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Auburn Panel: La-Monroe

Have the last three games built character or is Auburn flirting with disaster?

Bill Meador: I think these close games have built character as evidenced by the way they fought to the end to finally clinched each game for three weeks straight. However, I do think that Auburn is still making way too many mistakes that could cost them a win if not corrected.

Jonathan Jenkins: A little of both. The 2010 Auburn Tigers remind me of the 1980 Cleveland Browns’ Kardiac Kids due to the fact that they are able to find victories in the midst of defeat. It makes games and the season memorable; however, the reminder should be that the 1980 Cleveland team didn’t make it to the AFC Championship. Domination must become the focal point of the team.

Rick Dunn: To quote Forrest Gump, “I think that maybe it’s a little of both.” We made some costly mistakes that put us in some tough spots but found a way to overcome them. I hope that there have been two lesions learned; mistakes should be avoided and no matter how bad things may seem, never quit.

Are you more impressed with the defense or Dyer last week?

Bill Meador: I think both the defense and Michael Dyer are getting better, though neither has come anywhere close to reaching their potential.  I can’t say I’m impressed with either yet, but it’s way too early.

Jonathan Jenkins: Definitely both! The Auburn defense finally shut down someone’s running game, and as we all know in the SEC, controlling an opponent’s run game is the difference between being an also-ran and a contender. Dyer’s breakout game against South Carolina will begin to create more opportunities for the Auburn offense to move.

Rick Dunn: Our run defense’s effort was super. Dyer had 21 yards more than the whole USC team. Our pass defense was a much different story with Jeffery having almost 200 yards receiving. If we could improve, our pass defense will begin to look more like what we have come to expect. I do not take Dyer for granted, but his success is, for the most part, a function of the team’s blocking and the coach’s play calling. I don’t think that we have seen what he is really capable of, although he has done very well.

Is Cam Newton on your shortlist of Heisman candidates right now and who is in front of him?

Bill Meador: No, he is not on my short list of Heisman candidates because it is still too early to formulate that list, in my opinion. The award is for the most outstanding player in college football and Newton is certainly outstanding as are a lot of others at this point. It’s much too early for me to come up with a short list since we’re only through one-third of this season’s schedule.

Jonathan Jenkins: Heisman? Not yet. Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor and Stanford’s Andrew Luck have a much better opportunity than Newton or Michigan’s Denard Robinson. Then, there’s the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner across the state in Tuscaloosa still. Cam has the individual talent to be in that pack, yet no Auburn game has shown his ability to throw in crucial situations.

Rick Dunn: To be honest, I do not follow the Heisman discussion until very late in the season. However, the numbers that he has put up thus far would certainly place him under consideration.

Does this weekend look like a trap game for the Tigers?

Bill Meador: It better not be a “trap” game. Auburn, as I said in my answer to question one, has a number of things they still need to work on and they need to work hard every game to improve.

Jonathan Jenkins: With a common opponent (Arkansas State) already played, the game could very well be a measuring stick game for Auburn-Arkansas game in two weeks. ULM lost by 14 to ArkState and was drummed 31-7 by the Razorbacks in opening week. Auburn may, but shouldn’t, trail in this game.

Rick Dunn: I think that we would have to commit four turnovers and have more than 100 yards in penalties in order to lose this game.

What is your prediction for the final score this weekend?

Bill Meador: I think the offense finds better rhythm and scores a lot. AU 49- La Monroe 17.

Jonathan Jenkins: Auburn 48, Louisiana-Monroe 10.

Rick Dunn: Auburn wins, 41-17.