I wouldn’t say that this is a good Auburn team just yet, but I think it certainly is on the path to becoming a good team. It looks like the group has a lot of quality leadership on both sides of the ball and is hungry to improve.
We saw a good sign of that last Saturday in the 58-7 victory vs. Louisiana-Monroe. A lot of times when you play somebody you know you are supposed to beat because you have them out-manned, you don’t always get a well-played game. In this case the Tigers didn’t go out there and slop around while just going through the motions.
In the Homecoming game the Tigers didn’t get a lot of penalties or make a lot of turnovers. The team really played well in all phases of the game--offense, both passing and running, defense and special teams.
Because of the big lead the coaches were able to play a lot of people and that was a great thing for those young players who really need game experience, particularly on offense where the young receivers like Eli Stove, Nate Craig and Kyle Davis got to play a lot. Craig and Davis both caught long touchdown passes and Stove made several nice plays. All of that will pay dividends down the road because those are talented athletes.
If the Tigers want to stay in the conference race and have a chance to play in Atlanta there is no margin for error when they return to the SEC with this week’s road game at Mississippi State. I don’t know how good the Bulldogs are, but I do know they can be really tough to beat in Starkville and seem to get up when they play Auburn so the Tigers will need to have a good effort to extend their winning streak to three. I expect it will be a war.
Something that should help the Tigers as they go on the road is the play of Sean White. The sophomore quarterback is third in the SEC in passing efficiency and has done a good job of protecting the football. With the young receivers developing and the offensive line having the potential to continue to improve, the possibility is there for Auburn’s passing game to continue to develop.
The running game can improve, too, I believe. So far you have to be impressed with the job Kerryon Johnson is doing when he carries the football.
What Coach Malzahn and his staff did last week to keep their kids motivated and working to improve showed up in the Homecoming game. They did a dang good job of getting the players ready on both sides of the ball. That is important for their team’s development as the Tigers look to take another step forward by trying to come home with an SEC road victory this week.