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Texas A&M Football

Auburn relying on transfers, sound defense to boast them through 2022

July 12, 2022

There is a school of thought that Auburn excels most in football when the least is expected.

That theory will be put to the test. In 2022, the Tigers project no better — and likely worse — than the 2021 team, which finished 6-6.

Eighteen players, including quarterback Bo Nix, departed via the transfer porter. Ten transfers came in, but none are viewed as game-changers.

Indeed, the most celebrated transfer is former Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada, who often struggled to make correct decisions and accurate passes in his one year as a starter.

First-year coach Bryan Harsin came close to getting fired at the end of last season. Another lackluster campaign probably results in his dismissal.

Though Harsin is an offensive coach, his job security figures to be dependent on the strength of the Tigers' defense.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Former A&M and now Auburn QB Zach Calzada will face his former team on Nov. 12 in Auburn, Ala.

Auburn figures to be formidable up front, defensively. However, star defensive backs Roger McCreary and Smoke Monday have departed for the NFL. That leaves big holes in the secondary, which won’t be easily filled.

That’s just one of many points of concern because the Tigers don’t figure to be equipped offensively to prevail in any high-scoring Southeastern Conference games.

Area of strength: There’s a lot of angst on The Plains, but none of it is in regard to the defensive line. Edge rushers Derick Hall and Colby Wooden combined for 14 sacks a year ago. They’re both NFL good. Even though six defensive linemen left via the transfer portal, there is solid depth up front.

Area of concern: Oh gosh … where to start? Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada and LSU transfer T.J. Finley are competing at quarterback. Sixth-year senior Shedrick Jackson is the only returning receiver with more than 20 catches last season. The real problem is the offensive line where four starters are back. Alas, those same four starters were a part of a line that struggled to create holes for star running back Tank Bigsby.

Impact newcomer: Texas A&M transfer quarterback Zach Calzada did start in a victory over Alabama. That will go a long way at Auburn. But in the other games he started at A&M, he was average-to-below-average. Injuries were a factor, but they could not explain painful showings against Arkansas, Colorado and Ole Miss. He has to improve his 17-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season. 

Top players

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Junior Tank Bigsby will return as a key part of the Tigers’ offense.
  • DE Derick Hall: An All-SEC selection in 2021, he accumulated nine sacks in 2021. Three of those came against Alabama.
  • RB Tank Bigsby: He has rushed for 1,933 yards in two seasons despite running behind mundane offensive lines and getting minimal help from the passing game.
  • DE Colby Wooden: He was fourth on the team with 61 tackles in 2021. Also, he had five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.

2022 schedule

  • Sept. 3 vs. Mercer
  • Sept. 10 vs. San Jose State
  • Sept. 17 vs. Penn State
  • Sept. 24 vs. Missouri
  • Oct. 1 vs. LSU
  • Oct. 8 at Georgia
  • Oct. 15 at Ole Miss
  • Oct. 29 vs. Arkansas
  • Nov. 5 at Mississippi State
  • Nov. 12 vs. Texas A&M
  • Nov. 19 vs. Western Kentucky
  • Nov. 26 at Alabama
Discussion from...

Auburn relying on transfers, sound defense to boast them through 2022

2,399 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 8 mo ago by Meximan
Ag in ATL
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8 home games, including 5 straight to open the season? Wow.
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"Boast" them through 2022?

C'mon guys. C'mon.
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