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StatTiger

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StatTiger last won the day on November 28 2016

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  1. StatTiger

    Ole Miss Game Report Card

    2017 Arkansas game
  2. The team effort we witnessed against Ole Miss was present the week before against Tennessee. The difference in the outcome of the two games was better execution in critical moments of the game. Auburn did not commit self-destructing errors against Ole Miss as they did against the Volunteers. Auburn's defense allowed Tennessee to convert 7 of 10 third-down situations of at least eight yards. Auburn's remaining opponents this season converted only 9 of 63. The three turnovers against Tennessee were poor decisions on the part of the quarterback. Take the sack on all three plays and Auburn survives to play another series. Both offensive game plans were to feed the football to the playmakers and for the most part, Auburn was successful in both games. Looking at the big picture, Auburn's three losses this season are inexcusable, but the team cannot afford to look back at what could have been. The only element they have control over is the remaining games to be played. Auburn has more than enough talent to win their next three football games. The outcome of the next three games will be no different from the first eight games. The coaching staff must place their personnel in a position to be successful, and the players must execute and limit their mistakes. The bye week allows the players to rest up and for the coaching staff to self-evaluate their team. The coaches and players need to focus on the "short-term" goals, treating each remaining game as a season within a season. Auburn's ten impact plays netted 303-yards, a season-high against FBS competition. JaTarvious Whitlow was responsible for five of the plays for 142-yards. Through eight games, Auburn's top-4 playmakers are JaTarvious Whitlow (13), Seth Williams (12), Anthony Schwartz (10) and Darius Slayton (10). During the last three games, the quartet is responsible for a combined 277-yards per game on 12.0 yards per play. Add Ryan Davis, and Shaun Shivers to the game plan and Chip Lindsey has plenty to work with to win the next three games. During the first five games of the season, Auburn's opponent gained at least 5-yards on 31.1 percent of their snaps. During the last three games, it has increased to 43.9 percent. The defense is tired and in dire need of the upcoming bye week. Auburn averaged 6.3 yards per play on first down against Ole Miss, a season-high for the Auburn offense against an FBS opponent. Malzahn's Auburn teams are 31-2 when they average at least 6-yards per play on first down and 19-23 when they do not. During the last three games, Sal Cannella has been targeted more in the passing game than Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz. Cannella during the last three games averaged 6.2 yards per reception, while Schwartz averaged 24.7 yards and Williams, 24.0 yards per catch. The time has come to target the playmakers rather than trying to make someone a playmaker. Sal Cannella can still have a role in the offense but not at the expense of limiting the proven personnel. Through eight games, Auburn's defense has defended 67 possessions beginning at least 75-yards away from the Tiger's goal line. They have surrendered only three touchdown drives. Special teams, field position, and turnovers will likely decide the outcome of Auburn's next three games. Gus Malzahn must dig deep to become a better situational coach the next two games. During the past five games, 61.3 percent of Stidham's pass attempts are within 5-yards of the line of scrimmage. He has completed only 33.9 percent of his passes beyond 5-yards of the line of scrimmage. Regardless of how Stidham has performed this season, he will be needed to make plays in the intermediate range to win the next two conference games. During his last ten games, Stidham is completing 49 percent of his intermediate passes and only 33 percent of his deep balls. Auburn averaged 4.4 yards per rush during the first half against the Rebels and 7.5 yards during the second half. 57 percent of Auburn's offensive snaps were part of a scoring drive, a season-high against an FBS opponent. Auburn averaged 40.3 yards per offensive possession, a season-high for the Tiger's offense. Last season 31 percent of Auburn's offensive touchdowns were scored outside the red zone. This season it has dropped to just 16 percent, the lowest percentage of touchdowns outside the red zone since 1974. The lack of the big play on offense this season has stymied the offense. The decision to focus the game plan on the playmakers is beginning to show results. During the first five games, Auburn averaged a play of at least 30-yards, every 58 snaps. During the last three games, it has improved to 1 every 34 snaps. Auburn has been out-gained on first down during seven of their last eleven games, posting a 6-5 record. The Tigers went back to running heavily on first down with 80.6 percent of the snaps being run plays. Auburn had run the ball 57.6 percent on first down this season, coming into the Ole Miss game. Emphasizing the running game against the Rebels was an excellent "short-term" decision. First down play selection could change against the next two conference opponents. Auburn's offense under Gus Malzahn is now 58-10 during games the Tigers attempt at least 45 runs. The Auburn defense is allowing a TD every 56.9 plays, the best ratio since the 1989 Auburn defense. Hopefully, the bye week is the spark needed to pump up a defense with rubber legs. Auburn's pass-efficiency defense is currently at 112.9, fifth-best among the last 25 Auburn defenses. Except for the occasional play of 20-plus yards, Auburn's pass defense has been relatively consistent this season. Auburn has now been scored on in 15 consecutive quarters, the longest such stretch since the 2015 season. During Auburn's last 12 conference games, the opponent has attempted 372 passes and the Tigers have intercepted only two of those passes. War Eagle!
  3. StatTiger

