Good afternoon all. I debated about whether to even write a blog this week because pretty much everything I have to say has been echoed, rehashed, and squawked about by just about everybody on here. But, I decided to do it anyway because I feel like bitching.
Now, I know that we won the BCS National Championship last year, much to the inconsolable shagrin of the Bammers, (which, by the way, was more entertaining even then holding the Crystal Football). I mean, come on, it's really hard to decide what was sweeter, right? Hoisting the BCS National Championship after a hard fought season, tons of unsubstantiated crap rumors about our star QB, and naysayers from all over the the sports reporting world eating their words with a side order of 'shut the hell up'? Or was it the incessant rambling of the pathetic rednecks over at RBR screaming 'F--K THE BARN' and 'B-B-B-But W-W-W-What about our DUH-DUH-Dynasty?' 'But DERPITY DERP I thought Saban was God! I mean, he has a DERP statue, doesn't he?' We all knew this was going to be a rebuilding year. We knew we'd be down, right? We have 26 freshmen playing 2 deep. We lost 8 starters on each side of the ball. We are SUPER young. Anybody that expected 10 or 11 wins this year had to be smoking something illegal.
Well, I'm here to tell you, after what I saw yesterday, we're going to be lucky to become bowl eligible. I think 7 wins is going to be damn good at this point. If you have to find some positives, there are some. Clemson played way over their head yesterday. With the exception of #83, they are not that good. They wanted to beat us bad. On top of that, Dabo Sweeney is coaching for his job this year. But think about it, folks. We are going to get everybody's best shot this year. We are still the BCS National Champs. We beat everybody last year. We even won some games that we shouldn't have won. Everybody is out for our hides this year. Clemson could have and probably should have beat us last year. Remember the 1st South Carolina game? You think they aren't going to want a piece of our rear ends in 2 weeks? What about Bammer? Remember that bitter pill they had to swallow last year? You think Satan and company are not going to have that posted on their locker?
Of course, these questions are all rhetorical anyway. We all knew after week 1 against Utah State that it was going to be a long year. But I REALLY thought we were better than Saturday. Saturday was pathetic, ESPECIALLY on the defensive side of the ball. Traditionally, at Auburn, we were awesome on defense. We've had amazing athletes like Carlos Rogers, Karlos Dansby, Dontarrius Thomas, Will Herring, Nick Fairly, Takeo Spikes, the list goes on and on. Just take a look on pretty much any NFL roster and you'll find defensive players that were at Auburn. Right now, our defense is BAD. I just don't see the talent that I've seen in the past. As much as I hate to say it, I hope it's just lack of coaching.
I hope it's lack of coaching? Did I really just say that? Coaching can be fixed relatively quickly. Talented recruiting takes a couple of years or more. You can recruit talented players, but it takes a couple of years minimum before they are ready to be impact players, with few exceptions. Even the most talented players often need lots of coaching and a year or two in a strength and conditioning program before they are ready to be prime time. Think about it, how good was Nick Fairly in 2009? Did anybody know that he was that talented?
I think the time has come to question Ted Roof, as well as the entire defensive coaching staff. The lack of fundamentals that was displayed Saturday was shocking. Don't even get me started on tackling, which is the most fundamental of the fundamentals. It was beyond terrible. Atrocious. Sickening, Horrible. Pick an adjective. Couple that with the linebackers missing assignments every other play (how else does an RB make a midfield reception out of the backfield and run for a TD), the DL getting NO push and NOT stopping the run, the DB's not looking for the ball AT ALL, and also having trouble with simple coverage, and oh yeah, about 10,000 MISSED TACKLES, you get a defense that gives up over 600 yards to an unranked, mediocre team.
What is going to happen when we have to play GOOD teams in the SEC? We are dead meat. Arkansas could hang 60 on us with essentially the same offense that almost hung 50 on us last year. LSU will shove the ball right down our throats with the run. Hell, we'll make mediocre Jarrett Lee look like an All-American. South Carolina? Think we'll stop Lattimore if we couldn't stop what's-his-name at Clemson? You think Charlie Weiss's new look pro style offense at Florida won't hang 50 or 60 on us, especially with those two RB's coming out of the backfield and our no-tackling LB's missing assignments? And let's not forget Bammer. Their brand new wet behind the ears rookie QB will torch us if our pass defense is that bad. It also gives me wet-my-bed nightmares to think about our defense trying to tackle Trent Richardson. Oh yeah, how about the new freshman sensation at GA?
Cam Newton is gone, folks. We don't have the luxury of not being able to play defense anymore. We can't outscore everybody. Our offense, while not bad, is nowhere near what it was last year. I remember the days when 28 points scored was a sure win. They are long gone. Trotter, for the first time yesterday, looked shaky. He made some bad decisions. He's also been exposed as not being able to run. There was that one play where he couldn't outrun a defensive lineman that weighed a good 160 lbs. more than him.
There's a ton of questions to be answered.
1. Why in the hell is Michael Dyer not the every down back?
Come on, Gus. What gives? Mason is a freshman. He's still raw. McCalebb is good, but Dyer is better. By miles. And Dyer sits on the bench for half the game. All 3 backs are getting rotated. This is BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD. Dyer is the #1 back on the team. He needs to have the ball in his hands a MINIMUM of 20 times a game. More like 25. I just don't understand it. It makes no sense!!
