By J.M. Comer
I’m afraid to commit my thoughts to words, regarding our 2008 Auburn Tigers as this season crawls along. I’m sure it would be a lot like peering into your Kleenex tissue after a sneeze — sure you made it, and it feels good after it is done, but it’s not a pretty sight.
I will say this: 2008 has not been “fun time” for me so far, even with one loss after five games. The only game I have enjoyed watching was our loss. Huh? How is that possible?
How can you brag about Auburn with a straight face at this point in the season?
And how is it that ESPN’s Gameday keeps following us around? (Next stop: Nashville?!?!?)
But I’ve found an escape. An immediate escape to my worried Saturday brow, my gnashing of teeth.
I spend my Sundays with J.C. and his crew. (And it isn’t Jesus Christ and his entourage of 12. Count me among the ranks of the Sunday mid-morning couch heathens.)
The Washington Redskins are winning big games and our Auburn alum are looking great. (And I apologize to those Auburn fans that love the Dallas Cowgirls. This observation probably won’t help you much … you blue-and-silver-T.O.-enabling-cow-pie-kickin’-hole-in-your-stadium losers. Also … HA! HA! HA! *deep breath* AhhhhhhhhHA! HA! HAAAAA!)
Redskins QB Jason Campbell is standing tall in the pocket and throwing laser beams to a wide assortment of weapons zig-zagging across the field.
And he took out the Dallas Cowboys and looked fantastic doing it. But Jason hasn’t had an easy time getting to this point. He has been maligned by Redskins fans after the loss to the New York Giants in the first game of the season. But Jason and his teammates have made slow progress … step by step … to a point where they can overcome obstacles like knocking off an undefeated, cocky Dallas team this past Sunday.
The Redskins are building off their progress. Growing as a team. Trusting one another.
On the defensive side, it appears that fellow Auburn alum Carlos Rogers is coming along as a force in the secondary. Finally. He led the team in tackles and had two big swats (I acknowledge they were close to interference. Close. But. Not. Interference.) covering WR Terrell Owens this past Sunday.
Sometimes … *sigh* … sometimes a coach comes right in and fills a vacuum and connects with his players. And gets his point across and communicates well. His system is solid and he brims with confidence.
(I’m attempting to draw a parallel here with the “offensive guru” and offensive coordinator of the Auburn Tigers, Tony Franklin, and ex-quarterbacks coach of the Seattle Seahawks, now head coach of the Redskins, Jim Zorn. If you can stomach it, please stay with me here.)
Jim Zorn is doing just what I described earlier with the ‘Skins. He seems, at this point, to be aggressive in his call playing. He focuses on finishing games well. He drills his methods (sometimes odd methods) into his players. His players have bought into his philosophy. And Zorn has total trust in the abilities of his athletes (especially Jason Campbell) and has opened up the playbook.
Two points separated Dallas and Washington at the end of the game Sunday. Two points separated Auburn and Tennessee on Saturday.
Jason Campbell and the Redskins are playing to win.
Our Auburn Tigers are playing not to lose.
And that’s just gross. And wrong. And not fun to watch. And probably not fun to play. Or fun to coach for that matter.
I can’t seem to remember the last time I’ve heard a Tiger gushing about Tony Franklin. Maybe I’m not paying enough attention.
I thought Franklin was a teacher and certified salesman of the spread or something. Right now, it’s like the bull is the proprietor of the china and rug shop:
“Welcome to The Big Steer’s China Shoppe! What can I help you with? I see that this vase has caught your attention madam … oh sorry about that. I walked right into that case of rare Star Trek collectible plates I was trying to sell. And it looks like I’ve destroyed another Persian rug with a big ol’ No. 2. *Sigh* Sometimes I regret leaving Wall Street for this place.)
So, for now, I’m getting my football enjoyment, my workweek escape, through the NFL’s Redskins and not the SEC’s True Tigers. And I never, ever thought I’d say that.
Our Auburn Tigers need something to build on. Some feather to put in their hat. Last year, that stepping stone was the win against Vanderbilt at Jordan-Hare. Let’s hope like hell that this Saturday, against a #19 ranked Vanderbilt Commodore team, with the nation watching (I can’t believe it either) that this team can find a way to improve, learn and trust each other.
I’d suggest looking to J.C. for your inspiration.
POST-PUBLICATION ADD ON:
I just remembered an e-mail that I got last week from Ike, a reader and friend of TWER. Thought you might enjoy this:
On Sunday [Sept. 21, after the LSU game], rather than watching Falcons or Tampa Bay, I went to Buffalo Wild Wings in Auburn to watch the ‘Skins game. They had it up on one TV, and the only other folks watching the ‘Skins game were Al Borges and his little boy. We were all rooting on Campbell. He’s a super nice guy. He was still dressed up in an Auburn sweatshirt and his boy had on an Auburn shirt too.