonight. Can't wait to see what kind of reception Sherrill receives. If I was an MSU supporter, he wouldn't be high on my list.
I purchased some gas today in Columbus, Miss., for $3.81 per gallon. What a steal. The trick here was that all fuel purchases were limited to $35 per customer. They enforced this by making you pay before you pump ... even with a credit card.
I talked briefly with TE Tommy Trott today and, honestly, he wasn't all that happy with me.
He felt like I misrepresented something I wrote about him earlier this week. I agreed with him enough to discuss the situation right here, right now.
When Jason Bosley moved to tackle last week, Trott joked with Bosley during the USM game by giving him some "dummy" signals. Trott only did that once or twice and, from what both Bosley and Trott said, it wasn't truly distracting.
I didn't convey that clearly enough both here and in Tuesday's editions.
Hey everyone. I'm still is scenic Columbus for today's epic showdown between Sly Croom's Bulldogs of Mississippi State and Your Auburn Tigers.
Toe meets leather at 6 p.m.
I'm planning to head over around 2. My goal is to post a video around 5 so you can get a feel of the Scott Field atmosphere. I skeeched an HD videocamera from my organization, so maybe you'll get to see lovely Starkville in high definition. Wouldn't that be an uplifting moment for you?
Hey everyone. Enjoyed the trip to Columbus, Miss., more than usual.
Howard Stern had AC/DC on -- one of my favorite bands -- and it was great listening to Angus and Brian chat it up about their new album that drops in October. Screw the Stones ... AC/DC has stayed truer through the years.
Now that I'm here, I'm available for questions and general chatter if you're around. If not, I'll just keep watching more of Chappelle's Show Season 2.
Oh, here are a few pictures from my trip:
This is from the Entec on North Blvd. near 231. I haven't seen out-of-gas stations in a LONG time.
This is the highest price I saw along the way. This is from somewhere slightly west of Tuscaloosa.
I misidentified this area as Vance earlier. It is not Vance. Thanks to anonymous for pointing that out.
Of note, there were long lines at the pumps in Montgomery and Prattville. I didn't see a single line in Tuscaloosa or beyond. I guess panic spreads quickly in the River Region.
Hey everyone. We're receiving at least token interest in the Twitter feeds, so we'll go forward with that idea. I don't yet have a "modern" phone with "internet" service, but I'll bet getting one soon (ie next week). That should make Twitter even more immediate.
So let's discuss this Auburn-Mississippi State dilemma. I find this game intestesting primarily for the Tony Franklin ramifications. Auburn's offense will be going against a team this weekend that has players, good coaches and a clue. Can Les Tigres overwhelm these kinds of players with that offense?
There is considerable pressure on Franklin these days. He was made out to be guru of innovation -- rightly or wrongly -- and his offense has produced ordinary numbers so far. Nobody is watching this situation more closely that Tommy Tuberville, who has a lot of reputation invested in Franklin.
I'll be surprised to see MSU score more than 10 points.
Let's get to business.
POSITION BY POSITION QUARTERBACK Advantage: Mississippi State Wesley Carroll is underrated. He has enough guile and experience to make useful things happen on the field. He also has some arm strength. Could he start at Auburn? You'd better believe it.
RUNNING BACKS Advantage: Auburn This is MSU's strongest overall position because of Anthony Dixon and Christian Ducre. Yet Auburn also carries the ball forceful with Ben Tate and Brad Lester. It's almost a wash. Tate is the best player of the four. Check to Auburn.
RECEIVERS Advantage: Auburn Could it be? I have this unfounded suspicion that the Tigers' receivers are going to make a big step forward at some point soon. Rod Smith, James Swinton and Tommy Trott have been around for ages now. They're catching on.
OFFENSIVE LINE Advantage: Auburn Really intriguing overall group. Players and coaches seem unified in their belief that Jason Bosley's move to tackle (and Ryan Pugh's corresponding move to center) actually improves what already was an excellent line.
DEFENSIVE LINE Advantage: Auburn Did you see Sen'Derrick Marks chasing down USM's tailback last week? That's a 290-pound tackle showing legitimate pursuit capabilities. As if the Tigers needed more skill here. Tez Doolittle seemed to take another step forward last week, too.
