Monday, November 18, 2013

The Georgia Game Review

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Here is my Georgia Preview. Take a second to read about it.

There really can't be words to describe this game. It was more than a rivalry. It was more than a miracle.

I have been to a lot of games in my lifetime and in that list of games there have been some good ones. I was there for 10-9 Auburn over LSU. I was there for the 2010 Melt Down in T-town Iron Bowl. I was there for the 2003 Cadillac Express Iron Bowl. I was there for the 2002 Georgia Miracle. I can remember watching other great games on TV, or listening to them on the radio such as the 4 Pick Game vs LSU or the 1993 Iron Bowl. All of these games were classics and will be remembered for a long time, but this is the first game that I KNOW will become a top moment for all time right there with Punt Bama Punt and Bo Over the Top.

Let's first talk about the Game Day Experience and why this was the BEST one ever!

So, my best friend lives in Auburn but we both have kids and we don't fit anymore. Additionally, I have never camped down there and me and my wife REALLY wanted to. So, we did! It wasn't too stressful, although the gas milage was insane. We averaged 9PMG. WHEW!

We ate at the Irish Bred Pub in downtown Opelika for dinner. Man, I love that place! We woke up early and headed to our tailgate spot, at the corner of Plainsman Park and Jordan-Hare. It's nice to have local friends who know how to do it! We had a fish fry and live entertainment from River Dan. Of course, my best friend Kevin and I took a pic for posterity.

 I got to do my ritual chest bump with Aubie!

After the game, we all sang along with the DJ as loud as we could. We personally saw the UGA players off to I85. Then, we hosted several Auburn stars who slapped hands and danced. Here I am with Jeremy Johnson and Sammie Coates. Even Tre Mason and Nick Marshall gave us a wave.

Well, so....doesn't look like I was really there on my predictions. Mason was my closest guess. I guess? He runs for 115 yards and 1 score. I had guessed 85 yards and a score. Not bad.Louis comes out of the wood work and has a monster game, taking up a lot of the target that Coates would normally get. Coates was held scoreless and without a big completion. Louis, on the other hand, snags 4 catches for a Coates like 141 yards and a score while ALSO getting 5 rushes for 66 yards. Wow. Marshall threw the ball more than any of us ever anticipated. 26 pass attempts? How about 15/26 for 229 and 2 TDs? Well, I wasn't TOO far off. I expected him to throw for 140 yards and 2 TDs and run for 120 on 20 rushes and 1 TD. He only threw for the 1 73 yard miracle reception to Louis. Otherwise, I was in the ball park for the yardage. I was dead on the rush attempts, but he never had the breakout run. His long of the night was 18 yards and 90 total. Not too far off.

Uzomah did get involved, but his only completion of the night resulted in 18 yards and no TD. Still, it was a designed play on the sideline. Expect him to continue to be a factor.

Trovon Reed continues to look more and more like a bust. This was emphasized on a CRITICAL drop he had on, I believe, 3rd down. It was a perfect throw on the sidelines at the sticks and he dropped it.

The differences in the offense in the 4th quarter was despicable, in my eyes. It seemed obvious that Gus was channeling his inner Tommy Tuberville again as he was determined to sit on a lead. It really is frustrating to see a team run 55 plays in the first half and make it look like a run away only to struggle to pick up first downs in the second half. The touchdown aside, the Tigers were held to -1 yards in 2 3-and-outs.

I will say that Marshall looked really good as a passer. He is very quietly turning in a monster season. It's amazing that outside of Alabama, this QB isn't getting more praise. Sure, he isn't putting up massive numbers, but he is over 1500 passing and 800 rushing. He has 15 total TDs. Sure, that's not the 25-30 TDs that Cam put up, but Cam didn't have Mason. Dyer was a great tailback, but he wasn't Mason. I don't know what the difference is. Maybe it's because Mason has something to prove. I think it's his vision and balance. I think he may go down as the 2nd best back to come through Auburn. That's coming from someone that didn't believe he was the best back in the backfield this year, in the preseason. But, I am convinced. Will he come back next year? He has made a move, in my eyes, to be a Day 2 NFL draft prospect.

I am not going to say much here. I said that Auburn would win if they could prevent long TDs. They could give up a lot of points and win as long as UGA earned it. Well, that's exactly right. The other critical part? I said that Auburn could control Gurley. You all laughed. He did rush for a score, but was held in check in the 2nd half. He did have a great game catching the ball out of the backfield. I hinted that Murray's ability to run may be a big factor. Boy, he definitely showed that in his 2 rush TDs.

Special Teams
I said there wouldn't be any big returns. Well, there weren't. I did say that Parkey would be the hero. And, in my eyes, he is. It just gets overlooked that he kicked 3 fieldgoals and had one blocked.

