"Bob Petrino joined the groups "Abusing Defenses" and "Looking for Jobs." -- Jet, simulating a certain someone's Facebook feed
Final: LSU 26, Auburn 21
That's a wrap. Auburn's offense maximized its situation. It's not a great group, but it performed well enough. The defense yielded yards by the dozens during the second half. That's lethal.
TONY FRANKLIN SPEAKS:
On his plan to play Kodi Burns: ``Kodi got a lot of reps this week in practice. Basically for me, it's a feel thing. I felt like Chris had played well and competitive all night and thought he gave us the best chance to win. There was a time in the second half where I thought about it for some of the zone-read stuff and just never did it.
On not throwing to Tommy Trott: ``We tried to throw to Tommy about 10 times tonight and he couldn't get off the jam at the line. He struggled getting off on it."
The weekly I'm a terrible coach line: "I should have found a way to get some first downs with four minutes to go in the game and take it down and score again and we wouldn't have to worry about it. We couldn't do it so it's a failure on my part."
On his decision to coach from the press box tonight: "I felt like I could do a better job. The reason I was on the sideline was really because of the emotional part, the problems when they occur, the egos and all that stuff. The other guys can handle all that. I thought I would do a better job play-calling. I haven't done a very good job of calling plays. It's always a lot easier up there, easier to keep your thoughts together and take notes and try to adjust."
JERRAUD POWERS SPEAKS:
On LSU's offensive success in second half: "It was our fault, we should have won that game. We did not stop the run and you are not going to win a game like this if you do not stop the run. We are going to have to go back to the drawing board and learn from our mistakes."
On LSU's big plays in the second half: "They had a couple big plays, the second was busted coverage. That is a bunch of great receivers -- big, strong and fast."
On where the team goes from here: "This was not game 12. Of course we are going to be down after losing the game, but we are just going to learn from our mistakes and get better each week."
SEN'DERRICK MARKS SPEAKS:
On the LSU offense: "We knew coming into the game they had a big offensive line and a strong running back. We did a good job at first, but when they got loose they were all over us. In the second half, they came out and we had our guard down."
On the LSU offensive line: "It is a big, physical line. Every one of those guys is a NFL prospect. They play on a whole other level than most offensive lines you go against."
On LSU's second-half offense: "They weren't doing too many different things from the first half. Once they started getting the run going, we could not stop them and they kept rolling. First things first, you have to stop the run and we did not do that."
CHRIS TODD SPEAKS:
On the offense: "I have to watch the film before I say anything. There are a lot of things that I can improve on. There were some key parts of the game where we needed to take the ball down the field and score. I thought everyone battled their butts off all game. We left it all out on the field."
On LSU's defense: "LSU has a heck of a defense. They are all fast and they are big and physical on their defensive line. They can all run. Our guys did a good job. We did some good things, it just wasn't enough."
On the loss: "It's obviously tough, especially a big game like this. I thought we did enough. They are a heck of a team. You have to expect that. It was a tough loss and hopefully we will learn from it and come back next week."
On the offense's play: "I thought we did some good things tonight, especially in this atmosphere and this type of game. We are still getting better and I think we will continue to do that. Every game we should get better."
On the final play: "We actually had something coming from the left side but it ended up getting flushed out. I tried to make a play and it just wasn't quite enough."
LSU 26, AUBURN 21: Brandon LaFell catches an 18-yard pass from Jarrett Lee. Drive covered 54 yards in seven plays. Auburn's defense is looking overmatched now.
AUBURN 21, LSU 20: Chris Todd hits Robert Dunn on a flag route in the endzone for a touchdown. Drive was 74 yards in five plays. The big play was a 58-yard pass to Tim Hawthorne. That shows some guile.
Now it's on the defense. Period.
LSU 20, AUBURN 14: Colt David hits a 32-yard field goal to cap a 76-yard drive. Here are the distances of LSU's first four plays of the drive: 12, 9, 18, 31. Can't blame the offense for that.
LSU 17, AUBURN 14: Four plays. Eighty-nine yards. Just an incredible drive. Auburn has a 4th-and-1 on the other end of the field. Chris Todd is intercepted on a pass. LSU seizes all the momentum with a response drive. Tony Franklin: What was that?
AUBURN 14, LSU 10: Chris Mitchell scores on a 39-yard pass from Jarrett Lee. Spencer Pybus hit Lee hard as he threw, but Mitchell was so far ahead of Neiko Thorpe in coverage that a slight underthrow wasn't problematic. That's a big drive because Auburn was in prime position to put the game away just moments ago. Now? Not so much.
