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“Ever to Conquer, Never to Yield” Means Never Being Complacent

By on October 16th, 2017 in Football, News 25 Comments »
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Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson believes Auburn got complacent against LSU (photo: USA TODAY Sports)

It’s been two days since Auburn’s heartbreaking loss in Baton Rouge. And the pain felt by so many hasn’t gotten any better. Auburn seemed to be on a roll coming into LSU’s Tiger Stadium. The Orange and Blue were undefeated in league play, ranked No. 10 and averaging 48 points against SEC opponents. Forty hours later there’re still questions as to how it could’ve happen when Auburn held a three-score lead on the Bengals in the first half?

We can look at injuries to key payers on both sides of the ball, injuries that had a major impact on the offensive line and the 1st string secondary in particular. Dropped passes also played a roll but the biggest impact came on a 75-yard touchdown return that saw LSU close the gap to two points in the fourth quarter.

However, while those things are part of the game, good teams find away to overcome them. The most troubling thing that irritates so many in the fan base was why did Auburn take its foot off  the gas after leading by 20 points in the first half?  

Even the casual football fan understands that 19 straight first-down runs in the second half revealed what the Tigers would do. And the players knew it too. LSU punt returner D.J. Clark may have said it best, “We wasn’t [sic] even supposed to be in the game, so once you let us stay in the game, we wasn’t [sic] going to give it up.”

“We thought we had the game in the bag,” running back Kerryon Johnson said. “We stopped fighting, and we gave it to them on a silver platter. I think as an offense … we got complacent.”

That is the most concerning thing to come out of the game. You simply can’t get complacent in the SEC, especially on the road in a hostile environment. Afterwards Coach Malzahn said the loss hurt, but the team will bounce back.  

We all hope he’s right. At 5–2 and 3–1 in SEC play, the Tigers’ goal of competing for an SEC championship is still there, although the odds are now much slimmer than before.

We also hope the team can get over the disheartening loss before playing Arkansas this weekend. Auburn can’t afford to take the Razorbacks lightly. It is a team Auburn should beat, but then again so was LSU. If Auburn gets a lead in Fayetteville and takes the foot off the gas again, the same outcome could occur.

Now I want to preface this next statement by saying those who have followed this writer over the last few years know I’m an unabashed Auburn homer. However, what we saw on Saturday can not continue.

Please don’t misinterpret that statement to read that I’m calling for a coaching change. I would never do that. But I am calling for change. A change in not ever again being complacent. 

There has to be a commitment to that part of the Auburn fight song that says, “Ever to Conquer, Never to yield.”

War Eagle!

25 Comments

  1. meathead530 says:

    And Malzahn is now the guru of complacency. That was evident at the halftime interview.

    Be a leader and motivate your team never to settle! Keep pushing them. Keep motivating them. Challenge them to do better. Take risks.

    #disGUSted

  2. TexasAUTiger TexasAUTiger says:

    Off the bus 100%. Take a chance on someone else, we know what we’ve got and more importantly DON’T got in Gus.

  3. sparkey sparkey says:

    It is only going to get worse from here on out folks. It won’t get better. That team is demoralized and they have no belief in what they are doing anymore.

  4. Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

    As one Auburn writer stated, the second half plays calls were “coaching malpractice”. This game was lost on the sidelines and the Auburn fan base deserves better. Now we have a capable QB that is not being allowed change plays at the line of scrimmage. A change will be needed soon or this Auburn Football team will only continue to decline. If any Auburn fan is happy with what they saw on Saturday, please let me know.

  5. Madkiso says:

    We didn’t lose that game because our opponent had better players or a better game plan. We lost because our head coach is inept and frankly just not a bright guy. A PE teacher making $4M a year!
    I’m sick of losing rival games In which we have superior talent, only to lose due to our on coaching. This hurt almost as bad as the GA game we gave away last year.

    Bring in Dan Mullen now!! Would love to see what he could do with the talent we’ve stockpiled in our last 5 recruiting classes.

  6. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    If the team became complacent as Kerryon said, then that is another coaching failure by this regime. Sorry, but Malzahn is in over his head and is too proud or too stupid to let someone else guide the offense to better performances. If he hasn’t lost this team yet, he will soon. Nobody likes to be lead by someone who has no clue. This has been going on since 2013 and we are all sick and tired of it.

  7. DothanTiger DothanTiger says:

    Good article ATM. “This can’t continue” is right!

    I’ve always been a Gus Malzahn fan but I have to admit he doesn’t seem to be the same coach that was hired back in 2012 .

    He used to be aggressive and looked to score as much as possible. Now he (or Chip Lindsey?) seems to be timid. You can’t contend for championships being timid. You Might get 7-8 wins a yr but won’t be a contender. No Room for Complacency on championship teams!

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Appreciate it Dothan, And I also wonder what happened to that coach that called for an onside kick in the Iron Bowl (as an OC) to put Auburn up by 2 scores and the HC that kept pounding Mizou in the SEC Championship game.

