My apologies to the maybe 1 or 2 people that actually care, for my lateness in writing this week. Work is killing me.
So, where are we this week? Pretty much exactly where I thought we'd be. Do I hate the team right now? No way. I still think we're good. I still think we can win 8 games. And, I still hate our defensive scheme.
Never mind the fact that Auburn had only 3 scholarship LB's playing Saturday, never mind that we have no depth. Our defense was TERRIBLE. We have NO pass rush. At all. Period. We haven't all year. Defensive coordinator Ted Roof isn't trying to make up for it with a blitz or two. Ryan Mallett did exactly what I thought he'd do, he stood back there, with 5 to 7 seconds to throw every time, and picked us apart for 40 something points. The only chance I thought we had was if our potent offense would score 50. We didn't. The coaches were right post game......Arkansas showed up ready to play, Auburn didn't. Make no mistake about it: Arkansas's defense still sucks. They didn't stop anything. We stopped ourselves. The first half was rife with stupid penalties, mistakes, and bad throws from Chris Todd. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a Chris Todd fan this year, he's done a great job to this point, but Saturday was the first game all year that Chris Todd has really looked like crap. The first half he was making bad decisions, missing wide open receivers, and holding the ball way too long. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall in the locker room at halftime, because there had to be some serious yelling going on from the coaching staff. In the second half, the offense was back to their old selves, moving the ball at will, scoring points, but the mistakes didn't quite go away. Though Todd looked much better, he was still missing throws he wasn't missing earlier this year. Were it not for the Ben Tate fumble inside the 10 yard line, we likely would have put 30+ points on the board in that one half. Even after that horrible first half, Auburn was in the game until the 95 yard drive put together by the Arkansas offense after that costly mistake.
The only positive thing I can say about the defense is that the secondary did a good job covering on several series. Considering that we can get absolutely no pressure whatsoever on the QB, our secondary is running their tails off for 6 or 7 seconds on every single dropback trying to keep the receivers covered, and since they can only do that for so long before they get too fatigued to cover effectiely, this failure has to be attibuted mostly to the DL and to coach Roof. I know, I know, blitzing usually works off holes generated by the DL, and I know, I know, we don't have any depth. But when was the last time you remember an Auburn defense giving up 44 points to ARKANSAS? Or anybody for that matter? We're giving up 27 points a game!! And we haven't even played a RANKED TEAM YET!!! We have been giving up 27 points a game to BAD TEAMS. The best team we've played to date is West Virginia. Yes, that's right, I think UWV is better than Arkansas. If WV wins next week, they're going to be ranked. If we beat Kentucky, I think we will be too. Also, to our credit, Arkansas is a better team then their record. Their passing offense is as good as any other in the country. Their run game looked fantastic against us, but only because of our defensive scheme. Michael Smith rushed for 145 yards against us. He rushed for a total of 180 yards in the 4 games before that. This was a direct result of how we play defense. It's the exact opposite of 'run the ball to open up the pass'. When you drop every single LB and DB back into zone coverage every single play and never try to pressure the QB or blitz, the offense will adjust. On top of that, this is a BAD way to play defense simply because if the receivers have 6 or 7 seconds to get open, most of the time they will.
There's going to be a lot of people disagree with me, but you can't argue the numbers. This defensive scheme is NOT WORKING. We have to try something different. Something has got to be done to pressure the QB. LSU has a rookie QB that is subject to throwing INT's and making bad decisions under pressure. It's been shown numerous times this year that Jevin Snead at Ole Miss is NO GOOD if you pressure him. And, the only chance in the world we have of beating Alabama this year is to stop Ingram and pressure the QB. Something has to be done. Recruiting is going to address the issues we have on defense, and we are going to get better. I have every confidence in Coach Chizik. But right now, at this moment, some changes have to be made. The defense we are running is not working. I mean, really, how much worse could it get?
Next week we have Kentucky. Another game we SHOULD win. We SHOULD have beat Arkansas. I think we will beat Kentucky, simply because I see this week as a bit of a wake up call for the guys. We'll see!!
On a side note, I have to throw a shoutout to Mississippi State. MSU beat Houston up and down the field in pretty much every aspect of the game. I mention this because War Eagle Atlanta said something about 'Mississippi State can't beat an OOC opponent.' MSU SHOULD HAVE WON THAT GAME. I have NEVER, in God knows how many years of watching football, seen more biased officiating by those CUSA officials. Every single call went Houston's way. It was CRIMINAL. There were 2 penalties called that resulted in MSU touchdowns being negated on just RIDICULOUS, STUPID, TICKY-TACK calls. First, an interference penalty was called on MSU that resulted in them getting pushed back instead of getting the ball 1st and goal on the 5 yard line. Second, they called holding on an MSU receiver that was ON THE GROUND ON HIS STOMACH that resulted in a Dixon 20 yard touchdown run being called back. Coach Dan Mullen is a bigger man then me, because if I were in that positon, I would have happily written a fine check and lashed out into a profanity filled tirade at those officials in the post game press conferenece. It is an absolute shame that they got away with it. MSU won that game in my eyes. They are a better team then Houston.
I'd watch out for MSU in the coming years. Coach Mullen has them going in the right direction, and he has a great offensive mind. If he gets some talent in there, Mississippi State is going to be dangerous. Dan Mullen has the ability to get them back to the Jackie Sherrill years where they were a top 15 team. I'd be willing to bet it's going to happen.
War Eagle everyone!!