Season in Review: The Intangibles
This year, as painful as it is for me to admit, Auburn was a bad luck team this year. There were a few things just out of the Tigers hands/control.
Going in to the season, Auburn knew it had an uphill climb, just based on injuries alone. Ryan Jenkins and Corey Luckie, just to start the season. Joseph Sanders for a good portion of the final third of the season (and no coincidence that his absence coincided with Auburn's power loss). Not to mention Hunter Morris for a couple of game here and there (and being suspended for another).
Also, I'm still not convinced that Paul Burnside and Taylor Thompson were ever 100% back from their offseason surgeries. That's a big chunk of arms to lose before even playing a game.
2. Youth, Experience
While Juniors and Seniors are rare in College Baseball, Auburn made it a habit of playing Freshmen and Sophomores. Our normal starting lineup?:
C - Tony Caldwell - Soph.
1B - Hunter Morris - Soph.
2B - Justin Hargett - Soph
3B - Joseph Sanders - Junior
SS- Casey McElroy - Freshman
DH- Kevin Patterson - Soph
RF - Ben Jones - Senior
CF - Trent Mummey - Soph.
LF - Brian Fletcher - Soph.
That's just two true "upperclassman" on the roster.
3. New Coach, New System
We've already sang this song before. No use really going over it again. Still, it's an intangible that goes beyond the normal W-L record.
4. The Late Season Swoon
Think 2009 was the first year Auburn just simply collapsed? Not exactly.
2008: After starting the SEC season winning 3 of the their first 4 SEC series. The Tigers wouldn't win another series until Mississippi State. Losing 5 of its last 6 series.
2007: Auburn, in the thick of the SEC race, would only win 4 of it's final 11 SEC games. Two of those wins coming in the final Series to UK (which the Tigers won) but by that point it was too little too late.
2006: Auburn loses 11 of it's final 12 SEC games. Including a streak of 10 straight games to close the season.
It's a pretty daunting task to stop a trend and habit of losing to end seasons, in just CJP's first year at the helm.