Me defending Ted Roof? What's up with that?

As most of you are aware, we took an epic beatdown at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs last night.  You might have noticed a lot of my comments dissappeared and I got a nice warning from the mods about my multiple creative usages of the 'f' word.  They said something to the effect of 'I'm better than that.'  The hell I am.  I'm from the deep south, I love Auburn football, and I refuse to accept the pathetic, worthless, joke of a performance that was last night's game.  I can't curse in front of my 2 year old daughter, so I have to relegate myself to venting on the internet.  Perhaps I should join or something and use that as a comment forum. 

Anyway, to the point.  Last night sucked.  It sucked a golf ball through 12 feet of garden hose.  It could have suck started a leaf blower.  I was embarassed to be an Auburn fan last night, largely because the team was ill prepared, made a couple of mistakes, and then just flat out quit. 

You heard me, they QUIT. 

Did anyone see the second half?  Nobody blocked, nobody played hard, nobody cared.  They just went through the motions, took their beating, and left, like Western Kentucky playing LSU or something.  One can hardly blame them, their leaders were so outcoached by Mark Richt and his staff that I wanted to throw things.  I found myself wondering how in the blue hell this staff managed to win a BCSNC last year.

Oh yeah, there was that Cam Newton guy.....

Cam Newton.....that brings us to problem number 1.  WE HAVE NO QUARTERBACK.  You can blame the OL, the receivers, the playcalling, whatever all you want, but our QB play this year has been (insert numerous curse words here) TERRIBLE.  Niether Barrett Trotter or Clint Mosely have what it takes to be a good QB in the SEC.  Mosely is slightly better than Trotter, but not much.  Kiehl Frazier is the answer talent wise, but he can't seem to understand the offense well enough for the coaches to have to confidence in him to let him play.

This is the biggest problem that Gus Malzhan has right now.  Zero talent at the QB position.  To effectively run Gus's offense, you HAVE to have a quarterback that is a legitimate threat to run.  Someone that can scramble out of the shotgun and make things happen.  Someone that can run the zone read play, the option, and actually make the defense focus some of their attention to him, which also serves to open up the passing game.  Right now, that is nonexistent, which completely destroy's Gus's ability to run the hurry up offense and call plays.  I have been seriously questioning Gus's playcalling lately, as have many here, but I honestly believe that a large amount of the failure has been due to him feeling limited.  We have no passing game.  Teams stop our running game, they stop our offense.  Since we have no ability to open up the field by throwing the ball, Gus is calling plays with one hand tied behind his back.  Emory Blake has been the only bright spot in the receiving corps this year.  Trovon Reed has been largely ineffective, even when he is healthy.  Philip Lutzenkirchen has been good, but boy do we miss Darvin Adams.

Bottom line:  We will never be good offensively again as long as Mosely and Trotter are the best two options we have at QB.  Both are bad players, hold the ball too long, make big mistakes, and have no mobility.  I'm sorry if you are a happy gumdrop dancer and love everything, but it's the truth.  Until Kiehl Frazier or even Zeke Pike are the starting Auburn QB, we have no chance to be a good offense.

I will add that the offensive line has been less than stellar on pass blocking, and that is an OL coach problem.  However, the run blocking has been fairly decent.  The OL will get better next year because our most talented offensive line prospects are redshirted this year.  OL is a difficult, if not impossible position for a true freshman to come in and make an immediate impact.  95% need a year in the strength and conditioning program to be effective.  I'm not ready for the OL coach to be gone yet.  He gets another year for improvement.  The OL was great last year, with the same coach.  Right now we have a depth and talent problem there.  That will change.

Now on to the defense.  There is no doubt that the defense is on a whole new level of suck.  This year the defense at Auburn has been the worst I can EVER remember.  The defense was bad last year, but they were good enough to win, at least.  In 2010 Auburn had probably the best front 4 in college football, 1 or 2 linebackers that were pretty good (i.e. Josh Bynes), and a horrendously bad secondary.  This year, all the players that were good last year are gone, and the one and only bright spot on the defense has been Corey Lemonier.  The defensive scheme is bad, the coaching is even worse, and the defense is NOT getting better.  Every time that they have a decent game, it is against a bad team.  Against a good team, they have no chance. 

Whose fault is this?  Easy, the coaching staff's.  Most people are very quick to blame Ted Roof for this, myself included.  However, after a bit of research, you find that it is not all his fault. 

