Ask any Auburn fan about the struggles of this Auburn team that has gotten off to a 1-4 start in 2012. Most likely, youth and inexperience will be one of the main points of their rebuttal. That excuse can stop. Beginning right now.
In terms of numbers, Auburn is a young team; 31 underclassmen (freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores) litter the Week 6 depth chart. Some people blame the lack of recruiting during Tuberville's last year as head coach. Only two players remain from the 2008 class.
Here is a look at the breakdown of players that remain on the team from 2008 and subsequent classes.
However, using the criteria to define young as we did above, Auburn is not even the youngest team in the SEC West. LSU has 34 underclassmen listed on its depth chart vs. South Carolina.
Inexperienced does not have to be defined by what level of classes a player takes. Experience is measured by what each player has been exposed to.
Every player on this Auburn team has seen what it is like to be in a big game such as Clemson or LSU.
Every player knows what to expect on a game-day weekend for both home and away games. They have gone to the hotel the night before, gone through Tiger Walk and the pre-game festivities.
They have played in both morning and evening kickoffs.
The true freshmen have been in the Auburn program no less than two months (and some more than that).
In short, there is nothing that should surprise them any more this year on or off the field.
At this point in the season, freshmen should be playing and acting like sophomores. Sophomores should be playing and acting like juniors and juniors like seniors. Sammie Coates thinks he is ready to take a leadership role as a redshirt freshman.
“I think I am. I’m ready for that role. I’m trying my best at practice, I’ll keep fighting at practice to get better every single day.” (via Aaron Brenner, Columbus Ledger-Inquirer)
After five games, this team (and its fans) must stop using youth and inexperience as an excuse for its struggles.
Auburn has a ton of young talent on its roster. Young talent can usually overcome inexperience. So far this year, youth and inexperience have been used only as a crutch for Auburn’s struggles.
After five games, that argument does not hold the water that it once did.