It is what it is folks. Give Auburn credit, they played a heck of a game defensively. Both Wilson and Cox actually played similar games (rushed for TDs, threw 1 INT each, and had around 115 yards passing each). But, defensive battles like these usually come down to who makes the fewest mistakes. The refs stunk for both sides, but we had other opportunities to make some offensive plays (D.J. easy catch that was bobbled comes to mind).
This defense gets an A for their performance this season. They were among the thinnest in the SEC in terms of depth, and Saban got these guys playing extremely well. They were forced to play so many minutes this season, and they did a good job with what they had.
The same cannot be said for the offense. With a decent amount of talent returning, they reverted back to their previous form of years past with sad performances after scoring 41 on UT (12, 14, & 10 points in the last 3 games). The Textbook situation hurt us more than most people may admit. Without those guys, people like Chris Capps and Terry Grant had to play more minutes than they should have. This led to constant position changes in the O-line and Grant being hurt for Auburn since he took such a beating as the main runner.
As for coaching, I would say both head coaches called pretty similar games to be honest with you. Home field advantage mixed with good Senior leadership in key positions won this game for the Tigers. Obviously, we have to win in Tuscaloosa next season. Auburn will have a rookie QB with a group of average at best receivers. Their strength will be to run, run, run, with Burns and Tate…. maybe Fannin too. I don’t know what kind of passer Burns really is, but I imagine he’ll try to run more. Auburn fans hope for him to be another Tim Tebow, but I highly doubt it. He’ll do well, but Tim Tebow is in a league of his own right now.
Recruiting must be priority #1 for Alabama this season. Coach Saban will be able to offer immediate playing time for many different positions in 2008, meaning that we should work hard on the top talent. Julio Jones is rumored to be a slight Alabama lean, so we need to keep out best recruiters on him. With Brown and Hall graduating, there will be plenty of time for Jones to play in ’08. We gotta keep him from FSU, LSU, and Auburn to a certain extent.
John Parker Wilson played about as well as he could with almost no blocking. Caldwell and the other Textbookers looked lost out there half the time. ESPN noticed this, taking the time to give us a replay of every time Caldwell and others got confused and never blocked anybody.
So basically, here is what I think of this game if you want to skip all of what I said above: Auburn didn’t win because of fancy play calling, superstar athletes, or extra prep time. Auburn won because they didn’t make as many mistakes, which is what it takes to win big time games like this one. I don’t view this as an excuse, I view this as a major part of every single game out there: if you make the fewest mistakes, chances are good for a victory. It’s called leadership and discipline. Congrats Tigers, we’ll see ya on the recruiting trail.
Let’s take a look at a few other games and situations.