The game started about as badly as you can imagine with Leonard Fournette breaking free for a long run. It didn't get much better from there.
I really don't even know what to say about this one. There were flashes of good things. The running backs looked good. When he actually ran zone read plays instead of called plays, Jeremy Johnson didn't look that bad. He reeled off a big touchdown run early in the second half. He ran a great POP pass (even if a lineman was a yard further down field than he should have been) that resulted in a touchdown. Sure, his foot MAY have been over the line of scrimmage, but it also MAY have been just behind it.
The problem is that the bad things were REALLY bad. The tackling was REALLY bad. There were some very key stops that might have altered the game dramatically in the early going that were whiffed by Auburn defensive players. The lack of offensive production combined with that resulted in an Auburn team that just really didn't look like it wanted to be on the field. I'm still trying to figure out what Tray Matthews as thinking when he did a flip over Fournette's shoulders on his second "highlight" touchdown run.
I'm not as low on Jeremy Johnson as many of you. Yes, even after this game. I think the line has some issues, too. I think the play calling is putting too much on the pass when the running game has been what's actually moving the football. Yes, JJ has made some bad throws, but it's not ALL on him. Some of his issues may be mental, but it doesn't help when you don't play to your strengths like running the football.
I'm still trying to figure out why Auburn hasn't run the football a lot more. Kerryon Johnson looked special carrying the football. So did Roc Thomas. And, of course, Peyton Barber. If there's one big question for me today, it's been WHY DIDN'T WE RUN THE FOOTBALL A WHOLE LOT MORE!?!?!?
Seriously, if Johnson is struggling, why place so much on him? Granted, the offensive line weren't blocking as effectively as we could wish, but still. Auburn was better when they were running the football. I don't get why we've stopped being a running team over the last three weeks.
The defense needs some serious help, though, too. I don't even know what will fix their problems. Carl Lawson is a pass rusher. Sure, he's a great run stopper, too, but not having Carl Lawson can't explain giving up well over 400 yards on the ground.
Some of you are jumping on Will Muschamp, but I don't think that's justifiable right now. He's not the one making poor attempts at tackles (or even just giving up on the attempt).
There are a lot of questions that need to be asked and answered. I'm not even sure I'm capable of processing at this point. There are a lot of games to go, though. Something has to be done at some point to try to get some sort of spark to the offense.
Gus did not suddenly forget how to call plays. Nor did Rhett Lashlee. Maybe Sean White is just really bad, in spite of what we were told all through spring.
Will Muschamp is a good defensive coordinator. I don't know what issues he's dealing with, there.
This could be a season that turns around based on what we saw at times in this game. It could be a season that goes downhill fast. I don't have the first clue what's going to happen, honestly. I could see it going either way.
One thing is for sure. Today was very bad. Lots of things need fixing if Auburn hopes to make this even a decent season. I still think it's possible, though. The offense still moved the ball. JJ played fine once they turned him loose on the zone read late. I guess we'll all find out what happens together, though.