Players to watch
Dee Ford. The first drives in the game, Dee Ford owned the UGA line. There was no bigger hit of the game than the last play. Dee Ford rocked Murray's world.

Auburn secondary. Well, they gave up over 400 yards. Again. But, there were no long TDs. They had good enough coverage to force Murray to run. They couldn't figure out the seam route or the quick slants, but you have to give something up. I'd take short routes all day than a big gainer on the outside.

Marshall. 229 yards passing and 90 yards rushing. Not shabby.

The Line
Well, I was all over the place with this week, but that's what rivalries do. This one was an instant classic.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Georgia Preview

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It's the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. Nothing else needs to said about this, right?

Well, of course there is.

It's here. And my, how things have changed since the beginning of the season. In the preseason, this was a game that I had a big "L" . How could it not? Georgia's offense was primed to EXPLODE with Old Man Murray at the helm and perhaps the best backfield in America with Gurley and Marshall. Georgia had dependable outside weapons and Lynch at TE, who is one of the best. The SEC east (specifically Tennessee) did a number on UGA and they were down to barebones on offense. Additionally, their defense wasn't quite up to typical Georgia standards. Ironically, they had hit rock bottom when I had written my Mid-Season Back Half of the Year Expectations.  Backing that up were two tough losses. Their loss to Missouri started all the Missouri hype. Then they dropped to....Vandy? They bounced back to beat Florida, who may be the worst team in the SEC and Appalachian State. WHOOOOOOOO.

UGA has quietly gotten some weapons back and Murray has owned Auburn's defense in his career. Most importantly, they have Gurley back. I watched him in the loss to Florida. He did not look like his was NEAR 100%, though. The media is siting his ankle, but he looked out of shape to me. Case in point, after his long TD run, he was essentially done for the day....sucking on oxygen on the bench. But, that's been a few weeks and I expect him to have gotten back into game shape. The ankle, however, most likely isn't better, though it may be good enough.

Auburn, on the other hand, is healthy and winning big despite not throwing the ball. The defense is playing...well...ok.

I can't wait to load up on Friday morning and get the camper down there. It will be the first time I have brought the camper. LET'S GET TO IT!

Same question everyone else has: Can Auburn win without throwing the ball? Well, yes. They've done it two weeks in a row against  two teams that are....not so good. Will they put up points against UGA? First off, it's hard for me to think of UGA this way, because we are so used to them being dominate on defense, but my answer? Yes. Georgia hasn't kept ANYONE out of the 20s except Appalachian State. They rank 77th for points against. The most telling thing is, every quality opponent, Florida not withstanding, has put up at least 30 points.

Georgia has given up 100 yard rushers in pretty much every  game this year, including their wins against USC, Clemson, Tennessee, and Vandy just to get started. Guess who is up next? The best rushing attack in college football...regardless of what the real stats say. Seems to me that it's the same song, different verse. The difference though, is that Georgia has the talent that Arkansas and Tennessee don't have. Face it, both of the aforementioned teams knew what was coming after them and they couldn't stop it. Why? Was it coaching? No. They were whipped up front. They were lost in the zone read. They were out accelerated on the edge. Georgia has more talent than both of those two team's defenses combined. Georgia puts a premium on recruiting defenses. Richt knows the same thing that Beilema and Jones know. Put 8 in the box and make Marshall throw it. Make sure to seal off the outside edge. Marshall has shown that he has ELITE speed on the edge and a liquid movement that no one can seem to control. The kid is slippery and you can't have him in the 3rd level before someone finally touches him.

Here is the problem with that: You can't have your cake and eat it do. Alabama has time and time again shown that even the elite of the elite, being coached by the elite, can't control a true dual threat QB. But wait, Marshall isn't a true dual threat. He can't throw like Manziel and Cam. That's true. Stay with me.  You can't seal up the edge, stuff Mason, protect against wide open passes and....wait for it....keep Marshall from going right up the gut.

The biggest threat against UGA won't be the outside zone read. It won't be Mason up the middle. It won't be the speed sweep. It will be Marshall on delayed QB draws. Marshall will force UGA to either turn their backs on the deep throw and give him the middle of the field or make them play the draw and give Coates and Co a slight jump on the ball. Dismukes and company have done an impressive job upfront, and while I do believe that UGA still has elite high school players, they have not been able to create the pocket busting pass rushers that were left vacant last year. I fully expect that Reese and Co force the pass rush outside and Marshall gouges the middle of the field with the draw. A MLB, no matter how gifted, is no match for the maneuverability of Marshall in space. The only question is, can he take a few shots. I hearken back to the 2010 LSU game. Cam broke the game in two with his up the middle running. Over and over he dropped back, stepped up in the pocket, and had 7-10 yards before the MLB could make a play. But, Cam was SLIGHTLY bigger....It seems like Marshall has had an injury in every game he has lowered a shoulder. The beauty is, I think he will be smart enough to know when to slide.

