W2W4 Report Card – Iron Bowl Edition

Welcome back to the W2W4 Report Card – Iron Bowl edition!  We’ll need to visit the orthopedic surgeon as we’ll likely be hyper-extending our elbows while patting ourselves on the back for this week’s review!  We were spot on in our analysis of Auburn and the things you should have looked for as you watched the game.  Here’s a review – our best of the season…

 Things We Got Right 

What can you determine from Auburn’s coverages when there are no Auburn players on the screen around the receivers?  Was it zone?  Was it man?  I mean, there’s no one there!  I just had to point this out because it just makes me laugh.  Twice during the broadcast Gary Danielson said, “Well, I’d love to tell you what they were doing in coverage there but I have no idea!”
First off, look for Alabama to be on offense a lot.  Bama had 69 plays to AU’s 47 and had 25 first downs to AU’s 7.
With the AU offense putting their defense on the field so often, it doesn’t take long before McNeal and their other smallish defenders to lose their will to serve as undersized blocking sleds.  Eventually, they end up spending more time on their backs than the staff at Seattle Grace and go down more often than Paula Broadwell. Wow – did you see all the missed tackles by the linebackers and secondary?  My goodness they were awful and have been awfully consistent all year long.
The stats tell us that Alabama should be able to run the football against the AU defense since it is ranked 14th in the SEC against the run.  267 yards later I’d say the Lighthouse pegged this one.
In order for Georgia to eventually open up those running lanes they had to take to the air early when they played Auburn.  Look for Alabama to do the same. Bama had a fairly balanced attack but certainly used the up tempo no huddle passing game to firmly place their foot on the throat of the AU defense.
Because AU has to keep their safeties close to the line of scrimmage, look for Alabama to double move the AU safeties early and connect on some deep balls. Winner, winner chicken, er, eagle dinner! Cooper for 20, Cooper for 15, Cooper for 37 and Norwood for 38 were all good examples of this.  AJ narrowly missed one other bomb to Coop – it was open, too!
Look for Bates to get pancaked repeatedly by anyone he comes into contact with at the Bryant-Denny IHOP (International House of Pain).  Bates’ futility was hilariously predictable.  Of course no one looked as bad as Jake Holland but, seriously, would that have been a prediction?
Speaking of the House of Pain, you’ll Jump Around whenever McNeal or Whitehead is left in a one on one situation with a Tide back or receiver.  The examples are too numerous to mention but I’ll call out the Three Stooges moment that left 3 Aubies lying helplessly on the field while Cooper scooted into the end zone.
Inside the 10, Auburn will rush four men and sit seven defenders across the goal line, leaving 10 yards of open real estate behind them.  Georgia used a little hitch route to occupy one defender at the goal line while a wide receiver ran a post behind the hitch route – the defenders never moved.  Kevin Norwood’s 7 yard TD catch was EXACTLY what we told you to look for.  With Michael Williams occupying the defenders attention at the goal line, Norwood released behind them and was uncovered.  EXACTLY what we described!
The key for Bama to get yards on the ground will be to run between the tackles and utilize Warmack, Jones and Steen to control and turn the front four.  As we’ve stated, once you get past the first line of defense, it’s pretty easy sailing from there. Any questions on this?  Nearly every yard of the 267 yards rushing were gained between the tackles.  Once the RBs got past the d-line, AU’s attempts at tackling was more comical than anything the Stardome has brought to you in years!
When you watch the game Saturday you’ll understand why Paul Rhodes was so aghast at the tackling when he held his first IowaState practice. Again, any questions?  Hor-ri-ble!
As the first quarter transitions into the second quarter and as it becomes apparent that the same Auburn offense showed up that shows up every Saturday, the Tigers’ defense will crumble. In the 1st quarter, it took two 10 play drives to score 14 points.  Bama put up 28 points in the second quarter and did so with much more ease.
Look for over 200 yards of rushing from Alabama with a concentration of the running game in the second half. Kind of a no brainer prediction here but it obviously came true.
Look for AJ to hit two long passes that break Auburn’s will to fight. Or, look for AJ to hit a bunch of long passes just because he could!  J
