South Carolina Preview: Brutal October Starts in Columbia
Let’s get the happy bus rolling folks, I have finally moved to WordPress! I will miss Blogger because of how creative you can be with your design, but there are several upgrades that come with my move over to here. Firstly, you can sign-up to an e-mail subscription, where whenever I post something new it gets sent straight to your inbox. Secondly, you can now comment on my posts through your Facebook or Twitter account. So if you want to share your thoughts on anything I have written, you are more than welcome to write something. Since I had to copy and paste my September posts onto the site, the dates won’t match when they were actually published. But don’t bite my hand off about that, I’m not superman…Cam own’s that title.
Now onto the real task at hand, we are 3-1! That’s right, with our incredibly young yet talented team we have a solid winning record. Sure we haven’t hit October yet, but that’s still a positive isn’t it? At least we aren’t 1-3 (though we easily could be). But enough about the past, let’s look to the future. It’s all we can do at this point.
Saturday we square off against the Gamecocks of South Carolina, a team we don’t usually lose to. This has been one of the very few times where we have been heavily unfavored against them, and that’s no surprise, considering how inconsistent we have been playing lately. Betting lines are very touchy like that, but it’s not often that Auburn is even remotely favoured against a good team these days.
After my rant a few days ago bitching and moaning about the defense, I have decided that all I and everyone else can now do is to get behind the defense and the team. Sure, it’s fun and satisfying to discuss the deficiencies and coach firings on message boards and Twitter/Facebook etc. but all I hope for now is to squeeze out wins anywhere they can come from. Even though we have now lost our first game since 1935 I still believe we have enough to get more close wins if the chance shall arise. Sure, I’d like for us to be more defensively efficient but it’s up to the coaches to get that sorted, as I mentioned in my last blog post. But this isn’t to say I won’t ever discuss issues with the defense ever again, because I probably will (unless we beat South Carolina 58-3 on Saturday).
So the question everyone is now asking is how do we beat South Carolina, and how can we possibly stop Marcus Lattimore? The truth is, it’s going to be hard to. Last year, our game plan was exactly the same as it is this weekend, to stack the box and play hard through the middle to prevent the big run gains. Lattimore is on another level right now, and if we managed to hold him to under 100 yards I would be very surprised. This is the running back that Coach Luper really wanted, and unfortunately couldn’t get, but as Chizik said “we focus on the players we do get, not the ones we don’t get”. Alshon Jeffery is another player that we will have to do well to stop. He is arguably the best receiver in the nation, and with his size and athleticism we might as well just throw constant double teams on him every single play.
There is the good news for us though, his name rhymes with Keeven Marcia. He has now thrown something like 7 interceptions since the start of the season and I think that CAN bode well for us. If we are able to limit Lattimore early (somehow) and force Garcia to beat us I think our chances of winning double. Last year, Garcia had a few fourth quarter turnovers which helped us win the game, which resulted in Spurrier benching that greasy scoundrel. That is how bad he can be, hell I might even buy a plane ticket to Columbia and take him about for a few pints the night before the game, then a few more pints, and then another few…you get where I’m going with this.
For Auburn, we need to play near perfect football and most importantly limit the turnovers. Luckily, we won’t be walking into a night game so the crowd won’t be as loud as Jordan-Hare was last year. We know what Garcia is like, so the defensive backs need to be on top of their game and take advantage of every single mistake he makes. Whether it’s a badly thrown ball or a fumble, we need to force these mistakes from him and that will also depend on the defensive line. Can we pressure him enough to make the mistakes, could we for once this season make a quarterback look bad? I’d love that.
Oh and how could I forget tackling? South Carolina is a big and physical team on both sides of the ball so tackling needs to be near perfect otherwise we’ll be saying “bye bye Lattimore” as he scoots down the sidelines. Did I mention they have that psycho at defensive end they call Jadeveon Clowney? He’s a bit of a beast, and his recruiting ranking already proves it. He also leads the SEC in sacks (gulp).
Offensively we need to give Dyer more carries, but most importantly we need someone else to step up and become a star play-maker. We already have Dyer, Lutzenkirchen and Blake but I feel we need one more weapon. Could it be Benton? Mason? Bray? I’m looking forward to this game and I hope that it’s an injury free game for both teams. I wouldn’t mind losing as long as we put up a fight against this decent team, but we need to keep this mentality that a game isn’t over until it’s really over, which goes for if we are ahead or losing. That’s not to say I will accept the loss, I don’t settle for anything but wins with my sports teams but I do expect Auburn to at least put up a fight.
If you are going to Columbia on saturday, be as loud as you can and support our team until the end, you know the drill. The season isn’t even half-way over, and if we could pull out a surprise then who knows what could happen the rest of the season. Remember 2007? We started off poorly, then we beat a pretty good Florida team in the Swamp and ended up finishing 9-4 with a Chick-Fil-A Bowl win, which I would love for again this year but that will depend on many things.
Official prediction: South Carolina 31-28 Auburn.
It does pain me to predict a win for the opposite team, but I can’t pick Auburn over South Carolina until I see some real improvement. But like I’ve said before, we can win this game regardless of what the talking heads think.
October is coming folks, let’s go make it 4-1.
Here is our defensive highlights against South Carolina last year, just in case you need your daily dose of Auburn defense.