I kept waiting for something new.
J.J. Pegues was in on offense on the first play. I thought maybe that was it. I thought maybe Auburn would position him against Georgia’s monstrous front seven to help out the offensive line. Maybe there’d be a new option play or a Wildcat formation to help Auburn’s struggling running game.
It didn’t have to be that. I’m no coach. It could’ve been whatever.
But it didn’t look like we saw much of anything new from Auburn on Saturday when it got embarrassed over by Georgia. Pegues didn’t play any more offense after that and we saw Auburn go back to the well relying on backfield passes to Shaun Shivers and Bo Nix scrambles just like last week against LSU.
I think there’s a bigger lesson for Auburn to learn there, after Bryan Harsin watched Kirby Smart run away with the rivalry again.
It’s going to take something new.
If you thought Auburn was going to catch up to Alabama and Georgia just by cutting out the old head coach, you were wrong.
If you thought one guy was holding Auburn back from being at that level, you were wrong.
“Consistency” won’t do anything for Auburn right now in these rivalry games. It’s going to take growth.
It’s up to Harsin to prove he’s the man for the job to help Auburn catch up to the best two programs in college football. How many more rivalry losses like this does he get? We don’t know — but we always know it’s not that many in the grand scheme of things.
Auburn has a lot of catching up to do to try to escape this nightmare, where Auburn’s hated enemy is No. 1 and Auburn’s other hated enemy is No. 2. The Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs are rolling and Auburn’s stuck between a rock and a hard place like never, ever before.
It’ll take something different — some new ideas, some new energy. Gus Malzahn had a reputation here for going up and down; for beating teams he wasn’t supposed to beat then losing to teams he wasn’t supposed to lose to.
If you thought taking him out of the equation would automatically give you all of the good and none of the bad, then I can tell you that’s just not how this is going to work. Alabama and Georgia are too good and too far ahead to think that cutting out a problem child would magically put Auburn’s program on that level. Auburn wasn’t at that level and just being ‘held back’ by any one problem. The truth is, Auburn just wasn’t on that level.
To get there again, it’s going to take a lot of work — and, in my mind, a whole heck of a lot of creativity. That’s on and off the field. Auburn’s got to be somebody different and offer something different.