Thursday, November 8, 2012

Interview with the Opponent - Auburn Fan Q&A

It's Auburn week, and Lord knows with me being in the Atlanta area there are tons of Auburn guys surrounding me. Heck, I live with three of them in Buckhead. While some may have their issues with Auburn, it's a program close to home for me. It's a friendly game for me, as there are numerous tailgates that will welcome me with open arms, and it's an away game I really look forward to. For this interview  I reached out to my first boss, who is probably the most intense Auburn fan I've come across. This is the guy that kept my sanity at work, as work questions turned into 30 minute discussions on varied aspects of the college football world. Usually, we'd leave utterly exhausted from a screaming match with nothing accomplished. Tate is a unique case, as he opens up the debate I always wonder about. He grew up a diehard Auburn fan with family season tickets. Due to varied reasons he decided to attended UGA. While he likes the Dawgs, his heart has always stayed with Auburn, and they are still his number one team without doubt. Sure I give him a hard time for attending UGA but still cheering for Auburn, but being in his shoes it would be tough for me to think I could ditch the Dawgs with my background given the same situation.

1. What is your affiliation with Auburn University (i.e. what’s your age, location, background with AU, etc).

My father graduated from AU and I’ve been going to games for as long as I can remember.  Section 52, Row 1.  Greatest place on earth to watch a football game.  I did not attend Auburn but it is and always will be in my blood.

2. What is your favorite memory during your time as an Auburn football fan (excluding any AU wins over UGA of course)?

January 10, 2011, GlendaleAZ.  There have been so many great memories.  So many great games and players.  But that night in the desert will always be special.

3What’s your favorite UGA / AU game you remember? 

I could go on for days about this one.  But the first game that popped into my head was Cox to Aromashodu in 2005.  4th and 12 with 2 minutes left and we hit the pass over the middle that goes for what we think is a 63 yard touchdown.  The ball is fumbled into the end zone and AU falls on it before it goes out for a touch back.  We end up getting the ball on the 1 and kicking a field goal as time expires.  Still can't believe we won that one.  Some others: "Between the hoses' in '86, 4 overtimes in '96 (first overtime game at JHS - that was such a cold night), the onside kick to start the second half in 2010.  Some great ones for sure.

4. Given each team’s situation surrounding the game, what kind of atmosphere can we expect in JHS Saturday?

Unfortunately not what you have come to expect from this great rivalry.  Auburn fans are in shock over this season.  This wasn't supposed to happen.  You could see it coming at the end of Bowden and Tuberville, but this team has too much talent.  We really thought this would be a good season with 2013 having the potential to be great.  The atmosphere will reflect that.  When you expect to lose, it shows.  The tailgating will be good.  The eagle flight will be great.  The 'warrrrrr eagle!' at the opening kick will be loud.  But the home field intimidation factor will wane with every UGA score...and there will be plenty of those.

5. Who can we expect to see with the QB situation Saturday for the Tigers?
True frosh Jonathan Wallace will start at QB.  Yeah, that scares me too.  JW is a great athlete and leader and has that attitude you love to see in your QB.  He doesn't get rattled and he doesn't play scared.  Our other QBs take the snap and immediately start running from the pass rush.  We don't have to worry about that with Wallace.  What we do have to worry about is his arm.  The passing game with JW under center will be limited.  If we could give Kiehl Frazier's arm and throwing ability to JW we might have something special.  I could see Frazier getting some time in the second half to try to throw us back into the game.  Bottom line, our QB situation is a mess.  When you start 3 different QB's during a season you know you're in trouble.

6Where is a place you see Auburn having an advantage in the game?

Haha, good one.

7. Where is a place UGA has a definite advantage in the game?

Everywhere.  Auburn has really struggled along the lines of scrimmage this year and that will probably be where the biggest mismatch occurs.  Gurshall will have massive holes to run through and the Dogs DL will be in AU's backfield all night.

8. Who is a player on Auburn we may not know about now, that we will after the game?

I wish I could say #22 RB Mike Blakely.  This guy reminds me so much of Emmitt Smith, but he just can't hold onto the ball.  He's had a few opportunities this year and has looked really good...right up until the time he fumbles.  If the coaches give him a chance and he can hold the ball, he has the potential to make a difference.

On defense, keep an eye out for #30 LB Cassanova McKinzy.  True Freshmen who is going to be a star.

9. Does Gene Chizik have a chance of surviving the season if he beat Bama?

Haha, you're killing me, Cranny!

10. Who would your top three be for AU’s next coach?

1. Bobby Petrino
2. Bobby Petrino
3. Bobby Petrino

If we miss on the top three: I would call Jeff Fisher (don’t laugh, he has a connection), Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart.

11. Honest final score prediction (no worries, it’s whatever you really think)

45 – 17 Pups


Good stuff by Tate. Obviously he echoes some of the despair that has taken place in Auburn this year. Usually he's giving me the glass half full look at the Tigers, but it's apparent that the season has taken it's toll on him. He mentioned that the atmosphere will be a little lackluster, but Auburn fans tend to be pretty supportive so we'll have to see what the story turns out to be on Saturday. He mentioned that UGA didn't have any disadvantages when it comes to the game, but checking out a similar interview of a UGA fan Cory from The BlawgHouse noted that he feels Auburn will have an advantage in the special teams area given our woes in the kicking game and the lack of a great return game over the course of the season. I would agree with this and you can find WarBlogle's complete interview here. Tate has also made know that he's on the side of the Auburn fence that wouldn't have any issues with taking on Bobby Petrino given his moral woes in the past year. Sounds like Gene has no chance of surviving the season. Hopefully we see another strong showing from UGA a la the Ole Miss game, but you know Auburn will be up for this game, and we can't slouch on them. 

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