AUBURN 14, LSU 3: Gabe McKenzie returns an interception 24 yards for a touchdown. It was a bizarre play. Auburn only had 10 guys on the field. Mike Blanc came on late, but was in the right flat when the play began. LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee double-clutched the pass. I don't know why. He floated it toward Keiland Williams. McKenzie was there and ran it in. Easy.
AUBURN 7, LSU 3: Big-time drive right there. Eight plays for 69 yards. Chris Todd hit Tim Hawthorne on a deep route on third down. I was expecting a draw. Drive included six runs (27 yards) and two passes (one completed for 28) ... also a pass interference penalty.
LSU on 3rd down: 1 for 6
AUB on 3rd down: 2 for 6
Auburn rushed for one yard during the first quarter.
Hey everyone. It's a great day here at Jordan-Hare Stadium as far as weather. Very sunny. Temps in the mid 80s. Definitely a lot of action outside the stadium.
Our first shout-out of the day goes to CNN's Reynolds Wolf, who just moments ago introduced himself as a HOTTIE and even threw out some obvious HABOTN references. We're taking this thing worldwide, peeps.
I'm headed back down for more video. Talk with you in a bit.
Hey everyone. Early day for me on the soccer fields here in Montgomery. The Charge won its exhibition game, 5-2, with a goal from my daughter. Very exciting. She later allowed two goals. She's avoiding gulag ... for now.
Enough of that. We've got big-time college football ahead.
I'll begin my journey toward the Plains at 2:45 p.m. Auburn's late start means I'll have a chance to see America's Richest Coach command his gilded team in Fayetteville. I wonder how geeked Robert Petrino will be for this one. This would be a nice affirmation for him.
Anyway, I'm planning to produce a pre-game video for your enjoyment. My goal, as always, is to get that up at least one hour prior to kickoff. So if it's the 6 o'clock hour and you're going to fetch another beer anyway, stop by the HABOTN and check out some video.
Hey everyone. I have received some realy helpful assistance on the mobile phone front (thanks, Alan and Jeff) and I'm hoping to make a decision on that real soon. I lover the iPhone as a device. I don't love AT&T's network, which seems smallish by comparison to, say, any other carrier.
So despite penning this blog and all my stories with Apple equipment, maybe I'll break from Steve Jobs' grasp on this one. Or maybe not. I'm so confused.
I'm not foggy about tomorrow's football game. Here is a gander at how I see this matchup -- it's sure to anger fans on both sides, as usual -- which should make Saturday night a lot of fun for everyone. Even Lou Holtz.
POSITION BY POSITION QUARTERBACK Advantage: LSU LSU is playing two guys, Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch, and trying to find the superior option. Sound familiar? There is a difference. They're both pretty good. Does Auburn have one good quarterback?
RUNNING BACKS Advantage: Auburn Ben Tate may not have breath-taking speed, but he's a tough guy who makes the most of his opportunities. He's a gifted receiver. LSU has a lot of talent back here. It's a tough call, but I'm still siding with Tate.
RECEIVERS Advantage: LSU Not close at all. LSU has Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd, who are NFL-type players. Does Auburn have anyone who can seize control of a game? Montez Billings can jump. Does he have other skills?
OFFENSIVE LINE Advantage: LSU Auburn had an uncharacteristically poor performance at LSU, complete with nine penalties for the offensive line. The Pugh-for-Bosley switch doesn't seem like a long-term upgrade. Meanwhile, LSU's guys are experienced and playing well as a group.
DEFENSIVE LINE Advantage: Auburn I think Auburn has the SEC's best group up front, but LSU is outstanding as well. Ricky Jean-Francois is a stud. Tyson Jackson is a stud. It's just that Auburn has a lot of studs, too, and has slightly more depth. If you consider both teams' supply, there are at least six future NFL guys playing here tonight.
LINEBACKERS Advantage: Auburn LSU's top guy here, Darry Beckwith, is out with a knee injury. That compromises the Bayou Bengals to some degree. His backup, Jacob Cutrera, has experience. Still, Auburn has five guys who are legitimate SEC starters.
DEFENSIVE BACKS Advantage: LSU This is a toss-up. Both teams have excellent players back here. I'm going with LSU because of its superior depth. Sophomore S Chad Jones played really well last week and freshman CB Phelon Jones -- a Mobile native -- could be a guy worth watching this season.
SPECIAL TEAMS Advantage: LSU Colt David is an outstanding kicker who is locked in right now. Trindon Holliday is a bigger threat than Robert Dunn. Auburn seemed shaky here against MSU. Check to LSU.