    Ole Miss Game Report Card

    They threw it 47 times.
  4. StatTiger

    Ole Miss Game Report Card

    Auburn was finally able to run the football, though it came against the worst run defense in the country. The Tigers ability to run the football kept the outcome off the shoulders of Jarrett Stidham, who had a pedestrian like performance. JaTarvious Whitlow was the MVP of the offense, who tallied 208 yards on 23 offensive touches. For the second week in a row, Chip Lindsey worked the football to his top playmakers. Auburn's top-5 leaders in impact plays, totaled 385-yards on 30 snaps for two touchdowns. They also accounted for all of Auburn's impact plays against Ole Miss. Auburn's 21-point third quarter was the second most points scored during the third period under a Gus Malzahn offense when the Tigers were held to just ten halftime points. Auburn was 14-21 in games when Malzahn's offense was held to 10-points or less by halftime. Auburn's 484-yards in total offense was a season-high against an FBS opponent. Nick Coe had a monster game with three QB sacks, and Marlon Davidson effort on a bad leg was a prime example of a player selling out to win. Overall, the defense did an excellent job of limiting the big plays, something that was a major concern coming into this week. The defense is banged up and running on fumes but had enough left in the gas tank to assist in the "team" victory. The Tigers were at their best inside the red zone, and Ole Miss scored their only touchdown against Auburn's backups. After surrendering 92-yards on the first two possessions, Auburn allowed only 212-yards during the next eight possessions. The game was already decided before the Rebels finally cracked the Auburn goal line. The Auburn defense earned their bye-week and hopefully can re energize their batteries before Texas A&M comes to town. Auburn's fifth victory of the season should assure the Tigers of becoming bowl eligible this season with Liberty an almost certain victory. The Tigers win over Ole Miss certainly doesn't salvage a disappointing season, but it was definitely a much-needed victory for the players. It was a positive sign the players have not quit on the coaching staff, and the bye-week should inspire the team to sell out for Texas A&M. There still were looming issues that have stymied the team this season, but this Saturday was about the players believing once again. It was about digging down deep this past week in practice despite being injured, fatigued and on a two-game losing streak. The players went on the road to face a confident Ole Miss team and came away with a solid victory. There will be no accolades given out for defeating an un-ranked Ole Miss team, but a loss would have undoubtedly finished off this football team. Since 1995, Auburn is now 43-0 with at least 250-yards rushing and only 1 turnover or less. War Eagle! Game #8 Statistical Evaluation (Ole Miss Game) Offensive Report Card 01) Avg 6-yards per play on 1st down: [6.29] pass 02) Convert at least 40% of 3rd downs: [42.8%] pass 03) Avg at least 4.5 yards per rush: [5.8] pass 04) Score on at least 1/3 of possessions: [41.7%] pass 05) Keep 3 and out series under 33%: [16.7%] pass 06) Average 8.0 yards per pass attempt: [9.8 yds] pass 07) Score at least 75% inside red zone: [100.0%] pass 08) TD red zone above 60%: [75.0%] pass 09) Avg at least 30-yards per possession: [40.3 yds] pass 10) 40% of offensive snaps part of scoring drives: [57.3%] pass 11) TD / Turnover ratio above 1.6: [4 / 0] pass 12) TD ratio of at least 1 every 17 snaps: [17.0] pass 13) At least 8 impact plays: (10) pass 14) At least 2 big plays: (3) pass 15) Pass rating of at least 126.3: [156.2] pass 16) Yards to Point Ratio of 14.0 or under: [15.6] pass Score: 16 of 16 (100.0%) Defensive Report Card: 01) Avg under 6-yards per play on 1st down: [7.03] fail 02) Convert below 35% of 3rd downs: [35.3%] fail 03) Avg at least 4.0 yards per rush or less: [3.2] pass 04) Score 1/3 of possessions or below: [33.3%] pass 05) Keep 3 and out series above 33%: [25.0%] fail 06) Average below 7.5 yards per pass attempt: [6.9 yds] pass 07) Score below 75% inside red zone: [100.0%] fail 08) TD red zone below 60%: [33.3%] pass 09) Avg under 30-yards per possession: [37.2 yds] fail 10) 40% or less of offensive snaps part of scoring drives: [47.7%] fail 11) TD / Turnover ratio below 1.6: [1/0] pass 12) TD ratio of at least 1 every 30 snaps: [86.0] pass 13) Less than 8 impact plays: (6) pass 14) No more than 2 big plays allowed: (3) fail 15) Pass rating below 125.0: [122.4] pass 16) Yards to point ratio of 18.0 or higher: [27.9] pass Score: 9 of 16 (56.2%) Special Teams Report Card: 1) Punt Average (Above 41.3): [44.7] pass 2) Punt Return Defense (Below 7.8 YPR): [2.0] pass 3) Punt Return Offense (Above 9.8 YPR): [4.0] fail 4) Kick-Return Defense (Below 21.2 YPR): [17.0] pass 5) Kick-Return Offense (Above 22.3 YPR): [14.0] fail 6) PAT’s (100%): [4/4] pass 7) FG Pct (75% or above): [33.3%] fail Score: 4 of 7 (57.1%) * 50% is a passing score.
  5. StatTiger

