Q & A about the Auburn Tigers with Fly War Eagle

Nov 14, 2015; Auburn, AL, USA; A golden eagle named Nova circles the field prior to the game between the Auburn Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2015; Auburn, AL, USA; A golden eagle named Nova circles the field prior to the game between the Auburn Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /

We asked Fly War Eagle, a fellow FanSided site for Auburn, to answer some questions about the Tigers as we head into the game this weekend.

1. Auburn did pretty well in the red zone against ULM…..but it was ULM. Aside from that game they’ve struggled in the red zone and those same struggles were the difference last year vs. MSU. Do you think these issues are behind the Tigers or is it a concern?

"I think it’s still a major concern for the offense. If you look back at both of our losses this year, we’ve really struggled in the red zone against those teams.I’m not going to believe our red zone struggles are over until we do it against a team that isn’t in the Sun Belt conference.I think Gus Malzahn turning the play-calling duties over to Rhett Lashlee had a lot to do with how bad Auburn has been in the red zone this year. But really, the play-calling in the red zone was just as bad last year.The fact is, Sean White does give you a lot of options inside the 20. I would like to see Auburn utilize John Franklin III a little bit more inside the red zone to open up the zone read."

2. What is the strength of the Auburn defense this year?

"The strength of the Auburn defense is definitely the defensive line. Defensive end Carl Lawson and defensive tackle Montravius Adams bolster one of the best defensive fronts in the SEC. Then you have freshman defensive end Marlon Davidson and freshman defensive tackle Derrick Brown adding some talented youth to the line.They’re giving up just 156 rushing yards per game – and that’s with playing Clemson, Texas A&M and LSU – and have collected 11 sacks on the season. We thought the defensive line would be good going into the season, but it’s been even better than expected.Lawson and Adams should be both be taken in the upcoming NFL Draft, while Davidson is making a push for the All-SEC Freshman team."

3. It’s pretty odd that Auburn started the year with five straight home games. Is this a young team that could be affected by their first road game?

"This is honestly the thing I’m most afraid of against Mississippi State this week. I think we matchup well against Mississippi State personnel wise, but I’m not sure how this team will play in their first road game.Sean White obviously played in some big road games last year, so I don’t think this will be a major factor for him. However, I mentioned that I’d like to see John Franklin III get some work, and he’s probably never played in as hostile an environment.I doubt our young wide receivers get much playing time in this game, so the only young people that will be affected are on defense.I think it’s much easier to play on the road as a defensive player as the crowd is normally quiet when their offense is on the field.It’s been nice having five home games to start the season to give this team time to gel, you just hope that carries over on the road."

4. Dan Mullen wore shorts when MSU lost to South Alabama. Gus Malzahn has won a baseball hat the last two games – both wins for Auburn. Is there anything tying head coaching apparel to winning football games?

"As someone who grew up playing a lot of baseball, I definitely believe that what you wear can affect your play on the field. Superstitions are fun, and while in reality they mean nothing, it could certainly give you a confidence boost knowing everything is where it should be"

5. In the last six games of this series, MSU has won three and the other three were Auburn wins that came down to the final minute. How do Auburn fans view the Bulldogs now that it’s been so competitive the last handful of seasons?

"I think this is always viewed as a pivotal game for Auburn as it determines how the season will go. Over those six years that you’ve mentioned, each time Auburn won we went on to have very good season.The three years in which we lost, those seasons were considered disappointments.This game is typically played earlier in the year, and the outcome usually decides the fate of our season.That’s exactly how I view this game in 2016. If we were to beat Mississippi State on the road this weekend, I think we go on to win eight or nine games, which would be a successful season for us this year.If we lose, I think this season could spiral out of control, and we’ll struggle to make a bowl game."

Thanks to Jake Mastroianni of Fly War Eagle for taking the time to answer these questions.