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Please Allow me to Introduce Myself
Auburn, with its RPI of 223 in 2019, just snagged a coach that took USC to an Top 30 RPI. Brent Crouch, the newest Auburn Tiger, is poised to try to turn around a program on the Plains that won just one match last year in conference.
There is a staggering gap between the Tigers and the ladies of Troy. And the Tigers hope that it’s due to Brent Crouch’s ability to lead and recruit his way into multiple national semifinal appearances. Let’s take a look into the crystal volleyball and see what’s in store for Auburn this season with Brent Crouch and Alex Dunphy from USC, and Rick Moller moving from video director to assistant coach – at the helm.
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want.
Auburn’s record last season was egregious and it was painful to watch every game – the Tigers went 1-11 in conference and 7-22 overall.
But Auburn stands a much better chance with the new overhaul. The Tigers are great at pulling off quicks, blocking, and attacking. They showed great defense in tough moments. But their ability to dig the ball during some of the most mundane times needs work. Last year Auburn lost its grip on the system and let mundane tip shots and mild swings go over at least two of the players’ ability to dig. Simply put? Defensive consistency. I believe that the first spot Brent Crouch looks at will be the Libero.
Don’t get it twisted, though – the one thing Auburn isn’t lacking is an offensive pawn in their game. Tatum Shipes is an offensive powerhouse that the coaching staff will need to work with. Shipes finds deep corners and keep the play in system while in rotation. She has no trouble with transition. So let’s get this straight: there’s nothing wrong with Auburn’s size of fight. But the dog needed to be changed.
And that’s where Crouch and his coaching staff came in. They took out the old dog, and replaced it with a new vicious crew of development experts.
Tigers Moving Forward
Sure, this team finished at the bottom of the barrel. But moving forward I think we’ll see a 7-win home record and a higher conference win record.
There were times – against Alabama, specifically – where the Tigers showed immense promise. This didn’t happen against an SEC team like Missouri, who usually struggles for a Top 25 ranking. Because almost every member of Mizzou is a star player. But I think with Alex Dunphy leading the recruiting charge, we’ll see more players on the Plains.
Rick Nold had a good run as 9 seasons as head coach. Crouch, however, brings that USC cache to Auburn. The seniors have already flagged their territory and could use some advice from the coaching staff, but players like Tatum Shipes don’t need more coaching. She needs more encouragement.
Look for Crouch and his coaching staff to make some big changes this season and maybe expect a Top 150 or even a Top 75 RPI from this team. Maybe, just maybe, this team could make a tournament appearance – because Crouch is more than just a paper tiger.