Don't get me wrong. Mason will have an 85-100 yard game. I even expect him to have another multi-TD game.

Coates and Co will have more targets this week than last. Just because the UGA defense will have to make changes in coverage to account for Marshall's runs. There will be a breakdown in coverage at some point, maybe even several times. Will Marshall be on target? I think so.

I want to see Uzomah more. I think we all do. When he has been healthy and used in the passing game, err...when the passing game has been used while he is healthy....he has been a factor. He is a matchup nightmare. I can't help but compare him to TAMUs Evans. He has great hands, as can be seen in his 2 TD catches this year. We have seen him get behind defenses on multiple occasions. And, he can catch the ball in traffic. I am starting to think that the UT TD catch was just to knock the dust off of a future hookup...either this week or next. It was a too beautiful of a play call and execution not to use it again.

My offensive leaders? Marshall 10/15 for 140 yards and 2 TDs. 20 rush attempts for 120 yards and 1 TD. Mason has 85 yards and 1 TD. Coates has 2 catches for 80 yards and 1 TD.

Despite who they play, the Auburn D has had a steady MO throughout the year. Give up yards and fieldgoals. Make great adjustments in the 2nd half. It's been a long time since Auburn has had the ability to make changes, for the better, at halftime. This team has a knack for cracking down at half time. They also have the ability to get turnovers in the first half, which covers their inability to stop yards from getting piled up. The problem is, they have not played a true elite running back. Arkansas has a good tandem. Neal is a great running back. None of these have the 5 star and future 1st or 2nd round RB abilities that Gurley has. Yet, we won't truly know the status of Gurley until we see him run early in the 1st quarter. He is the keystone of this game for the Dogs. They cannot beat Auburn without him. Don't get me wrong, Murray will get his. But, as long as the Tigers keep from giving long TDs, they will be ok. What I mean is, they must force long drives. They must make UGA score from the redzone. That doesn't mean they will keep them from scoring...because they will. But, if Auburn can force a 50% TD ratio in the redzone, Auburn can win...easily.

I say that with the conviction that the Auburn D-line can stop Gurley in the redzone. Even though they have been gashed by the run between the 20s, the Auburn defense knows how to stuff the run in the redzone. Like I said about the Auburn secondary, if they can prevent Gurley from busting off a long TD run, they will win.

Most importantly, if they can force UGA into first half field goals, they will have it made.

In the second half, I believe Gurley will be worn down. If Auburn can come out of the tunnel at half with the lead, making him throw it, Auburn will sail. This is the first time in a long time that I can also say that forcing Murray to throw the ball is a good thing. The secondary has played excellent down the stretch, aside from being unable to control Mike Evans from TAMU. Nobody has been able to do that yet, so I don't fault them too much.

Let's not forget that Murray can run the ball. He hasn't had to in his time at UGA, but he is very effective running. It puts a lot of pressure on the Auburn defensive line to keep him under control and in the pocket and even more on the secondary who must maintain coverage. The D-line can't allow him to buy himself time. The Auburn D-line must collapse the pocket from the outside in. Push those offensive linemen into the passing lanes. And, I think they will.

Special Teams
There is NO WAY they can repeat their performance from last week, and yet, it makes every single return man THINK that they can take it the distance every kick. So, while I don't expect an returning TDs, I do expect the field to get swapped consistently. Yet, they must remember that even the best return can be undone by a fumble.

I do expect the Special Teams to win the day, and not because of returns. Parkey sinks a late field goal to seal the victory against a late push by Murray.

Players to Watch
Marshall. I think he really opens some eyes this week with his true Dual Threat ability. I don't think he is a great passer, and nobody will be convinced of that either. But, he will make some gorgeous long throws off of play action to open receivers. It will drive people nuts because he will look like a Heisman passer, hitting almost every pass. Additionally, he will eat up the UGA defense with his running. Can he stay healthy?

Dee Ford. He has made the official list of the best defensive ends. He didn't record a sack this past week. He makes 2 sacks this week. Don't just credit him, though. Credit his interior defensive linemen who collapse the pocket for him.

The Auburn D-backs. They will give up some yardage Saturday, especially in the 2nd half when the Dogs get desperate. But, for every negative play they make, they will make a huge positive play in the form of a clutch pass breakup or INT.

