Pleased With the Tigers Progress

By Posted on: October 2nd, 2013 in Featured Article, Football 10 Comments »
13408616-mmmain- Tigers Take the field

The Auburn Football Team did something this week that hasn’t been done since the first day of fall camp … have everyone out for practice. Coach Malzahn said yesterday that Tuesday would be, “The first day we’ll actually have our entire team going through practice, which is a very positive thing moving forward.”

However, as encouraging as that is, it doesn’t mean they all will be available at game time. Defensive Coordinator Ellis Johnson was also quoted as saying, “Just about all of them are doing something. A lot of them have limited contact and are limited to certain types of drills (trainers) don’t want them doing.”

The key word there is “limited.” It’s surely good news to hear they are back on the practice field but the best news will come when they are healthy enough to replace the label “limited” with the label, “ready to go.”

Everyone knows injuries are part of football. They come with the territory. However, the injuries that have plagued Auburn this year have been out of proportion to the norm. Coach Malzahn acknowledge that in particular just a few days after the LSU game. “I don’t think I’ve been around a team that had that many (injuries) this early and to main impact players. Defensively, we’ve been playing without a lot of our impact players, and even when we get them back, they’ve not been quite 100 percent.”

Except for Wide Receiver Jaylon Denson, who was injured in the LSU game, every major injury this season has been to defensive players. At least a dozen defenders have been nursing injuries serious enough to limit their amount of playing time or in some cases completely sideline them.

There has been a lot of talk in the off week about the defense not being consistent – giving up what Johnson refers to as “trash plays.” Those are plays where a defender either misses a tackle or more often misses an assignment and isn’t in the right place to make the play. That’s a problem area that has to be fixed and fixed quickly.

On the other hand, Malzahn’s offense has clearly been able to score points – an improvement in it self over last season’s Loeffler ball. But the defense has been inconsistent, giving up big yardage and points in the first half only to come back in the second and pretty much lock it down.

A probable contributor to the inconsistency has to be the playing of a lot of inexperienced players, particularly freshmen. Hopefully the two weeks off has given coaches time to correct some of those costly mistakes because there will not be any room for error against the remaining SEC schedule. The D can’t keep spotting opponents and hope the offense bails them out. They have to play that shut down intensity in the first quarter like they do in the fourth.

With that being said, the back ups have actually done a decent job. Sure the Tigers have giving up way too may yards (nearly 400 per game) but consider this: Auburn started 3-0, won their first conference game in two years and, despite the prognosticators, was competitive against No. 6 LSU in a night game in Death Valley.

If you had asked most folks at the beginning of the year, if Auburn would fare that well in the first third of the season, you probably wouldn’t have had many takers.

Before the season began, this fan was looking for four things: 1. Competitiveness 2. Toughness 3. Finishing out or not quitting in the second half. (and) 4. A winning season. Well after 4 games, 75 percent of my expectations have been met and I believe the Tigers are on track to finish with that winning record.

That’s not to say I don’t want more, but following last year’s debacle, the installation of a new defense, finding a new quarterback, and dealing with all the injuries … you’ve got to be pleased with these Tigers progress – I know I am.

After 1/3 of the season, how pleased are you with the progress of Auburn Football thus far?

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  1. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    I’m not just pleased, I am EXTREMELY PLEASED with my team”s progress. I was on the Oasis of the Seas, between Ft. Lauderdale and Nassau as THE GAME (for me) was being played in my home town and only saw the last ten minutes. Without looking at the score, one would have thought that Auburn was either winning or about to be winning. Our fiesty outmanned and outweighed Auburn Tigers were standing toe-to-toe with one of the best football teams in the USA and punching them straight in the mouth.

    It actually brought tears to my eyes to see that kind of fight in a team that was near death last year. If this effort keeps up, I will be EXTREMELY pleased no matter what the record shows. This team reminds me of Pat Dye’s first team. Please, dear readers, refrain from being critical of any individual on this team. They are all Auburn Men and, while some of them have more taent than others, they are all giving it their all FOR AUBURN and for us fans. They will make mistakes but they are all honest mistakes and they are ALL AUBURN TIGERS. AND, NEVER FORGET:

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER !!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  2. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    Very pleased! I am a glass half full kinda guy anyway, so it should be no surprise for you see my response. Areas of concern going into the season were tackling, and pass coverage. For the most part those two have improved dramatically. Maybe not to the point where they need to be, but they are better.

    Missed assignments, and terrible alignments cost us dearly in the first half of the LSU game from a defensive view. Sure, those turnovers hurt, but the real frustration was seeing runs up the gut of our “D” go untouched as one did, and four missed tackles because of poor angels (alignment).

    Interesting that I read yesterday that this defense “wants the rebels to run more in the middle” and less around the end. Containment will only come if they play their position, and not chase after the myriad of fakes the “Ackbars”(sp) like to use.

    Interesting quote: “The Ole Miss fan is the most haughty fan in sports. Even worse than the Tide fan. They are as uppity as the French, all the while having the sports accolades below even Vanderbilt” I have not found that to be the case with the few Rebel/Black Bear fans that I have met, although I must admit that they are few.

    War Eagle!

  3. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    Freeze will have his team ready on both sides of the ball. They will not back down and they definitely think they are going to win this game.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      No doubt about that. They will be ready, especially after their loss last Saturday. It’s going to be a big test for the Tigers.

      • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

        We better hit ‘em in the mouth early and often. No more sandbagging in the first half. That cost us a chance beat the Corn Dogs.

  4. HamiltonAUfan HamiltonAUfan says:

    I am very pleased that the Tigers are better under Coach Malzahn than they did last year …….. Go TIGERS.

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER !!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

  5. DothanTiger DothanTiger says:

    Of the big 4 on the schedule, I thought we might have the best chance to upset LSU and may be 4-0 at the bye week. I know they have talent but they also have crazy Les. I’m still pleased with the team’s progress. But I agree, to have a chance at a decent last 2/3 of a season the defense has got to play better in the first half of games.

  6. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    I just had an interesting though. We’ve never seen a Gus coached team that had the same QB for more than one season. I wonder what it will look like next season with NM (assuming he stays the starter) having a year under his belt. It’s a good thought, and it’s fun to ponder the possibilities.

  7. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Since it is show and tell, I voted generally pleased but cautiously optimistic.

    Honestly I still can’t believe how far AU fell during the Chizik tenure. From National Champion… to last. That is NOT what I expected and ultimately the reason the man was fired.

    Malzahn has a good staff. And that is always a positive. Kids generally believe in what he is selling. But where I think we should focus our gaze is how we recruit. AU has generally recruited in the top 10 for the last 3-4 years. Yet… we are where we are. I believe this will be the key to whether AU gets back in the top teir of the SEC… or whether we remain where we are… where ever that is.

    WDE

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      Agree with:
      “I believe this (recruiting) will be the key to whether AU gets back in the top teir of the SEC… or whether we remain where we are.”

      That and developing the recruits. Something that was lacking the last couple of years.