    Upon Further Review -Tennessee Game

    No I am not. I am saying because the way Malzahn has prepared his quarterbacks, Stidham is the only viable option. Malzahn is the primary variable why Auburn hasn't had a backup quarterback ready for action since 2014. Where did I say Stidham is untouchable as a player? Go back and look at every blowout victory since 2014 and look at how the backup quarterbacks have been utilized.
  6. StatTiger

    Upon Further Review -Tennessee Game

    Stidham began to struggle once there was no running game and poor pass protection. Swapping him out won't change that. The OL and running game has to be addressed first. Placing another QB on the field only magnifies the problems. Again, the reality is there isn't a QB on the roster PREPARED to run the offense so putting them in the game behind the existing issues won't improve the offense. How does swapping out the QB improve run blocking? Auburn's best running back is a converted QB with an injured shoulder? How does replacing the QB make Auburn better at running back? Malzahn won't allow backup QB's to throw the football downfield when leading by 30 points, so why would he start them? You have to look at the situation with all the known variables. This is not about what other coaches would do. This is about how the backup QB's have been prepared under Malzahn and whether or not they would even be given a chance. It's also about the existing passing schemes under Malzahn. Sandberg is being redshirted along with Joey Gatewood. That leaves Willis and walkon Adams. Malik Willis is fast but nowhere the athletic runner Nick Marshall was. He attempts to run to the edge, hoping he can out-run the pursuit and rarely turns it up field. Even Alabama State tackled him for a safety. Every time he takes to the field, the opposition scheme to defend him running on the edge. The only way to counter that is to establish an inside running game, which goes to back to thew INITIAL problem. Auburn cannot run inside consistently because of a poor OL and only 1 option at RB, who is now injured.
  7. StatTiger