The Line
UGA has owned Auburn in the last half-decade. The meetings haven't been close, either. These two schools have a lot of bad blood between them, but you already knew that. Expect a lot of emotion in this game. Parkey seals the deal late, though Auburn will hold the lead in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

Auburn takes it 31-28 in a thriller.

The Tennessee Game Review

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Take a second to go read up on my predictions on the Tennessee Preview.

So, how did I do? Well, obviously I was off on the final score. I guess I can't call them all perfectly, as I had with the Arkansas Game. But, I do have some things that went in my favor. The first thing I can think of was that either late Friday or early Saturday, I read that the spread for this game was 7 points. I immediately went to my Best5Zach Outdoors Facebook Page and said I would happily take Auburn against the spread. I didn't even think it would be close. Of course, after thinking about this, I did want to go back to my preview post and up that guess....alas, it was already in print so I decided against it.

Moving on. So, the first thing that stuck out to me was the play calling in the first series. Wow. Was THAT painful. I am all about mixing it up and breaking games open by bucking trends, but dang....3 straight incompletions to open the game. As we are all aware, Auburn only threw it 9 times to win at Arkansas. I didn't think that was any call for lining up and throwing the ball. Tennessee is one of the worst against the run teams in college football. It shouldn't matter if they put 12 men and Coach Jones in the box. Run the ball.

Additionally, the pick 6, bothered me. On 3rd and 4, on your own 23,  you call a behind the line screen where your QB throws it blindly? Never mind that he made a bad read and pass. I know it's easy to blame that. But, fact is, he fakes to the left, spins and throws it right....and right into defenders arms. Even if it worked out for the good, it still bothered me a lot.

However, the offensive play calling for the rest of the game was fantastic. Keep it on the ground and take them to Pound Town. Personally, I would have had Marshall and Mason out after the first series in the 4th quarter and let Johnnson get some SEC experience with CAP being a stud behind him.

The defense looked suspect at times, but what else is new? Although they didn't give up the touchdown on the first possession of the game, they did give up the field goal and looked thoroughly lost throughout the 10 play drive. The pass from Dobbs to North was ridiculous. Remember it? Dobbs threw it straight up in the air and it literally took 3 seconds for it to come back down. The Auburn defensive backs were were everyone watching the game. Yet, it was a 30 yard gainer. Additionally, the 3rd drive of the game resulted in a 12 play drive for another field goal. Additionally, the first play of the second quarter resulted in a Neal TD, coming from Mason's fumble.

As I had predicted, Neal went for over 120 yards and a TD, though he was held from long rushes. He did average 6.2 yards per carry. But, when UT got down from the special teams breakdowns, the run game was all but forgotten.

Dobbs did indeed make it out of the game, though he didn't have too many rushes. He made the most of one, going for 32 yards. He had 25 drop backs which resulted in a couple of sacks, an INT by (guess who) Therezie and only 128 yards to show for it. Not bad for the Auburn defense.

I was glad to see Therezie get another turnover, as I had expected. He has proven himself to be a true Auburn defender, as we have expected. He makes pass breakups, TD saving tackles, and has more INTs than the entire team did last year. I don't know why he doesn't get more love than he does from the media. Come next year, he could be a game breaker like we haven't seen since Groves, Dansby, etc.

Then there is special teams. I tell ya, I didn't expect them to really show up like they did, though I said I was expecting good things. 2 TDs and several long returns to show later, it appears that they might have turned the corner. I said it last week, but the one thing this team lacked to sell me on being a  real SEC contender was field flipping special teams. Well, guess what, they showed up in spades.

Auburn was nearly flawless against penalties.

Our impact players were hit and miss this week.
Therezie did get another turnover.
Frost didn't impress me. His pad level was terrible this week and he attempted way too many arm tackles.
Mason did was he does. Yardage wasn't ridiculous, but he found the endzone, though he put one in the dirt.
Sammy Coates had 1 target and didn't come down with it.

In review, I missed the score substantially. However, I did see it would be larger than the spread. Therezie getting another turnover, Mason having another multi-TD performance, and the special teams blew up BIG.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Tennessee Preview

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It seems like forever since Auburn last played Tennessee. And last time they played, there was a lot on the line. How much has changed since 2005. The two programs have gone through tremendous changes and it seems that only Auburn is clearly headed in the right direction.

Despite the record, Tennessee has talent and there aren't many more intimidating places to play than at Neyland. They have already pulled off an impressive win at home against South Carolina and had Georgia beat, a fumble in overtime at the pylon losing the game for them against the Dogs.

As much as I would like to give them credit, I can't. Georgia was decimated with injuries entering the game and it only got worse during the contest. The South Carolina game was a much needed win for the Vols, but The Cocks are good for a boneheaded and flat game a year.