AJ will have a really good afternoon completing about 65% of his passes. AJ completed just over 71% of his throws.
He’ll hit on at least 3 passes of over 20 yards.  See above but he had four of these.
Also, look for Alabama to dominate the time of possession, the scoreboard and the line of scrimmage. This prediction was a layup so we’ll only count this prediction as one prediction (but we got all three right)…
This year’s Iron Bowl will not be determined by anything you read beyond this point (the beginning of the defense section).  It just won’t be.  The ONLY question is how many points Alabama’s offense will score because it’s evident that Auburn cannot and will not score much against Alabama (or anyone else for that matter).  I mean, seriously.  Was that not the most pathetic offense we’ve seen this season?  Give Western Carolina for at least having the balls to run a trick play!
I simply don’t see any way short of “Punt Bama Punt” that Auburn can put enough points on the scoreboard to win this game or even be competitive.  Laughing – since we only had to punt twice, we were spared any “Punt Bama Punt” drama!
I think the Auburn offense looks like what I imagine Tammy from the Finebaum show must look like.  Hmm.  I’m guessing Tammy is actually a little bit more attractive than what I saw Saturday afternoon from that AUful offense.  At least I hope so for her sake.
If Wallace can’t locate his first read, then he’s evidently been coached to immediately wet the bed.  Even when there was no pressure, Wallace pulled the ball down and looked to escape the pocket numerous times.
Look for the Tide secondary to swing their coverages towards Blake in an effort to force Wallace into his second read.  Even when Blake was open in the Tide secondary he was bracketed by two defenders.
AU likes to use swing passes but they should be covered up nicely.    McCalebb caught one swing pass for 11 yards.  This pattern was utilized but never open.
I simply cannot find a way for Auburn to score against the Tide’s defense.  Well, they didn’t score a single point so we are putting this in the BINGO column!
Bama will record at least two picks Alabama recorded two interceptions – another Bingo!
AU will be held under 220 yards of total offense.  This was gutsy as you had to know the reserves would have to be counted on here but Auburn was held to 163 yards.  Nice.
We are feeling a pick with a really big return just for the simple fact that Wallace will stare down his receiver and then deliver a ball without a lot of velocity. Lester’s pick was returned 31 yards – pretty gutsy prediction here but we got it right!
By the way, we think Wallace will get so shaken that Mosely may be called upon. We are giving ourselves credit here as Frazier did have to come in to spell Wallace.
If you are looking for the tried and untrue rhetoric about “throwing out the record books when these two get together” then I’d encourage you to look elsewhere. When one of these teams is a double digit favorite they win every single time – this game was certainly no exception.
Auburn is simply too anemic on offense to make this game anything but a blowout.  I’d say 49-0 qualifies as a blowout, wouldn’t you?
Final Score:  Alabama 41               Auburn 6

 

With the line falling to 31, we feel like this was a pretty good prediction.

 Things We Got Wrong 

I think Michael Williams will be open much in the way Brad Smelley was last year.  He should catch three passes. Oops.  Williams was only targeted twice with his only catch coming on the opening play of the game.
Look for Auburn to come out and play their most inspired 15 minutes of the season. Wow – they really stepped up and showed Gene how much they loved him.  Corpses could have tackled better and played with more passion.
AJ will be sacked only once. The line held up beautifully and gave up ZERO sacks.  AJ was flushed a couple of times but was never sacked.
does look fairly decent on play action roll outs where he can get outside of the chaos and see the field but I think Alabama will be blitzing into these roll outs in order to eliminate this threat.  Alabama rarely blitzed Saturday.  They simply rushed four and sometimes five if the back stayed in to block.
Look for at least five sacks Bama just recorded two sacks but flushed Wallace numerous times for short gains.
The Lighthouse predicted a pick six. Lester’s return was 31 yards but was 29 yards short of the end zone.
If Wallace has to be relieved, we predict bumper stickers will be made saying, “Honk if you sacked an AU QB!” Alas, with Bama only getting 2 sacks, the bumper sticker order was placed on hold.

 Correct predictions – 32

 Incorrect predictions – 7

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