    Upon Further Review -Tennessee Game

    If there was truly a reliable option behind Stidham, I would be all for sitting him a series or two when he struggled. The reality is there is no viable option behind him right now. This isn't a video game where you just swap a player out and hope for the best. Even with his struggles, he is the only QB prepared to run the offense as it is. Play anyone else right now and it would be a disaster and he has accounted for over 60 percent of Auburn's impact plays. Benching Stidham would not improve pass protection or make Auburn a better running team. A major reason why Stidham is struggling is the supporting cast around him is also struggling. This is not to say he has contributed to Auburn's miscues on offense but Auburn cannot run the football and cannot consistently protect the quarterback. Even Steve Spurrier struggled without a running game. Thirty-two times during his stint at UF, his offense was held to under 100-yards rushing. The Gators were 12-19-1 during those 32 games, averaging 357-yards and 24 PPG. During the 90 games his offense rushed for at least 125 yards, he was 86-4, averaging 507 yards and 43 ppg. Think back to the 2001 season when Auburn defeated UF. Tommy Tuberville said all week long, the key to beating Florida would be taking away the ground game and forcing UF to pass. UF was held to -36 yards rushing, finishing the game with 4 interceptions, 326 yards and 20 points. Chip Kelly at Oregon never won a game when held under 100-yards rushing, averaging 265-yards and 13 ppg during the 5 games held under 100-yards rushing. During the last ten years in the SEC, teams have averaged 280-yards and 17 ppg when held under 100-yards rushing, with a win pct of just 21 percent. Pass rating among SEC teams the past ten seasons with under 100-yards rushing is 115.8 It increases to 136.4 with 150-200 yards rushing and 146.3 with 200-250 yards rushing.
  8. Of Auburn's 80 offensive snaps, 46.2 percent went for 5-yards or more, a season-high for the Tigers against FBS competition. It was not enough to overcome the three turnovers by Jarrett Stidham. During the first five games of the season the Auburn defense allowed 4.3 yards per play during the first half and 4.6 yards during the second half. During the last two games, it has increased to 5.4 yards per play during the first half and 6.0 yards during the second half. 52.9 percent of the snaps defended by the Auburn defense went for 2-yards or less. Better consistency than the 33.8 percent against Mississippi State the week before. The impact plays allowed on third and long ruined what might have been a solid defensive performance. Auburn's ten impact plays for 248-yards against the Volunteers was a season-high for the Auburn offense. Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz accounted for 7 of Auburn's ten impact plays against Tennessee. Of Auburn's 80 snaps, 36 were directed to Auburn's top-5 impact players coming into the game. It would have been higher had Whitlow not been injured. It was a good indicator the game plan was built to funnel the football to their established playmakers. In conference play only this season, Kam Martin has 19 offensive touches for 44 yards. Of Auburn's first five offensive possessions against the Volunteers, four of the drives netted at least 50-yards, the first time this season Auburn accomplished such a feat this season. Unfortunately for the Tigers, two of those drives ended with interceptions. Jarrett Stidham had his best game of the season when it came to throwing the intermediate routes. He was 7 of 10 for 177-yards and two touchdowns. Strangely, his two horrific interceptions came throwing the football short. Before the Tennessee game, Auburn was 32-4 in games under Gus Malzahn when scoring at least 17 points by halftime. So what happened against Tennessee? In the past Auburn was able to lean on their running game during the second half which was not the case against the Vols. After rushing for 123-yards during the first half, Auburn had just 20 yards on 11 carries during the second half. Auburn went 75 percent in short-yardage running situations against Tennessee, a season-high in conference play for the Tigers. Last season Auburn passed 33 percent of the time during the second half, and this season Auburn is throwing 56 percent of the time against FBS competition. The lack of a running game has prevented the offense from taking control of the game. During the last four games, Auburn is completed just 61 percent of their first down passes for only 5.4 yards per attempt. With the lack of a running game, Auburn needs to sprinkle more vertical passes into the equation on first down. Auburn is throwing the football 43.4 percent of the time on first down. Auburn has gone "three and out" during more than 28 percent of their possessions in four consecutive games. This is an all-time low for a Gus Malzahn offense at Auburn. Auburn's pass-efficiency on third down from 1993-2018 is 126.4. During Auburn's last six games, it has been 90.1. The Tigers converted 56.3 percent of their third downs against Tennessee, a season-high for the Auburn offense. Auburn has fumbled the football 15 times compared to the opponent's eight fumbles. Deshaun Davis has led Auburn in tackles on 13 occasions since Kevin Steele took over the defense, more than any other Auburn player. Auburn's freshman players accounted for 263-yards on 25 offensive touches for two touchdowns against Tennessee. Malzahn's Auburn Tigers are now 2-7 during games against Power-5 competition when they are minus-two in turnover margin or worse. The Auburn offense against Tennessee succeeded in utilizing their established playmakers. The coaching staff was willing to place the football in the hands of freshman players. They attempted to manufacturing rushing yardage and threw the football on early downs. The game plan and play-calling against the Volunteers was perhaps the best of the season but in the end, it was the turnovers that killed a momentum built. The turnovers was a twenty-point swing in a game lost by six points. The Auburn defense played very well except for third and long. They took away the run and were very successful on first down. They managed to force Tennessee into 19 third-down situations but allowed them to convert ten. At the end of the day, the poor play on third and long and the lack of forced turnovers turned a good performance into a losing performance. On special teams, Auburn struggled in delivering a "game-changing" moment in a game decided by less than seven points. There were plenty of elements of the game to build on, which could carry over to a victory against Ole Miss, the worst defense in the conference. However, there are concerns in every phase of the Auburn Tigers that could result in another "team losing" performance. Saturday's loss to Tennessee was a "snake-bitten" moment for the Auburn Tigers. Every time they made a step forward, there was a play that knocked them backward, whether it was on offense or defense. Auburn's performance against Tennessee minus the turnovers on offense and miscues on defense was good enough for a victory and a win over Ole Miss. The key moving into next week against Ole Miss will be eliminating the mistakes. War Eagle!
  9. StatTiger

