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Time to Panic?

By on September 10th, 2012 in Football 17 Comments »

By Jay Coulter (jccoulter@gmail.com) on September 10, 2012

Today a lot of us feel like that guy. You know, the one who
spends his life savings on that Mercedes only to find out it’s not what the car
magazine critics made it out to be.

After three top ten recruiting classes, hiring away the
Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator and bringing in an offensive coordinator
that helped develop Tom Brady, Auburn people are faced today with the question
of what’s left to salvage of the season after only two weeks.

One game doesn’t make a season, but anyone sitting in the
stands of Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday morning knows Auburn’s problems are
much worse than skin deep.

Enduring those blowout losses last season, Auburn people
were led to believe that Gene Chizik’s team was simply outmanned, not outcoached.
On this Monday, many are beginning to question that logic.

It’s one thing to lose to LSU, Arkansas and Alabama because
of youth and experience. It’s an entirely different matter when you are blown
out by Miss State.

Last week in this space I preached patience. Today, we may
all need inspiration from Job himself to make it to November. Saturday’s loss was
as inept a performance as we’ve seen since the Terry Bowden era.

It was worse than anything witnessed during Tommy Tuberville’s
final season in 2008. At least Tuberville could use the excuse that most of his
players were not blue chips. Scanning the field Saturday in Starkville, I only
identified a hand full of players Auburn even recruited.

Pointing the finger at quarterback Kiehl Frazier is too
easy.

Saturday’s loss was a team effort that starts with coaching.
During warm-ups, receivers coach Trooper Taylor playfully taunted the Miss
State student section, jumping up and down, waving for them to be louder. This
was clearly a guy that was more interested in theatrics rather than X’s and O’s.

Only two Auburn players have receptions this season. Since
Emory Blake’s touchdown catch during the second offensive series against
Clemson, Auburn has gone 19 possessions without a touchdown.

Recruiting is only half the battle. You still have to coach
them.

So where does Auburn turn?

Giving Frazier the hook after only two games is not irrational
considering Saturday’s performance. However, despite all the coach-speak, you
have to wonder whether Auburn has a true Plan B.

Is Clint Moseley’s shoulder really well enough to play? I
don’t buy the notion that Auburn coaches felt the best plan was to stick with
Frazier in Starkville. I believe it was their only option. Insert Jonathan
Wallace suggestion here.

Watching Frazier on the sidelines between series, this was a
kid that was clearly rattled. Then again, with coordinator Scott Loeffler
sitting in the press box, he wouldn’t know.

As fans, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s gone so wrong. The
coaching staff is proven. The players are heralded. Someone is not doing their
job. It will be up to Chizik to find the answers fast.

The prospects of starting 0-5 are very real. Sit and watch
Saturday’s replay and you’ll believe Auburn Armageddon is here. I prefer to
take the glass is half-full approach. Taking the other option would keep me in
bed all day.

I haven’t lost faith in Chizik, but I do have a few more
questions today.

17 Comments

  1. GreenvilleAUfan says:

    Good article Jay

    All of us were upset over what we saw Saturday and your right its easy to hit the panic button. Those two losses hurt but those games are in the past. The coaches will have to coach smarter and hope the players execute. There’s still time to salvage something from this season. No question the road the rest of the way is going to be tough. But I believe Chizik will get it turned around.

  2. LSU Jonno says:

    Auburn will beat ULM, saying anything else is crazy talk. That was a fluke win in Little Rock against a team who lost their starting QB with an absolutely horrible defense. Yes Auburn’s D is better than Arky’s.

    But outside of ULM, New Mexico State and Alabama A&M, there aren’t any freebies on Auburn’s schedule. Right now it’s hard to imagine Auburn being favored @Ole Miss and @Vandy. As of now those games look like pick’ems to me. Getting Arky at home likely makes that one a pick’em too.

    3 wins, 3 toss ups, and 4 sure losses to LSU, TAMU, UGA and Bama. It’s going to be really tough to make a bowl game.

    "The coaching staff is proven." This is definitely not true. This isn’t the same staff that won the title in 2010.

  3. Derrick Roberts says:

    I am very concerned with the state of the team at present. What’s most bothersome to me is the attitude of the team. They didn’t have the look of belief in their eyes or actions Saturday. especially in second half.

    Jordan-Hare needs to be an animal house this Saturday. We as fans can’t really change what the coaches are going to do too much, but we can stand behind these boys and let them know the Auburn Family is behind them 100%. They are going to need it more than ever against a ULM team that is going to be out for blood and their second upset in a row.

    I’d rather see what Wallace can do before Clint Moseley gets a shot. I think he (Moseley) is more injured than the coaches have let on and there’s no need running him out there if he’s only going to hurt himself worse. Give Wallace a shot. It’s less tougher pill to swallow to see a young QB making mistakes than it is for an older one.

    As for Frazier, I see a player that is completely unprepared for the task at hand. Whether that be from lack of coaching, lack of effort, or a combination of the two which is most likely.

    The fans can rail on the coaches all they want, but it won’t change much. What we can’t do is get down on these players. They are going to need all the support they can get going forward.

    War Eagle! Beat Louisiana-Monroe!

  4. Chris Wright says:

    Why do I never see Frazier with a headset on or talking on the phone?