LINEBACKERS Advantage: Auburn Has any defender made a bigger jump this season than Josh Bynes? He plays behind Tray Blackmon, which assures playing-time issues, but Auburn now has five linebackers that would start on most SEC teams.
DEFENSIVE BACKS Advantage: Mississippi State Auburn's first-team group is above average, but MSU's group is the SEC's best. Derek Pegues is a star. Throw in De'Mon Glanton and Dominic Douglas and you have serious skill in the secondary.
SPECIAL TEAMS Advantage: Auburn# Auburn is strong in the traditional areas (punting, kicking) and now Robert Dunn has emerged as a home-run threat on punt returns. Special teams have given the Tigers plenty of boosts this season.
COACHING Advantage: Auburn Sylvester Croom is the most unappreciated coach in the SEC outside of his own area. The guy has done really nice work cleaning up Jackie Sherrill's mess. Still, Tommy Tuberville has accomplished more and his team is a threat to win the West. MSU? Not so much.
PLAYERS TO WATCH MISSISSIPPI STATE Wesley Carroll (No. 13) 6-1, 190, Soph. Last week: 15-of-23 for 158 yards, 2 TDs (vs. Southeastern Louisiana) Scouting report: Carroll is a surprise in some ways. He was mostly overlooked as a high-school senior in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., because he didn't have any particular skill that stood out. Two years later, he looks like a steal. Carroll has at least average arm strength and above-average running speed. What makes him so useful is his ability to make thoughtful decisions. He is rarely intercepted (though he opened the season with two picks against Louisiana Tech) and understands his limitations. He doesn't panic. MSU's offense has grown to savor Carroll's consistency.
AUBURN WR Tommy Trott (No. 5) 6-5, 242, Jr. Last week: 3 catches for 44 yards (vs. Southern Miss) Scouting report: Though Trott technically is a tight end, he has surprising grace on the field. Coaches often praise Trott for running correct routes and finding ways to exploit open space. Getting him the ball has been problematic for reasons that coaches and players couldn't explain. Trott finally broke out against USM last weekend with three receptions. He can be a major passing-game asset if used properly.
CB Jerraud Powers (No. 8) 5-9, 191, Jr. Last week: 8 tackles, 1 interception (vs. Southern Miss) Scouting report: Powers doesn't have the size, but he certainly understands how to defend against the pass. The junior thinks along with quarterbacks in real time, which allows him to move into correct position almost all the time. Long arms and strong legs allow Powers to make plays against taller receivers. He's among the team's most fit players. Powers can play an entire game if needed.
KEYS TO THE GAME Auburn offense Speed will be important this week. MSU's top defender, middle linebacker Jamar Chaney, is out for the season because of injury. The Bulldogs have been using a variety of players to fill that hole, which affects how MSU's front seven works from snap to snap. Auburn will work quickly to limit the Bulldogs' ability to re-align prior to each snap. Quarterback Chris Todd must be careful when challenging the Bulldogs deep because they're loaded with veteran guys in the secondary. Auburn has a clear advantage with its running game. The pace along with the Tigers' stout offensive should create plenty of big-play opportunities for Ben Tate and Brad Lester.
Auburn defense Several Auburn players began wearing hard hats this season to emphasize the team's need for dirty work up front. This game will challenge that work ethic. MSU loves to run the ball. It has a decent offensive line and two excellent tailbacks. Quarterback Wesley Carroll also can run. Auburn must find ways to win one-on-one matchups along the line of scrimmage. That creates detrimental clutter for the Bulldogs' running game. Carroll can make plays in the passing game, but he isn't known as a deep thrower. Auburn's first-team defensive backs should be able to handle that. Stopping the tailbacks, though, is more difficult.
He gets full credit for bringing the idea to my attention via his blog.
So I signed up. I added a little twitter feed along the right column under the blue bird. That's the "official" Twitter logo and he's a handsome bird. Kyle is "broadcasting" his Twitter stuff in a different way -- through cell phones or email, I don't quite understand -- but I thought it could be useful here at the HABOTN.
Twitter is basically super short (20 words max) blogs. Just the basics. Examples: "Kodi Burns transferring" or "Tray Blackmon punched Josh Bynes at Sewell" ... neither item true, but you get the point. You can RSS the Twitter feed if you're into that.
Is this overkill? Is this something we could use around here?
