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Goodbye September, Hello October

Luckily for Auburn fans, the team has the week off. During the break, I took the time to reflect on the season so far, highlighting the positives, the negatives and the biggest surprise of the first month.

The Positives

We may have beat a school that has never had a winning season since joining the FBS by only three points, but hey, we lost to the No. 2 team in the country by only two. That has to mean something, right? A 1-3 record going into October isn’t exactly reassuring, but at least Auburn’s displaying signs of improvement. Kiehl Frazier looked like a 5-year-old playing in his first Pop Warner game Sept. 1. He was scared, timid and downright terrified of the 300-pound lineman running straight towards him. Fast forward four weeks and Frazier has begun to show glimpses of why USA Today named him the 2010 National Offensive Player of the Year. I mean did you see that touchdown catch against ULM? Now don’t start calling him the second coming of Cam, but the talent is there. He just has to show it to the nation. Then there’s the defense. Sure, tackling hasn’t exactly been their strong suit, but when it came time to suit up against LSU they actually looked decent (shout out to Corey Lemonier). It may not be much, but it’s a step in the right direction. Let’s just say I’m willing to bet my lucky Auburn hat that we win at least one game in October.

The Negatives

We lost to the No. 2 team in the country 12-10, but only managed to beat a Sun Belt team by three. Am I the only one that has a problem with this? Didn’t think so. Then there’s the problem of turnovers. Ah, those pesky turnovers. Here’s lookin’ at you, Frazier. I know you’re new to this and all, but seven interceptions in four games? Or what about that Mississippi State game? You know, the one where you threw three picks and forgot how to hold a football twice? Don’t get me wrong, I think you’re great, but how do you expect to win a game when you keep giving your opponent the ball and perfect field position on a silver platter? Okay enough about the offense. Let’s talk about tackling, or lack there of. Look, I’ve never played football in the SEC, but I’ve watched my fair share of games, at least enough to know what a tackle looks like. I get it. They’re bigger and faster and much scarier than on TV, but you’re bigger and faster and scarier too. And what better time than next Saturday to prove that to Arkansas, and yourselves?

The Surprise

Cody Parkey, thank you. Thank you for single-handedly saving our season. Thank you for making nine straight field goals, especially that beauty in overtime against ULM. Thank you for not letting us start 2012 with four straight losses. And most of all, thank you to your parents for giving you great genes. Now I understand Parkey’s talent hasn’t exactly come out of nowhere; he was pretty solid last season. No, it’s not his kicking ability that is this season’s biggest surprise. It’s how he uses that ability to give his team the best chance they possibly have at a win. It was Parkey that made four field goals against Clemson to put Auburn up 19-16 with 12:50 to go in the fourth. It was Parkey that sailed a 23-yard field goal through the uprights to push Auburn past Mississippi State, if only for roughly two and a half minutes. It was Parkey that sealed the Tiger victory over ULM in overtime. And it was Parkey who scared the Bayou nation last Saturday night with his 40-yard field goal to take a one-point lead going into half time. Thanks again, Cody.

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