    With Loeffler up in the box who I would imagine Frazier needs to speak with him. Maybe I didn’t see it in the Dome and/or ESPN never showed a shot of him in Starkville.

  5. sparkey chris says:

    I said from the beginning that this new Loeffler was a questionable hire. It no longer is questionable now it is quite obvious he was a bad hire. Yet,that doesn’t settle anything much either.

    I’m convinced something is amiss with team chemistry. They’re working hard, but hell so is everybody else going against them. 2010 featured a team with natural leaders and players that refused to give up no matter the situation. This current team, nothing close to that.

    In history when you try to find what went wrong with something, you often find it’s not one simple problem it’s rather a mixture of issues. You’re seeing a terrible heterogeneous concoction that has no main ingredient. This team has no theme. It’s just a bunch of players trying to make plays.

    Unfortunately, the meta-game aspect is all but nonexistent. Until we see our boys become a team you will see struggles that make you down right sick. Forming the concept of a team falls squarely on one man’s shoulders and he had better get it done or he’ll soon be "ALL OUT."

  6. WarEagleEngr says:

    This is the Auburn team critics expected out of Gene Chizik when he was hired four years ago. That guy at the airport must finally feel justified. The mystery is that we’re seeing it now, inexplicably, after the signing of three straight elite recruiting classes, the hiring of reputable assistants, the winning of, uhm you know, a BCS championship. Just what the heck is happening, and why now?

    I absolutely agree with the article, it is not so much the talent on the field that is underacheiving as the talent on the sidelines. We have two coaches who have won national awards as defensive coordinators (Chizik, VanGorder), and defenders that can’t tackle. We have a coach who molded passers named Brady and Tebow, and a quarterback who can’t set his feet correctly. I don’t get it. But I know if it’s not corrected, fast, the countdown on Chizik’s tenure has already started.

  7. Tiger on the Mountain says:

    i think the issue with Wallace may be his red shirt….Acid might know more. With no leaders emerging on this team, it’s going to be tough to win.

    I tried to post a few comments in Acid’s articles via iPad. I was finally able to log in, bu my comments are stuck in moderation purgatory…

    • AubTigerman says:

      We’re working on that issue TotM.
      Hopefully we’ll have it settled in a short while.

    • Acid Reign says:

      …..If a guy can help you win, you put him on the field. Wallace may really help us down the road, but in the coaches’ opinion, right now he’s not ready. And most true freshmen aren’t.

  8. Pat Sullivan says:

    Relax, guys. No need to put the ‘All Chicken Littles line up here’ sign just yet. Is all of this really a surprise to anyone?

    We knew going in the team was weak at linebacker – since Josh Bynes left, we’ve struggled. We knew we had only two good receivers, one of them a tight end. We knew the O-line was a mixed bag of potential but little experience. We haven’t really had an all-SEC pass defender in a while. And no matter how talented or how much potential in the end we have a sophomore quarterback starting his first games against two fast rushing defenses.

    Add to the mix two new coordinators and you have,…. the Auburn 2002-2003 teams. It might be rough, but the only thing happening here is the rose colored glasses are coming off. The boys are OK and will get better.

    • LSU Jonno says:

      "Is all of this really a surprise to anyone?"

      Yes. There are always unknowns and knowns on a team going into the year.

      But you always expect some of the unknowns to turn into pleasant surprises. That hasn’t happened at Auburn since 2010. It happens at LSU and other places every year.

      • Pat Sullivan says:

        At LSU? You mean like the year after Bo Pelini left when Florida and Georgia each hung half a hundred on them? That was just one coordinator, with most of the returning starters from a BCS championship team.

        • LSU Jonno says:

          I don’t even know how that comment is relevant. You asked if this was a surprise, and I think the answer is yes.

          I don’t think that even the most bearish prediction of Auburn this year included a 28-10 defeat @ Mississippi State.

          Acid predicted Auburn would finish Sept 4-0 with wins over Clemson and LSU!

  9. Todd92 says:

    I don’t know if I should be in panic mode, but if I were a coach on this staff……I would be beserking trying to fix this debacle. The interceptions that Frazier threw were not under extreme pressure and if anyone thinks they were just wait until we play Bama, LSU, or Georgia and you can calibrate your pressure gauge. Frazier threw the first two with his stance wide open and (surprise surprise) threw the ball way behind the open receiver on both, the third was thrown into triple coverage after staring down the receiver. I’m still confident that Frazier has all the physical tools to be a very good QB, but he’s not close to being ready……..let’s hope that Dr. Andrews and the PT staff are feverishly working to get Moseley well enough to play!

    Coach Loeffler had better figure something out quick…..when my 10 year old son starts screaming "no run iso left at the TV when they run the jet sweep" (and yeah he’s my son)….it kind of drives home the point that it’s not that complicated. To this point Loeffler is his own worst enemy.

    • Acid Reign says:

      …..I had a streak in the stands, where I’d watch how MSU’s defense lined up, and I’d say out loud the worst possible play to run into that alignment. I was able to predict what happened, WAY too often…

  10. myauburn says:

    We have 4 and 5 star talent sitting on the pine. I know they are young but the starters are young also. I say give them more reps. What’s the worst that can happen, we lose a game. Hmmm, oh yeah, that just happened twice. Westerman, Robinson, Frost, and others should be sent on the field early and often.