That isn't to say that I am entirely happy with the Auburn team that is on the road. Maybe I am being too hard on them, but the defense continued to look very suspect against the Hogs. The Hogs killed the Tigers on 3rd down. It didn't seem to matter what the down and distance was, they continually picked up the first down.

But, the defense came away with takeways and a critical 4th and goal stop. The offense looked terrific early, and Tre Mason looked unstoppable. The second half was frustrating to watch, though it was obvious that Coach Malzahn and Co just wanted to get out of Fayetteville with a win by running the clock.

We talked last week about the Hogs being a trap game. Could this be the not-so-fast double trap game leading into the two back to back rivalry games? It's easy to think so, especially considering where the game is being played. Will the Tiger's pat themselves on the back after first beating FAU, then going into Hogs den and getting a win only to forget the Vols?

Let's look at only the games that matter: SEC match ups.
The thing that jumps out the most is last week's game against Missouri. Mauk destroyed the Vols with his running and passing. The Vols gave up 340 rushing yards, 115 of those to the QB who also passed for 160 yards and 3 TDs. Alabama rolled up 45 points in an extremely balanced attack. Even in the win against USC, Mike Davis rushed for 140 yards while Connor Shad put up nearly 80. In their overtime loss to UGA, Murray ran for 40 yards while green rushed for 130, averaging 7.6 yard per carry. Looks to me like the Vols can't stop the run. And though a lot of TD passes are being slung on them, it's because of the room the run game is giving them. Seems like another great game to show maximum passing efficiency! I don't know if another 9 of 10 and 1 TD will keep me awake...but I will take it. I guess.

Guess what Auburn brings to the table? Perhaps the best rushing attack in college football. There is no doubt that Tre Mason has become the featured back, and will continue in that roll. Yet, though Marshall has compiled good rushing stats himself, we haven't quite seen him take on the roll we expected. In the past, we have seen the zone read be absolutely devastating in the red zone. But, we haven't quite seen the number of those plays where he was truly a threat to pull it in between the 20s. Don't get me wrong. He has pulled the ball on the read, especially when it mattered. Take the MSU game, for example. His long run broke the game winning drive wide open. We may see a little more of him pulling the ball this week as they prepare for the two ultimate tests in UGA and Alabama. Eh. I'd love to see what Marshall can really do with a high work load, but the Tennessee team, much like the Hogs, can't stop the run even when they know it's coming.

I foresee another 10 pass attempt game while riding the Tre Mason express. Tre Mason runs for 25 attempts, 150 yards and 3 total TDs. Marshall runs in 1. I think we will see Johnson a few more times than last week as his part in the offense expands. In fact, I can see him throwing for the 1 and only TD toss for the Tigers. My big question is, can Coates continue to break a game open with 1 target?

Worley isn't a very good QB. We all know that. The backup QB, especially when it's a young kid with some hype, is always the favorite player on the team. Unfortunately, Dobbs is young. He makes a lot of VERY young decisions, as can be seen by his TD to INT ratio of.....well, he has several INTs and no TDs. Additionally, there have been a lot of hay made about his ability to run. And yet, he had 45 yards in one game...33 from one play. That doesn't make him a running threat. But, it's the media and they have to hype up every game, I suppose. Personally, if UT relies on Dobbs to throw more than 15 times, I don't believe he will make it out of the game in one piece. That isn't to say I hope he doesn't, I am just stating that the Auburn D-Line has been very hard on QBs as of late. So, there you have it. If he drops back 15 times, or attempts more than 10 rushes...he won't make it out of the game.

On the other hand, Tennessee does have two very capable tailbacks in Neal and Lane. Neal has gotten the lion's share of carries this year. Additionally, he is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. Although he doesn't have big time stats, he is the lone reason that the Vols have hung around in several games. He averages 5 yards per carry and has 9TDs. Additionally, he plays extremely well in front of his home crowd. Arkansas proved last week that the Tigers can have trouble with the run, especially against cutbacks, which Neal does very well. Most of the 3rd downs that the Hogs picked up were from either counters or against the grain cut backs. The MLB, usually Holland, was caught up in the flow and out of position. The weakside LBs had trouble making the tackles and the RBs were frequently in the 3rd level before being hit hard.

I believe Neal will find success in this game. I predict he finds the endzone twice and runs for 100 yards. If the Tigers don't improve against the misdirection rush as they showed last week, I could see Neal upping his long run of 53 yards this week. He will be the lone highlight of the day for the Vols. And, truth be told, if he finds running room, even the Freshman will be able to find holes to throw to. The last thing the Tiger's can do is give Dobbs the opportunity to make some easy completions to get in a rhythm. The Tiger secondary has shown the tendency to give a lot of underneath cushion. While it might prevent the long ball and allows the DBs to work better as run defenders, it does give an inexperienced QB the ability to make short completions. Additionally, it does a great job setting him up to throw as hard as he can down the field.

