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Confidence is the Critical Missing Link

By on October 17th, 2012 in Football 26 Comments »


The Auburn Tigers find themselves with their backs against the wall as they prepare to play Vanderbilt this Saturday. No one could have forecasted the Tigers would be in this position back in the pre season. The team finds itself reeling and in desperate need of  a shot of confidence.

But that’s a tall order for players that have started the season 1-5. In fact when your on a losing streak, the toughest thing for a team is to get their confidence back.

Confidence is the critical missing link. It is the expectation of success. The bridge between hope and performance.

Nothing builds confidence like winning and nothing destroys confidence like losing.

College football is suppose to be fun but there is nothing fun about losing. For the fans a losing streak can be frustrating, disappointing, and discouraging. For a team … a losing streak can be devastating.

Players still want to win but with the lack of confidence, their performance becomes not as focused and their execution not as sharp.

As a  Chinese proverb goes, “A mind focused on doubt and fear cannot focus on the journey to victory.”

When things are down, it seems like nothing can go right. That’s how depressed teams feel. That’s why even talented teams go through losing streaks.

Sometimes it seems

when things are going good, it feels as if they will always be going good. Players come to believe they can succeed every time they hit the field.

But confidence decreases during losing streaks with the experience of setbacks, mental mistakes, and losses – which makes it harder to have the confidence to come back.

Just as winning becomes contagious, losing becomes contagious.

So how does a team break out of that spiral?

First, players need to be able to feel that they are supported by the fans as well as the coaches. Auburn’s 2010 slogan, “All In” was effective because  there’s simply no substitute for feeling like everyone is behind you.

Second, they have to do the basic things right. Former NFL Coach Bill Parcells says the way to break out of the cycle, is for teams to not focus on the fear of losing another game but rather on the positive things that happen during the game.

Positives like concentrating on the fundamentals. Gaining confidence by blocking, tackling, and executing. And ultimately winning the victory.

It only takes one win to get three weeks of bad tastes out of their mouths. That confidence can begin this Saturday, on  Dudley Field in Nashville. One win. That’s all it takes. Just one win.

Go Tigers. Beat the Dores!


  1. uglyjoe says:

    Regular life often imitates football

  2. MyAuburn myauburn says:

    Hear-hear on this post. Taking it a step further, confidence is a QB knowing his receiver will be there when the ball is, a receiver knowing the ball will be where he can catch it, a lineman knowing the back will hit the hole if he opens it, a back knowing that if he heads to the hole, it will be there. Right now we have none of that confidence and need to get a little dose of it.

    I can compare it to my sport, golf. If you are confident you have made the right choice of what shot to play you have a much better chance of hitting the shot that is required.

    Pretty simple, but sometimes difficult to do.

    • CapnVegetto says:

      interesting. i just wrote a whole post with a golf comparison. it’s waiting on the mods.

      anyway, if we lose saturday, we will be the only team in the SEC with a LOSING record against Vandy.

      what a year.

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      Exactly Myauburn,

      Execution on everybody’s part. Its what this team needs.

      Good write up ATM

  3. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    Good one ATM. Having coached high school ball, no truer post has been written about where the Tigers are at today.

  4. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……You are correct, ATM. I know I’ve got a lack of confidence, particularly in the offense this year. I feel like the team gets drives going, then kneecaps them with bizarre playcalls that have little chance of working.

    • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

      I would really love to see how we would do if we played Prosch on all of our “running”downs and either ran the ball with him, Mason and Blakely, or did play action and relegated Squirrel to passing downs as a dump off threat in the flat. If I see Squirrel scampering to the short side of the field out of the pistol or lone I, I am going to pull my scalp off.

      I also have to laugh at all the “experts” who say that Loeffler is trying to run a Pro-Style offense with out the weapons to do so. If anything, Loeffler is still trying to run a spread attack with our VERY pro-style weapons. Prosch rarely sees more than 10 snaps game, which is roughly the same number of times McCalebb runs out of bounds for negative yardage. Our problem is we AREN’T going Pro-Style enough. It makes me wonder whether McCalebb is in Loefflers and Chiziks ears about getting touches, because there is no sane reason to keep calling his name with the absurdly low rate of success that he has had in the backfield. I’ll take Mason or Blakeley running between the tackles behind Prosch on any play other than running a sweep of draw to McCalebb on the .001% chance he breaks it for a big gainer.

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        Amen! What a waste. Prosch is a monster. I second your motion that it’s disgusting to watch that kind of talent sit on the sideline.


      • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

        My name is ATM and I endorse this statement:
        “I would really love to see how we would do if we played Prosch on all of our “running”downs and either ran the ball with him, Mason and Blakely, or did play action and relegated Squirrel to passing downs as a dump off threat in the flat. If I see Squirrel scampering to the short side of the field out of the pistol or lone I, I am going to pull my scalp off.”

        • AUwaterboy AUwaterboy says:

          Agree with Col.Angus’ statement 100%. If we had pounded the ball with some play action, we would have a winning record right now.

  5. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    “Backs against the wall” isn’t’ quite getting it for me. That implies that this team has a chance. It doesn’t. That slipped past last weekend and in some measure is why this team is an 8 point underdog to Vandy.
    How about “on the outside looking in” or “on the mat trying to answer the count”?

    I am picking I know… but we are half way through the season and the toughest games lie ahead. And this season, for all intensive purposes, is over already. Auburn will not go to a bowl game.

    Am I bitter about that? No. Not really. I am not losing sleep about it either. And last, I don’t dream about what could have been. This year is an unmitigated disaster. It is what it is. I have been an AU man all my life. I was battle tested during the 1970s – hell, I can handle defeat. It’s just the way this has turned out…. was unexpected. Well maybe for everyone other CAPT V.

    What frustrates me is the indecision that my alma mater has demonstrated since the MSU game. Take your pick on a place to start. Either from players who repeatedly fail to demonstrate proper techniques in tackling or blocking, to a Head Coach and his staff that can’t get things corrected enough to even compete or an AD and University President that seems happy to let this one slide and hope for better things next year. What if anything has been demonstrated so far this season that gives me hope for NEXT season or the next?

    And then, add to that you have two extremes of fans/alumni that seem to think they are right. One that seems to think the coach should be given “complete support” (not that his salary and accolades the university has already provided without showing ANYTHING is enough) and allowed to continue… while the other camp wants him fired 4 games ago.

    No movement in the fan/alumni base is EXACTLY the reason why I think there is no movement on the field. Coach Chizik “KNOWS” he is right and thinks he has it completely under control. Therefore it’s business as usual at Auburn.

    But I digress.

    It’s a given that confidence is an issue and I am glad you brought it up. Further, it’s interesting that you mentioned how this team is supposed to combat the negatives by focusing on the things they can control. The building blocks that should eventually lead to victory.

    Now, I realize I come off as OVERLY negative here but I want to illustrate this so bear with me.

    Yesterday in an interview with Coach Gene Chizik, he said his job was to “help young guys that really, really want to win, and that really, really want to be good and wants to be the best at their trade and when their struggles are going wrong – in how to deal with that.”

    Really? Who is teaching fundamentals again? Loeffler?? No wonder our offense is inept.

    Regardless, I am starting to suspect that basics have never been done sufficiently. That Coach Chizik has adopted the CEO mentality of Tommy Tuberville in running the team and program. I say this because you rarely see Chizik engaged on the sidelines. He is almost like a spectator watching the game talking into his headset. Hell, I am more excited than he is. And I am normally watching the game at home (this year anyway – just ask my TV).

    The only problem with this and perhaps a difference between the two is that Chizik is the nicer man to work for. I don’t believe he is seeing that these things getting done. That is why I think he is more of a “big brother” type than a head coach.

    Just wondered if anyone else is getting the same vibe.


    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Talking about watching the games on t.v. is the reason my dog thinks his name is “dammit”.


    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:


      Maybe your right WDE. It might have been more accurate to have said, the Tigers “find themselves trying to get up off the deck as they prepare to play Vanderbilt.” But you know, its that thing in me that continues to try and see the glass half full.

      • jstrib jstrib says:

        Rocky was always the most dangerous when he was getting up off of the mat. I’m not saying that this team is gonna pull a “Rocky” , but I feel that these young players are getting tired of waiting on someone else to make a play. Eventually a winner is going to win. We recruited these guys for a reason, they have all been winners in the past. I may be wrong, hell I’m probably wrong, but this MY AUBURN AND I LOVE IT!!!!!

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        Aubtigerman, I can appreciate that. But these are desperate times. And desperate times need desperate measures. Do you see any thing happening on the plains that would suggest we can expect any life against the Commodores?


        • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

          II wish I could say yes to that, but at this point I can’t. The forever optimist in me is hoping that the play calling will be different and the Tigers will respond to the situation like a cornered raccoon. If you have ever seen a raccoon cornered, you know he is ready to fight with all his life.

