Monday, September 3, 2012
Take heart Auburn fans, all is not lost. As bad as we all wanted to see our men in blue walk away from the Dome with a victory, there isn't any reason to think this team hasn't improved tremendously. First, let's look at the highlights provided by Auburn Athletics.
As you can clearly see, everything about this team and it's new coordinators has some fantastic potential. I'll start with the special teams and go from there.
Cody Parkey being Cody Parkey...
In his post game interview, Parkey stated that he was instructed prior to each kickoff where Coach Chizik wanted the ball. Cody delivered! No kickoffs were sent out of bounds. The times he was asked to put the ball on the left side of the field, or the right side, it was there.
Let's not forget that Cody Parkey was 4 out of 4 on the night in field goals. That kind of accuracy will come in very handy down the road. With this young offense there will be more close games.
On the night, Auburn only needed three punts, all of which resulted in ZERO return yards. Clark continued where he left off from last season, where he was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award.
The young and inexperienced offensive line played very well for most of the night. Only one holding penalty was called on them the entire evening, and only one false start penalty. The only terrible mistake made by this group, was the holding penalty on Robinson inside the Clemson 10 yard line. Something I am sure will be addressed this week in practice.
These guys are going to be really good, it's just a matter of when.
This was where Auburn was supposed to be the dominant force. That domination looked as though it would happen early on, with a couple of tackles for a loss, and then a sack. Quickly though things changed. I don't know if Clemson made adjustments in their O-Line or started calling different plays to avoid Corey Lemonier and Dee Ford. Whatever happened, the best Auburn could muster in the fourth quarter was forcing Tajh Boyd, the Clemson quarterback to run.
Something also to note here is that Auburn spent most of the night with just four men rushing the passer. My uneducated guess is that was by design, and meant to protect the other weaknesses in our defense. Mainly the linebacker position, where there isn't any real depth developed.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly....
Auburn's offense did show their true potential most of the night. Yes, I know that Kiehl Frazier wasn't particularly accurate, and that he threw an interception. They did however score in each of the four quarters. Overall they ran the ball with effectiveness. I won't venture as to why Coach Loeffler wouldn't stay with the ground game more often.
Jay Prosch is a sledge hammer! I hope someone takes his highlights this season and makes a video to this song. As good as advertised. Prosch and that offensive line gave Tre Mason all the running room he needed to gain over a hundred yards.
The defense when it got tired late in the game, couldn't stop a runny nose. Reverting back to throwing shoulders at the feet of WR's and RB's which eventually led to two fourth quarter drives by Clemson to wrestle the lead away from Auburn and ultimately victory. I am glad that I don't have to be in a room with Brian VanGorder watching film this week.
Far too many times Auburn had someone in place in the Clemson backfield, or at the line of scrimmage to make a play on the Clemson RB's only to whiff. Someone has to step up. Whether its a linebacker or a lineman, and make these plays. If this doesn't get fixed and quickly, we are in for a long season.
The cushion by the corner backs on the Clemson WR's, looked just like what we all have seen since the arrival of Gene Chizik at Auburn. One of you who can explain the details of this style of defense please leave the explanation in our comments section. The positives of this style of play has yet to be seen.
I think what we saw overall is positive. There were plenty of missed assignments, and some very good things as well. Frazier hitting Blake in stride deep down field is a huge plus. Missing a wide open Sammie Coates twice, is not.
The biggest improvement for each team is usually from game one to game two. This highly talented Auburn team must reach way down inside, and pull out that "want to", and convert it into "going to". In other words improvement has to be made and fast. Now, we are into conference play.