The Auburn football team is not going through a rebuilding year as some have tried to pass off. This is not a year where Auburn fans should moderate expectations. It is a year where both fans and coaching staff will expect the best from players wearing an Auburn uniform.
It will be an extremely difficult year in the SEC West. There is not one team that is down. Ole Miss is rebuilding some, but that could make them better. Every other team in the SEC West can be expected to be better, with the exception of Alabama.
We simply do not know about Alabama at this point. They replace a slew of players that included the backbone of their 2009 defense and special teams. No one will know how these replacements will perform until game time.
One thing we do know is that they will put talented players in every position and they will be well coached. They have not won two SEC West titles in a row by simply being lucky. They will contend in 2010 at least until proved to be otherwise.
There have been many naysayers for the Auburn defense going into the fall of 2010. I think it is time to bring a few facts to the attention of fans. The Auburn staff has accomplished an absolutely brilliant feat with recruiting.
There are some players that will be well known to Auburn fans during the 2010 season. Nick Fairley, Demond Washington, Cameron Newton, Brandon Mosley, Roszell Gayden, and Joel Bonomolo are some of these names.
Most Auburn fans have not realized the true importance of these players. Auburn had a dismal 2008 recruiting class. Only 11 players from that class are still contributing on the team. With the addition of the excellent junior college talent, this class is now of average size.
This type of planning will keep the Auburn team on an even keel for years to come. It will keep the team from devastating losses of talent from one year to the next. It will make recruiting a much more predictable task.
Due to the end of cyclic recruiting, the Auburn staff can look far ahead and know the future needs of the team. This will allow them to evaluate and target recruits at an earlier time. They can then follow them more closely. The chances of success are exponentially increased.
The task of rebuilding the Auburn roster is 80 percent complete with a 30 percent increase in talent added back to the team with the 2010 class. The 85-man roster is now full of viable playing talent.
Auburn will graduate well over 20 players in 2010. With this graduation Auburn should again see between 17 and 20 players graduate each year going forward. This puts the team on a sustainable cycle of recruiting.
Gene Chizik is a defensive coach. He has come to Auburn and changed the entire playing roster and team outlook in less than two years. Why would any logical fan assume he would stick with a defensive concept that would not work?
It would be a very obvious mistake for a new head coach to bring in and stick with a failing coordinator or concept. For a man who has performed so brilliantly in every other aspect, it is unfathomable that this would be where he would fail.
Auburn has a good defensive staff and coordinator. If they did not, Chizik would not be risking his dream job for them. This is not a staff comprised of coaches that have been buddies before they came to Auburn. They were put together from a variety of different places due to their abilities.
Auburn will be sound on defense in 2010 and the Auburn staff will perform well. This is simply the only possible weakness opposing fans can find to point to for 2010. We must remember the media pushed the demise of Auburn only one year ago. It was predicted that Auburn would not be competitive for years to come.
Auburn fans can take some satisfaction is watching these predictions proved to be false in 2010.