The Auburn Tigers prevailed with a stunning 24-20 win over the mighty 2018 Texas A&M Aggie Football Team. This was a game in which the Tigers struggled a lot, but pulled it out in the end. Even in victory, there was still a lot to learn from. They ran all over us.
...And they ran all over us. Georgia ran for 303 yards. I don’t want to hear about talent. You can talk about our talent at O-Line or RB or QB or kicker or anywhere else this season, but we have it on the front seven. No one should be running it down our throats. We are SO damn undisciplined when it comes to stopping the run. Two problems:
1) Players are getting pushing into one another
2) Missing tackles
Successful running isn’t about getting “a hat on a hat.” Don’t tell me they’re running wild because they’re holding. I’d feel better if we had one-on-one battles, where one lineman negates another. Our guys are constantly out of position. We’ll have two players concentrated in one spot and the hole will be on the other side of the line. Even if their entire line holds (and they did), we should still mathematically a linebacker free to meet the RB in the running lane. But all too often, the defenders just aren’t there, and when they are, bad angles are being taken and tackles are being missed. You don’t have to rush up the field for the TFL to stop the run. Hold the line, stay flexible, and plug up the gaps. With the talent we have, we should be getting stops within 2-4 yard range with the front seven and not allowing them into the secondary. That will bring up third down situations often. We are just so, so undisciplined.
Maybe this will be fixed, maybe not. Gus Malzahn, and this program in general, has just enough success that the underlying issues are never addressed. We’ve struggled with the same things for years now. Ever since Chizik came here, it seems like we forgot how to tackle. We win ugly. We’re called the “Cardiac Cats” for a reason. We’re in that zone where we win enough so that’s were not objectively a bad program (despite what some would say). And yet, sometimes our success is our own worst enemy. It’s no surprise that in recent memory, the more highly ranked preseason Auburn teams tend to be the bigger letdowns. We can’t handle success, because success only reinforces any pre-existing bad habits.
In order to move forward as a program, we will have to positively leverage the successes that we have. This coaching staff has not been able to do so.