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Blogger Q&A: College and Magnolia break down Auburn for us novices

The good boys at C&M talk running backs, defense, and Auburn area restaurants, naturally.

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Auburn week! Ole Miss plays the entire state of Alabama in consecutive weeks this season. Mississippi State got torched by Auburn last week, while Ole Miss got annihilated by Alabama. What beautiful symmetry.

Anyway, the very fine boys over at College and Magnolia hit us up in those Twitter DMs and asked for a blogger Q&A exchange, and we happily obliged. This game is the third leg of a three-game road trip for the Rebs, which began out in Berkely at Cal, then moved to Tuscaloosa, and now finally to the Plains at Auburn. PRETTY ROUGH, Y’ALL.

So let’s get into this. We haven’t really spit out too much Auburn content this week because, well, I became an uncle on Sunday morning and I’m about to head out to see my sister, niece, and brother-in-law this weekend. Who knows if I’ll catch the game.

So, here’s our interview with College and Magnolia.

RCR: Who will be the feature back on Saturday, and why?

Last week Kerryon Johnson got the majority of the work, just as he did two weeks ago against Missouri. He's scored eight touchdowns in those two games, but the running game still isn't quite clicking like we've seen under Gus in the past. Kam Pettway is still nursing a lingering injury, which is frustrating, and Kam Martin has been all but absent since running wild in the opener. Word is that Johnson's at 90-95%, but anyone that watched him last weekend knows that he's not at full speed. I would still expect him to get the bulk of the carries on Saturday, with a few sprinkled in from freshman Devan Barrett, who's impressed with his speed and toughness in mop-up duty so far.

RCR: How hot is Gus Malzahn's seat right now?

We're fickle people on the Plains. After the Clemson game, there were people ready to axe him at that moment. How can you give up eleven sacks and only gain 117 yards, even against what might be the best defense in the country? It was unfathomable. All this for an offensive genius who claimed to give up the playcalling duties? That game looked like a stereotypical flat tire Gus Bus performance that we've seen in big games over the past couple of seasons. After the 24-10 game against Mercer that stayed competitive far too long into the 4th, the clamor for him to go was even louder. Now, after Auburn's won consecutive conference games by 30+ points for the first time in 30 years, that's definitely calmed down. It'll crank back up at the end of the year if we don't beat one (or both) of Georgia and Alabama. Gus has lost to inferior Georgia teams a couple times in his tenure, with the only win being the Miracle in 2013. He has to beat the Dawgs. If he does that, a close competitive game against Alabama for a 10-2 year will put the hot seat on ice.

RCR: What's your confidence level in Auburn’s defense at the moment?

This might be the best Auburn defense I've seen since the undefeated 2004 season. [EDITORIAL NOTE FROM JIM: GASP.] Over the past decade, we've had opportunistic, but not dominant units, but it was alright because we usually had a pretty good offense to go along with them. Now, I'm not convinced that anyone will score more than 14 in real time (not counting garbage points), and even the backup backups played well at Missouri. Late in that game, we had freshmen and walk-ons controlling the Mizzou starters on offense. They're fast, tackle better than any Auburn defense I've seen in years, and the front seven has gotten incredible pressure on every quarterback they've faced. After watching Clemson over the course of the season, it's simultaneously astounding that we held them to only 14 points, and frustrating because we only needed a little more offense to win that game.

RCR: What's the best restaurant in Auburn?

Well, the choices downtown in Auburn are fairly limited just due to the size of the area, but there are several good choices to go with. If you want quick and easy, it's hard to beat the classic Momma Goldberg's Deli just down the block from the stadium -- sandwiches, nachos (Doritos with steamed pepperjack cheese and jalapenos ... sounds lame, but it's really good), and sweet tea are the common fares there. If you're looking for a little more upscale, go with Acre, Hamilton's, or Amsterdam. And if you're around for brunch, check out The Hound. It's also always a good idea to go stop by Toomer's Drugs for a big lemonade. It's sweet and tangy -- the good stuff.

That sounds delicious. Thanks again to the very good boys over at College and Magnolia, and Roll Damn War Eagle.