Your Best 11 Mailbag: Talking a Little Auburn, VT and Wearing out a Defense

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Your Best 11 Mailbag: Talking a Little Auburn, VT and Wearing out a Defense
Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Thursday folks, and we're hitting the #YB11 Mailbag. Last week things were quite hectic, but we did not forget about you. I'm going to pull some old questions, throw in some new questions and give everyone answers because I'm all about the people

 

 

When this question was asked, Auburn still had a shot to beat Ole Miss. Well, that's passed now and is another L for the Tigers. Looking at the schedule, it's hard to imagine Auburn going to a bowl game. It still has dates with Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama on the schedule. Hell, beating Vanderbilt is not a given for this team.

I think it wins two more games this year: New Mexico State and Alabama A&M. That'll bring it to three for the season, and folks will be so disappointed. Personally, I'd give Gene Chizik more time because I think he's redoing the rebuild job from scratch this year. He got a little into the process, then changed directions with the departures of Ted Roof and Gus Malzahn. That change of directions means he's got to teach kids how to play a different brand of football, and that transition isn't easy.

However, odds are, because Alabama is basically being the worst rival ever and just Hulk smashing everything, Auburn will fire Chizik and have to start from scratch all over again.

 

 

Honestly, I have no clue. Tre Mason is the only legitimate, reliable form of offense that the Tigers have, and I guess Scot Loeffler is trying to create some deception with the freshman quarterback. If I'm the Tigers, I sack up, give Mason the ball more straight up the gut and off-tackle and everything that the offensive line can block. Let Onterio McCalebb spell Mason and use play-action passes and roll outs to keep teams honest.

 

 

Duke is better than it was a few years ago. David Cutcliffe has got some talent into the program, and it is playing a brand of football that is conducive to the players it has. Jela Duncan is just a freshman. Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette are just sophomores, as is Jamison Crowder. That said, Duke is going to be interesting to watch going forward because after losing to Virginia Tech, the road doesn't get easier.

Between North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Miami, the Blue Devils have to find a win. Clemson and Florida State sit on the schedule as massive road blocks that, compared to the other three games, appear to be insurmountable.

As for their future, they'll continue to have quality ball players. The question is, can they put it all together to break through this "ceiling" that they've had recently. Duke's not the only team getting better, and for the Blue Devils, it will be about whether or not they can pull closer to the pack before the pack pulls away from them.

 

 

Last week, when you asked me this, I was totally going to pick West Virginia. I would have been right, for the record. Now, I'll fast forward to this week and ask myself the same question...Cincinnati.

Why? Well, next weekend, I think Mississippi State loses to Alabama. I also think Washington has a shot to beat Oregon State. So that could be two undefeateds going down on Saturday.

However, Cincinnati plays Louisville on Friday night. Enter the whole "win on a technicality" thing. As long as no undefeated teams lose this week, we'll have an unbeaten match up Friday that will see the Cardinals or the Bearcats lose. I'm going with Cincinnati in that matchup.

 

 

Football question! But there's more:

 

 

So that's the whole question.

Running the ball early most certainly wears on a defense; if you're doing the right type of running. Draws and delays and whatnot are not going to "grind down" a defense. But power-O, iso, traps, zone runs and the like will absolutely do that. Especially if the guy toting the ball is either giving out punishment or you have a stable of backs to bring fresh legs in against weary defenders.

Watch LSU, Florida, Alabama or Stanford play a football game, and you'll see what I mean. Middle of the third and into the fourth quarter, you have defenders with hands on hips, guys slow to get up off the ground and players who are tired of getting their behind whipped at the point of contact.

Here's the "Oregon-Arizona-Spread Run" Caveat. Those teams wear you down too. Not by physically beating on you, but rather, the tempo, coupled with chasing people all game, is a killer when it comes to fatigue. You're not beat up like you are against Alabama, but you're exhausted. Think of it like the difference between getting punched in the face in a boxing ring for 12 rounds versus running a marathon; both ways exhaust people.

As for the second part about passing, it depends on defensive line depth and who is seeing success. If you've got bodies to rotate in, rushing the passer is a non-issue in the long run. They alternate series, come in situationally and spell one another when the fist goes up into the air. If you lack depth, this strategy could work, a little, but ultimately, pass rushing is a lot easier than playing run on a play-by-play basis.

Now, where success is concerned, if the offense is humming, legs get heavy quick for defenders. When you can't stop the opposition, you are prone to exhaustion and a bit of the loser's limp. On the flip side, if you're getting sacks, they're throwing errant passes, and all of a sudden, you can run after the quarterback for days.

Just ask Texas Tech.

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