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Auburn OC steps in it by tossing “what if…” card at FSU loss

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With nothing but a couple of spring games – we see you Oregon, Oregon State, Miami (OH) out there straggling — standing between us and a football-less abyss the next three months, one of Gus Malzahn‘s coordinators has added a little sizzle to what’s soon to be a lack of substance.

For those who have forgotten already, Auburn had jumped out to a 21-3 lead on favored Florida State late in the second quarter of the BCS title game this past January.  However, five straight non-scoring possessions — four punts followed by an interception — allowed the Seminoles to close the gap to 21-13 heading into the fourth quarter, with that closing stanza finding FSU closing out a 34-31 win with a trio of touchdowns.

It was that drought after halftime that had AU offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee lamenting what could’ve been — and what will likely leave people buzzing over the coordinator playing that particular card.

From Brandon Marcello of al.com:

“We could’ve executed much better and really named our score in that game, and we didn’t,” Lashlee said. “We let them hang around and we ended up losing the football game. …

“From an offensive standpoint, if we would’ve executed at a higher level, there were plays here or there that maybe even the average fan doesn’t see that, if we just executed, we stay on the field on third down, or it’s not a bust and a sack or a throw-away, it’s a touchdown. That could have blown the thing open.”

Just a couple of things.

One, the Seminoles could, if they so desired, rue similar missed opportunities early on that allowed the Tigers to jump out to that double-digit lead to begin with. In between a field goal on its opening drive and a Devonta Freeman three-yard touchdown run with five minutes left in the first half, the ‘Noles ran 14 plays and netted just 28 yards on four straight possessions. I’m quite certain that the FSU coaching staff could focus on just executing to “stay on the field on third down” or not busting a protection that results in a sack or a throwaway or any other lament instead of, ya know, giving credit to the defense — especially a defense as talented and dominant as FSU’s was a year ago.

Secondly, does an assistant whose squad was perilously close to 9-3 or 8-4 or worse in the regular season — “Kick-Six” or “War Damn Miracle!” ring a bell? Wins over Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M by a combined 16 points, the latter two after trailing in the fourth quarter? — really want to toss about the “what if…” card so flippantly, when all signs point to that squad being a bounce or two away from watching the Seminoles from home instead of the sidelines?

I’d think not but, hey, at least we have a little fodder heading into the really dark recesses of the college football offseason.

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29 Responses to “Auburn OC steps in it by tossing “what if…” card at FSU loss”
  1. woebegong says: May 2, 2014 11:19 AM

    What if Alabama’s kick coverage hadn’t been asleep, or UGA’s pass defense hadn’t batted a lucky pass that the Auburn receiver grabbed?
    It is crying over spilled milk for that DC. Auburn will get it’s chance again this year.

  2. Love and Warrick Dunn says: May 2, 2014 12:19 PM

    What if Jimbo used the towels the entire game? The FSU offense improved dramatically after Auburn didn’t know what play was coming every time.

  3. canetic says: May 2, 2014 12:43 PM

    What if Jameis Winston didn’t like seafood?

  4. overratedgators says: May 2, 2014 12:58 PM

    Auburn’s AD agrees; the whole thing is just un-American.

  5. auburntigers34 says: May 2, 2014 1:15 PM

    They were 13 seconds away from a NC and you’re shocked that the OC would be asking “what if”?

  6. wareagle1961 says: May 2, 2014 1:20 PM

    I guess I don’t understand the “steps in it” part. JT, I think you’re trying too hard.

  7. chinahand11 says: May 2, 2014 1:57 PM

    Ah, the old “what if” card, this is news? Everyone on this site plays that card when our team loses.

  8. BrownsTown says: May 2, 2014 2:21 PM

    What if he wasn’t a sore loser?

  9. lbroberts123 says: May 2, 2014 2:37 PM

    The reason auburn lost is because they tried to play it safe on defense in the second half. They should have kept blitzing and going after Winston, but instead tried to play prevent defense.

  10. bj1121 says: May 2, 2014 3:01 PM

    Sorry to disappoint ? and I’ll duck as I type this ? but all of the hype and buildup leading into this game will evolve into one gigantic letdown in the form of a blowout.  Auburn will likely hang with Alabama for a quarter, maybe even a half, but the talent disparity between the two teams will become more and more evident as the game wears on.  The Tigers’ overriding strength all season long has been running the ball; it just so happens that the Tide features the No. 4 run defense in the country and is fully capable of forcing AU to do something it absolutely does not want to do: rely heavily on its 104th-ranked passing attack.  Being home on The Plains, Auburn could surprise by keeping it relatively close but I won’t hold my breath.  Alabama, as they have for most of the past five years, will continue to roll.

