Had I made the trip to Baton Rouge...I'd ask for a refund. The Auburn Tigers never showed up for this one (the understatement of the year)! After an all-out assault on Auburn's manhood, questions abound...
What in the world has happened to our team in a three week time span? How do you go from an explosive, high powered, effecient offense and be reduced to the anemic, puzzled, penalty-laden group we saw Saturday against LSU? How do you continually allow young, inexperienced quarterbacks that have played pathetic football look like world beaters against our defense? Why can a LSU offense, incapable of running the football against anyone this season, continually gash our front seven for large gainers? Isn't our front seven the same guys that played last season? Weren't they considered the "strength" of not only our defense, but our entire team? What is the deal with all the penalties? Is Chris Todd healthy (I think not), and if so please explain his cataclysmic demise?
To be fair, the referees were no friends of Auburn to start this game. To win at Death Valley, at night, on ESPN, against a LSU team coming off of a bye week having lost their last game is about as close to impossible as there is. When the refs show up viewing the game through purple and gold lenses, you don't stand a chance! The first drives both teams had were stopped (Auburn's) and sustained (LSU's) solely by the one-sided calls of the zebras. It was blatantly biased and complete BS. I thought the rest of the game was called okay, but the tone had been set, their damage had been done.
What we're seeing now is a team with zero confidence. They've been embarrassed in Fayetteville, unable to stop Kentucky, and completely dismantled by LSU. Lurking just beneath the surface are the same character issues we struggled with last year when things get difficult. We've seen players dismissed from the team (Adams), players noticeably regress (fill in the blank with your players of choice), a seemingly disinterest and ambivalent attitude with poor play. You wonder how long before the finger pointing starts, has it already started, do the players believe in the system, their quarterback, their coaches? Remember, most of these players did not choose to play for these coaches...and I've seen first hand how smoothly things run when things are going well, and how disasterous things are when the wheels start coming off and your dealing with a perceived "outsider".
I personally believe in Coach Chizik and believe with time will return Auburn to Atlanta and beyond. I do have an enormous question mark hanging over the head of Ted Roof. Do I believe he should be one and done...absolutely not. But thus far, I have been woefully unimpressed with the scheme, the lack of production, the inablilty to do anything well. He deserves a chance to get "his guys" in place, but he'll feel the heat to drastically improve next season. The good news for Roof, it can't get any worse!
Back to the LSU game...
-Add McCalebb to my unofficial list of guys not performing due to injury (with Chris Todd, and Antonio Coleman). McCalebb ran with minimal aggression and went down with ease. Perhaps LSU equalized his greatest asset, his speed, thus reducing McCalebb's play-making abilities.
-Our receivers have not helped Todd in the least. Unless they're wide open (which is rare), I can't remember a receiver making a catch after taking a big hit, sandwiched between defenders. Is it tough to do...yep. Does every other SEC team have receivers that do it week in and week out...yep. Perhaps the timing is off, but they look like a group, as a whole, in complete shambles.
-AREA OF IMPROVEMENT- OUTSIDE LINEBACKER- Eltoro Freeman played every snap at weakside linebacker and was the lone bright spot of the game. Welcome to the 2009 football season 'Toro!
-Todd looks terrible...again! Got to believe Neil Caudle gets more reps this week in practice. I like Todd, and believe all he overcame to even take another snap in an Auburn uniform is nothing short of amazing. But Todd is not the Chris Todd of weeks 1-5 (not even close). Consecutive games under 100 yards passing (47 yards against LSU!!!???) and that's enough to convince me it's time to look elsewhere for production.
-Defensively I've given up. I'll no longer emotionally invest myself in a unit so willing to give up rushing yards and passing statistics to teams with green quarterbacks. To win from here on out we'll have to outscore whoever we play, which coming off a less than 200 yard offensive output, I'm not holding my breath.
At this point in the season, we can pack it in or we can make some widesweeping changes. My intitial plan would be a change at quarterback. I would find someone capable of delivering the ball on time and effeciently. Defensively, I blitz every play. And not one person zone blitzing where you hope you guess right. No, I bring more than they can block at every conceivable opportunity--and I live and die by it. Many times we'll get burned, many times we will make something happen. Either way we get the offense back onto the field in hopes of finding a rhythm and scoring points. Prognosis at week 8--on life support!