Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dr. Z's LSU Review: Light Years to Go.

Remember this guy? He's the All American fullback we don't use.

So should Auburn fans feel pleased, or at the very least encouraged by what we saw in Jordan-Hare Saturday night? I think the answer to that is yes and no.

Yes because we saw a team fight their guts out against a team that is supposed to be right in the hunt for a national title. No, because it's hard to expect these guys to play at that level every week.

Yes, because we saw a defense's heart grow four sizes. No, because we have an offense that has absolutely no identity. (more on that in a second)

Yes, because Auburn's fans have not given up on this team. No, because, let's face it, we have high expectations and we expect better.

The main thing I took from Saturday is that Auburn can play with anybody. But how is this supposed to be a surprise? For the last 30 years, teams have feared Auburn. Auburn is supposed to be an elite college football program. The 2012 Tigers show flashes of that history every now and then, but by and large this season, we haven't even been close.

Auburn has several winnable games over October, with Arkansas being in an absolute tailspin, a bad Vanderbilt team, and an Ole Miss team with a defense that gets blown over by a stiff breeze. Do I expect Auburn to be 6-3 headed into the Georgia game? I just don't know yet. Based on what we saw against LSU I would say yes, but can we play to that level every week?

A better question is can we find any semblance of an offense before the Arkansas game? I am, to say the least, underwhelmed by Scott Loeffler. His first down calls absolutely killed us Saturday. How many times did we start out second and 15? Why not try running between the tackles? When Auburn did that, they gained positive yardage. Tre Mason had sixty plus yards rushing on a handful of carries. We have an frickin' All American fullback in Jay Prosch, and he spends 60% of the game on the sideline. I thought Loeffler was brought in to turn Auburn back into a pro-style, smash mouth football team, yet all I saw Saturday night was a half-assed version of Guz Mahlzan's offense without the hurry-up.

We have too many big timers on this offense to be this bad. Yes, some of it is execution, especially at the quarterback position, but I would say that most of it has to do with lack of identity, and that starts with the O.C.

Defensively, much much better. It was nice to see a team with a chip on its shoulder. The tackling was good. The pressure on Mettenberger was solid, and the coverage was as good as I can remember in the last 4 years.

Now they have to continue to move forward. They must improve and make life miserable for other offenses. I trust the stache completely to get that done.

So here we sit. 1-3. If you can't remember the last time Auburn started 1-3, it is because that never happened before 2012. I still haven't given up on them. You haven't either. Let's continue to support these players and maybe, just maybe, we can salvage this already disappointing season.

War Eagle.

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