The First Look – 2009 Season Preview
Alright, I’ve decided to give JackTheRabbit one more try this year to do some previews for us. If you remember from last year, I pulled him from the pages of the Blogle because of Auburn’s awful record during his tutelage as Preview Writer. Just like last year, I don’t agree with everything he says, but it’s good enough. Welcome him back which ever way you choose. The WarBlogler’s season preview is soon to follow.
The Great Unknown
Ok, so what’s going to happen this year? Speaking from an Auburn standpoint, I don’t have a clue. There are so many unknowns with this team. To start with, Gene Chizik will make his debut as Auburn’s head coach. There is no starting quarterback, and depth is wearing thin up front on the offensive line and in the, usually stout, linebacker corps. Anyone feeling better about Auburn’s chances?
We’ve all seen what a quarterback controversy does to a team like Auburn. This might be the difference between a six or seven win season and actually competing for the west. The big question is who will it be? Neil Caudle had the best spring game of all the quarterbacks that played, but if you saw what I saw then I’m sure you didn’t feel any better about the situation. Is it me or does it seem like Kodi Burns has all the right tools, but no earthly idea how to use them? Chris “Noodle Arm” Todd didn’t play due to shoulder injury. Todd supposedly had shoulder surgery and now feels like he can compete once again. Keep in mind there are two incoming freshmen, Clint Mosely and Tyrik Rollinson, that will have the opportunity to compete, but unless one just comes in and steals the show then you can most likely count on it being one of the Three Amigos mentioned earlier. Without an established starter at the quarterback position, Auburn has no chance. I have faith that Guz Malzhan can put together a great offense (see Arkansas 2006) but without a good quarterback the best Auburn can hope for is a loss to Florida in the SEC championship, and Auburn doesn’t have anything like Darren McFadden.
I think one thing Auburn fans can look forward to is this new coaching staff. I was initially very critical of the Chizik hire until he put together his staff. Auburn might not have the best coach in the conference, but I would put this coaching staff, as a whole, up against any coaching staff in the SEC. Now let’s just hope they all stick around long enough to do something special.
The lack of depth at linebacker would worry me a lot more if we didn’t have Josh Bynes or Eltoro Freeman. I think this is one position where the depth issue will begin to hurt more and more once Auburn enters SEC play. Amen Corner will be a real trail for this group. The offensive line troubles may become more obvious earlier in the season. I hate to think about what offensive struggles Auburn could have with a thin line and quarterback issues.
My prediction for this season is tough one. I can’t really say anything with any real confidence. I would be surprised if Auburn didn’t win at least 6 games. It’s fair to say that the schedule lends an easy 5 wins and Auburn typically wins one or two games they shouldn’t (except last year). I predict Auburn will have an 8-5 season. There are 3 “gimme games” on the schedule and I think it’s fair to think that Miss State and Kentucky will be wins. I think the rest are up in the air, but I will be surprised if Auburn drops all of those games. I believe that if Auburn can establish a starter at quarterback then they can expect a bowl game, but if the same controversy plays out like it did last year then it could be a long season for the faithful in orange and blue.