Tough D
Tony Caridi
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Posted by Tony Caridi on Tuesday, October 21 (10:55 am)
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Just how good is the Auburn defense that will play in Morgantown on Thursday night? When healthy and rested it is one of the best in school history. That’s the word from Auburn play-by-play announcer Rod Bramblett.

Bramblett told me last week that the Tiger defense was tired and injured in its last outing, a 25-22 loss to Arkansas. That probably shouldn’t be a surprise considering that Auburn played seven straight Saturdays to begin the season. Auburn, like West Virginia, really needed last weekend off. So what can we expect from the two teams when they collide for the first time?

Look for an Auburn defense that is among the nation’s stingiest in allowing points to be stout on Thursday night. The Tigers are allowing just 13 points per game.

In fact, Auburn has allowed just three rushing touchdowns in seven games.

A strong start is key for the Mountaineers; Auburn has outscored opponents 88-26 in the first half this season and has allowed just two first half touchdowns. However, the Tigers have lost both of their games when the opposition has scored first.

Away from home, Auburn has been among the best in all of college football. The Tigers are 6-1 all-time on Thursday night games and 3-0 under Tommy Tuberville.

 
  Sen'Derrick Marks

Those are pretty impressive numbers, but let’s not forget that Pat White is real dangerous; he’s 29-6 as a starter. Auburn All-American defensive lineman Sen’Derrick Marks played against White twice in high school and has great respect for his fellow Alabama native.

Here’s what Marks told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette earlier this week: “Pat White was the same then as he is at West Virginia," Marks said. "In high school, they had a quarterback mid-line [play], and I had the unfortunate job of running a three-technique [at nose guard]. It felt like they ran at me every time." Most every play, White was off and running like a deer. Oh, man. Crazy.

"Everybody knew Pat from Mobile way," continued Marks, a fellow Playboy preseason All-American. "They knew we messed up before [in failing to recruit him], they knew what kind of talent he had. He just showcased his talent from Daphne and Mobile nationwide. He just showed other people what he can do."

Marks was a high school teammate of WVU starting cornerback Ellis Lankster.

***

It seems that it doesn’t matter where you live rumors fly around with great regularity in the world of college football. Before answering questions on Monday, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville asked to clear the air about several rumors making the rounds in the state of Alabama.

In the span of about 90 seconds, Tuberville refuted rumors/reports claiming he had recently had a stroke, had recently negotiated a contract settlement to leave his job, had lost his zest for coaching, and didn’t like recruiting.

Tuberville said rumors seem to explode when a team is not playing well. The veteran coach conceded it’s a transition year for the Tigers, but said all is well within the program now and in the future.

Tony Caridi begins his 13th full season as radio play-by-play announcer for Mountaineer football and basketball on MSN and his 24th overall with the network. Tony has become a household name throughout the state for his work on MSN. Prior to 1997, Caridi served as play-by-play man for the network's football replay telecasts. Along with his play-by-play duties, Caridi continues to serve as a co-host and feature contributor for the popular television shows Mountaineer Magazine and Mountaineer Jammin'.

Follow Tony on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tonycaridi


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