Locked On Ole Miss’s Steven Willis expects the depth chart change Auburn football fans are clamoring for when the Rebels reach the Plains on October 21: Hugh Freeze yanking Payton Thorne and handing the keys to the offense to Robby Ashford.
“Ole Miss needs to make possessions count because I do expect Robby Ashford to start this game and Auburn to play at a very slow tempo,” Willis said (h/t Auburn Daily). “This is going to be the Arkansas game on steroids. You’re going to need to spy Robby Ashford. I think Robby is going to end up starting this game.”
Although Thorne was finally able to deliver AU a 100+-yard passer against LSU, the Tigers suffered their worst loss since their October 8, 2022 trip to Athens, Georgia this past weekend. With a third-straight game of completing 52% or less of his passes, it’s clear Thorne is not currently capable of running an offense that can keep Auburn competitive.
In most circumstances, the next man would be up. Willis is bullish on Freeze making the fanbase-pleasing switch to the Hoover native.
Auburn football is in danger of losing every significant rivalry matchup in final season of SEC West
The Tigers gave Georgia a run for its money on September 30; perhaps the best showing from AU this season. But they still lost the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry game.
As for the team’s SEC West divisional matchups, there have also been losses only so far. Jimbo Fisher got Texas A&M back in the win column on September 23 in the final season the two will be fixed opponents after the loss at Jordan-Hare Stadium for Cadillac Williams’s magical Plains debut. Ditto for Brian Kelly, who moved to 2-0 against AU in his young LSU coaching stint on October 14. And now Ole Miss threatens as a 5-1 No. 13 team in the nation ahead of Week 8. It’s not a stretch to say that the Tigers are in danger of losing every significant rivalry game in 2023.
If things stay the same as they’ve been the first half of the season under center, that’ll be the fanbase’s expectation.