There will always be some folks who will be “the glass is half full” in terms of their outlook on Auburn football. I thank God for them because the rest of us, who are “the glass is half empty” always need your positive outlook. Without you… the world would be a dull place indeed. With that said… I offer this review for your consideration…
Auburn was NEVER in this game. A few of us have been saying it for weeks that this AU team was sub-standard in many respects. Well, last night in Baton Rouge… we saw it under the microscope and in graphic living color.
This team is light years behind the competition in the SEC West and the SEC in general. There are several theories that explain this:
1) Under Chizik this team lost its way in the SEC. But it lost more than that… it lost the physicality of the game. AU will not win more SEC games until it gets this back. Razzle dazzle simply won’t replace hard nose football. AU did do allot last night to “fight” to be relevant… but it should be noted… LSU was never, EVER in jeopardy of losing this game.
2) Recruiting services that grade a team’s ability to select new recruits must be severely out of whack OR Auburn’s staff is just not making sure they fix the needs of their squads, or Auburn’s coaching are simply not coaching these kids up OR all of them combined. For nearly all of Chizik’s tenure AU had a top ten program in recruiting. We are seeing the products on the field now… are you impressed? I am certainly not…
3) AU doesn’t have skilled players at the defensive line, linebackers, corners or safety positions. Yes, that is the entire defensive side of the ball we have below average players who simply are out matched by opponents.
4) AU doesn’t have skilled players at Quarterback, receivers or tight ends. We only have Sammy Coats who can apparently catch a football in traffic when its thrown on target. Our running backs are small but apparently when they want they can get positive yardage after first contact.
Let’s face the facts: It is going to be two or three more years before this team is in a position to challenge anyone. My concern is that considering its Auburn and how our fan base reacts to losing… I will be surprised if Gus gets that long to make the appropriate changes.
Last night Auburn imploded within minutes of the opening kick-off after it couldn’t convert a third down to keep its opening drive alive. It reminded me of the end of the Terry Bowden era… when AU would fall apart before it ever got to the line of scrimmage. Last night was really no different. It took LSU 3 plays to get in the end zone. On AU’s next possession AU couldn’t move the ball and was forced to punt yet again. On a freak of nature the punter who was one of the bright spots of this AU team… fumbled the snap and was tackled giving LSU relatively short yardage to work with. LSU converted this into a TD too. Then LSU simply drove the field in the 2nd Qtr and scored its third TD just because. Before you know it the game was effectively over with a 21 point lead and hardly any sustained AU drives.
How can anyone argue that LSU dominate Auburn from start till finish? It’s a foolhardy argument.
With the breaks LSU got… Miles showed some class. He kept it close. He called off the dogs. Already leading AU by 21, LSU gets down to the AU 6. On 4th down he lets his team do a fake field goal and fails to tack any more points to the board. Add to it putting in backups at the last few minutes of the game…
I have said it before and I will say it again… with the deficiencies on this team… AU will struggle (and probably lose) to Ole Miss, and it will get destroyed by Texas A&M, UGA, and bama. If we are lucky… we beat UT and Arkansas. But that depends on several factors… namely QB and our receivers. Neither of these teams are gimme’s. AU will have to do what it didn’t do last night. And that is dominate the line of scrimmage when it counts.
Regardless, barring everything else… if we can take the rest of our non-SEC schedule… that means AU will finish at 7-5 or 3-5 in the SEC. If that happens, we should count ourselves lucky and blessed! Like so many other coaches that have come in and faced this within their first season… I hope that Gus doesn’t get put out/put off to want to leave Auburn. He has a tough job to do… and it is only going to get tougher.