What the hell has CapnV been smoking?  I know I know.

First of all, there is the 'we are young and inexperienced' crowd.  That ship has sailed, people.  It's GONE.  We are 10 games into the season, and we are still bad.  Some aspects are worse.  Few are better.  Overall, there has been little to no improvement.  We beat SC, I know, but that was more due to SC being terrible.  We beat Ole Miss.  Big fricking whup.....they lost to KENTUCKY.  I'm tired of people making excuses for all these piss poor performances.  What's it going to take before you people accept reality?  0-11?  Last in the country in defense?  What is it going to take?

So then we come to the blame.  We have three problems:  A scheme problem, a coaching problem, and a recruting problem.  The only problem that is mostly Roof's fault is the recruiting problem.  Evaluation and recrutment of talent is largely the DC's responsibility.

The coaching problem lies mostly in the secondary.  That is a quick fix by firing the Secondary coach.  I've heard some people say that Thigpen is one of the best secondary coaches in the country.  Really?  I mean REALLY?  If that is true, then why is our secondary so fricking bad?  Why was our secondary so damn bad last year?  The LB's have been average at best.  Roof is the LB coach.  Problem there?  Yep. 

Finally we have the scheming problem.  I've been one of the ones calling for Roof's head on this.  I've been wrong to blame him on this one.  This one is TOTALLY head coach Gene Chizik's fault. 

Where does this come from?  Research Ted Roof.  Look at his earlier career.  He was the DC at Minnesota.  He took them from LAST in the country in total defense to a vast improvement.  He was also DC at Georgia Tech and Western Carolina.  Go back and look at their defenses the year he was running them.  Roof is NOT a soft coverage guy.  He wants to blitz every down, play physical bump at the line coverage, and pressure the other team.  It is Head Coach Gene Chizik that is forcing him to scheme this pathetic, 15 yard soft off the line crap.  What we have here is two defensive coaches that have COMPLETELY different philosophies of defense.  Chizik prefers his DB's to play way off the line and make a play on the ball.  Roof doesn't believe in that, and doesn't coach it well, scheme it well, or call it well.  This is akin to having oil and water trying to coach your defense.  You've seen Chizik and Roof yelling at each other on the sidelines more than once this year.  Well, Chizik is the boss, the buck stops with him.  Unfortunately, in my eyes, so does the blame. 

Chizik's philosophy of defense requires experienced, talented corners to make it work.  We have neither.  Our secondary is the worst part of our team, and has been since Chizik and Roof have been here.  Chizik's scheme WILL NOT WORK.  Our defense will get better only in 1 of 2 ways:  1.  Chizik fires Roof and hires somebody that agrees with his philosophy and knows how to recruit and coach it.  2.  Chizik gets the hell out of Roof's way and allows him to coach and scheme the defense how he wants.  Roof is not a bad coach.  He's had success in the past.  But as long as he is being hamstringed by his boss, he will never be successful. 

This situation has been compared a lot to the Tony Franklin situation.  That was doomed from the start not because of Franklin, but because of Tuberville.  Imagine being hired by your boss, then being told how you HAVE to do your job by someone who knows nothing about your job.  Tuberville hired Franklin to install a spread offense, but then hamstringed him by telling him how he wanted it run.  Chizik is at least a defensive coach, and knows a lot about defense, but doesn't believe in the way Roof wants to coach.  This is a HUGE problem.

Coaches are among the most stubborn creatures in existence.  They NEVER want to admit they are wrong.  Chizik is in that same position.  He and Roof have been fighting over it.  I personally believe Roof is gone at the end of the season.  Malzhan might be as well.  Ole Miss is talking about him a lot.  They've been compared to Vanderbilt offering him a job, but the difference is Ole Miss can afford to pay him.  Good chance he is gone as well.  I believe that this coming Saturday, we will be looking at our next offensive coordinator coaching against us on our opponent's sidelines. 

One way or another, something has to be done.  We stink right now.  We all knew we'd be bad this year, and chances are, we're going to win 7 games, which is more than anyone expected.  However, that is no excuse for the level of play we have seen in the losses this year.  We haven't even been competitive with the good teams.  I'm not happy with that.

I'll leave you with a quote from the outgoing Joe Paterno:  "Never win a national championship!  Your fans will never be happy again afterwards." 

We're all just trying to have a good time here. Don't be a jerk, and we won't have a problem with you. War Eagle!

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