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Blacked Out And Beat Up In Athens

By Jay Coulter

Emotionless. Unprepared. There are many words to describe Auburn’s thumping by Georgia on Saturday. In the end, it was just plain embarrassing.

The Tiger’s 45-20 loss at Sanford Stadium will go down as one of the poorest efforts in Auburn football history. Not since losing by 24 points to Alabama at home in 2001 has a Tommy Tuberville coached team looked so woefully unprepared to play a big game.

In a week where the headlines were dominated by talk of Tuberville heading to College Station, it appears that Tommy spent more time on the phone with agent Jimmy Sexton than on the practice field.

Sitting behind the Auburn bench, it was apparent from the very start this team wasn’t into the game. There was zero emotion from the sidelines. It would be easy to say that Auburn was over confident. In fact, they just didn’t seem to care.

Contrast this with a Georgia team that was excited and wanted to win more than Auburn and it makes things all the more sickening.

Tuberville pretty much summed things up after the game when he said, "I thought we looked confused out there at times." That’s an understatement.

You can’t point the finger at just the offense or the defense. No, it was a team effort.

It’s apparent now that offensive coordinator Al Borges will almost certainly not be retained after this year. There have been rumors for weeks about his future.

This offense continues to struggle with the fundamentals. It’s easy to blame quarterback Brandon Cox. But that’s not the whole story. The play calling has been suspect all year.

Auburn’s receivers continue to drop passes and run bad routes. And unlike 2004, Borges has not figured out how to best utilize his talented stable of running backs. With the exception of the first half of the Florida game, this offense hasn’t played with purpose for any length of time all season.

Cox’s inconsistency continues to hurt. It’s tough on an offense when you never know which quarterback is going to show up from week-to-week. A lot of the fault lies with Borges. For someone who did such a masterful job with Jason Campbell, things just haven’t played out that way for Cox and it will likely cost Borges.

What can you say about the defense? Georgia football is to Will Muschamp what kryptonite is to Superman. This guy just can’t handle his alma mater.

Consider this: his defenses have given up 45, 37 and 45 points the last three times he’s faced the Dawgs. If you didn’t know better, you’d think he’s tanking against his school.

Most disturbing defensively was the play of the secondary. Talk about senior leadership – Eric Brock and Jonathan Wilhite looked like guys making their first college starts. They were beaten every way imaginable.

The defensive line wasn’t any better – by the fourth quarter they just cashed it in. It was hard to believe you were watching a Will Mushchamp coached team.

It’s time for Tuberville to make a decision on his future. We’ll never know what effect the Texas A&M talk had on the team. One thing we do know is that this team has issues.

Tuberville has a lot of work to do over the next two weeks. Despite the loss to Miss State, Alabama will be formidable and ready to play. A performance like yesterday will guarantee a fifth loss of the year.

Can Tuberville get his guys off the mat and ready to go on November 24th? That’s the million dollar – make that $2.35 million question.