Auburn Tigers Football
You think about Auburn’s football team and you feel like an optometrist conducting an eye exam. Good? Better? About the same? Through what lens are we to view this odd squad?
The No. 15 Tigers are coached by offensive wizard Gus Malzahn. That’s good. But they had five turnovers in a sloppy 24-10 win over Mercer (Johnny?). They battled Clemson hard in a 14-6 loss but allowed 11 sacks. Bad.
They’re 2-1, but Mercer is an FCS school. Good and bad. The Tigers rank second in the nation defensively in yards allowed, which is always weird when the coach’s roots are on the offensive side. So that’s good.
They play Missouri (1-2) on Saturday and Missouri is barely capable of beating a speeding ticket. So a Tigers’ win, while not assured, is good but leaves the program pretty much the same.
It’s the turmoil around The Plains that’s alarming. Having suspended quarterback Sean White for two games previously, Malzahn booted him from the team after White’s arrest on a charge of public intoxication. That means starter Jarrett Stidham’s only scholarship backup is a freshman who has yet to play. Good and bad if the White distraction is in the past, but that’s not much depth at QB if you plan to give up sacks by the dozen. We’ll go with bad, though it’s really about the same.
Now defensive lineman Byron Cowart, once a big-time recruit, has left the program in a dispute over playing time. Nine tackles in a little over two seasons? He either lacks playing time or the ability to tackle (and maybe the first prompted the second). His absence won’t hurt that defense.
So what do we make of Auburn? Good? Bad? Or about the same?