    Tennessee Game Report Card

    Turnovers by the offense and hideous play on defense in third & long were the story of this football game. There were the usual issues such as the lack of a running game and poor pass protection to go along with a defense that has surrendered explosive plays all season long. But overall, this version of the Auburn Tigers is just a bad offensive team coupled with a defense that fights every week to keep the Tigers in the ball game. Auburn's defense allowed eight third-down conversions of at least 8-yards, surrendering 169-yards on the eight successful conversions. On the remaining 60 snaps defended, Auburn allowed only 3.8 yards per play but the 21.0 yards per play allowed on third and long destroyed any success the Tigers had on defense. I cannot recall a game in recent memory, where Auburn's defense played so poorly in third and long. The first two Auburn offensive possessions appeared to be a good start for the Tigers, but Auburn had only 10 points after four possessions, despite gaining 207-yards on offense. It has been a trademark of Gus Malzahn's offense when it comes to the first four possessions of the game. From 2015-2018, Auburn has been held to 10 points or less during the first four possessions of the game 26 times, averaging only 21.3 PPG when it occurs. Auburn is 10-16 during those games and 8-12 in conference play. Bottom line, if the offense cannot score more than 10 points during their first four possessions of the game against a Power-5 opponent, there is a higher probability for a loss than a victory. During his last nine games, Jarrett Stidham has 13 combined fumbles and interceptions and 11 combined passing and rushing touchdowns. Similar to last week's performance against Mississippi State, there were several moments of blown opportunities on offense. Jarrett Stidham missed on a couple of deep balls, and Darius Slayton dropped a potential deep ball for a touchdown. Last week it was four plays out of 59 snaps, and this week it was three of 80 snaps. Some will focus on less than ten plays to extract some form of moral victory or hope for the future. The reality is Auburn lost these last two games primarily on the remaining 132 snaps. The only positive from this game was the players did not quit. Midway into his sixth season as head coach, Gus Malzahn has a team that cannot run the football and cannot protect the quarterback. His best running back is a converted quarterback with a bad shoulder and there isn't a reliable and prepared backup at quarterback to take over for Jarrett Stidham. The offensive line lacks experience and is playing hurt with very little depth to tap into. One of the starters transferred in from U-Mass and quickly became a starter. It is a nightmare scenario for a first-year head coach rebuilding a program, so how did Auburn arrive here after six years? Game #7 Statistical Evaluation (Tennessee Game) Offensive Report Card 01) Avg 6-yards per play on 1st down: [4.72] fail 02) Convert at least 40% of 3rd downs: [56.2%] pass 03) Avg at least 4.5 yards per rush: [3.70] fail 04) Score on at least 1/3 of possessions: [30.8%] fail 05) Keep 3 and out series under 33%: [38.5%] fail 06) Average 8.0 yards per pass attempt: [7.00 yds] fail 07) Score at least 75% inside red zone: [100.0%] pass 08) TD red zone above 60%: [66.7%] pass 09) Avg at least 30-yards per possession: [34.4 yds] pass 10) 40% of offensive snaps part of scoring drives: [47.5%] pass 11) TD / Turnover ratio above 1.6: [1.0] fail 12) TD ratio of at least 1 every 17 snaps: [26.7] fail 13) At least 8 impact plays: (10) pass 14) At least 2 big plays: (1) fail 15) Pass rating of at least 126.3: [125.3] fail 16) Yards to Point Ratio of 14.0 or under: [18.7] fail Score: 6 of 16 (37.5%) Fail Defensive Report Card: 01) Avg under 6-yards per play on 1st down: [4.40] pass 02) Convert below 35% of 3rd downs: [52.6%] fail 03) Avg at least 4.0 yards per rush or less: [1.9] pass 04) Score 1/3 of possessions or below: [41.7%] fail 05) Keep 3 and out series above 33%: [25.0%] fail 06) Average below 7.5 yards per pass attempt: [10.3 yds] fail 07) Score below 75% inside red zone: [100.0%] fail 08) TD red zone below 60%: [0.0%] pass 09) Avg under 30-yards per possession: [33.0 yds] fail 10) 40% or less of offensive snaps part of scoring drives: [50.0%] fail 11) TD / Turnover ratio below 1.6: [2/0] fail 12) TD ratio of at least 1 every 30 snaps: [34.0] pass 13) Less than 8 impact plays: (10) fail 14) No more than 2 big plays allowed: (4) fail 15) Pass rating below 125.0: [172.3] fail 16) Yards to point ratio of 18.0 or higher: [13.2] fail Score: 4 of 16 (25.0%) Fail Special Teams Report Card: 1) Punt Average (Above 41.3): [44.3] pass 2) Punt Return Defense (Below 7.8 YPR): [0.0] pass 3) Punt Return Offense (Above 9.8 YPR): [N/A] 4) Kick-Return Defense (Below 21.2 YPR): [N/A] 5) Kick-Return Offense (Above 22.3 YPR): [15.0] fail 6) PAT’s (100%): [3/3] pass 7) FG Pct (75% or above): [50.0%] fail Score: 3 of 5 (60.0%) Pass * 50% is a passing score. War Eagle!
  10. StatTiger

    Upon Further Review -Mississippi State Game

    It was in 1999 when AU went 10 consecutive games. There was a stretch in 2008 where AU went under 100 rushing during 3 of 4 games. The one game not under 100 was a 110-yard performance.
  11. StatTiger

    Upon Further Review -Mississippi State Game

    I think the screen packages to the WR's is essential in what Gus-Chip do on offense but I believe they have become to dependent upon them. During Lindsey's first 12 games as OC, Stidham threw 156 passes within 5-yards of the line of scrimmage, averaging 7.87 yards per attempt and threw 7 TD passes. Since the Alabama game, Stidham has thrown 129 passes within 5-yards of the line of scrimmage for 5.54 yards per attempt and only 1 TD. Only once in the last eight games has Auburn averaged more than 7-yards per attempt from those perimeter and short passes including 5.9 yards per attempt against MSU. I understand the concept of stretching the defense horizontally and trying to slow down the rush off the edge but during the last three games it has become over 63 percent of our pass offense. Jeremy Pruitt has faced Auburn's offense every season since Gus took over as head coach. During the five meetings, Malzahn's pass offense has averaged 155 yards per game on 6.9 yards per attempt . I would imagine Tennessee has spent time working on Auburn's screen game. There needs to be a strong mixture of vertical routes built off the screens to truly keep the opposing defense honest. For now, it almost feels like we are throwing a boat load of them, hoping we break one for a big gain, rather than setting up the opponent to create a big gain in the vertical passing game.
  12. StatTiger