COACHING Advantage: LSU A lot of people think Les Miles is crazy. He's a risk-taker, no doubt, and that will cause problems at some point. He's still the defending national champion. He's still undefeated. He's still the top guy until someone knocks him down.
PLAYERS TO WATCH LSU Charles Scott (No. 32) 5-11, 233, Jr. Last week: 7 carries for 102 yards, 2 TDs (vs. North Texas) Scouting report: He's the kind of guy Auburn would love to have. Scott is stout guy who isn't afraid to dole out some hits against unsuspecting tacklers. He's the definition of a physical back. He has more speed than you'd expect from a guy with that kind of body, though he won't be running track for LSU anytime soon. Scott doesn't seem to tire. He's also a dedicated blocker who has nice hands.
AUBURN QB Chris Todd (No. 12) 6-4, 212, Jr. Last week: 14-of-26 for 154 yards (vs. Miss. State) Scouting report: The eyes of Auburn fans will be focused on Todd today. He was signed eight months ago to bring stability to the team's most troubled position. Todd hasn't been a soothing presence so far. His arm strength seems compromised. He also ponders his options longer than coaches would prefer. The upside is that he's a calm player who understands this offense and doesn't make many mistakes. If he learns to make decisions more quickly, Todd could help Auburn's offense progress quickly.
CB Antoine Carter (No. 45) 6-4, 253, Soph. Last week: 0 tackles, 1 pass break-up (vs. Miss. State) Scouting report: Carter brings raw speed into the equation off the end. There aren't many offensive tackles who can stay with Carter when he's given clearance to rush from the outside. He unloaded a vicious hit on MSU's quarterback last week and seems able to make that happen at least once per game. His presence makes opponents examine their protection decisions more carefully. That's worth a lot.
KEYS TO THE GAME Auburn offense Where shall we start? Every element of the Tigers' attack seemed weak against Mississippi State. The offensive line was flagged repeatedly. Quarterback Chris Todd seemed indecisive and fumbled twice. Tailback Ben Tate fumbled again. While LSU's defense is up to its usual high standard, the Tigers must instead dedicate themselves toward limiting mistakes. Exploiting LSU's weakness -- and they appear trivial -- can happen only after Auburn learns to manage the basic elements of playing football. The good news for Auburn? Those mistakes seem out of character. As such, they may disappear immediately.
Auburn defense Confidence is high on this side of the ball after an outstanding performance last week. Everything worked. Then again, MSU's offense is remarkably troubled. LSU's attack is balanced, though the team's strength is at wideout. The Bayou Bengals love the vertical passing game, which will tax cornerbacks Jerraud Powers and Walt McFadden. Auburn has the size and experience to clog running lanes against any opponent. Depth at linebacker provides nice run support. Forcing the LSU quarterbacks to make plays in their SEC debuts is the Tigers' basic plan. Auburn players say they don't feel pressure to perform flawlessly because of the team's offensive deficiencies. Still, surely that will be an issue at some point. Could this be it?
Thanks to HOTTIE Caleb Rotten for allowing us to soak this in.
For the record, I don't remember a lot of booing at the USM game. Some people boo Santa Claus. I booed Cal Ripken in Camden Yards and felt really good about it.
I didn't think enough of what I heard two weeks ago to write about it. Still, this is interesting:
Dear Auburn Student, I wanted to remind each of you about the importance of your support for our team and displaying character this weekend when L.S.U. fans and other guests arrive this weekend. First, please join me by agreeing to demonstrate your support for, and not criticism of, our football team. That means no booing! Remember, the team isn't trying to lose the game--the players work hard all spring and during fall camp to be ready to compete in the S.E.C. Let's show our appreciation for their hard work by encouraging them with loads enthusiasm! Secondly, help me show the world what I get to experience everyday: that Auburn men and women are special, dedicated, loyal, fun loving, bleed orange and blue, are compassionate, and demonstrate good will to others, even our competitors.
ESPN Game Day will be in town this weekend and we need everyone to come out and show them how much we support our team. Let's show Chris Fowler, Kirk Hebstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard true fan support and loyalty for Auburn!
The nation will be watching the next two weeks (ESPN, CBS next week), and lets remember to have a great time, enjoy the weekend's activities, watch our language and behavior, and display class, taste, and character in everything we do. I have every confidence you will.
Dr. Johnny Green, '85 Office of the Dean of Students
The crew will be telecasting from the east of Jordan-Hare Stadium, near the intersection of Roosevelt and Duncan Drive. That's on the Allison Physics Lab lawn.