  8. Jonathon Jonathon says:

    https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/auburn-football/5-times-auburn-let-us-gus-malzahn-era/

    ^^ THIS has defined the Malzahn era. Spot On. History shows the rest of this season riddled with pain and suffering. Can anyone really believe Malzahn ‘wins out’ and saves this season?? Heck No!! LOL! That’s not Malzahn’s style, never was and never will be on the Plains. I feel pain as a fan, but also respect our players and their efforts with what they’ve been given in leadership. We ALL deserve more.

    • Tiger Tiger says:

      Man, thanks for posting, but that is just sad.

      I’m generally a really optimistic person. But I’ve also seen this movie before…

      If we limp to another 7-8 win season, we may still (as uglyjoe pointed out) keep Coach Malzahn. The AD simply has other, bigger issues to handle right now.

      If Coach Malzahn stays, we’ll probably keep seeing the same mediocre results.

      If Coach Malzahn leaves, it will probably take the new coaching staff several years to change the culture, implement a new system, and start competing again with our main rivals (UGA, b***, and LSU). That’s assuming that they’re any good.

      Given that none of us (ok, few of us) can actually do anything to help our football team, we may need to accept the fact that it could be a while before we have nice things. I’m thinking maybe a half-decade or so, at least. I’m buckling up. War Eagle!

  9. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    In 2008 after a horrible beatdown by Alabama, I wrote and e-mailed Coach Tommy Tuberville a long letter that essentially expressed my dismay at how Auburn just lay down and gave up practically that entire season but especially against the Tide. How I wish I had a copy to post on Track ‘Em Tigers for that letter in many ways expressed how I feel today.

    What’s different today is that Auburn’s talent is head and shoulders better than what was on the field in 2008. I believe Coach Tuberville was dealing with a number of personal problems that severely impacted recruiting and on-field coaching, and I somehow doubt that’s the case with Coach Malzahn. Bottom line, my plea to Coach T. was that never again he allow his team to just plain quit.

    It was, most likely, a coincidence that Coach Tuberville’s termination was announced just a few days after my letter. And, I certainly never had a reply to that e-mail.

    Whether one calls what happened on the field this past Saturday against LSU complacency, quitting, coaching malpractice or what have you, to me it’s clear that Coach Malzahn needs to either grow a pair or move on. I think the situation in the athletic department is too f***ed up at the moment for there to be a meaningful evaluation of the head coaching situation, and I’m not sure the problems are so dire as to require immediate replacement of the head coach. However, at the end of the season I predict that Coach Malzahn will get his walking papers. Unless he gets a lot tougher and more willing to keep the pedal to the metal, I’m advocating a change. Sorry AubTigerMan, but that’s what’s got to happen!

  10. Tigers5711 says:

    What happened to the 2013 GM or the 2010 offensive coord GM? His post game comment “It’s not the end of the world” tells me he minimizes this huge loss. It just cost us a decent chance of a great season and never should have happened. GM should apologize to the team and fans that this loss is on him & Lindsey and maybe the team can move forward. The defense is good but needs to learn how to break up a pass, to catch a sure interception and the play calling by Lindsey was terrible past the 1st quarter. We still have an outside slim chance to have a special season but any more coaching screw ups like this one will kill us. Someone on the staff has to tell the punter who not to punt the ball to.

  11. Tiger Tiger says:

    Well, this is just the 2’nd loss of the season…

    We’ve got the rest of the season to play, and I still stand by my metric: that I want 9 wins and a win against either UGA or b***.

    But do I really think this will happen? Hahaha!

  12. AUTiger57 says:

    Enjoyed your article, ATM. Appreciate your loyalty and hard work, and I also don’t like firing coaches every 3-4 yrs. But we need a definite change somehow, somewhere!!!!!! As I have stated over and over, I was never convinced that Coach Malzahn was the correct hire since day 1. I wish that I would have recorded my 1st conversation with my son when he called to tell me that we had hired Gus as our head coach. I told him then that it wouldn’t work out. A championship coach demands perfection and relentless efforts at all times. See Paterno, Osbourne, Bryant, Shug Jordan, Dooley, Bowden, Spurrier, Myer, Dye, etc. All preached those things to their players and staff. It does work if you have the correct coach in place. We can hire the right coach if we search with diligence and look for those qualities. War Eagle

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Yep, when you have your foot on an SEC team’s throat, you can’t let them up or they’ll come back and beat you.

      (And thanks for the kind words 57).

  13. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    As a card carrying lifer alum member, I have not gotten over last years 7-6 loss to a horrid UGA team. I do not know how long it will take to get over this LSU loss. We attended the Jefferson County Auburn Club watch party in Birmingham at Rogue tavern and the place was rocking in the first half. Some things remain difficult to understand. You are correct, this is not the same CGM that was hired in 2012.

    We must wait until after the Iron Bowl; then have that coaching change chat.

    Until then; WAR DAM EAGLE!!!!

