I'm not really going to even go into the "good" and "bad" for this game. As you're all pretty much aware, aside from the first drive of the game everything was bad.
I'm beginning to think I must be doing something really wrong in my life, because I watched two football games yesterday that were very much alike. In both of my teams' games, I watched my team take the ball first and methodically drive down the field and score to open the contests. Then everything went to hell from there.
The offense sputtered throughout the game. They would go on drives and then stall. Nick Marshall would hit wide open receivers and they would drop the passes. It was just a really strange game for the offense on multiple levels. Credit Georgia's defense for taking advantage of that and holding Auburn to its lowest points total by far in quite some time.
I don't know what the issues are on Auburn's defense right now. I know it's almost historically bad since the LSU game, and that's saying a lot given what's happened over the last few seasons. There is talent on this football team. A lot of it. But there was a lot of talent on the 2012 team as well. 2013 would not have happened if that weren't the case.
The worst part is that the defense started out having a pretty good night.They stopped Georgia on their first possession. They held on a few possessions in the first half, only to see the offense either squander the opportunity or the special teams gave the ball right back to Georgia. In the second half it was just too much and Georgia ran the ball right down our throat.
I know Gus Malzahn is pretty hands off on the defense from everything I've read. It's not his area of expertise. So when it comes to preparing that defense, you have to ask the defensive staff to answer for it. Gus Malzahn will ultimately answer for the decisions he makes regarding that staff and how they proceed going forward, but this season it's squarely on them.
I know everyone on Twitter is going nuts over the prospect of hiring Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator again. I seriously don't see that happening. For one, Ellis Johnson is still our defensive coordinator and he's still under contract. A three year contract, I believe. In case you've missed it, our athletic department lost money last season and it's likely to do something similar this season. We can't afford to keep paying coaches who aren't coaching.
Not only that, but I've been told through numerous channels that there is bad blood between Muschamp and some within the athletic department to the point that Muschamp may not even consider it the position comes open and he's offered it.
I've seen people gripe on Twitter and in the comments about Tuco's article from last week after last night's game. Someone even said he awaited our next "defeatist" article. You know what? We're not defeatist. We all expect to be able to win every game. And as another commenter pointed out, we have expectations but not entitlements.
I don't think Auburn is entitled to win every game we play. We're going to lose some. Going into this season we knew that with this schedule we would be very lucky to make it into the playoff. We knew that this team could be more talented than last season and yet lose more games. I don't think we expected to lose the way we did last night, but we knew losses were possible.
Auburn fans can, and SHOULD, have expectations. But we should also be realistic. That is the message I believe Tuco was trying to extend. Expect to win, but don't take it so personal or so hard when it doesn't happen. No one has repeated as SEC Champion in almost 20 years. We should expect our teams to be better prepared than they were last night, but sometimes you're going to have horrible games. Often times Auburn fans are our own worst enemy. We're so quick to jump to or jump from high or low expectations.
The team has regressed from the mid-season high of the LSU game. I don't know why. I don't have any insider information that I'm privy to. I'm just a simple fan who writes about the team because he loves the team and loves the chance to talk about it with you. We all expected so much more from this season because of last season. Last season we saw a team that kept getting better and better and played out of their minds in every game. Maybe this team bought into those expectations too much as well, and after last week's performance they just came out flat.
This season's chances at anything other than a good bowl game are gone. We can't make it to Atlanta and we definitely can't make it to the playoffs. We can still do one of the things we love most, though: spoil Alabama's season. I seem to remember a few years where we came into the Iron Bowl with nothing else - while still having a pretty danged good football team - and did just that.
So take heart, Tiger fans. The sun still rose this morning. We still can have a lot of expectations for next season even if this season's hopes for a return to the championship game are lost. I don't know if you've noticed it or not, but we're going to be returning a ton of talent on that offense. We should have Alex Kozan back on the offensive line and Carl Lawson on the defensive line. We should have a lot of young talent to step up from the last two recruiting classes and we're still bringing in even more this season.
Expect to do well. Historically, Auburn is one of the top teams in the country in wins. We should keep expecting that this team will live up to that. I know we have a head coach who is capable of taking us to the highest levels. I trust he'll do whatever is necessary or possible to get this team back on track.
War Eagle. Always.