The show will air live on Saturday from 9-11 a.m. There will also be live and taped segments Friday from 3-4:30 p.m. and SportsCenter segments live at 8 a.m. Saturday.
I noticed that Desmond Howard now is a full-time guy on that show, which illustrates how clueless I am about these matters. I thought it was a three-man rotation of Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and former Scholastic Sports America host Chris Fowler.
Both quarterbacks are represented. Sorry about that weird effect during the Kodi Burns clip. My lighting was bad. I figured you all really wanted to hear him talk about Tony Franklin, though, so I included it anyway.
Also savor Antonio Coleman giving the offense a backward compliment and Tray Blackmon loving "The Little Ball of Hate".
I'm hawngry. Here's the quick version of coach Tommy Tuberville's remarks this afternoon.
Tuberville is changing his tune on TB Brad Lester a little bit. Lester was on the practice field today, but he hasn't yet been cleared for contact: ``He's still real stiff. He's got to have contact before I let him play. You can't he doesn't have the range of motion. I would hope he could play."
On talking with Kodi Burns' parents after the USM game: "They understood. This is the kind of offense Kodi can excel in once he gets going."
On what is holding Burns back: "We're only three games into the season. We didn't want to get into a situation where we were switching (quarterbacks) in and out. It could change. We've got to score more points. It's good to have two guys who are so close (in terms of skill) -- you always have options."
On losing at LSU last season: "Those are hard to get out of your minds - just knowing the significance of it."
On if he worries about the fans' perception of the offense: "No, really not. I'm here to win games. We're 3-0."
On the MSU game: We didn't handle very well the crowd noice, the cowbells, and we lost our concentration."
On LSU's Trindon Holliday: "He gives them a special touch."
"Our players understand the LSU game."
"Both of us build our team on defense; speed on defense."
Hey everyone. I was low on gas today and determined to hold out for a good price. My patience was rewarded. Here's a look at the price of Petrol along I-85 from my pad in the Gump (Exit 6) to Auburn.
Raceway (Carmichael/East Blvd.) $4.15 Liberty (Exit 11/Mitylene) $4.45 BP (Exit 16/Waugh) $4.29 Chevron (Exit 22/Shorter) $3.79, out of regular BP (Exit 22/Shorter) $4.69 Exxon (Exit 22/Shorter) $3.77 Shell (Exit 26/Tallassee) $4.09 Torch 85 (Exit 42/Wire Rd.) $4.09 Mr. Friendly's (Wire Rd./in Auburn) $4.25 Chevron (Wire Rd./in Auburn) $4.29 Spectrum (Wire Rd./University) $4.29 SCHEDULE UPDATE: Tuberville speaks at 1 p.m. I'll provide a summary of his important comments, assuming some are spoken, and get a video out around 2:30. I need to eat something after Tommy's thing.
Lots of good stuff from players today. We had a bigger-than-usual assortment, too.
Tony Franklin had some fairly revealing stuff to say recently that didn't make today's editions of the Advertiser. Here are some nuggets:
On how players are reacting to the struggles: "I think it's always the same. I saw the same look in their eyes that I saw at Troy. I saw a look of frustration and I saw a look of they want you to figure it out. We take great pride in figuring it out. We just didn't get it figured out. They're looking to us to fix it and we're looking for them to help us fix it. I think, together, we can get it done and I feel certain that we will."
On improving Auburn's practice habits: "That's just the growing progress. We went through the same growing process at Troy. It was ugly there. I didn't expect it to be this ugly here. The bottom line is that, as ugly as it was, we won. If we can be ugly and win or be pretty and lose, I'll take ugly and win every time.
On Chris Todd being a better runner: "Yeah, he can be. He's not going to be like Kodi. It's just not there, so it's not going to happen that way, but he can be effective in that he makes people pay a price if they don't honor him. He's got to do that."
On playing Kodi Burns more: "It's going to be a feel thing. I think Kodi needs to play. We need to find a way to do that, whether it's this week or next week or every week."
On why the team seems to change plays so often at the line of scrimmage: "Every time is different. Sometimes, (the play call) is original. They'll get to the line and they already have it and they're running it. Sometimes, they don't have one and it's a fake deal and we call one after that. Probably 75 to 80 percent of the time when they get to the line, they already have a play. It may be higher than that."
Hey everyone. I have re-worded my entry from earlier today about Kodi Burns. You can find that below in the "Looking Back on Saturday" section. Without going into details, I'll say there is some credible dissent about what play was called when Burns made the laser throw to Rod Smith against ULM.
