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Posts Tagged ‘Philip Lutzenkirchen’

No. 40: Auburn

The gap in talent between Cam Newton and Barrett Trotter is larger than the gap between an Alabama fan and an Auburn fan as they pass on the street. A player like Newton comes along once in a lifetime; Trotter, while he gave his all, had none of the gifts that made Newton such a jaw-dropping talent. This isn’t news: Auburn struggled offensively because Newton was no longer in the fold. What was surprising was the ease with which the fan base soured on Gus Malzahn, who only eight months before the start of the 2011 season had been viewed as the one irreplaceable piece on Gene Chizik’s staff. Was Malzahn really to blame for the drop in offensive production, or was the decline merely a byproduct of Auburn being caught unprepared by Newton’s one-and-done junior season? The answer will come in September, in a way. Malzahn is out, having taken the head job at Arkansas State. And Trotter is out, having opted to skip his senior season. That leaves Auburn with a new coordinator but a similar problem. Three quarterbacks: one junior with some experience, a sophomore with little experience and a true freshman trying to learn the system on the fly.

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    The Year in Review: Auburn (8-5, 4-4)

    The only problem with Cam Newton’s one-and-done blur of a Heisman season — really, the only problem — is that it was so unexpected. The Newton who played at Florida, prior to his being dismissed from the program, was a wildly athletic runner with minimal skills as a passer: he could throw far and he could throw fast, but accuracy, let alone the ability to diagnose a college defense, remained far out of his grasp. But there was no doubting his unparalleled physical gifts, and there was no limiting the excitement over the idea of teaming Newton’s athleticism with Gus Malzahn’s never-fail spread offense. If nothing else, Newton could give Auburn the running dimension it lacked at quarterback in 2009.

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      No. 33: Auburn

      Last year’s Auburn preview placed the Tigers at No. 26, just outside a national ranking but far outside the national title hunt. Mistakes have been made, will continue to be made and will be made again and again in perpetuity. Perhaps the most egregious error, however, was the paltry word count afforded one Cam Newton, then a risky JUCO transfer, now the most recent Heisman winner, an Auburn legend and perhaps, just perhaps, the most dominant college football player some of us have ever seen. He was the story in 2011, on the field and off, and his departure leaves some questions unanswered, on the field and off. Those looking for the final answer as to his recruitment, I hope you’re comfortable: it could be a while. But his comet-like blaze in and out of college football history leaves Auburn searching for answers at a key position, which might be the defining storyline for this team as it enters 2011 with national title rings, confidence, a 15-game winning streak and a large, burnt-orange-and-navy bull’s-eye on its back.

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        The Countdown

        A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.