Dye-Gest: Eager to See Tigers Vs. Aggies

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about why he is looking forward to Auburn's game three vs. Texas A&M.

I think this week’s SEC opening game for Auburn and Texas A&M will tell us exactly where the Tigers are as a football team. Both the Tigers and Aggies have two games of experience and the Aggies will bring a team to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night that should be motivated to play well in addition to having a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.

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With Texas A&M having a lot of scoring potential it is important that Auburn have a good offensive plan to be effective running its spread offense if turns into a high scoring game.

Defensively, we will see the Tigers challenged by a lot of passing because Trevor Knight is an experienced quarterback who will be throwing to great talent at wide receiver. The Aggies have four dynamic, proven receivers who will really test Auburn’s secondary.

I think the Tigers are much improved in the secondary, but we will know for sure after Saturday night’s game. Clemson had two great receivers, but I don’t think those players have the same type of speed that Texas A&M’s receivers have so Auburn’s defensive backs will have an opportunity show what they can do.

What kind of pressure the Tigers will be able to put on the quarterback will be an important factor to watch in this week’s game. Knight isn’t going to necessarily throw passes from the pocket so he will be a moving target for Auburn’s defensive ends and tackles. He will put the football in the air from a lot of different spots and he is a big guy who is pretty accurate throwing the ball on the move. The fact that he is a very effective runner, too, makes the Aggies more difficult to defend.

Both teams are going to be highly motivated to open conference play with a victory after not performing up to expectations in 2015. From what I have seen I think this game will have an impact on how the SEC West is won and I am excited to watch what happens. All of the parts are there for Auburn to be a much improved team in the SEC games this year although some of the talent is young and inexperienced.

From the very beginning of spring practice I have really liked what I have seen from these kids and their coaches. They were disappointed about the Clemson loss because they knew they had a great chance to win it and they knew they let slip away a chance to get their respect back on the national level.

The game this past weekend vs. Arkansas State is what this Auburn team needed after the loss to Clemson. I know the opposition didn’t look good, but the game gave the Tigers a chance to run their base offense and look good doing it.

Sean White played like we expect Gus Malzahn’s quarterbacks to perform. He threw and ran the football successfully and did a good job of leading the team.

In my opinion the two biggest plays White made on Saturday night came when he was downfield blocking for the run. I can’t tell you how much that means to his teammates when their quarterback is eager to do that.

I also liked how White got the yards that were available on a run before sliding to the ground when the situation called for it. He is a reckless football player, a controlled reckless I would say. He has got no fear on a football field.

I think a lot of folks had a little bit of a false reading on White’s ability to run the football because he played after he was hurt last year in the Arkansas game. After the injuries he took some awful licks because he couldn’t move like he did last Saturday.

As hard as that kid plays he reminds me of the way Chad Kelly does it at Mississippi and I don’t see anybody currently playing quarterback in the SEC who is more accurate at throwing the ball than Sean White is. He hit 17-23 passes last week, even after having one or two dropped.

White had just one really bad play. That happened just before halftime when he rushed a pass and overthrew a an open receiver in the end zone. I am sure the coaches noticed other things he needs to improve on, but overall his play was better than I expected. In fact, considering his overall performance running, throwing and directing the offense, I thought it was one off the better games we have seen from an Auburn quarterback in recent years.

I don’t know what White graded, but I do know if he continues to play like he did in game two he is going to be the type of guy the Tigers need on the field the next two games that will be physical battles vs.Texas A&M and LSU. What I saw from Sean White was a breath of fresh air.

Defensively, the Tigers probably didn’t play quite as well in game two as in the opener because they gave up a couple of deeps balls a week after not giving up a long pass. The plus side is that the coaches were able to play a lot of people and it was great to see those guys who have been working get a chance to go out there and compete in a game situation. There are talented young players on this roster who are going to help their team before the season is over. They got a chance to get on the field in game two and I think that is a good thing for this football team.

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