I am still an Auburn fan. I am still a Brandon Cox fan.
It was a tremendous disappointment to lose the first game of the season and to break our winning streak. I would have loved to see it go to 21. That being said there were some good things that happened in the game against Georgia Tech.
Let me open by quoting my brother-in-law. "We got beat by a better team." I don't know that I felt that way Saturday night, but in retrospect I do think that GT was just all around a better team. My disappointments were mainly our defense and our sloppiness (ie. penalties and poor execution). I was ready to see Stanley McGlover (75) put a Plainsman whoopin on Reggie Ball. That didn't happen. I was ready to see Quentin Groves (54) get nasty on somebody. That didn't happen either. Our DB's were not aggressive enough and I would cut Will Herring (35) from the starting team until he can learn to put his arms around somebody and actually tackle them. And I could've slapped David Irons (4) for that first touchdown. With the way Calvin Johnson was dropping passes, Irons certainly could've helped him drop that pass if he had been anywhere in sight. By the way, Calvin, aren't you supposed to have that shirt tucked in?
I was pleased with the overall performance of Brandon Cox (12). I really think he is going to end up being a great quarterback. I was impressed with his poise in the pocket and his quick delivery. He was not as accurate as I had been led to believe, especially on the long ball, but he generally made good throws and brought a good game for his first time out. Especially since he was facing the blitz king defense of GT. He settled down pretty well after the first two drives and really didn't unravel until late in the game. He needs to hold on the the ball better when he scrambles and should improve on some of the choices he makes. He likes Anthony Mix (9) as a receiver, which is good, but I would love to see Courtney Taylor (86) get a few more looks.
I'm not a Tre Smith (22) fan. But its not because I don't want to be. Tre did an excellent job making good on the screen pass and was pretty good when he actually turned the corner. I don't think he has the agility or size to be a great running back. He didn't open up a running game for us because the GT defense didn't really fear him. When he does get to break out and run he does fine until he is bumped or grabbed, then he goes right down. I just don't want to be yelling "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!" when we are 10 down in the fourth.
It is my personal opinion that if we were to use Carl Stewart (32) and Kenny Irons (23) as a double threat team of backs we would enjoy the same defense stunning offense that we had last year. Defensive Coordinators just had nowhere to go because they knew when they blitzed, they were going to get passed on, when they covered deep they were going to get a short drop to a great runner, when they covered short there were wide receivers waiting in the wings and backs that could make things happen on the ground. I don't think John Tenuta ever felt like he was stuck.
Like I said, overall I was disappointed but encouraged at the same time. While I hate to lose, there are some promising things on the horizon for Auburn.
One more thing. Everyone is going to moan when I say this, but I think Auburn has a better shot at the SEC title than a lot of teams this year. We don't play Tennessee or Florida in our regular season which means we only have three big games left on the schedule. I predict we will be 5-1 going into LA. We will be a more mature team and be a more consistent team. Cox will be a better leader. We have a legitimate shot at LSU. Our biggest challenge lies in Georgia. The Dawgs are going to be beasts this year, they looked GREAT! If we can beat them, then I know we can beat that bunch of cry babies in Tuscaloosa (I hate BAMA). If, and I do mean if, we can make those three hurdles while not overlooking the other teams on our schedule, then I think we've got a great shot at playing in the SEC championship again this year. And if we win that one? Who knows?