I sat with a couple ferns and Walt from College and Magnolia (SB Nation's stellar site for all things Auburn) to talk footbaw or whatever it is we'll witness tomorrow at Jordan-Hare. (Their Q&A with with us can be found right here.)
GBH: Can you explain what that win in Oxford felt like last weekend? It was dramatic, extremely significant, and with a whole bunch of tragedy for the opponent. How do you describe how that felt then and now?
C&M: The win was a big boost for Auburn in that we knew we needed to win in order to keep going, obviously. However, I think the biggest boost was seeing what the offense did. Ole Miss has one of the better defenses in the country, and Auburn went to their place and torched them. If it weren't for the number of dumb penalties, Auburn could have won that game with a much more convincing score. That being said, I really hated to win the way we did. It was a clean play and that type of the thing happens in football, but you never want to see it. With three time outs and 1:30 left on the clock I am confident Nick Marshall could have led Auburn down the field at least far enough for Daniel Carlson to tie the game with a field goal. Marshall is at his most clutch when the game is on the line. He's really never failed on a game deciding drive (the BCSCG doesn't count because it was only 1 play). So we celebrate the victory, but at the same time we wish it had come in a different manner. I'm sure the entire Auburn Family wishes Laquon Treadwell the best of luck in his recovery and I know he will get a huge cheer when his name is announced in the starting line-up for next season's game at Jordan-Hare.
GBH: Things are shaping up quite nicely for Auburn. You're 3rd in the Playoff Rankings with solid, winnable opportunities in November. What is the vibe around this team as opposed to the 2013 team? Are expectations tempered or extremely high?
C&M: I think expectations are very high, but not as high as they would be if we had last season's schedule. Auburn fans know it's going to be tough to go to both Georgia and Alabama and come away with a win. Those are two very tough places to play in the best of times. I think one of the biggest concerns right now is that Auburn could win out and be left out of the playoff by virtue of other conference champions jumping the Tigers. For myself, I'd say I'm on a slow burn. I'm trying not to get too excited because there are big games still to go, but with the way the offense is starting to click, it's hard not to get hyped up.
GBH: With the exception of the early season roadie to Manhattan, Auburn has put up at least 35 in all of its games. Are your offensive linemen, running backs, and Nick Marshall going to cannibalize our defense? If not, why not? They really should - they're slow and delicious.
C&M: It's quite possible. Nick Marshall is hitting on all cylinders this season. He's thrown a total of four INTs, and only one of those wasn't due to a tipped ball. Sure, he's made mistakes, but he's looked very good lately. And he is a ninja with the zone read. I do think Auburn will put up a lot of points. However, we're going to have to make sure we contain Texas A&M on offense, as well. The biggest problem lately has been getting into shoot-outs due to failures on our own defense's part.
GBH: Who are the gamers on the Auburn D that somewhat fly under the radar that we should keep an eye on?
C&M: Angelo Blackson (#99) on the defensive line. Blackson is a run stuffer and I believe even turned in two sacks against Ole Miss last week. He's really starting to come on strong. Jonathan Jones (#3) is a becoming a good DB for us, as well. Jones has 5 INTs this season, and four of them have been in the end zone. Kris Frost (#11) has also really turned his game up, lately. He has been playing out of his mind over the last few games after many were complaining about his play in the early season.
GBH: In 100 words or less, explain what you were doing when the Kick Six happened last year.
C&M: I was standing on the front row of Jordan-Hare Stadium and saying over and over "please don't let this be another 1985." In 1985 Alabama kicked a last second LONG field goal to win the game against Auburn. I didn't think much about it when Chris Davis brought the ball out. You can listen to the stadium sounds on this video and tell the exact moment Auburn fans realized he was gone. By that point I was hugging everyone within three rows and screaming "OH MY GOD" repeatedly. My brother and I rushed the field. I spent the next two hours wandering the campus and every two minutes looking over at my brother and saying "that just happened." If you're really interested,you can read my full account here.
GBH: What is your prediction for the game?
C&M: I hope this game ends up a lot like the LSU game did. Auburn is able to jump out and score points while rocking the true freshman QB's nerves and forcing stops. I think y'all will still put some points up on the board, though. Auburn's pass defense has just been too suspect over the past few games for y'all not to unless we've found the miraculous fix. So I'll go similar to LSU and say 42-10. Of course, I thought the South Carolina game would be that way, too, and look how THAT turned out. However, I don't know if Sumlin is HBC level of crazy enough to go for it on 6 fourth downs. You might as well though, with that conversion rate South Carolina had.