Dusty Thibodeaux (Twitter) is a 1997 graduate of Auburn High School who moved to Monroe, LA to attend then Northeast Louisiana University, graduating from now ULM in 2002 and 2006. Dusty returns this fall after a previous Other Sideline and summer edition to give us a refresher on the world's new favorite team. Read his stuff at WarhawkReport.com.
1. What has the big win over Arkansas done for the ULM's confidence?
Head Coach Todd Berry has always said that his teams would run through a brick wall for him. The win last week really solidified the confidence that's been in this program shortly after Berry took over and really showed the team that his way is what's best for not only them, but the program as a whole. It was good to finally see all of their hard work and efforts payoff.
2. Over the summer, you said that this was the best ULM team in a while. Has that already been proven, or is the jury still out?
I still think this is the best ULM that's been around in a while. Provided they remain healthy, this team will be in the post season and contend for a conference championship.
Brandon Marcello, the Mississippi State beat reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, is making his third appearance on the 'Blogle after answering questions for us last season and this summer. Brandon can be found covering Dan Mullen's ego, I mean, the Maroons on Twitter and on his blog. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but he does a great job.
1. How much did we learn from the blowout of Jackson State?
About as much as you could learn from a blowout, which is not much. Mississippi State attacked the edges early, and Tyler Russell threw a couple of quick screen passes, but the bulk of this offense has yet to be revealed. I suspect we may see more option football in the future for these Bulldogs, especially with the quick-footed LaDarius Perkins at running back.
The defense was, again, pretty good. They played a lot of soft zone, so you couldn't read much with the secondary. The defensive line will be good, like in 2011, but we'll see the true colors of the secondary against Auburn. I'm looking forward to seeing the Bulldogs play more man to man.
Wow, is this really a real, in-season discussion with a writer that covers a real opponent? Yes. Yes it is. There's no more summer hypotheticals. We have starters, we have depth charts, and we have real game preparation. Let's get back into real talk. Real talk.
Greg Wallace has covered Clemson athletics for the Anderson (SC) Independent-Mail since November 2005. Before that, he covered Alabama for the late Birmingham Post-Herald from 2001-05. Greg was nice enough to answer a few questions prior to last season's mishap and during the summer, so why not bring him back for another installment of your favorite 'Blogle series? You can read his Clemson coverage at orangeandwhite.com, or follow him on Twitter at @aimclemson.
1. I've noticed a little more cockiness from the Clemson fan base over the last few weeks when it comes to this game. What's up with that? 70 points, what?
First of all, I’m not sure why “cockiness’ and “70 points” would have any legit connection. I’ve noticed some concern from Clemson fans for the same reasons that they’ve been concerned all summer – an offensive line that returns only two starters and a defensive line that returns only one starter, getting their first test on national TV in the Georgia Dome.
We wrap up the Summer slate of Other Sidelines with a return visit from one of the funniest and level-headed Bams on the Twitter. Rick Muscles (@rickmuscles) is an Alabama fan and Ole Miss season ticket holder. He has written for Everyday Should Be Saturday, Friends of the Program, and Roll Bama Roll. He also does a little podcast called Friends with Muscles (I was on it once). In real life he's a recovering alcoholic claims adjustor who loves to lift weights and see rock concerts.
1. Given the losses on defense, and the departure of a Heisman finalist on offense, it's obvious that Alabama will actually be better this year, right?
It's preseason, so anyone who says they know anything is a dang liar. Except DB, Bama lost guys in the right spots. Bama has done a great job recruiting the defensive front 7. My logic does get faulty because no way the new guys will be better than Hightower and Upshaw. However, there will be some top notch talent.
Losing Trent to the NFL, where he'll buy his own suits, is also a killer but there is a ton of depth in the backfield- even with clandestine Eddie Lacy injury. Where they actually might be better is at O-Line. If you look back at Auburn's BCS, the O-Line was the best unit in the nation. Barrett Jones is still at Bama, y'all.
