Andy Hodges

Auburn’s offense doesn’t have a clue in dry weather, much less rain

Auburn’s Bo Nix can’t read a defense because Tigers’ scheme doesn’t allow him to have a clue in coaches’ no-win position with personnel, scheme.

As just a little added twist to an already crazy year in college football, Hurricane Delta could play a small role in Arkansas’ trip to Auburn on Saturday.

But the weather won’t cause as many problems for the Tigers as having an offensive coordinator that just can’t seem to move the ball.

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix can’t read a defense because he doesn’t know what to read.

As Jordan Rodgers pointed out on the SEC Network this week, it is obvious Auburn has removed the option of the quarterback looking, then making any changes. Any of that sound familiar to Hog fans?

Poor Auburn. With a pair of high school coaches who have told each other how great they are for over a decade, they now have to win games in the SEC without a defense that can cover up a multitude of problems on the other side.

Rain doesn’t affect that one way or the other.

If the storm follows latest tracking models, most of the really heavy stuff will go north of Auburn that is stuck down in the southeast corner of Alabama.

There will probably be a little rain but lightning could delay things.

Regardless of rain drops falling that creates the popular misconception you have to run the ball in a football game, I’ve found the exact opposite to be the case.

Unless you have an offensive line that can just physically move people out of the way where running backs go straight ahead it’s easier to pass (unless you have a runner like Gale Sayers, who was the greatest wet weather running back in the history of football).

It was the legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas that pointed it out to me in 1984 at an International Harvester dealer in Springdale where he was doing some public relations work.

“My receiver knows where he’s going and as long as I know where he’s going to be throwing it usually isn’t a problem,” he said. “The defensive back has to react and that’s who ends up doing most of the slipping and sliding.”

Most of that depends on the quarterback and whether he can throw a wet ball or not. Some can like Joe Montana. He didn’t really care because he threw with the laces.

On the other hand, Troy Aikman couldn’t. He struggled with sweat on the ball during preseason and September games. When Mark Stepnoski was injured, then left in free agency, the Cowboys went with Frank Cornish at center, which was a size and blocking upgrade.

Except sweat poured off him and particularly on his backside. Aikman didn’t throw with the laces on the ball and Cornish was soaking it on the routine center-quarterback exchange. They battled the problem for a few years then got Stepnoski back.

For Arkansas the guess is Kendal Briles may come up with an offensive plan as good as what Barry Odom did last week against Mississippi State on defense.

We obviously don’t know, but Feleipe Franks can probably throw pretty well in the rain. He has big hands (the key) and, being from Florida, he’s thrown in these conditions before.

Plus Auburn’s got problems all over the defense, especially at the linebacker position with new guys. You don’t attack that by trying to run at them because they can probably handle a guy running at them with the ball.

You put them in matchup mismatches with disguised pass routes and personnel changes that cause multiple issues in the passing game.

Briles showed a few times last week he’s perfectly capable of that. The Hogs had De’Vion Warren and Hudson Henry so wide open it was frightening for some fans the throw and catch went somewhat smooth.

Yeah, everybody (except maybe Mike Leach) talks all time in the SEC about being able to run the ball, but to win the last decade or so you better be able to throw the ball and put points on the board.

And the Tigers are relying on Chad Morris for that now.

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