I do not know a bunch about the Auburn Tigers, other than what some stats show me.
I know they did not live up to expectations this year, as they were preseason ranked in the top 10 and finished the year at 7-5, with fans calling for the Head Coach’s head. Auburn has a rich tradition, winning a national championship a few years back with Cam Newton, the kick 6 vs Alabama about 5 years ago and the many accomplishments they had in the 1980s and 1990s.
Today, I talked with a long time friend who knows much more about Auburn than I. Iasked him five questions over the Tigers, just to get a better understanding of who they are.
Levi and a couple of his friends have started a sports talk show, where they use Facebook as their main outlet to reach listeners, as they are starting to develop a web page to reach even more people.
JNL Sports talks about every topic, NCAA football, NCAA basketball, NBA, NFL, MLB, etc. They do a great job of going in depth with all of their topics. I suggest you go like their Facebook page and listen to their up and coming sportscast they do. Usually they have one or two shows per week. You can click the link here and give them a like, Real Sports Talk - JNL.
So, lets go ahead and learn a little bit more about our next opponent, The Auburn Tigers.
1. What surprised you the most about Auburn’s season? As a pre-season top 10 team, why were expectations not met?
Levi: I was most surprised with the bad defense. We lost 5 starters from last year. I know that seems like a lot but it wasn’t because of the amount of playing time that this years new starters got last year. We played bad at all levels this year. I think that the expectation were not met because of coaching. it is simple, as a coach you need to recognize your players strength and put them into the best position to be successful. Gus Malzahn and Chip Lindsey did not do that on the offensive side of the ball.
2. Malzahn has been scrutinized by the fans, is the 7-5 record his fault? Or is there a void in talent currently at Auburn?
Levi: Auburn has 13 Four starts from the 2018 Class and 1 Five Star and 10 Four stars from the 2018 class. So the talent is there its executing at a successful game plan that is the reason for Auburn not building off of last years success. This season is on the entire coaching staff of Auburn. That being said, Auburn is a way better team when they come into the season with zero expectations. 2010 with Newton they had no expectations coming in and won a national title. 2013 with Nick Marshall again no expectations went to the national championship game. 2017 they beat Georgia then Alabama but then lost in the SEC title game
3. Stidham was one of the hottest commodities coming out of JuCo after spending a year there. Do you believe he has lived up to the hype that was placed on him?
Levi: I do not believe he did. I thought he was going to be a heisman candidate and maybe win one. Auburn needs to run the ball to be successful and Stidham had his best year last year with Kerryon Johnson. This year they were not able to establish a strong run game and Stidham suffered for that. There is no doubt that he has the decision making between the ears and the arm strength to be in the NFL. His lack of success falls on the coaches once again.
4. Who are some of the players Purdue has look out for in this game?
Levi: One of my favorite players on Auburns defense is their middle linebacker Deshaun Davis. Dude has a nose for the ball, he is gap filler, and sacrifice his body on every play. The guards and the fullbacks better be ready for contact because he brings it every down. Wide Receiver Ryan Davis is another home run hitter. He is also our punt returner. Can make just about anyone miss in the open field and has great vision. Auburn will throw a lot of screens to him trying to spread the linebackers out then run the ball once the middle is soft. Sort of what Purdue does with Knox and Moore.
5. Lastly, how do you think the Music City Bowl will shake out?
Levi: This is going to be a great game. It will tell us a lot about both coaches. I am actually excited to see Brohm take a on an SEC power school. Auburn did have a bad year this year. At least to their standard. Auburn is known for laying down in bowl games specially with the 6 week lay off. With loses to Wisconsin in 2015, Oklahoma in 2017 and then last year to UCF. I expect Brohm to have his guys ready to play and jump out to a quick start on Auburn that is usually a team that takes a sometime to get the engine going. This game will be fun and it will be close. I am taking Auburn (Kind of a homer pick) 38-31.
I would like to thank Levi for taking out of his busy day to give us a small idea of who the Auburn Tigers truly are. Again, please go like the Real Sports Talk - JNL Facebook page as they continue to grow.