2. What is up with the playcalling?
I'm seriously questioning some things this year. Gus was able to get away with a lot last year because of Cam. He'd call a long pass on 3rd and short, and if it wasn't there, Cam would run for the 1st down. Hey Gus, CAM IS GONE. Trotter can't do that. On 3rd and short, you need to get the damn first down and stay on the field. I never see Dyer with the ball in his hands when that happens. Where are the RB screens? Where are the speed sweeps to McCalebb? Where are the short sideline receiver screens? Where is all the genius stuff we saw last year?
3. What the hell are you doing with Kiehl Frazier?
It's obvious he's not being redshirted. But I saw him 1 play yesterday. What the hell? I know he's new, and he doensn't know the offense as well as Mosely or Trotter. But......he is SOOOOOO much better a fit for Malzhan's offense. He is a legitimate threat to run, and that changes defenses drastically. The zone read, which is a bread and butter play for us, is completely ineffective right now because defenses know Trotter isn't going to run. You might as well run the zone read with me. That play got us so many yards last year, and now it is GONE. Frazier brings the zone read back in. Hell, just teach him that one play in practice and bring him in for a few plays to run it. But make up your minds. Get him in the game seriously, or redshirt him. Figure it the hell out.
4. Why in the blue blazes of hell is Ted Roof so afraid to play physical?
I've never, in all the years of watching Auburn football, seen our DB's play so damn soft. It is infuriating. If you're going to play a 15 yard cushion on 3rd and 6, you might as well just GIVE them the damn first down. Especially when the DB's aren't making a play on the ball. Roof is so afraid to have them bump at the line, opposing receivers just run their routes completely unhindered. It's like practice with no pads. If there is no route disruption, it makes the QB's job so easy I could do it. He knows exactly where his receivers are going to be and throws to a spot. Might as well be flag football. On top of that, Roof rarely blitzes, because he feels like he can never play man coverage. Partially true, because our DB's are not very good. But playing physical would help some of that. If you disrupt routes, you buy time for LB's and DL's to penetrate. You also confuse the QB and make his job harder.
5. Is it time for a new Defensive Coordinator/Defensive coaching staff?
This question HAS to be asked, especially after Saturday's performance. Anyone who reads my blogs knows I hated Ted Roof's defense last year. Well, I hate it more this year, because we don't have the best front 4 in the country anymore. Fairly and Co. made up for a lot of Roof's shortcomings last year due to their ungodly penetration and blowing up plays where DB's were missing assignments. Our LB's last year, while not the best, were good enough. Josh Bynes didn't miss assignments and could tackle. The LB corps knew how to play their position and stop the run. The front 4 were damn near unblockable. Last year the only hole we had was pass defense, and the rare times Roof decided to blitz, we could even stop that. But we were still soft. We still played 15 yards of cushion or more on known pass plays. I HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!!! I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE the piss-poor 'bend but don't break' mentality. Ask LSU what their defensive mentality is. Bend? HAAAA!! Their mentality is knock you on your ass and smile while we do it. Good luck gaining 1 damn yard. The 'bend' crap worked last year because of having the best offense in the country, as well as having a front 4 that could stop anybody's run game by themselves.
It was my understanding that if you played defense or coached defense, you checked your damn vagina at the door. You were a tough, nasty, mean bastard who loved to hit people. You don't f--king BEND. You BEND them. Then you BREAK them. Roof is the epitome of Tuberville conservative on the defensive side of the ball. It's the defensive equivalent of the Sylvester Croom offense at Mississippi State. Run up the middle, run up the middle, short pass, punt., with the mentality that they don't risk anything. I got new for you fellas. You just gave up 600+ yards to an average offense at best. 600 MOTHERF--KING YARDS. It's time to get nasty, or go home. You had better coach these kids up right, get them in the right mindset, while growing a damn set and calling something aggressive, or find another damn profession. The mentality I'm seeing out there is the polar opposite of what a defense should be doing. You don't play defense conservatively. You hit them in the mouth, tear their f--king heads off, and sh-t down their necks. If you lose, you lose. Big deal. But at least you went down fighting. Our defense didn't go down fighting Saturday. They laid down and got walked on.
I don't blame the kids. I blame the coaches. They did exactly what they were told to do. They ran the plays and schemes that the coaches called. The coaches are the ones that failed to put them in a position to make plays, because Roof and company appear to be coaching scared. I know we don't have the best defensive personnel in the country, but for God's sake, don't have the KIDS believing that!!!!!
Wake up Roof. You and your staff are on notice as far as I'm concerned. 600 yards given up is unacceptable at Auburn. It will NEVER be acceptable. EVER. You had better figure out how to grow yourself some spare balls in a petri dish, and super glue them to your crotch, or you will be replaced. Think on it.
Nasty blog, I know. But it had to be said.
War Eagle everyone. I still love my Tigers, and will love them even if they are 0-11. I simply find it unacceptable to give the kids playing football for this wonderful and proud university anything less than the best chance possible to succeed. Without improvement, Roof and company are not that. If things don't get better, and soon, it's time to start looking for a change.
See you next week!