After last night there are certainly reasons to be disgusted. Auburn posted it’s worst offensive performance under Gus Malzahn.
117 total yards.
That’s hard to believe.
What’s even harder to believe is that for awhile, it looked like that performance might actually get the job done because the defense was playing lights out. Auburn held the ball (somehow) for eleven minutes in the first quarter and I was sure in thinking that more of that would get Kam Pettway rolling over the other Tigers in the fourth quarter.
But that eleven minutes of possession somehow turned into eleven sacks of Jarrett Stidham and despite being down by one possession, hope seemed lost even as the offense drove into Clemson territory late in the ball game.
With that said, let’s get the reactions. Both the positive and the negative.
Let's take a deep breath. There's plenty of reasons to be upset but Auburn was within a score of the defending national champions on the road. We're unbeaten in league play and will remain so for at least another week. Every goal we entered the season with is still in play.
Stidham was sacked a lot. Our line deserves some of the blame but quite a few of those sacks were coverage sacks. Auburn's receivers need to get open quicker.
It stinks when you go from two sure options at running back to one due to injury and even that one is a little dinged up but this is the world we find ourselves in. Rest everyone as much as possible, and throw your entire route tree at Mercer next week to get ready for SEC play.
How about that Auburn defense? They're going to keep us in games all year.
Two games in, this team reminds me a lot of 2007. That was a good team with some weak spots on the line due to youth. They beat some teams they shouldn't have beaten; they lost some games they shouldn't have lost.
SON OF CROW
If you get sacked 11 times, you should lose. If you can’t protect the passer, you should lose. If you can’t run effective crossing routes on third down, you should lose.
We should have lost. We did.
They were flat better than us up front. Our defense looked amazing. I stayed up until 4:25 in the morning for this nonsense so who is the real idiot? me. I’m the idiot.
Play calling wasn't great. Execution was worse. Wasted a good defensive performance. Stidham looked too tentative when he had time, and that was rare. I'd love the All 22 feed for the rewatch.
Let me first say that I love our defense. I love the effort. I love the swarming, angry, team oriented defense. I love the big hits and wrap up tackling. I hate our DBs not looking back for the ball. But, I love our defense.
With that said, screw moral victories. I saw us using a playcall placard with a picture of the Three Stooges, that pretty much sums up our offense right now.
My highly emotionally charged snap judgements:
I'm tired of the offense looking terrible. I'm tired of it being predictable. I'm tired of zero creativity. I'm tired of no discernible WR routes. I'm tired of the refusal to implement slants and crossing patterns using the middle of the field. I'm tired of aggressive defenses eating us alive because of said refusal and not having plays to take advantage of that aggression. I'm tired of everything going coming undone in the redzone. I'm tired of our OL playing Charmin soft.
I love our defense.
I'm tired of 8-4. I'm tired of our self proclaimed offensive genius crapping the bed. 117 total yards?!?
I love Auburn, I always will. But, I'm tired. Tired of hype not materializing and coming up empty in big games.
Sunday knee jerk: when Brian Griese is openly critiquing your playcallling and scheme, you're in trouble.
I watched the first three quarters on my phone (thank you, unlimited data) at a wedding while my wife gave me serious side-eye, and it was both frustrating and rewarding.
Like others have said, the defense was fantastic. They held Clemson to their lowest scoring output in almost three years (and that was a Deshaun Watson-less loss to Georgia Tech). They allowed a couple of big runs by Kelly Bryant, but if the offense had produced more than the worst performance in Gus’ tenure, Auburn would’ve allowed even less than the 285 yards and 14 points that Clemson put up. It was an impressive performance, but it’ll get overshadowed by what happened on the other side of the ball.
I loved watching the defense on my tiny iPhone screen, but I wish ESPN3 had given me the HD picture while Kevin Steele’s unit was on the field. Instead, when Clemson had the ball, I got highly-pixelated scrambled Cinemax quality, and when Auburn’s offense was on the field, it was all crystal clear. If it had been the other way around, I could’ve assumed that some of the issues were due to the poor picture, but it was completely evident. Our offense sucked.
From my tiny viewing platform, I could see Stidham hold the ball way too long. It didn’t even look like the problems were with the offensive line as far as I could see. How many times did Stidham escape the initial pressure, have time to get rid of the ball, and take a sack anyway? Seemed like almost every time to me.
Maybe I missed it, but Kam Martin didn’t seem to be involved in the game plan. After Nate Craig-Myers caught that first third down pass, I thought we were golden. Stidham was going downfield and spreading the ball around. We were going to Kyle Davis, and he was drawing penalties. It looked good.
But then he got gun-shy. How do you help out a quarterback who’s feeling it in the pocket? Short routes, crossing routes, slants, draws, etc. It looked like we ran about five different plays — three-yard run by Pettway, screen, prayer for a PI, sack, and sack.
And the goal line offense. Oh, God. Why. We were inside the ten multiple times in the first quarter. Six points. Never got there again. Clemson knew what we were running. What was with the Chandler Cox toss? Clemson saw it and shifted right where the play was going. Why not give it to Kam Martin in some capacity and give him a shot to outrun a guy to the pylon? So many alternatives.
In the end, we lost to the defending national champions by one score at their place. With that defensive performance, it should’ve been a great road win. But we wasted that effort by Kevin Steele’s boys. We’ll beat Mercer next week, and Missouri doesn’t seem very good. The Mississippis are a mess, and so we might skate through until Baton Rouge.
I said less than eight wins is a fireable offense with this talent, and if that’s the case, then Gus needs to go. But let’s give him the whole season until we come to that conclusion.
As always, #WarEagleAnyway.