The college football season is off and running in the Southeastern Conference and around the country. If the first week is a good indication it should be a better year for the Auburn Tigers and another good season to follow the SEC.
I thought Washington State was a good test for Gus Malzahn’s Tigers. With 19 starters back I believe that Coach Mike Leach’s second team at Washington State will be improved. His passing attack is one of the best in the country. It will be interesting to see how the Cougars play this week when they travel to Southern Cal.
Defensively, I thought the Tigers played hard from start to finish. They ran to the football and they tackled 10 times better than they did last year.
Robenson Therezie played a great football game and I thought the freshman defensive tackle, Montravius Adams, made a real difference in the game with his pressure after he got into the mix in the second quarter. The fact that Washington State only scored three points in the second half was a good sign for the Tigers.
I thought Auburn’s offense played hard, too. It is obvious this year’s team has three running backs who can play in the SEC. The Tigers still have a lot of work to do, but that is normal for any team at this time of year, especially one with a new coaching staff. I was encouraged by what I saw.
There were some great opening week games around the country and I think the Ole Miss at Vanderbilt game was one of them. I thought that was a classic and the difference was one run late in the fourth quarter when Vanderbilt didn’t get enough people outside quickly enough to defend a sweep on what was a very well executed play by the Rebels.
Overall, I thought Ole Miss looked good and I think South Carolina did, too, in its victory over North Carolina.
Everybody had been talking about Jadaveon Clowney going into the game, but he wasn’t a big factor. He reminded me of the way he played in the opening game a year earlier against Vanderbilt when he didn’t look like he was in shape. The heat might have had something to do with it.
Clowney will get better as the year goes along. It will be interesting to see how he performs against Georgia on Saturday. I think the Bulldogs are going to have a tough time in that game even though they are very good on offense.
The Alabama-Virginia Tech game was surprising in that Alabama only scored two offensive touchdowns. Alabama was able to win comfortably thanks to three returns for touchdowns on a punt, a kickoff and an interception, which is certainly unusual.
This early in the season it is hard to tell if Virginia Tech’s defense is really good or if Alabama has problems on offense, or if Alabama’s defense is really good or if Virginia Tech has major problems moving the football like Coach Beamer’s team did last year.
Alabama has an extra week to prepare for Texas A&M and I think we will know a lot more about both of those teams after that game. I didn’t expect the Aggies to have a lot of problems in their opener vs. Rice and that was the case.
Mississippi State fell to Oklahoma State, something that wasn’t a surprise, but the Bulldogs only scoring three points was something I wasn’t expecting. Mississippi State does look like it has a strong defensive team this year.
LSU had a challenging opener vs. TCU and I was impressed with how the Tigers played. LSU has talked about trying to become more balanced on offense in recent years, but has had mixed results with that. Against TCU they were effective throwing the ball and they have two impressive wide receivers. The Tigers are playing a lot of new faces on defense, but also looked good on that side of the ball.
I thought Florida would play better against Toledo, but the Gators were missing some players and I think they will improve as the season progresses. They will need to in week two or they are going to get beat by Miami.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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