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Auburn Panel: Iron Bowl looms

What about Auburn’s win over Georgia impressed you the most?

Bill Meador: One of the things that impressed me about the win was that we took care of business and we won. I knew they would be tough and they were. As they have in a number of their wins, they DID get a defensive stop when they needed it.

Jonathan Jenkins: From the top of the second quarter until the end of the ballgame, Auburn outscored Georgia 42-10. After digging a hole in the first quarter, such an offensive and defensive showing to come from behind and win the ballgame would be impressive to most people.

Rick Dunn: We went into a contest under tremendous pressure against a very good team and gave up three touchdowns in the first quarter. In the following three quarters, we settled down and outscored UGA 42-10. I feel that we came out trying a little too hard; which is understandable. After the first quarter, things could have become ugly for Auburn. Instead they regained focus and performed very well.

Given that Mike Dyer broke one of Bo Jackson’s rushing records last week, compare the true freshman’s rushing and playing style to that of Auburn folk-hero Bo Jackson.

Bill Meador: Mike Dyer has so much future ahead of him. Comparing him to Bo really isn’t hard. Dyer is shorter and stockier than Bo was when Bo got to AU. Dyer may have a little quicker first step, but Bo had more overall speed. Bo just seemed to glide and when needed, he had an extra burst of speed.

Jonathan Jenkins: Honestly, we all know that there is no comparison. Bo Jackson is Bo Jackson. Dyer is quietly making a name for himself as a tough inside runner despite sharing the runningback spotlight with McCalebb and Fannin. Jackson shared his freshman spotlight with Lionel James who was actually more like Dyer in athletic playing style.

Rick Dunn: The comparison is difficult to make. It was a different time, different offense and a different team mindset. We have and use so many offensive weapons now, the defenses that we play cannot focus on one player. Both follow their blocking very well. I don’t think that Mike has “let his hair down” yet. Bo was a bull in a china shop type of rusher. Mike is more like an Emmitt Smith/Ray Rice type.

Do you think a bye week before the Iron Bowl is a good time for a break or does it disrupt what appears be be a mountain of momentum?

Bill Meador: Auburn’s off week is well needed, but they probably could have used it earlier in the season. I agree that AU has a good bit of momentum, but with the bye they will be fine and rested for the next game.

Jonathan Jenkins: Momentum? No, I don’t think that Auburn has played 11 weeks filled with momentum. There have been big performances. There have been hardnosed comeback victories. But little in the way of mountainous momentum. Auburn has been a traditional team of Plainsmen. Win in the nick of time, and give the fans many fond memories.

Rick Dunn: The decision for a bye week was made a couple of years ago. Typically we are banged up a bit and a break is a good thing. It would be good to be able to maintain the momentum and I am concerned about this situation. In light of UAT’s opponent this week, they get the best of both worlds. Advantage, UAT.

Nick Fairley has come under fire for his “dirty play”. What do you think of his style of play and how it reflects on both the defense and the university?

Bill Meador: Nick Fairly’s style of play is very indicative of Auburn’s defense in that he plays hard and plays with a recklessness. He has taken his shots at players this year and has been penalized for them. It has cost the Tigers at times and I would prefer that he would play more intelligent football.

Jonathan Jenkins: I’ve seen only two plays this season by Fairley that were too much…and both were penalized by the referees. He does play full speed which is actually rare for defensive linemen.

Rick Dunn: I have watched him closely this year and there have been only two hits that I think could be called to question. He plays very aggressively but I would bet that he would be welcomed as a starter at any SEC program. He has been flagged once, maybe twice all year, and never ejected. Each week there are ejections for dirty hits. The reason you don’t hear about them is because those players are not one of the best defensive players in the nation.

Do you think the rumors surrounding Cam Newton have hurt his Heisman chances? Do you still think he’s the front runner?

Bill Meador: The circumstances and media talk surrounding Newton have hurt his Heisman chances greatly. Things will all come out sooner or later. I believe he is still the front runner though.

Jonathan Jenkins: Yes, they have hurt his chances. I would be the most surprised person in America if Cam were to win the Heisman. However, if ethical behavior is the reason to vote against him, then they will have to vote against the Oregon runningback also.

Rick Dunn: The rumors have hurt him with the voters who want to vote against him anyway. Until there is some type of official action taken that deems him ineligible, to not vote for him when it is obvious that he is the best player in the game would be a tremendous injustice.