Once again the Auburn Tigers come into another season of College Football with the proverbial “deck” stacked against them. In 13 seasons the Tigers have had only one season with fewer than 7 wins, but ESPN predicts they go 6-6 this year.
The Tigers are coming off of an 8-5 season with, shall we say, a very charitable defense. Ted Roof is gone, and now comes the days of Brian VanGorder as the Defensive Coordinator. VanGorder is a much needed, very good addition to the team. His resume speaks for itself as to what he can bring to the table. His tenure at the University of Georgia brought a defense that was fourth nationally in 2002, third in 2003, and eighth in 2004. This is a man that knows how to make a defense stingy, and his defenses also puts points on the board!
Auburns defensive line could quite possibly be one of the most talented in the country. You have Juniors Kenneth Carter and Jeffrey Whitaker starting at Defensive tackles, and Juniors Corey Lemonier and Nosa Eguae at Defensive ends. Under Roof, the defensive ends were set up to specialize against the run OR the pass, and would shift to the strong or weak side, accordingly. With VanGorder, the defensive ends will not be shifting and moving. They will have to learn to defend against both. With Roof’s style it was hit or miss and caused a lot of holes in the defensive line at the wrong times. Behind all that ugliness is one of, if not THE, most underrated linebacker in college football…..Daren Bates. Even though he’s small at 5’11 and 220 lbs, this man is a ferocious beast. What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in heart and instinct.
With that being said about the defense, the offense only gets better with everyone that is returning and the addition of Illinois Fullback transfer Jay Prosch. It will be a new look with a fullback in there, but he is a brick wall on wheels to lead Ontario McCalebb.
6-6 season they say?