  14. audad says:

    Very good column. My son (the Auburn alum) follows a few AU blogs where hundreds comment and the calls for Gus’s head are loud and frequent right now. Understandably. Even on here on TET with the relatively small # of people that post the majority seem to think a change is needed.

    One of the reasons it’s so hard to win at LSU is because of the 90,000 rabid fans that they fill the place with. I don’t ever remember hearing those fans boo their Tigers while playing Auburn in their stadium. Two days ago they were booing when the score was 20-0. If ever there was a time to crush that team there, it was then. The fans were out of the game, turning on their boys, and Auburn was totally dominating. And then the foot came off the throat. Once they scored, with each subsequent sputter and failure by our offense, more pressure went back on the defense, and the crowd started to believe a little more and a little more. If you are an Auburn fan, it was one of the saddest things I have seen in the years I have watched this program. So many failed opportunities to take control of the game again, and then it just kept slowly unraveling. Missed tackles, blown coverages, a key dropped pick that would have killed one of their scoring drives, slower pursuit, not enough pressure on the QB, missed blocks, poorly thrown passes, dropped balls, a special teams disaster, and of course possibly the worst play calling in recent memory. Or at least since the Clemson game.

    At 23-14 the crowd started to believe again. At 23-21 I think they believed they would win and you could see our own boys knew this one could very well get away. As much as the failure to execute on both sides of the ball hurt us in the second half, I have to agree with those that put the blame for this one mostly on the coaches and head coach. For the first quarter and a half it looked like men against boys; from that point on we were outscored 27-3. Sorry Gus, that’s mostly on you and it’s inexcusable.

  15. Tiger4Life says:

    On a side note, Kyle Davis didn’t make trip because of “something between he and Coach Malzahn”.
    We have had another Top 10 Receiver in the WHOLE Nation for a year and a half–
    #3 Nate Craig- Myers- and here are his stats- 12 receptions, 228 yards, 2 TD’s.
    6 yards passing in the 2nd half…
    That is all

  16. almightytmc says:

    Good read ATM. But, I think Auburn needs to open up the bank, have a REAL coaching search and recruitment. ( read; Not like the Malzahn hire). There are so many coaches out there who would have won the LSU game.
    Also, why isn’t the coaching at the par of the talent level at AU? Seriously. The talent at AU should yield a top ten finish yearly. Not a team that plays to the level of Mercer. Anyone who couldn’t see the narrative after that messed up game was not looking.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Appreciate it Almighty. It looks to me like Gus has lost his mojo since the 2014 Texas A&M game and has been searching for it but can’t seem to get it back.

  17. Jonathon Jonathon says:

    Meathead530 stated this to open the comments but we’re now seeing it quoted by Malzahn through the media:
    https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/auburn-football/gus-malzahn-halftime-reaction-lsu-shows-plenty-hubris/
    HUH!?!? This is the SEC and a road game at LSU… a place we haven’t won at in how many years again? Who does this?

  18. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    Okay — I've had some time to think on this – and I will elaborate a bit more in my Saturday morning post, but let's take a look at the injuries that occurred this past Saturday in Baton Rouge as well as the fact that Kyle Davis is no longer a member of the Auburn football team.
    We have always had reason to believe that the AU defense was strong and has depth, BUT, that depth doesn't and cannot hold up to a serious SEC contender when AU is having to play virtually an entire half of football.
    It is not always easy to see things in person when others have the benefit of TV and replays, etc. And Tiger Stadium chooses which replays are shown; mostly those benefiting their team. No worries there.
    But, after actually being able to watch the game, seeing what the AU offense had to do and now, yes, it's a bit easier to see that our DL depth far outweighs our OL depth.
    And, with Kyle Davis being out for this game (and now off the team) that limited the pass plays for Stidham — I'm not trying to make excuses here and, by the end of that game Saturday in Baton Rouge, I was as much "off the Gus bus" as anyone else.
    With this said, however, I'm going to take a step back and look at things in somewhat of a "rational" manner…
    This I will have for you come Saturday morning. Auburn still has plenty to play for and we will see how this team rebounds.

    Until then… It's Great to be an Auburn Tiger and…

    WAR EAGLE!!

  19. Orange Talon Orange Talon says:

    I echo the sentiments of Tiger fans here and everywhere, to say I’m frustrated would be the understatement of the year. Auburn had a chance to be special this year; yes of course anything can happen in the SEC and theoretically they still can, but it’s unlikely. We needed to be clean in conference play heading to Amen Corner, and then beat either Georgia and/or Alabama. Now, we have to win out and hope LSU doesn’t. You can’t give up a 20 point lead to a SEC opponent and be considered special, you just can’t. Gus is right, it was/is his fault, unfortunately he’s simply to far out over his skis as a Head Coach. Yep, we’ll win a few more, we’ll play in a decent bowl game, and some of the sting from the LSU loss will ease for some. But not for me – we had a chance to be special.
    #getDMullinsonthePlains

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