It's hard to be aggravated with the defense. They are doing well at limiting points. They are getting a lot of turnovers, at least compared to last years mark. But, the 3 and Outs are sorely lacking. You cannot put your boot on the throat of a team if you consistently can't get the 3 and Outs. And, you can't let SEC teams of any kind hang around. While the Arkansas game wasn't really close, it took a couple of late turnovers to make sure. Let's not discount what the Hogs were able to do...and that was move the ball consistently....even to the end. Really, until the late fumble, the game was still a contest.

Special Teams
I have a feeling that this will matter. One of the things that I believe will make or break Auburn down the stretch is the ability to swap fields with special teams. Auburn's punting game has been spot on. The return game has been a bit of a mystery in the last 5 years. The Auburn kickers have been pretty fantastic, but when they don't put kick offs out of the endzone, it seems that the Auburn coverage is surprised. They are giving up some big chunks. This would be a great game to showcase the return game. I know Mason and Grant are very valuable to the offense, but they are game breakers coming out of the endzone. Additionally, the punt return game must improve. I don't know who...but someone...needs to flip the field every once in awhile.

Auburn has not been penalized much. Offensively, they manage to get themselves way behind the chains sometimes and can rarely dig out. Defensively, they do very well. The Vols, on the other hand, are penalty prone. It is something that has been understated in their losses to Missouri and UGA. They cannot afford to give the Auburn defense a chance to come after them from behind the sticks. Additionally, they cannot allow the Auburn offense to have 1st or 2nd and short. That would be a quick way to get down by 2 scores.

Players to Watch
Kris Frost. We know what to expect with UT. They will be running the ball. A lot.  And if they learned anything from the Hogs, it will be counters and cut backs at the weakside. I don't expect Holland to play past the 1st quarter. Can Frost get out of the bull rush and into position? Will he make plays in space? I predict he will. He is ready for a big game and this is the perfect storm. If he stays home and doesn't get sucked out of position a la Holland, he will be in a situation to stuff a lot of runs for minimal gains.

Robenson Therezie. Again. Much like Frost, Therezie will battle staying in position and making plays. Being at Star, he has the ability to read the play much more than Frost. Therezie made TD saving tackles last week in the 3rd level against the Hogs. UT stacks up very similar, except that Dobbs is no Allen, such as it is. I expect Therezie to be in the box a lot as a 3rd LB. He is also do for another turnover.

Tre Mason. This one is so obvious I don't even want to use the space. Big things from him, early at least. 160 yards on the ground. I am not convinced of this, but I could see his all purpose yards getting a big boost this week.

Sammy Coates. With a receiver corp that doesn't get a lot of targets, its awfully hard to single out a receiver as a Go To Guy. And yet the man has 640 yards and 5 TDs. He leads the nation in yards per catch. I can't remember anyone on any team where you could say that he breaks a game with only 1 catch. Yet, Coates can. Make 1 throw to him. Get 1 catch for 60 yards and a TD and break the game open. You simply can't pick against a guy like that.

The Line
I wouldn't be surprised to see UT take the ball in the first half and go up 7-0. They have a good enough line and very good running back. In a scripted series, they can move the ball effectively and score. But, it will be 21-7 at the half and 28-7 after the first possession of the 3rd quarter. Auburn can't put the Vols completely away, but when the battle of time of possession in the second half. They continue the streak of 35+ point games. The defense gives up yardage on the ground in the first half, but UT has to go to the air in the 2nd to stay in the game. Auburn piles up sacks and walks away with 2 INTs or 1 INT and a fumble recovery.
Auburn 38-17

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Best5Zach's AR-15 Budget Build Part 1

Make sure to check out Best5Zach's AR-15 Budget Build Part 2

Whether it's right or wrong, the prices for AR-15s have gone through the roof in the last 2 years. They had already escalated far beyond expectations from even a few years ago. I won't get into the reasons for the rise of prices and the decline in availability, nor why you should own one of these firearms. If you are reading this, then you obviously have a desire to own one.

That being said, for many people, $1000 for a fairly basic off-the-shelf  AR-15 isn't feasible. Especially when you consider that you will have to drop another couple of hundred dollars to outfit it the way you like. That's a particularly hard pill to swallow for people like me who were buying them for $550 for the same gun only 2 years ago. Additionally, these $1000 guns that you might buy in a gun shop are usually stripped down models that commonly don't have the features that you would like to see in a gun for that amount of money.

So, what are your options? To me, there really is only 1 option: Build your own.

