While Auburn’s defense is the toast of college football this week, it’s offense is quietly trying to find answers. In case you didn’t notice, Saturday’s 7-3 win over sixth-ranked LSU was the Tigers lowest offensive output since Al Borges became offensive coordinator in 2004.
Auburn was only able to cook up 182 total yards and a mere 72 yards on the ground. To make matters worse, quarterback Brandon Cox was sacked four times. It’s easy to overlook the performance and say that Auburn was facing one of the best defenses in the country. It was. But the problems on the offensive side of the ball didn’t start Saturday.
Against Mississippi State a week earlier, the Tiger offense only netted 11 rushing yards. Kenny Irons has gotten little help from the offensive line in the last two games. Most of his first contact has come in the backfield. The speedy Brad Lester hasn’t faired any better.
While wide receiver Courtney Taylor is having a great rebound year, the other young receivers are still trying to find their way. Not taking anything away from the performance in Starkville, but the Tiger receivers are taking longer to get open this year. This has resulted in Cox receiving more than his fair share of sacks.
No one has been more outspoken than offensive lineman Tim Duckworth. He was livid after Saturday’s game. And with good reason. The good news is Duckworth sees it and want to fix it. It’s a matter of time before Auburn’s offense will be called on to win a game late. The offensive line must get on track and begin opening holes for Irons and Lester.
Should we draw any conclusions from Saturday’s offensive performance? No. There was a similar battle fought at Jordan-Hare a few years ago and a very good Auburn offense only managed 10 points. You know the rest of that story.