You tell me. I want this thing as HOT as humanly possible.
Hey everyone. I penned a little story today about how Joshua Bynes has been playing "as many or more" snaps than heralded linebacker Tray Blackmon so far this season.
Coach Tommy Tuberville said it's an endurance thing; that Blackmon can't possibly play 70 snaps at middle linebacker and handle special-teams duties ... all in the same day.
Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads said it's a fluke.
I think they're both correct in certain ways. Blackmon always has been weakest when asked to play the pass. Though he's a ferocious hitter and a fearless player, Blackmon's skill set doesn't dovetail flawlessly with Rhoads' philosophical inclinations.
Rhoads prefers to use linebackers in passing situations, which doesn't exactly play into Blackmon's strengths. That's a big reason why you see Bynes playing so often; he's a better cover guy.
Will this change? Not sure. We know Blackmon is a big-time hitter who can change games with what I'll call a "spectacle collision." We also know that coaches had no need to increase injury risk for games against Monroe and Southern Miss.
Still, Blackmon made his reputation in high school as a pass-rushing force. If Bynes keeps progressing at this rate -- refining himself as a full-featured middle linebacker -- I don't see how Blackmon's role is going to expand.
I was hoping coach Tommy Tuberville would have some whopper of an announcement during his press conference. I wasn't expecting anything; I just need something engaging to chronicle.
He didn't come through. Still, I chronicle.
Tuberville said he likes to sign the offspring of football coaches. That crop includes QB Chris Todd ... and other guys whose names escape me.
``They may not be great players, but you know what you're getting," Tuberville said.
Tuberville said the offense has made some tweaks in advance of the big game against Mississippi State this weekend.
``It's a little bit more complicated," he said. ``We won't do anything we can't handle."
Tuberville on TB Ben Tate: "He's got a lot of confidence. At times, what they're doing on defense distates if we use Ben or Brad Lester. Ben is one of the fastest players on the team. He may not look like it."
Tuberville on LB Josh Bynes: "He gets a lot of playing time because he can handle it."
Tuberville on why USM was able to build its second-half surge: ``What I was doing was trying to get as many players in the game as I could. We learn as coaches. We did get the win. We did get some rest."
Here are Auburn's current ranks among the 12 SEC teams:
SCORING OFFENSE: 6th (30.5 ppg)
TOTAL OFFENSE: 5th (393.0 ypg)
RUSHING OFFENSE: 3rd (226.5 ypg)
PASSING OFFENSE: 9th (166.5 ypg)
PASS EFFICIENCY: 10th (100.4 QB rating)
SCORING DEFENSE: 2nd (6.5 ppg)
TOTAL DEFENSE: 7th (262.5 ypg)
RUSHING DEFENSE: 5th (60.5 ypg)
PASSING DEFENSE: 7th (202.0 ypg)
NET PUNTING: 1st (40.7 ypp) ... thanks to Clinton Durst's hang time.
PUNT RETURNS: Robert Dunn leads the way with a 24.4-yard average.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Sen'Derrick Marks leads the way with 3.5 in two games.
Here are the SEC's instant replay statistics
WEEK ONE: 8 games, 10 stoppages, 1 play overturned. Avg. length of review: 1:17
WEEK TWO: 8 games, 6 stoppages, 4 plays overturned. Avg. length of review: 1:51
SCHEDULE UPDATE: I'm currently at Auburn. Players are available around 11:15 a.m. Coach Tommy Tuberville's press conference begins at 1 p.m. I'll provide a bullet-point update around 1:45 and a video around 2:30.
Hey everyone. Auburn is off today, meaning the HABOTN flows from Montgomery today. It's just me and you and the (laptop) makes three tonight. (Swingers, anyone?)
So as I mentioned earlier, the media has protracted interviews with players and coaches on Sunday afternoons. Plenty was discussed. Honestly, the best snippets are included in last night's and today's videos.
I really like Tim Hawthorne. He doesn't meander with his answers. No secrecy with him.
Jason Bosley, now playing tackle apparently on a full-time basis, said he earned a 94% grade from the USM game. That's incredible given that Bosley learned about the position switch on Thursday. He had been playing center. That's Ryan Pugh's job now.
Asked if that move is permanent, Bosley said: "I think so."
