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Know Thine Enemy: Auburn Tigers

Hearing how the Auburn side feels headed into the SEC opener

Samford v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

It’s the first week of SEC play as Texas A&M welcomes the Auburn Tigers to Kyle Field this Saturday. As is always the case this early in the season, this game feels about as pivotal as it gets for both programs, as the road only gets more challenging from here.

To get a feel for how they’re feeling on the Auburn side of the fence, we had E2C Network answer a few of our questions. Enjoy.

We’re three games into the Hugh Freeze era at Auburn. What has been the most surprising aspect of the team so far, both good and bad?

In year of transition, it’s surprising that Auburn has found it’s defensive identity more quickly than the offense. You would think Hugh Freeze being the head coach would result in the opposite being the case. I think it’s a testament to how far the offense is having to climb up more than anything. The defense is full of veterans and young play makers who are making impacts equally.

In terms of not so great surprises, the running attack outside of game one has been fine, but not outstanding. With a talented group led by Jarquez Hunter and Damari Alston you would have probably expected more of a splash to have happened by now. My belief is that the talent will slowly assert itself more as the offense continues to find its feet.

What are the early thoughts on transfer QB Payton Thorne?

I hate the over-used term of game manager, but that is what I think of Thorne so far. It’s refreshing to have QB not panic under pressure as much. Has he been perfect? Absolutely not, but his poise, mechanics and leadership are apparent every time he steps out on the field. He is coming off his best game overall against Samford, leading the team in rushing and passing. Auburn being able to throw deep, accurate passes consistently has been a missing element for some time, and it seems to have returned under Thorne.

Which position group are you most confident in for the Tigers?

Auburn has quietly become a DBU of sorts over the last decade and it still continues this season. Again, the mix of veterans likes DJ James and young players like Kayin Lee is quite impressive in how they work so well as a unit. They just lost DB Keionte Scott for the foreseeable future due to an ankle injury, but the previous performances of the group as whole seems to indicate talent drop offs should be minimal.

Which group are you least confident in?

It’s the same story it has been for the Auburn fans for a long time: the offensive line. This has more to do with low expectations of the past and the new foundation that is having to be built there. Lots of new faces mean new opportunities for hope, but also a learning curve for coaches and players. Gunner Britton and Kamerson Stutts (injured now) have been two bright spots so far. Given time, the label of least confident group could quickly fade if it comes together soon. The running backs desperately need it to for their sakes.

Saturday kicks off SEC play for both teams. What are your season-long expectations for your team?

Have you seen the gauntlet up next for Auburn? It’s TAMU (road), UGA, LSU (road), and MISS all in a row. The course of Auburn’s season truly will be defined here. If Auburn can squeeze out two wins here in those four games, they will potentially exceed expectations by the masses this year. The big question is, can they stay healthy? Keys losses at LB, DB, and a slew of minor ones will eventually take it’s toll in the SEC. I am holding firm with my 8-4 prediction for the year right now and anticipate them to get at least one win in next four games.

Alright, give me your game prediction.

I have gone back and forth on this since summer up until this point. My final preseason prediction had Auburn getting a win in College Station. Given TAMU’s struggles to fully utlize their talent under Jimbo Fisher consistently and Auburn’s record at Kyle Field, this felt like the right prediction. There have been enough injuries and inconsistent OL play from Auburn for me feel less confident about that pick. The stats suggest a lot of passing from both. Which DB group will prove to be the strongest is biggest key to the game for me. Right now, I’m leaning TAMU wins 26-20, having to fend off an Auburn comeback late.

Thanks, E2C, for taking the time to talk to us. You can find his content on Youtube at