For the last two seasons (2010, 2011), Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) has blessed us with his knowledge of all things SEC, more specifically Auburn, as we've led up to kickoff. Barrett, now the lead SEC blogger over at Bleacher Report, joins us again this year to talk about the 2012 version of the Tigers. His previous work has been featured on CFN, FoxSports.com, and Scout.com. Barrett regularly appears on local, regional, and national radio shows discussing college football as well. He also has four sets of double letters in his name, so that's pretty cool.
1. Aside from quarterback, what is the number one question that Auburn must answer before the opener?
Linebacker is key. It's been a sore spot for the Tigers for a while now, even though Josh Bynes did his best to get everyone lined up properly in 2010. Daren Bates was underrated last year, but new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is known for developing elite linebackers, and Auburn just doesn't have that right now.
2. Speaking of quarterback, it's widely believed that Frazier will be the starter. Do you buy this "no separation" act?
Not at all. I think Frazier won the job this spring and if he didn't, he surely did with his work this summer in the player-run practices. I believe that it's all a PR game, and Auburn's coaching staff is just playing the game. If he's not the starting quarterback when Auburn steps foot into the Georgia Dome on Sept. 1, I will be floored.
You may remember Greg Poole (@ecdawg_LHB) as one part of the most controversial "Other Sideline" of 2011. I decided I would give him another chance this summer to see if he deserves to come back for the real version in November. Spoiler alert: he doesn't. Greg is the publisher/editor of the Leather Helmet Blog... and all that other stuff I said last year.
1. Now that Auburn and Georgia are both victims of highly talented running backs gone wrong, how do you see each team progressing at that position?
I have no idea of what Auburn will do for running backs now that the Arms Merchant of The Plains has moved on.
Georgia, however, is in great shape after the departure of the misunderstood Mr. Crowell. Two freshman running backs from North Carolina will, in my opinion, be the workhorses of the Georgia offense by midseason. Both Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are fast and big enough to handle any assignment. Additionally, Ken Malcolm will be an important factor for the Dawgs.
Anthony Esparza (@trusportsnmsu) is entering his senior year as a journalism major at New Mexico State University. This is his is second year covering Aggie athletics for The Round Up, the NMSU student newspaper. He also runs the truSports blog. Anthony was nice enough this week to give us a some insight on the westernmost opponent on Auburn's schedule this season.
1. Do New Mexico State football fans know where Auburn is, and if so, do they have any thoughts about the program?
Every college football fan knows where Auburn is. Like other fans, they are well aware of Auburn’s history and recent National Championship.
2. I'll be honest, I haven't really kept up with Aggie football over the last, well ever, so what can you tell me about the program and where it stands right now?
DeWayne Walker is entering his fourth season as head coach. He has said that when he first took the job at NMSU, he knew the first couple of years were going to be rebuilding years and that the fourth year was the one he was really looking to. The Aggies were much more competitive a year ago than in past seasons. The biggest improvements came on offense, especially in the passing game.
With new teams being added to the SEC, it meant I had to go find sites related to those teams for the "Other Sideline" series. By far, the best I found for Texas A&M is TexAgs.com. Gabe Bock (@TexAgsRadio) is the host of TexAgs Radio on SportsRadio 1150 The Zone in College Station, TX, and is a reporter/publisher for TexAgs.com. Catch TexAgs Radio weekdays from 9-11 a.m. on 1150 AM at Zone1150.com, TexAgs.com, or the Radio Aggieland app.
1. What is the first thing Texas A&M fans think of when Auburn football is mentioned?
It depends on who you ask. I'm sure the first thing that many Aggie fans think of is Cameron Newton and that image of the Tigers hoisting the national championship two seasons ago after a thrilling victory over Oregon in the BCS title game. Others will think of the culture at Auburn and will often compare it favorably to that in Aggieland.
Many Aggies who have been to Auburn and have soaked in the atmosphere on campus and around town liken Auburn to Aggieland. And those same Aggies often compare Alabama to Texas in terms of culture and fan base. Needless to say, we hear a lot more "War Damn Eagle" shouts around here than "Roll Damn Tide" when talking to Ags about which side they're going to pick in that storied rivalry.