  11. bj1121 says: May 2, 2014 3:02 PM

    Alabama 41 Auburn 14.

    - John Taylor, Reporter for CFT

  12. John Taylor says: May 2, 2014 3:09 PM

    @bj1121: if you think this is some kind of “gotcha” moment you must be new here as I fully embrace my crappy prognosticating abilities and highlight them at every opportunity. Nice try, though, Sparky.

  13. Love and Warrick Dunn says: May 2, 2014 3:12 PM

    @lbroberts123

    It’s a lot easier to know when to blitz when you know what play is coming before the ball is snapped.

    They played it safe because they didn’t know what the play call was after the first series of the second half.

  14. jdbaker01 says: May 2, 2014 5:43 PM

    What if FSU didnt play such a cupcake schedule?

  15. drummerhoff says: May 2, 2014 6:01 PM

    The better team lost … It happens. Move on.

  16. 939913noles says: May 2, 2014 6:55 PM

    Drummerhoff the better team won. If coach Craig wasn’t stealing the offensive calls and jimbo was covering his plays with towels the first half war damn eagle would have gone blown out!! Or atleast that’s what I choose to believe!

  17. donovandancy says: May 2, 2014 8:04 PM

    Biggest what if, “What if Auburn didnt have an FSU coach from the previous year on the field to steal signs”

  18. donovandancy says: May 2, 2014 8:05 PM

    Its ok, Drummerhoff is a revisionist.

  19. drummerhoff says: May 2, 2014 10:13 PM

    Box scores don’t lie.

  20. bralinshan says: May 2, 2014 11:20 PM

    What If Georgia’s DB’s were properly coached to knock Hail Mary passes down?

    Auburn is in the Gator Bowl.

  21. normtide says: May 3, 2014 12:29 AM

    Those are the two most terrible words in the English language: what if. Last year is over, I prefer to focus on this season. And for the record, I said the same thing the last two years with Bama coming away the champs. Look it up.

  22. musiccitymiracle2 says: May 3, 2014 1:30 AM

    I do understand the regrets, but agree that they apply both ways.

    Full disclosure….Auburn parent here.

    I also say what-if.

    1. Auburn PK misses 33 yard FG in first half. As always, pressure changes everything for kickers.

    2. FSU fake punt works. Auburn player within inches of a tackle on the reverse. Would have changed everthing.

    3. Auburn scores to go ahead, but gives up 50 years on a short pass/missed double-coverage tackle. Make the damn play.

    4. After FSU scores, AU has picket fence set up on last play of game. Five blockers for Trey Mason after it gets thrown around a bit. One of those blockers lets a little guy through, Mason redirects, game over.

    Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Best team lost IMO. FSU was solid, make the plays, won the game.

  23. nawlinssaints1956 says: May 3, 2014 8:15 AM

    Considering all the “what ifs” it took to even have the opportunity to play in the NCG, whining now looks pretty petty. This “average fan” thinks they were lucky to be there in the first place…

  24. whydoupost says: May 3, 2014 9:40 AM

    The best team WON…otherwise they would have lost!

  25. wareagle84 says: May 3, 2014 11:21 AM

    Context, John. It might be nice to let people know he made these comments to an Auburn booster club. It’s not like he made them in an interview with a national reporter. How is that “stepping in it”?

  26. drummerhoff says: May 3, 2014 4:37 PM

    FSU is the only school in history to win a national championship and still make excuses … “An ex coach was picking off our offensive signals in the first half. What a bunch of horsecrap … Look at the first half yards and first downs vs the second half … There is no significant difference.
    FSU’s offense was a juggernaut because they played weak competition all season but as soon as they played a D with speed, FSU’s offense was average.

    Also, FSU fans run around saying they’ve got all theses first round draft pick on offense … FSU faithful: whats going to be your next excuse when that doesn’t come true?

  27. fsu01 says: May 3, 2014 6:49 PM

    Looking at these comments objectively, I (as an FSU fan) have no problem with what was said. If I was a head coach or an AD I would want one of my coaches sending a message to the players that they were in control of the biggest game of the college football season. There is nothing wrong with what was said, I do not believe he said this to be disrespectful to FSU rather he said it to boost his team going into the next season. This is exactly the type of competitive spirit I would want in one of my assistants.

  28. onlyoneleft says: May 4, 2014 12:02 PM

    Could have. Should have—yeah.

  29. deadeye says: May 4, 2014 5:15 PM

    FSU played a joke schedule, but was the better team.

    Auburn played a harder schedule, but had two miracles (and an Ohio State loss) to get into the title game.

    The right team won.

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