Now is the perfect time to do that. Why? Because a year ago, people were buying every piece of AR hardware they could afford in order to make some quick money. For the most part, these people did turn a good profit on stripped lowers and high capacity magazines. There for awhile, stripped lowers were selling for asinine amounts of money. But, the market caught up and now the prices on most everything has stabilized, though it may still be higher than we really would like. In many cases, people are willing to wheel and deal on items in order to get out from under them. When it comes to saving money, keep in mind that you can build a VERY cheap, good quality, gun if you are willing to wait around and buy piecemeal.

I'm not going to tell you exactly what to buy and from where, mostly because I am a novice myself. Additionally, my expectations on performance and what I want to do with this gun may be drastically different than yours.  But, I am fairly handy, I like building things, and I am cheap. But, I will tell you how I am building my own, how much it cost, how to put it together, and where I made mistakes.

So, what are my expectations? I admit they aren't very high. I want a terrific shooter up to 100 yards, though I don't want to be worried about shooting to 200. I want it to be reliable. I want it to run smoothly with any ammunition I put through it. The most important condition? I want it to stay under $1000 in TOTAL cost. 

First things first. I bought a stripped lower receiver. You can buy them a multitude of places and spend just about as much as you want. However, you can get them as cheaply as $59 at several places, especially if you don't mind buying a "blemished" unit. I bought one such $59 unit.

Now, you will need to assemble that lower receiver. Like I said, there are a ton of ways to do this. You can buy the pieces individually from anywhere and spend as much as you like. Like I said earlier, you can really save money if you shop around, swap parts, or otherwise. For those that don't like buying piecemeal, you can buy lower parts kit, with or without the fire control group. Or, you can do like I did and buy a lower build kit. I bought mine from Palmetto State Armory. Under their special deals, I bought the classic lower build kit including the bolt and carrier group and charging handle for $249.
It took a little under a week to receiver the kit from PSA and I couldn't wait to assemble it. Now, like I said..I am a novice when it comes to assembling guns. I own a lot of guns and have even done some modifications and "build" like my Ruger 10/22 Build, that's not a real build where I have a bucket of parts to assemble. And though I do own another AR, I haven't done much more than separate the upper and lower assemblies for cleaning. But, I knew there was a TON of literature out there on the subject. So, when I got the package, I laid everything out and labeled all of the parts. Here is how the whole kit showed up.

After I figured out what parts where what, I cleaned them with Metalloid's Gun Green Oil and Metcor 57 to remove the packing oil and any debris. 

I did some research and found a set of instructions I liked on Here is the link I used. Additionally, here is the picture I used to identify the parts. 
So, the first thing that I read was the tool list that I would need. It specified 1/8th, 3/32nd. and 5/32nd punches. In typical fashion, I ignored that. I figured I had something around the house that I could use. So, spoiler, go out and get you a set of punches....I did. It cost $25 from Lowe's to get a good punch and chisel set. In the meantime, I tried to use what tools I had around the house to install the roll pins. In using a screwdriver, I managed to slip off a roll pin as I was driving it and put a burr in the side of the receiver. Awesome. And while the screwdriver did work, I figured out a few steps too late that I had forgotten to install a spring in in the magazine catch assembly. So, I had to drive the roll pin back out, which is impossible to do with said screw driver. 

Once I bought the correct sized punches, assembly was very easy, aside from installing the take down springs and detents. Really, that was easy to do if you took your time. Here's a tip, make sure that you have your hand or some other object above you as you install these so that if they shoot out....which they will...they won't get launched across the room. Speaking of springs: there are several different size springs and many of them are very similar in size. Make sure that you know which one is which. 

Total assembly for a first timer was right at an hour. I didn't have to do any fitting, filing, or machining to make anything fit. In order to ensure it was in working order, I installed my upper assembly from my other AR onto the lower. Everything snapped together and it worked perfectly. The only issue I had was that the take down pins were very stiff, which is common. Here is a picture of the lower assembly:

Where is our total cost? Well, we have $59 in the lower, $249 in the build kit, and $25 in punches for a Grand Total of  approximately $335. 

So, what's next? Well, like I did with the lower, you can go in almost ANY direction for the upper. I believe that I will use the PSA 16" assembled upper, which can be bought for $399. Then we will explore all the add-ons. But, we aren't there yet. Until next time!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Arkansas Game Review

In case you missed it, my Preview for the Arkansas Game is here! 
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Here are all my Auburn Realist posts!

Well, the stats don't lie. Just liked we talked about, Arkansas can't seem to stop the run game, though it appeared to be getting traction in the 3rd quarter by stuffing the Mason/CAP combo. Nor could they score points, giving up typical yards and points on the group while being held under their season average of points.

