The Dye-Log: Points, Points And More Points

College Football Hall of Fame Coach Pat Dye writes about the bowl season and Auburn Tigers in this edition of The Dye-Gest column.

As the bowl season comes to an end, I think it is safe to say I have never seen so many wild, high-scoring postseason contests as we have watched the past couple of weeks.

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Games like Boise State 56, Arizona State 24 and Missouri 41, North Carolina 24 have been the norm this year, not the exception.

To find games that really stand out in the crowd for points scored in this bowl season you have to go to the really big number contests like Baylor's 67-56 victory over Washington in the Alamo Bowl or West Virginia pounding Clemson 70-33 in the Orange Bowl.

I don't know if there is one reason to explain all of the scoring. More likely it is a combination of several factors.

Certainly part of the reason for all of the points are that current college football rules that make it challenging to play great defense against the multi-dimensional offenses that we are seeing. Those offenses spread out defenses and force them to defend a lot of turf from sideline-to-sideline. The rules limit how physical the pass coverage can be so that gives an edge to the offense.

It looks to me like college players have become a lot better at throwing and catching. I think all of the seven-on-seven leagues and football camps around the country have helped skill athletes become better at playing in space. Just about every team has some of those kind of athletes and they look to get them heavily involved in the offensive game plans.

I don't remember watching many bowl games this year, or even games during the regular season, in which offenses lined up and tried to go straight at defenses by running the ball down their throat.

A lot of good offenses in college are able to run the ball well enough to make the defensive teams respect that part of the offense and force defenses to align so they can contain the running attack, but when they do that it makes them more vulnerable to big plays in the passing game. The passing game seems to be where a lot of big plays are made in college games these days.

In Auburn's bowl victory over Virginia, the Cavaliers had a good running attack, which Auburn had to respect, but Virginia made most of its big plays throwing the football when the Tigers were lined up to stop the run.

I really enjoyed watching the Chick-fil-A Bowl. That looked like the old Auburn offense. The Tigers got into a rhythm and starting putting together first downs and then hit some long plays.

I thought it was an impressive game for quarterback Barrett Trotter. I don't think it was a mistake playing Clint Moseley the second half of the season because when the coaches made the decision to change quarterbacks at halfime of the Florida game, it made sense. Trotter had taken so much punishment in the first seven games, and he was so physically beat up he wasn't able to play as well as he did earlier in the year.

I know Trotter has got a lot of guts, but you can't stand back there and take the pounding he took with it not affecting how you perform, and that is what happened. I think he was flinching and trying to keep from getting hit and you can't play that position like that.

Full speed and eager to show what he could do once he got a second chance to run the offense, Trotter earned a lot of respect for how he handled being benched and how he handled his chance to play again.

After a slow start vs. Virginia, I thought the defense made good adjustments at halftime and played much better in the third and fourth quarters. I was impressed with the speed at which the Auburn defense played vs. the Cavaliers.

I also thought the Tigers did a good job of shutting the Virginia running attack. That forced the quarterback to try to beat them and that didn't happen.

Auburn's speciality teams had another outstanding performance. Those guys are fun to watch and it looks to me like they are having a great time playing football. That reflects well on the type of job special teams coach Jay Boulware is doing. Gene Chizik knew what he was doing when bringing in Boulware for his coaching staff.

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)

Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.


Pat Dye's Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve and Lodge

Pat Dye's Quail Hollow Gardens

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