          The closest thing to a positive answer I can offer your question is from Phillip Marshall who has the most access to what goes on at Auburn. He is reporting that the players are tired of hearing all the negative comments in the media and especially on the internet. Phillip says he “senses a different atmosphere this week around the Auburn football complex, something of an “enough is enough” attitude.”

          Lets hope he is right. No matter where a person stands on the current season’s deficiencies, no Auburn fan wants to see a loss to Vandy!

  6. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Incidently our anguish has reached the national news media outlets. Here is an excerpt from SI:

    Seems like others have sense that Chizik is on the hot seat. He is now thier # 1 candidate. Here is the most interesting comment I thought:

    “Chizik. It’s entirely possible the Tigers’ only wins this year will come against Louisiana-Monroe (in the books, but barely), New Mexico State (Nov. 3) and Alabama … A&M (Nov. 17). That’s not going to cut it in the SEC West. Chizik’s buyout is steep, but it’s not prohibitive; his crystal football protective shield still exists, but it’s splintering fast.”

    And interestingly they quote Scarbinsky from B’ham news:

    Worth a read. Or you can hear it on Finebaum today on your drive home. Is it true what they say about publicity? I think not.


  7. mikeautiger says:

    As they say winning cures a lot of ills and it would do wonders for the confidence and I think we would see a major turn around very quickly.

  8. WarEagleAtlanta WarEagleAtlanta says:

    I’ll be up in Nashville for this one. Anyone else going?

  9. AUGrad82 says:

    If I may give my 2 cents worth, I am not in favor of firing coaches at this time. I lived through the Barfield years, so I remember how bad it could be. And, we are not that bad. I believe our expectations have made it worse than it is. Most posters take it as a given that we have talented players, and we do, but many of them are in our last two classes. I looked at Scout’s rankings and compared it to our roster. Of the 32 listed for the 2009 class, we have 16 left on the roster. The average number of stars is 3.125. One 5 star (Trevon Reed), four 4 star recruits, seven 3 star players, and 4 players with 2 stars.

    Of the 2010 class, the average rating of the remaining players is better – 3.33. However, there are only 15 players left of that class, including the two kickers and Shon Coleman. Again, one 5 star (Corey Lemonier), 6 four stars, 5 three stars and three 2 stars.

    2011 class has 23 players with an average rating of 3.78, which is great. The freshman class has 19 players with an average of 3.63. Pretty good. Also, given the number of available scholarship next year, we should be able to recruit a full class in 2013.

    I may be wrong, but it seems to me that given these numbers, the players who are ready to play (older and one would expect bigger, i.e., upperclassmen) are not that talented to begin with, and the players who struggle with the schemes, who may not be physically there yet, and who may not yet have the confidence needed to compete at this level make up the bulk of the talent on the team. Yes, there is talent there, but the talent is not yet in a position to be exploited to its full advantage.

    And, I am not one to second guess the coaches. They know a lot more about their players and significantly more about football than I do. So I am willing to trust CGC and his staff to get things moving in the right direction. It may not be this year, but next year and the year after ought to be pretty good. If he fails next year, then bringing in a coaching change should be considered. And, that new coach will have a lot of talented players to work with.


  10. DCWarEagle says:

    Another Barfield era grad here (’78) … I agree with you – good points. We all hate losing, it’s just that some of us have (had to) come to terms with it more than others. With the talent that’s been recruited the past two years, we’re going to have great teams down the road – our opponents will be TIGER MEAT … but we’re not there yet. We’re all frustrated here … my TV (and wife) cringes when I walk in the room on Saturdays … but I choose not to disparage our team and coaches if for no other reason than to not scare away potential commits. I hope our recruits don’t read these blogs (TET is not alone) when looking for a school to play at, because who’d want to come to a school with such a s****ty AD, HC, OC, etc. The “other guys” are lookin’ real well and are just feedin’ the fire. You want to see bad teams? …. just turn-off potential recruits so that we only get 1 and 2 stars at best and we’ll be there. Let’s stay positive and keep Auburn the loveliest village on the plains and on the web. The athletic staff gook will all come out in the wash in it’s time.
    WDE from our Nation’s Capital (where demogoguery is a way of life)

  11. guvnahwallace says:

    I will be in Nashville for the game (although mad as Hell about getting up at 6am to do so) and you will hear me in support of EVERYONE in orange and blue. I will NOT be calling for anyone’s dismissal unless I continue to see Prosch watch from the sideline. Auburn will win this weekend if they line up and commit to a power running game. If they don’t, I’ll be whistling a different tune (see: funeral dirge) on the way back to Buzzard Roost, Alabama. War Eagle!

  12. hinkle.pilot hinkle.pilot says:

    Kirby Smart 2013