Face it, though. They knew what was coming and stacked the box accordingly in the 2nd half. Had I known better, I might have thought Tommy Tuberville was calling plays. It sure looked that way as Auburn ran several 3 and out series right up the gut. But, it killed time in the 4th quarter and ultimately doomed the Hogs who could only run the ball. Painful to watch, yet effective.

Auburn kept to their typical MO, smashing the Hogs in the face in the first half with brutal runs. Mason rolled up 4...GASP....4 TDs. The 5th Auburn TD coming on that gorgeous pass to Coates, who upped his yards per catch yet again and still leads the nation. Who would have thought...right?

Speaking of stats, the total yards and the yardage breakdown were eerily similar. Rushing yards, passing yards, total yards....all incredibly similar. But, the scoreboard says otherwise thanks to that bend over backwards but come up big Auburn defense. That included a 4th and goal stop that really, to me, was the end of the game. Auburn, on the other hand, can't be stopped in the redzone.

I called it wrong on the feature back of the day. CAP only saw a couple of carries, which really surprised me. But, 4 TDs from Mason surprised me to. We all knew Mason was the #1, but there is a big difference in being the #1 and being the feature back. I think it's obvious that he will be used as a work horse to the extent we are used to seeing Auburn use, as in Bo, Tate, etc.

As far as the dedication to improving the deep ball? Well, how is 1 for 1...88 yards and a TD? I think that qualifies.

Grant did see some touches, but with Mason being on fire, it wasn't enough to spring him for big yards.

Defensively, the Tigers had a hard time slowing down the rushing attack. But, they came up big with several turnovers and a critical 4th and goal stop. They held the Hogs right at 350 yards. That was 50 more than I expected, but also 2 more turnovers than I expected as well. A host of new-ish faces made impacts on defense...which was really awesome to see.

Overall, the game was difficult for me to watch. The defense gave up huge chunks of land...particularly on 3rd down. The 3rd and to go must have averaged 6-8 yards, and yet the Hogs continually picked it up. So frustrating. Additionally, the MLB play in the first half was, once again, atrocious. At one point, Holland literally ducked out of the way of a blocker as the runner ran by.

I was very close on the score. My guess was 35-10 and the scoreboard says 35-17. I'll take it, even if I wasn't really close on my predictions for specific stats.

Fishing Report for Pickwick 11/2/13

My wife's grandmother was having her yearly tamale cookout on Saturday. She just moved into a lake house on Wilson lake, so naturally I was all about going to the tamale cookout, even though I don't care for them.

But, I got to last few trips on Wilson haven't been quite as successful as Past Trips on Wilson.

Pickwick, on the other hand, has been on fire for me since the Government shutdown. I knew we could get into some crank bait fish, which is Alyse's favorite! And, my mother in law offered to take the kids to the lake house for us so that we could make the trip. Check out this report with video!

So, I set the alarm for fairly early, though my experience had told me that the fish don't start biting until about 10 am.

So, we hit the water right at 9, though we had noticed the major whitecaps rolling as we arrived. Not a good sign. Nor was the solid 20 mile an hour wind, which was supposed to be "mild". There wasn't a cloud in the sky and I started to wonder if we had made a wise decision for fishing. The spot I have been catching crank bait fish on is essentially in the middle of the lake. With the high skies, whipping wind, and cold front, I didn't think

Luckily, the fish did what they had been doing...busting shad around grass mats.It sure makes fishing easier when the fish tell you where they are. So, as they started busting, we tossed in a combination of crank baits.  It was obvious that there was a ton of different species of fish roaming. We saw stripe, white bass, smallies, and largemouth all mixed in. Unfortunately, both of us found large stripes that exceeded the 8lb test of our line in the first 5 minutes of fishing. That's what I get for using such small line! Although we did bag several fish, we spend more time picking birds nests out of our reels from throwing against the reel. In fact, we had such a terrible time with the wind that we had to restring both of our reels from terrible kinks.

But, we caught a few fish...without even having to fire the big motor up. After about an hour, I took Alyse to some places that I had found in the previous weeks. We didn't really fish them as the wind was obnoxious. In fact, I ended up losing a rod running down the lake. The waves were so nasty that the rod and reel slipped under the strap and flew right out of the boat. It was one of my last custom fact, it was my original frog rod, which has caught me more fish than any other rod I own. I almost shed a tear. Maybe a few....

Anyway, the wind laid down just a tiny bit and we went back to where we started. The fish were still there and we caught a few nice ones. We were throwing Strike Kind Series 3s.

Then we had to head to the cookout. The fish weren't as crazy as they had been, but they were still there, when we could cast to them. We only fished for 2 hours but caught a fair amount!