    Upon Further Review -Mississippi State Game

    This quote might paint a better picture... “You don’t want to go second-and-9 or second-and-10 and then try to go fast,” Lindsey said. “Now you’re third-and-8 or third-and-9, and that’s not good in this league. You got to have good first-down plays, whether you’re running it, throwing it, whatever you’re doing. The one thing we did, I think, last night that was pretty nice was our screen game was a lot better. “Our guys executed that, and if we’ll continue to get better in that area and couple that with some rhythm throws and then our shots and then run the ball when we can in pace, I think we showed we can do that last night.” - Chip Lindsey (Auburn OC) The Malzahn offense is a downhill run offense to set up the deep ball and is most efficient when ran at tempo. Take away the tempo and it becomes a very basic offense to defend. Lindsey is basically saying the offense won't work without tempo and there is truth to it. IMO, this offense would still be very effective with a dual-threat QB running the offense at tempo. The problem is what Malzahn wants and the players he recruits for his offense. If Auburn is going to utilize a pocket passer, the offense cannot be about tempo. The offense needs to be more about schemes, a variety of passing routes and play-calling to compliment the passing quarterback and the skill players surrounding him. Yes, a pocket passer worked at Tulsa but the level of defenses there allowed Malzahn to get away with running a very simple pass offense. It won't work in the SEC. Malzahn's pass offense is primarily a lot of WR screens, flat passes, fly routes, wheel routes and deep posts. It works when the running game is sound and Auburn operates under tempo. Take away the run or tempo and this offense is predictable and easy to defend. This year the primary issue is a struggling inexperienced OL that is now beat to hell. Jarrett Stidham is now anticipating the pass-rush because he has been hit and sacked too many times. In practice, Stidham isn't being hit and likely looks like the QB we saw last season for the most part. In actual games with no running game and no tempo, he is under constant duress. Some of it is on him as he sometimes leaves the pocket to soon and doesn't step up. He also misses open receivers but it all comes back to the actual hits and sacks he has taken. Add the two picks he tossed in the LSU loss and Stidham is a tad gun-shy. The concern I have is the above quote from Chip Lindsey. In summary, he is stating AU needs to be better on first down so they can run more tempo. This will include more screen and short passes to build a rhythm. What is not being addressed is the response to the blitzes and pressure. There are areas of the field that could be exploited, especially territory vacated when the opposition does blitz. You cannot leave a freshman tackle on an island by himself against a projected NFL DE. Yes, Auburn did double team him on occasion but not enough. The pressure MUST be addressed first beyond anything else. Running plays faster is not a real solution. If you car is sputtering for some reason, would the answer be, driving faster?
  13. During the last four games Auburn is a combined 5 of 27 on third downs during the first and fourth quarters. Converting only 18.5 percent on third down is not the successful recipe for starting or closing out a football game. As of late, the offense digs themselves into a hole and has a limited response in terms of adjustments. Against Mississippi State, Auburn was 1 of 6 on third down, when facing four yards or less to convert. Struggling to convert the long conversions is an issue but they have to be more successful on the manageable situations. The Bulldogs averaged 8.3 yards per play on first down which set them up on third down, with 10 of their 17 attempts were of four yards or less to convert. During the first three games of the season, 42.3 percent of Auburn's offensive snaps went for at least 5-yards. During the last three games, it has dropped to just 30.1 percent. Last night against MSU, only 18 of 59 snaps went for 5-yards or more. Yes, Auburn missed out on a couple of big plays, but overall, there is no consistency on offense. Once again, there is a minimal to no attempt to attack the middle of the field in the passing game. Coming into the game, Auburn's defense allowed 4.5 yards per play during the second half. Mississippi State gained 6.3 yards during the second half, a season-low for the Tigers defense. Mississippi State owned the line of scrimmage against the Auburn Tigers, which was surprising when Auburn was on defense. Before last night, Auburn's opponent was held to 2-yards, or less during 60.4 percent of the snaps defended. MSU was held to just 33.8 percent, a season-low for the Auburn defense. During the first three games of the season, 31.3 percent of Auburn's first down plays went for 2-yards or less. During the last three games, it has increased to 43.4 percent. This includes 13.8 percent of the first down plays failing to gain during the first three games and 31.6 percent during the last three games. The offense is constantly fighting uphill on offense and it isn't the result of running too much on first down. Last season through six games, the Auburn offense scored on 40.6 percent of their possessions beginning on their side of the field. This season it is 27.9 percent. Auburn attempted 37 passes on first down for 8.9 yards per play during the first three games of the season. During the last three games, Auburn attempted 35 for only 5.5 yards per play. The Tigers