If this situation changes and I get some clarity on the matter, I'll pass it along.
Hey everyone. Let's take a look at some of the significant things that happened at Mississippi State:
Chris Todd is not quite right. We knew this going in, but now we have three games of data to consider. Though I believe his arm strength is better than it was during spring ball, Todd is not the strong-armed guy he was believed to be. He's just not. I still think he has value. I think he's better than Brandon Cox. I also believe he is only a peripheral part of Auburn's offensive problems.
Kodi Burns won't be playing much. I know, I know. I thought Burns was going to be big this year. I apparently was wrong. Not sure what to think about his immediate future here considering he wasn't summoned when Auburn moved deep into MSU territory the other night. That's usually Burns time.
This defensive line is really good. Beating Mississippi State up front isn't necessarily a huge deal, but that's three times in a row that an opponent couldn't fight through for yards after allocating a ton of resources to doing just that. We'll learn more when Auburn plays LSU this weekend. I'm still saying this is the best front seven of the Tommy Tuberville era.
Tony Franklin's willingness to accept all blame is intriguing. I'm all about accountability. You don't see it that often in college football. Problems typically are someone else's fault. Not with Franklin. He's comes right out and says he made this mistake or that mistake. On one hand, that's a refreshing change of pace. One the other hand, serial acknowledgment of deficiencies may compromise Franklin's reputation. It makes him seem weak when you hear this stuff week after week. Of course, a strong performance against LSU and Tennessee would change all that.
Tray Blackmon's demise? Not so fast. He played less than Joshua Bynes during the first two weeks, but Blackmon re-affirmed his status as a No. 1 guy against MSU. He was laying hard licks left and right in Starkville. He even made some nice pass-coverage drops.
Weird stuff happened along the offensive front. Lots and lots of penalties, which is not something that happens to Auburn very often. I saw a lot of MSU penetration the other night. That surprised me. I also don't fully understand why the Jason Bosley-for-Ryan Pugh switch is sticking. I'll swear that Pugh is a better tackle than Bosley. I think Pugh is quicker. I think they're about even at center.
You know, I like The Legends poll. It's a survey of several good and great retired coaches. They rank teams just like any other poll. I like their insights, though, and I'm a big believer in listening to what non-partisan coaches have to say. They've seen it all.
Here is your first Legends poll of the year: * 1. USC (18) * 2. Oklahoma * 3. Georgia * 4. Missouri * 5. Florida * 6. LSU * 7. Texas * 8. Alabama * 9. Wisconsin * 10. Penn State * 11. Ohio State * 12. BYU * 13. Oregon * 14. Texas Tech * 15. Auburn * 16. South Florida * 17. East Carolina * 18. Wake Forest * 19. Utah * 20. Kansas * 21. Florida State * 22. Arizona State * 23. Illinois * 24. West Virginia * 25. Nebraska
Here is your panel: Frank Broyles (Arkansas), Lloyd Carr (Michigan), John Cooper (OSU), Fisher DeBerry (Air Force), Terry Donahue (UCLA), Vince Dooley (Georgia), Pat Dye (Auburn), LaVell Edwards (BYU), Hayden Fry (Iowa), Don James (Washington), Frank Kush (Arizona State), Dick MacPherson (Syracuse), Bill Mallory (Indiana), Tom Osbourne (Nebraska), John Ralston (San Jose State), John Robinson (USC), R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Gene Stallings (Alabama) and Virginia's George Welsh.
The Head Coach just finished his Sunday afternoon chat with reporters.
Here are a few quotes I found interesting:
On pressure last night: "I never really felt threatened last night of losing that ballgame once we got ahead 3-0."
On his hopes for the offense: "We're going to break out one of these days and it'll start clicking."
On Chris Todd: "I thought Chris Todd played average. I liked the way he went through some reads. He didn't throw any interceptions."
On why Kodi Burns didn't play: "I thought putting him in a situation where our back was to the wall a lot in certain situations -- I wanted it to be a positive note when he goes back in the game. He was ready to go. He's a team player. And we've got to find the right situation."
On Burns again: "His time is going to come. He's being patient and just waiting for his turn."
On grading the team: "We get an A+ for winning."
Auburn's defense missed only five tackles.
Players of the week:Montez Billings (offense), Tray Blackmon (defense), Jerraud Powers (special teams), Michael Gibson (scout team offense), Wade Christopher (scout team defense).
Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler, formerly of "Scholastic Sports America," will be on campus for the AU-LSU game this weekend. This is their first trip to the Plains since the Florida game in 2006.