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Playin' Nice With College and Magnolia

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We talk LSU-Auburn with Walt Austin of College and Magnolia.

1. I can imagine there weren't many happy Auburn fans on Saturday with the close win over Jacksonville State. What's the confidence level in this team right now?

I think the confidence level is mixed. You have the "sky is falling" contingent who don't believe Auburn will win another game, and then you have those who think there are definite problems, but this coaching staff will be able to fix them. Or at least they CAN fix them. Put me in that second group. Whether they get it done will depend on the players. I know there is talent on the team, and I know the coaches are capable of doing their jobs. What worries me is whether certain players are actually coachable.

2. Jeremy Johnson came into this season with a ton of pub, but had struggled some. What's been the issue?

His reads and locking onto receivers. Jeremy just hasn't seemed comfortable in the way that he did in his previous appearances. Even during the start of the Arkansas game last season he looked much more poised and steady. I can't help but wonder if it's a nerves/confidence issue now that it's all on him.

3. What are the early thoughts on the job Will Muschamp has done so far?

While the defensive hasn't looked impressive at times on paper, I've been more than happy with his job so far. The defense is playing with an attitude, and that's something they lacked before. I'm a bit worried that the talent level drops off considerably after Carl Lawson in terms of the defensive ends, but overall I'm happy with the progress. The Tigers played a ton of true freshman last Saturday, and it definitely showed. If nothing else, I'm just happy that he seems to have lit a fire under Montravius Adams to play to his potential.

4. What's the status of Carl Lawson? He didn't see the field against JSU, will he be limited this week?

Your guess is as good as mine. I've learned to not believe a word Gus says when it comes to injuries. We never know how serious they are until they hit the field or until they're announced as out for the year (as with, damnit, Josh Holsey).

5. Both are fanbases are kind of panicking after close wins this past weekend. Think we're in for a tight game?

Call me a homer (I've never tried to hide that), but I do think we're in for a close game. I think more of Auburn's defensive starters will play and they'll play hard. I think Jeremy Johnson started to regain confidence on the last three drives Auburn had (one ended in a Roc fumble, the other two touchdowns), and that we're going to rely on Peyton Barber more. It takes a bit for Gus to find out what the identity of each season's offense will be, and I think (partially through necessity) that's starting to take shape. I don't know that Auburn will be able to handle the environment of Baton Rouge with the state the team is in currently, but I do think it'll be a good game.