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Monday, January 5, 2015

What Must Happen: Defensive Back

photo courtesy of official Auburn Athletics site

For one to look ahead, they must understand their past. 

Auburn's Gus Malzahn surely must know this old axiom, if he is to continue his push for the Auburn football program to compete for championships. That is his stated goal, and what he told us that Auburn expects. To "compete for championships."

When Auburn won the BCS title in 2010 it did so with a great offense, and a mediocre defense between the 20 yard lines, but very good in the Red Zone.

Looking back over the past two seasons, we see a steady decline in our Red Zone performance, and a complete about face in our defensive statistics as a whole. Changes needed to be made, and made they were. Changes at the Defensive Coordinator position, and subsequently at the DB coaching positions have brought the total of Auburn coaches being replaced to three.

Since the days of Ted Roof, Auburn has been lacking in DB play, and it's this writers belief that it has nothing at all to do with talent. Auburn has consistently recruited inside the Top 10 of every recruiting service rankings. 

Think back to how many times our DB's went diving at the opponents feet with head down, and shoulder first, just to completely miss the ball carrier. In the crucial last drive in the BCS Championship game, that very scenario played out allowing a 49 yard gain, that set up FSU in scoring position.

Since you were in Pop Warner you never taught to tackle like that. So, I ask, did coaching teach them that technique? If not, the bigger question is, why didn't coaching break them from that style of tackling?

Former DC Ellis Johnson, and Head Coach Gus Malzahn repeatedly told us that they were teaching our guys proper techniques in practice. It never manifested itself on the field.

With Will Muschamp being named DC, and his hiring of Travaris Robinson, our DB's are about to go to school. These two coaches have a proven track record of creating very good DB play. It can't happen soon enough.

 Auburn will return 15 players at DB next year. They are listed with this season's class recognition.

Jonathan Jones, JR
Markell Boston, FR
Mack VanGorder, JR
Stephen Roberts, FR
Joshua Holsey, JR
Nick Ruffin, FR
Mackenro Alexander, SO
Khari Harding, SO
Johnathan Ford, SO
T.J. Davis, SO
Joe Turner, JR
Michael Sherwood, RS FR
Kamryn Melton, SO
Tray Mathews, SO
Kalvarez Bessent, FR

We want to wish each of these young men the very best, and let them know that you are going to be coached by the very best. Learn as much as you can, and trust what you learned on gameday.

War Eagle!
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