remain heavily reliant upon their WR-screens and the competition is taking it away. Over 63 percent (50 of 79) of Auburn's offensive possessions this season have netted one first down or less. Auburn scored on 7 of the 50 possessions (14.0 percent). The inability to sustain drives is magnified by Auburn's lack of big play ability. Last season 53.2 percent of Jarrett Stidham's passes during the first six games were within 5-yards of the LOS for an average of 7.05 yards per attempt. This season it has increased to 63.4 percent for 6.17 yards per attempt. Once again, the pass offense has become a peppering of screens with a hand full of bombs. Mississippi State wore down the Auburn front-seven last night, but fatigue was just the final issue. The Bulldogs had 149 yards rushing during the first half, averaging 6.12 yards per rush, compared to the 2.75 Auburn had allowed during the first half. Auburn is now 8 of 19 (42.1 percent) in short-yardage situations of 2-yards or less to convert against conference opponents. Last season Auburn converted 75.8 percent for the entire season. Only 29 percent of Auburn's offensive snaps were part of a scoring drive, a season-low for the Tigers. The Bulldogs had 74 snaps, and 41 were part of a scoring drive, also a season-low for the Auburn Tigers defense. Gus Malzahn's Auburn Tigers are now 5-15 in conference play when over 36 percent of the plays are pass attempts and 22-3 when 36 percent or less. During the last four games, Auburn has completed 14 of 32 passes on third down for an efficiency rating of just 79.2. The Tigers converted 28.1 percent of those passing situations. The last time Auburn was out-rushed by 259 yards was against Arkansas in 2002, when the Razorbacks had 322 more rushing yards than Auburn. Jeremiah Dinson's 15 tackles against Mississippi State was the most by an Auburn Tiger since Daren Bates had 16 tackles against Ole Miss in 2012. Auburn's offense under the control of Gus Malzahn is now 3-13 in conference play when held to under 150-yards rushing. During those 16 games Auburn averaged 272-yards and 15 points per game, completing 54 percent of their passes for 169 yards per game. Malzahn's offensive history has been built around success in the running game and the combination of tempo. Take away the run and tempo and his pass offense is exposed. Every offense will stagger somewhat when it becomes one-dimensional but Auburn's pass offense under Malzahn has rarely been able to carry the offense when needed. War Eagle!
  14. Perhaps the best way to describe the disaster in Starkville was the Bulldogs reestablished their offensive identity and Auburn continues to search for one. MSU leaned heavily on their ground game beginning on their third possession of the game, and Auburn's defense slowly dwindled as the game progressed. Two plays that stood out during the game was the Bulldogs touchdown just before the first-half expired and Whitlows fumble going in for the score. One might argue it was a 14-point swing in favor of the Bulldogs but ugly teams rarely get the breaks. Auburn's offense is a total mess, and it has the potential to drag the team down with it. How much longer will the defense continue to fight, knowing the offense is an Albatross tied around their necks? If Gus Malzahn is not careful, he could very well see a repeat of the 2012 season, when some players quit on Coach Gene Chizik. They are not there yet, but they took a step closer tonight. Though the offense performed better during the second half, it was far from being a recovery. The decision to take Malik Willis off the field on 3rd & two to place Kam Martin in the wildcat only adds fuel to the fire, why so many fans question the "brain trust" on offense. Jarrett Stidham was given the opportunity for an easy touchdown pass, but he failed to connect on the play. He has been hit and sacked so many times this season; he is now anticipating a pass-rush that isn't there at times. He showed glimpses of Sean White tonight, throwing and ducking at the same time. Watching Calvin Ashley being owned late in the game and no adjustment is another log on the fire for the fan base to question what is going on offense. Last week, offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey commented, "I like where we are at on offense." I do not believe for a minute he thinks this to be the case but it is a sure sign of complacency. There is very little about the Auburn offense that is right and for any staff member to say so, is a disservice to the players and their ability to coach at this level. I realize these are harsh words, stemming from the emotions of another disappointing performance but maybe the coaches need to be honest about the product they are putting on the field. Late last season, Auburn showed their faith in Coach Gus Malzahn by rewarding him with a raise and significant contract extension. The point of the new contract was to show confidence in Malzahn and to take the pressure off Malzahn, to prevent him from continually looking over his shoulder after a poor performance. Through six games, it appears the result of this contract is complacency rather than striving to legitimize the handsome contract he was rewarded with last year. It was another ugly loss as Malzahn is now 0-7 when trailing by 10 or more points at halftime. For the sake of the players, I sincerely hope the coaching staff is honest about the performance rather than searching for words to disguise what we all saw tonight. War Eagle! Game #6 Statistical Evaluation (Mississippi State Game) Offensive Report Card 01) Avg 6-yards per play on 1st down: [5.04] fail 02) Convert at least 40% of 3rd downs: [21.4%] fail 03) Avg at least 4.5 yards per rush: [4.28] fail 04) Score on at least 1/3 of possessions: [30.0%] fail 05) Keep 3 and out series under 33%: [30.0%] pass 06) Average 8.0 yards per pass attempt: [5.63 yds] fail 07) Score at least 75% inside red zone: [66.7%] fail 08) TD red zone above 60%: [0.0%] fail 09) Avg at least 30-yards per possession: [30.4 yds] pass 10) 40% of offensive snaps part of scoring drives: [28.8%] fail 11) TD / Turnover ratio above 1.6: [0/2] fail 12) TD ratio of at least 1 every 17 snaps: [59.0] fail 13) At least 8 impact plays: (7) fail 14) At least 2 big plays: (2) pass 15) Pass rating of at least 126.3: [97.3] fail 16) Yards to Point Ratio of 14.0 or under: [33.8] fail Score: 3 of 16 (18.7%) Fail Defensive Report Card: 01) Avg under 6-yards per play on 1st down: [8.36] fail 02) Convert below 35% of 3rd downs: [41.2%] fail 03) Avg at least 4.0 yards per rush or less: [6.12] fail 04) Score 1/3 of possessions or below: [41.7%] fail 05) Keep 3 and out series above 33%: [16.7%] fail 06) Average below 7.5 yards per pass attempt: [4.06 yds] pass 07) Score below 75% inside red zone: [75.0%] fail 08) TD red zone below 60%: [25.0%] pass 09) Avg under 30-yards per possession: [34.8 yds] fail 10) 40% or less of offensive snaps part of scoring drives: [55.4%] fail 11) TD / Turnover ratio below 1.6: [2/1] fail 12) TD ratio of at least 1 every 30 snaps: [37.0] pass 13) Less than 8 impact plays: (7) pass 14) No more than 2 big plays allowed: (1) pass 15) Pass rating below 125.0: [75.3] pass 16) Yards to point ratio of 18.0 or higher: [18.2] pass Score: 7 of 16 (43.7%) Fail Special Teams Report Card: 1) Punt Average (Above 41.3): [47.0] pass 2) Punt Return Defense (Below 7.8 YPR): [0.0] pass 3) Punt Return Offense (Above 9.8 YPR): [4.0] fail 4) Kick-Return Defense (Below 21.2 YPR): [N/A] 5) Kick-Return Offense (Above 22.3 YPR): [18.0] fail 6) PAT’s (100%): [N/A] 7) FG Pct (75% or above): [75.0%] pass Score: 3 of 5 (60.0%) Pass * 50% is a passing score.
  15. * Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the No. 1 priority this Saturday night must be protecting the football. Auburn under Malzahn has not won a road conference game with three turnovers or more. * I would add minimizing the penalties, but I expect to have another high-penalty game because it is the first real "away game" and the cowbells will likely cause some issues on the offensive side of the football. At the end of the day, I would rather have a ten-penalty game than three turnovers. * Chip Lindsey must attack the perimeter of the MSU defense. This will be a good game for screen passes, speed sweeps, quick pitches, and flare passes to the RB’s in the flat. Auburn cannot concede running between the tackles, but too much of it against MSU’s front would be futile. * In 3rd and 1 or 4th &1, I believe Auburn's best shot for success running the football is from the wildcat. Not sure if this is the case should Whitlow not be available for the game. Would the coaching staff play Harold Joiner in this role again? * There is a very strong possibility Jarrett Stidham’s performance will decide the outcome of the game. I don’t expect much success in the “traditional” running game, which places more pressure on the shoulders of Stidham. Chip Lindsey must help him out scheme-wise and limit the “obvious” passing situations. Through five games, Stidham is averaging 26 pass attempts per game. He is averaging 11 pass attempts per game, where he is throwing on 2nd & 8 or longer or 3rd & 7 or longer. Throwing the football over 42 percent of the time in obvious passing situations is compounding the offensive issues. * Auburn needs to take a few deep shots downfield, and it would be wise to make those on 1st down with max protection. Last week against Southern Miss, Auburn attempted two deep shots on 2nd and long, and the pocket collapsed despite having seven in the backfield to block five. Last year Auburn produced seven plays of 30-yards or more during a blowout victory over the Bulldogs. Auburn has only six such plays through five games this season. It would be huge if Auburn could produce two such plays Saturday night. * Malzahn needs to take a page out of Tommy Tuberville’s strategy in close ball games. Lean on your defense and special teams as much as you can to take home a “team victory.” I am not advocating an all-out conservative approach on offense, but he certainly needs to take advantage of the field position game. Auburn has surrendered only one touchdown drive over 75-yards this season out of 47 attempts. CTT was 26-11 in games decided by 7-points or less from 2000-2007 and Malzahn is currently 14-9. Gus Malzahn finally has the defense to lean on when the offense is sputtering. * It would be nice for Jarrett Stidham to be able to check out of a run play on 1st down when it is evident State has eight defenders in the box. Auburn must improve their productivity on first down to avoid the 3rd and long situations they have faced this season. Auburn's average distance to convert on 3rd down against FBS competition this season is over 7-yards. * Regardless of the situation, it is always the head coaches responsibility to place his team in the best possible position to succeed. I am not talking about concerns that only can be addressed after the season. I am referring to the current issues, injuries and troubles the team is currently working through. It is up to Coach Malzahn and his assistants to give their players the best change to succeed regardless of the circumstances they face. War Eagle and Beat State!