Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Auburn Tigers 2007 Preview

Auburn Tigers
11-2, 6-2, 6-2 Home, 4-0 Away, 1-0 Neutral

Quick Facts:
Returning Starters 12, (5 Offense, 7 Defense)
Returning Letterman: 51 (22 Off, 27 Def, 2 ST)
Letterman Lost: 23 (10 Off, 9 Def, 4 ST)

2006 ATS:
5-7 ATS, 2-5 Home Fav, 1-0 Home Dog, 2-2 Away Fav, 0-0 Away Dog, 4-7 Favorite, 1-0 Dog, vs Conf 4-4, vs Non Conf 1-3, Off SU Win 2-7, Off SU Loss 2-0

Tubberville at Auburn (9 years)
71-29 SU, 44-12 Home, 22-13 Away, 5-4 Neutral, 45-21 Conf, 13-10 Top 10, 19-16 vs Top 25, 6-8 vs BCS Teams, 5-3 Off A Bye, 14-9 Off A Loss

A team with 33 wins over the last years, but may be finishing as low as fourth in the SEC West. Auburn lacks the sizzle it has had in the recent past – no Ronnie Brown, Cadillac, Carlos Rogers type players this year. Brad Lester will look to fill the void left by Kenny Irons departure to the NFL. Four of the top five pass catchers return but the combined for only 13 more catches than Courteney Taylor. Brandon Cox returns for his senior year after an injury hobbled junior year. The o-line is a concern with just 1 starter from a year ago. The defense should be stout again with the return of 7 starters from a unit, which allowed just 13.9 ppg last season. The D-line returns three starters including Quentin Groves who had 9.5 sacks last years. Tray Blackmon’s status is still up in the air, but if he is eligible then he will be a force at WLB.

Keys to Success:
-Keep Brandon Cox healthy, which will keep defenses honest. Last year, some teams were able to key on Irons knowing Cox had limited mobility.
-Protect a young, inexperienced LB corps early on with a solid pass rush and good secondary coverage
-Find a reliable kicker and punter. Auburn has been very fortunate with the departure of Kody Bliss and John Vaughn.

Top Incoming Freshman:
OL Lee Ziemba
RB Enrique Davis
DB Michael McNeil
OL Ryan Pugh
QB Kodi Burns

The Tigers have 8 home games this year and just 4 road games. However, the road schedule is brutal with trips to Florida, Arkansas, LSU, and Georgia. The first real test comes at Florida on September 29. The Tigers did not manage an offensive TD in last year’s 27-17 win (fumble return covered for Auburn). Road trips to Arkansas and LSU are back-to-back weeks – the home team has won the last seven in the LSU series. The visitor is 11-3-1 in the last 15 in the Georgia-Auburn series. This will be Auburn’s 11the straight game in a row, same as last year. The Iron Bowl comes after a bye week. Auburn has won five in a row and Tubberville is 4-0 against Bama at home.
Best Case: 10-2
Worst Case: 7-5

Auburn is staring a lower finish
than they are used too in the SEC West

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