John Beatty of Auburn breaks down the team’s performance at the Florida Winter Classic last weekend in Gainesville, Fla. Auburn finished the weekend 4-4, including a key section win against LSU.
Auburn 13, South Carolina 6: It seems we’ve had this Auburn jinx of coming out flat in the morning. We have that in common with the football team. But this game we came intense. They ran zone in the first couple of points, and we absolutely ripped it apart. Our D was running hard, and we were playing very good fundamental ultimate. Deuce had a big backhand put. Ray won his much anticipated match-up with Spaz and they flat out could not run with us. Four or five of their six points came via huck, which shows that we still need work on our deep defense. Great effort for the first game.
Georgia 13, Auburn 7: We all knew this game would be tough and fun. This team made semi’s at Nattie’s last year and everyone on their team has at least above-average disc skills. There was a combination of us coming down with junk, and trailing plays that led to a 5-5 tie, on serve. We ran some set plays from Regionals last year successfully until they took half 7-5. The first point of the second half had us run a play from Regional’s last year. Essentially a reverse zipper, Phil busted deep and made one of the best catches I’ve ever seen. This brought it to 7-6, then Georgia asserted themselves. We got tired, started making poor decisions and before we knew it they won the game 13-7. This was a great experience to see how an elite team runs their offense, keeps the disc moving, and pushes hard every point.
Auburn 13, LSU 9: Most of us had waited since last April for this game. There is a definite mutual respect here, but there’s no doubt that we wanted to win this game maybe more than the rest of the games of the weekend. The game started mundane enough, with us trading early on. Then, essentially, Phil went off. This game was a virtuouso performance with his big puts and catches. I don’t mean to downgrade anyone else’s performance in this game, but Phil was spectacular. The trail edge hammer catch in the end zone was particularly sweet. Tyler played amazing this game too. Ray did a fantastic job on Poon and their new athlete Mickey. We did a better job of not letting Bankhead exploit us as he had in the past. At one point LSU set up their patented ‘Rosies’ play, and Wes and I guarded it. Apparently we guessed right since Bank joked, “You guys guarded that as good as anyone,” or something to that effect. Kevin played balls-out man D in this game, too. Taylor’s deep D on Poon was pretty big, too. Everyone played their role great and this was a big win for our program.
Auburn 14, Miami 12: We came into this game in a bit of a funk. We never really got out of it. Miami took half on us, using an innovative offense with the dump cutting up line for every positive gain. Someone actually said, “It’s like us from two years ago”. But in the first half they didn’t really make many mistakes on offense and took half on us 7-5 or 7-6. The second half was more of the same, we just couldn’t get it through our head that we were in a fight. Finally down 10-9, something clicked and we got a couple D’s and got a break back. We followed that by getting another break back putting us at 11-10. We traded to 12-all, with me trying to give the game away by attempting a stupid high release flick. Honestly, I was in a daze the last two points, but I know we took them both, winning 14-12. I do remember Ray ripping down one of my rough throws on game point then throwing the game-winning score. Deuce played out of his mind this game, ripping his backhand and playing really great man D. Everyone should take the Deuce’s example for how hard to run on D.
UNC-W 13, Auburn 11: This was our showcase game under the lights. These games are a lot of fun to play, with big sidelines and enthusiasm. The UNC-W team was very experienced and had great fundamentals. We came out scoring the first point, then they scored the next two. They were running a 3-4, which we knew how to defend, but their discipline with the disc won out in the first half as they took half 7-4 or 7-5. At this point in the day, everyone’s legs were dead. Adrenaline took over, and a certain alum’s presence on the sideline pumped us all up. We ran with them the entire second half. Great effort on D from Bucher, Thomas, and Kevin. All of you guys played great all weekend. We were down 11-8 and pulled down 12-11. A semi-controversial score in the back corner of the end zone was sent back. They scored on a deep shot to win 13-11. I have to say, historically I have hated playing against teams from Wilmington, as they normally lack spirit. But this game was tons of fun, and played very clean.
Tennessee 13, Auburn 10: Easily the most frustrating game of the weekend. We went up 2-0 on them. But that would be as good as it got. Our hands were not sticky this game, our marks were sub-par and we trailed our guys constantly on defense. Maybe it was a combination of being tired and it being the dreaded morning game, but we were lethargic. We were also inconsistent with the disc. There was a glimmer of hope when we got an upwinder to make the score 12-10, thinking we could easily get the downwinder, but then giving it up to lose 13-10.
Auburn 13, Clemson 3: This team beat us 9-2 in the wind at Emory in the fall, so we wanted to exact some revenge here. We jumped on them quickly, shredding their zone early. They switched to man, which wasn’t any more effective. We rolled to a 7-2 halftime lead, and kept our foot on the gas. This is a problem we’ve had in the past, but we dominated the second half and won 13-3. Eric played well here, as did Kevin, Thomas, and Bucher. Culver the Closer took the last two points home for us, with one of the scores coming on a sweet layout.
Georgia Tech 13, Auburn 7: Another rematch from the Emory tourney, where we lost to them at double game point. Everyone was tired, our attitude wasn’t great coming in and it showed on the field. Sunday games are very hard from a mental point of view, and this was no exception. Tech jumped on us early, getting some upwinders, and again, drops were killing us. Also, a lack of cutting in the stack showed how tired we were and led to us telegraphing hucks, getting hand blocked and turning it over deep in our own territory. Tech capitalized on this all game. We got D’s all game, our offense was just too spotty to win the game. We lost the game, fittingly, on an up the line cut for the score. We definitely still need to work on that, myself included since I was the one beat up line for the game winning score.
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