|Looking forward to 2013|
There are many questions, and areas of concern for this Auburn team heading into the 2013 football season. Whomever is selected by the committee to turn things around as the new head coach will have a job on his hands. What will it take to put Auburn back into contention in the West division?
First, the attitude of this team needs some "tough love" adjustments. The defensive line needs to be told they played soft this past season. The difference seemed to be that when the helmets were strapped on, their personalities never changed.
As a defensive lineman, once those pads and helmets are on, your inner mean streak is what should take over. You have to take on the attitude that you are willing to scratch, claw and fight your way to defend your position.
Taking on double, and sometimes triple team blocks should be looked at as a badge of honor. That unit has got to establish that Auburn defense is the roughest toughest place to enter in the country. It's evident that hasn't been the case in quite some time. Now is the time for change!
The rest of the defense has to play with a fierce determination to stop the ball carrier in one on one situations. Too many times we saw Auburn safeties, and defensive backs diving at feet, without their hands and arms reaching for the legs of the opposing runner. We must tackle better. That is an attitude that must be enforced by the incoming coach.
Offensively, Auburn has to find some players to step up for two very good graduates. Phillip Lutzenkirchen, and Emory Blake are going to leave a void in the pass catching department at AU. While we have recruited very well in that area, the results have been far from convincing that we are ready to be successful at catching passes thrown our way. Sammie Coates may be the exception to that.
A very young offensive line has been through the wars, and should be much better in 2013. Auburn has recruited the top offensive line class in the last two cycles, so, the talent is there, and we have one of the best O-line coaches in the country in Jeff Grimes. I have every confidence that this unit will be a huge plus heading into next season.
The number of Running backs is low, compared to most top programs. The Jovon Robinson issue may have an impact on just how many RB's get recruited to The Plains. Whether or not Robinson is able to return, will determine how many RB's AU tries to recruit in this class. The returning guys are good, with Tre Mason being a returning 1,000 yard rusher.
The biggest challenge to any coach coming in at Auburn, is to recruit and develop quarterbacks. Realistically, we are not in the best of shape at this position. Clint Moseley has been hurt most of his career at Auburn, and his shoulder is the big area of concern. When he was forced into playing time this year, he limped into his first huddle. Unfortunately, it didn't end well for Moseley.
Kiehl Frazier went through the typical sophomore jinx in his development this past season, looking as though he wasn't getting what the coaches were trying to instill in his play. I blame the coaches more so than Kiehl, because we have seen what he can do, and what a great improviser he can be with the ball in his hands.
Kiehl looked as though he was having to count his steps, and make sure his feet were in an exact place before he could start his actual reads. He was playing constricted. Way too much emphasis was placed on how, and not enough on his actual talent, which is move around and make plays. Those are the things that made him the #1 Dual Threat QB out of high school. Not being forced into becoming a pocket passer. Round peg, meet square hole!
Jonathan Wallace was a true bright spot in the otherwise gloomy QB play. His development may be the biggest key to how quickly this team can return to competing for the Western Division title.
I would imagine the overall mental state of this team needs molding. It's going to take a task master, with an attitude to get the slack out of these AU players and make winners of them. They have it in them, of this I am sure. The question is, who will be chosen to bring this team into a football state of mind?