Checking in on the early-season temperatures in Auburn, Ala., …


The Auburn offense. Through two games, the Tigers have piled up 1,088 yards of total offense. The running game hasn’t missed a beat from 2013 – Cameron Artis-Payne is averaging 144 yards per game and Nick Marshall is averaging 103 yards per game. Though Marshall has yet to show improvement through the air, he’s lethal running the zone read and the Tigers possess a more than capable passing threat in backup Jeremy Johnson. There’s also more depth and talent at the skill positions including freshman running back Roc Thomas and wide receivers Duke Williams and Melvin Ray. If Marshall can put his game together, look out.


The Tigers’ chances in the SEC West. Alabama was selected as the preseason division winner by the media, but many pundits feel Auburn’s the better team. We still have to keep an eye on Texas A&M once they get into SEC play, but those three teams look to be a step above the rest of the field. Don’t forget about LSU, either.


The pass defense. It’s not a huge concern yet, but the secondary has had some breakdowns through the first two weeks. The Tigers are giving up 214 passing yards per game. Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is rotating a lot of young guys in the defensive backfield. They’ve tallied four interceptions, but have yet to face an elite passer. The Tigers still have to face Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina all of whom could have great success against this secondary.


Fortunately for the Tigers, no part of their game is frozen. There are definitely areas to improve, but Auburn hasn’t shown any glaring weaknesses. They’re perfect in red zone scoring at 11 for 11 thus far, the offense is converting 68 percent of third downs and have played two good games overall, in all three phases of the game. The schedule gets tougher from here, however, but Auburn’s mantra continues to be to get better each week.