Monday, October 12, 2009

Arkansas Review

Well, I can't in good faith leave you a legitimate post-game review this week because (thankfully) I was unable to watch the game. I had an eight hour business meeting Saturday in Orange Beach and only kept up with the game via my Blackberry and frequent instant messaging from a disgruntled Dr. Z. Based off the stats, his commentary, the Coach Chizik Show, and post game articles--here goes...

-We were ill-prepared to play (obviously)- Apparently Coach Chizik called the Tigers out at Thursdays practice telling them they were not ready to play. He repeatedly stated in his postgame speech in the locker room to the team his warnings during the week and how he told them this was coming. Disappointed this team worked so hard to be recognized in the polls only to lose focus and desire once the attention came.

-Chris Todd was off- I hope that's all it was and not a sign the shoulder is tiring out. Apparently the timing was poor and Todd's accuracy was pathetic. Every QB has a day like that. He must rebound this week and prove this was a fluke and not the new norm.

-Tackling is a mentality- You can look no farther than our inability to tackle and know our minds were not fully focused on the task at hand. When you're mentally into it, you tackle better no question. When you're going through the motions you get 44 hung on you. Against Tennessee we were as intense as I've seen and our tackling was great. Apparently not the case Saturday.

-11 am start = loss for Auburn- No explanation for this. Again it goes back to a team's mentality. We need to toughen ours. Can't afford to come out flat on the road against anyone.

-Turnovers- Result from loss of focus and attention to detail. Giving the opponent a short field, giving up scoring opportunities, putting the defense back on the field all result in negative consequences and it reared its ugly head in Fayetteville.

The silver lining to take from this game is we didn't quit. In year's past (i.e. last year) we'd have never drawn the game to within 11 points in the 3rd quarter. Arkansas was poor matchup for Auburn and they exploited our lack of depth, our lack of emotion, and our mistakes. Every team in America will lose a game this year, many against teams they shouldn't lose to. It's both the beauty and fallacy of college football. The great teams fix their problems, learn from their mistakes and play each game with unmatched intensity from start to finish. Auburn has some problems this year that can not be fixed (namely depth). What can be fixed however is our attitude, our ability to play each week with unbridled passion and desire to win. Will be interesting to see how we respond with a tremendous bounce-back opportunity at home against UK.


  1. my take: this was a poor effort from top to bottom. poor gameplan, poor execution, poor effort.

    the one bright spot is that we didn't give up at half like I was fearful we would.

    I don't know what was wrong with Coach Malzahn's play calling in the first half (maybe the hotel switched his coffee to decaf) but it was very disjointed and we never got into a rhythm. I hope I never see us in the wildcat on the 2nd and 3rd play of the game again, unless we are on the goalline. That is not the time or place. Let your QB get into the flow of the game.

    Our D: obviously tackling, or lack there of, is our biggest issue but we are going to have to start blitzing some. I know we have a young secondary to protect, but you beat teams in the SEC by rattling their QB and our front 4 are not getting that accomplished. With our offense I'll trade 2-3 big plays per game over letting them pick us apart 7,8, 12 yards at a time and controlling the ball.

    Special teams: nothing to say other than terrible. We are so short on depth that we have to use all these walkons. Bad when your holder lines up right next to the kicker on kick-off coverage. If Eltoro can't help us on D he needs to be making plays on special teams. I won't judge Boulware's ability to coach until we can afford to put some decent players out there.

    All this being said, and having watched other games, I really believe we can beat everyone on our schedule save Bama(man i hate to say that). LSU is not impressive and UGA/Ole Miss are falling apart. We just have to show up. Hopefully this will be our last 11am game.

    Rob, finally, I know you didn't get to see the game but I wanted to see if you have noticed this in previous games. Really stood out to me against WVU. We are getting picked apart in the middle of the field on passing downs, specifically 3rd down. As much zone as we seem to be playing where are our LBs? Are we not getting the proper depth or what?

  2. Brett,

    I think the issue with a weak zone in the middle of the field stems from three problems. First is the LBs depth on their pass drops (not good enough). They are reacting heavily to the run and not getting the depth needed. Second, on obvious third down passing situations, our lack of secondary depth means we don't have a legitimate nickel or dime package, forcing LBs to take drops and cover receivers corners should be. Third, our safeties are rather weak defending the pass because of lack of speed. They bail out making sure they are deeper than the deepest and thus create a void in the middle of the field. They don't trust being able to play flat-footed to take away a dig or square-in route and then turn and run with a receiver who's going deep (and I don't trust them as well). The answer lies somewhere in between bringing a fifth or sixth DB up to speed to enter the game in those situations and improving our LB's drops (and looking for crossing receivers) in obvious passing downs.

  3. In August I predicted 7-5. I am standing by that prediction. The Arky game was no "perfect storm". We brought it all on ourselves. We should put it behind us and move on to KY.