Think Auburn's Spread Eagle Isn't Working? Here's Why You're Wrong

Drew EmersonCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2008

Last year on this exact same day, Auburn football was looking at a down year.  The team had lost two games out of their first three.  Tommy Tuberville was starting a young offensive line, a senior quarterback who was known for inconsistency, and facing a grueling SEC schedule.

Moreover, in their first three matches on the field, Auburn averaged merely 301 total yards of offense a game.  While they had a commanding defense, their lackluster performances on offense led to a terrible 9-4 season and a win in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. 

Wait, 9-4? 

The Auburn football team had a season total yards average of 335 yards a game, won their bowl against a pesky Clemson defense, and finished the season ranked in the top 15.  Wow, that is not a terrible year.  Stanford, Notre Dame, South Carolina, and Boise State wished to God at the end of last season that they had finished that well.

I agree with the majority: Auburn is not a national championship caliber team.  But those of you who are showing disdain for the new offense, who may be calling for Tony Franklin to be fired, or wishing the team was doing better, you need to look at the numbers.

Auburn has averaged—and I am looking at the stats right in front of me when I write this—367 total yards of offense in their first three games.  This is 66 more yards a game than last year at this point.  And if you did not notice, they also won these games.

If that is not doing better, explain to me what is.

Has Tommy Tuberville's squad shown a tremendous turnaround from the ground and pound that performed so "miserably" (read "more than adequately") last year?

No, Franklin's offense is not clicking, and the players are confused.  The offensive line is guilty of many false starts, and they have committed several holding penalties because they were recruited as blocking linemen, not pass rush blockers.

On the other hand, this group of talented athletes is coming into a new identity that will take time.  Remember, this offense has been around for four total games.  Franklin is trying to find a method to the madness.

This is why the team has false starts, holding penalties, and so many fumbles.  This team must learn how to perform this system against the rigor of SEC defenses. 

I am not calling for Auburn to take down LSU, sweep the rest of the season, and then knock off USC for the championship, all while getting Tommy Tuberville nominated as McCain's new vice president.

What I do want the naysayers to know is that this offense is better than last year, even averaging 2.5 fumbles lost a game.

Give this young team a break.  Give Tony Franklin a chance to do his job.  Give Tommy Tuberville the benefit of the doubt that he is in fact a good coach.  

Remember, should this season end up another 9-4 year or worse, Auburn still goes to a decent bowl game.  Remember that they have a dynamic new system to adapt, and that this team is not afraid to change its image if it means winning those crucial three or four more games to get to the national championship.

Tell me what you think...Drew(WDE)