Gabe Gross at Auburn University on Wednesday, July 29, 2015.The biggest thing the Auburn Tigers needed out of the game with San Jose State was a win, and they got it.After two straight losses to LSU and Mississippi State, a win is what mattered most. With that being said, at some point, Auburn needs to show vast improvement across the board to have a chance to win the majority of its remaining SEC schedule.There were some bright spots on both sides of the ball for Auburn, but overall, it was not the jump in improvement that Auburn needs.Defensively, Auburn was very opportunistic. The Tigers created four turnovers, and that really was the difference in the football game. Not forcing SJSU into any three and outs and only one punt though is very concerning. Auburn’s front seven have got to play better.There has been very little consistency for Auburn this year stopping the run. Even when Auburn is able to make a “run stop,” it is usually still for a 3 or 4-yard gain instead of a loss or no gain. That is a recipe for giving up sustained drives and having a worn out defense late in games. Neither or which is going to allow Auburn to win many games. Auburn has got to start coming up with some negative plays in the running game and creating some three and outs or the last half of the season could get scary.On a brighter note, one player on defense that I think is going to be a star soon is freshman Carlton Davis. He is tall for a corner at 6-foot-1 and very rangy. I don’t know that I have seen him in a bad cover position in man coverage all year, nor has he committed a bunch of pass interference penalties. He has given up some big plays because he has struggled to get his head around quick enough on sideline throws, but he has been step for step with the receiver every time. I think he is continuing to get better, and my feeling is he will be a dominant player at some point in his career, sooner rather than later.For Auburn to get to a higher level on offense, the Tigers are going to have to turn Sean White loose throwing the ball. First and foremost, Auburn needs to continue to run the ball, but every defensive coordinator from here on out is going to try to take the running game away from Auburn until the Tigers prove they are a legitimate threat throwing the ball.Trying to become a threat throwing the ball is not as simple as just calling more pass plays either. With nearly all decisions in football, there is more to consider than just what is in front of your face. Right now, coach (Gus) Malzahn is trying to not only protect his young quarterback, but also his defense. When you open the offense up by throwing the ball more, you also open yourself up to the possibility of more quick three and outs and more turnovers. Both of which put a lot of pressure on your defense, which at this point has not shown the ability to handle being put in difficult situations.The possibility for things to go south is there, without a doubt. If Auburn doesn’t allow White to air it out more though, I don’t believe it will be giving itself a chance to win against the elite competition that is coming.Auburn is not a team right now that is going to line up and run the ball down the throat of really good defenses without the threat of a passing game. Even in 2013, Nick Marshall made enough plays through the air that teams had to respect his arm as well as his legs. I think Auburn must put more of the game in the hands of White, but I also understand the risk of doing so.If White is given the chance to push the ball down the field, and he is able to make plays with his arm, Auburn has a chance to win every game it has left. If he’s given the opportunity to push the ball downfield and interceptions and three and outs are the result, Auburn has a chance to lose nearly every game it has left.It is a high risk, high reward decision. If you are Gus Malzahn and Rhett Lashlee (offensive coordinator), you have two choices. You can continue to allow White to do a minimal amount at quarterback and hope your running game, defense and some luck allow you to win games down the stretch. The other option is to put the season’s fate in the hands of your young quarterback, knowing when that decision is made, you have invited both triumph and disaster to dinner.Which one shows up will be in the hands of a redshirt freshman nobody thought would be in this position a month ago.
A blistering half century from Deandra Dottin and a four-wicket haul from Hayley Matthews helped Barbados to a five-wicket win over Guyana in the Cricket West Indies/ Colonial Medical Insurance Women’s Super50 yesterday. At the National Stadium, Providence in the Round Four showdown, Barbados won the toss and inserted Guyana on a slow pitch.Guyana, 98-3 at one stage, were dismissed for 159 in 42.3 overs.In reply, Barbados recovered from 28-3 to cruise to 164-5 with player of the match, Dottin smashing Akaze Thompson for a four followed by the only six of the match over long on in the 26th over to seal the victory.