The great thing about college football is that every team is different because the on-the-field leadership changes from year to year. Sometimes the coaching staff changes, too, but that is not the case with the 2014 Auburn Tigers.
When I look at this year’s group of Auburn players I see a lot of talent, but we really don’t know what the spirit of this year’s team will be. They have to display that on the field in tough situations.
Somebody is going to have to replace those leaders and how well they do will go a long way toward determining how good this team will be, especially considering how difficult the schedule looks to be.
Guys like Eguae, Davis, Mason and Ford were 100 percent dependable and they will be missed.
The same is true of Alex Kozan, the offensive guard who is hurt and out for the season, and Carl Lawson, the defensive end who is also hurt. Lawson, like Ford, is a guy whose motor is always running. Those type of players help teams win football games and Kozan is the same type of guy.
Over the weekend I was watching a replay of last year’s Alabama at Auburn game and it reminded me how even a young guy like Lawson can have great leadership qualities. When Jonathon Mincy almost got a personal foul on the goal line Carl Lawson, a true freshman, jumped on him and prevented that from happening. He knew how to react to that very intense situation better than Mincy, who was a junior at the time.
I think the talent is there to replace those missing players, or come very close to it, but it remains to be seen if the stability and glue those guys brought to the offense and defense last year can be found on the 2014 roster.
It is a challenge to the players, and the seniors in particular, to make sure that they feel the voids left by the missing guys. If that doesn’t happen it will have a major impact on how successful the team will be.