He said the most difficult adjustment is handling a defensive end's speed.
``With guys inside you are on them quicker," he said. ``They're bigger and a little slower. When you are at tackle, they are so quick off the edge you have to have really good technique not to give up a sack. You are on an island all by yourself."
Some of you may have seen MLB Josh Bynes actually moving teammates around prior to snaps during the USM game. You know why they were out of position? Bynes made the wrong original call. Still, you saw him correcting things before the snap. No harm done.
Many of you have asked about how it seems like Bynes actually plays more snaps than the guy ahead of him, Tray Blackmon. That is a correct statement, though defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads doesn't think it means anything.
``I think people are trying to make something out of that and there’s really nothing there," Rhoads said. ``Tray’s playing well. Josh is playing well. I don’t think I’ve backed off the fact that we like to play a lot of people. People deserve to play and they’re not hurting our football team, we’re going to play them."
TE Tommy Trott said he was making "dummy calls" to Bosley -- working at a completely new position -- during the USM game. The gag worked. Bosley kept asking Trott to clarify himself to no avail.
The Sept. 20 LSU-Auburn football game will be televised by ESPN. It will begin at 6:45 p.m. Your other televised SEC games are as follows:
I guess the "U.S. Department of the Treasury" is down with text lingo.
(Bold added for emphasis)
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SCHEDULE UPDATE: This afternoon, I'll provide a new video and more bullet points from last night's incredibly long interview session with players. We talked with players so long that I couldn't figure out what to write afterward.
It was like trying to pen a synopsis of "2001: A Space Odyssey" in 450 words.
Josh Bynes has been playing quite a bit behind Tray Blackmon at MLB so far this season. Tuberville said that's because Blackmon ``isn't a Carlos Rogers in terms of endurance." Middle linebacker is a particularly trying position. He has to be all over the field.
Players of the week are: Jason Bosley (offense), Jerraud Powers (defense), Anthony Jemison (scout offense) and Jacob Shirey (scout defense).
Hey everyone. I'm just going to free associate some things that have been rattling through my brain since the game ended. I left the stadium around 7, went home, hung out with my wife and went to bed. There were some great ideas discussed last night and yesterday in yesterday's comments.
We have some remarkably intelligent and serene discussions here.
I should have talked more about Jason Bosley and Ryan Pugh yesterday. I wrote about that in the newspaper, but left it out of the blog. Yes, they traded positions yesterday for the entire game. I don't really understand why. Coach Tommy Tuberville said Bosley's shoulder was hurting and, therefore, inhibited his ability to snap. True? I have no idea. Pugh gave that "just doing what I'm told" line. Bosley also offered up the same alibi. Pugh said that 6-3 guys shouldn't be playing tackle "in this league."
Both Pugh and Bosley are listed at 6-4. No idea.
I agree with truth hurts that Kodi Burns was set up for failure yesterday. I don't mean that Tony Franklin's goal was to negatively affect Burns' standing. It's just that he had a very slim chance to really help himself or his team when given the nod in the third quarter.
Auburn's offense was gaining momentum in the first half with Chris Todd under center. Then Burns comes in to open the third quarter, goes three-and-out and the offense really was never the same. I can understand what Franklin is thinking there -- he genuinely likes Burns and thinks he's a talent -- but the timing was detrimental.
Josh and I noticed Todd's indecision about deep passes as well. I can remember a few times when Tommy Trott was wide open down the field and Todd, while looking toward Trott, elected to throw shorter routes. It was almost as if Todd was thinking: I'd like to make that throw, but I can't. Is that because of his arm? Is it because of overall timidity in the pocket? Is it a fear of being yanked for making a risky decision that ends poorly?
While we're talking about quarterbacks, why not look ahead? Who has a strong arm? Neil Caudle isn't going to play major minutes at Auburn. I like what I've seen from Barrett Trotter. He's a wild card in a sense. What I've heard about commitment Raymond Cotton is that he's more of a runner. If that's the case, and Auburn already has a young runner in Burns and possibly Trotter, why pursue Cotton? I'm sitting here looking at a guy like Ryan Mossakowski, whom Auburn basically passed over and who now is committed to Kentucky, and wondering why he isn't considered more valuable around here. He's playing in this kind of offense. He has a strong arm.