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  1. Just looking through some of my favorite Auburn videos and this one from AU Tiger 96 came across. As like a lot of things, it may not have ended exactly like we planned, but man we were lucky to see some big-time games with TT as well. He had a great record against ranked Teams. Being from Florida, it was so great owning the Gators as well... (They always bring up the fact that Peyton Manning never beat the Gators, I always fire back that Tim Tebow never beat Auburn!)
  2. Reflecting back to the Tuberville era, I was always concerned with teams that were physical. Basically it was teams that could run the football and play well on run-defense. The following numbers support this theory... From 2000-2008, Auburn compiled a record of 13-10 vs. FBS teams with a combination of a top-40 run-offense and top-40 run-defense. When Auburn faced teams that were not top-40 run-offense and top-40 run-defense, the Tigers went 42-5. Looking at the years Gus Malzahn has coached the Auburn offense, the concern becomes teams that can pass the ball and play solid run-defense. Look at the data from 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014... When Auburn has faced teams with a top-40 pass-efficiency offense and top-40 run-defense combined, the Tigers are 6-6. When they have faced FBS opponents that were ranked below top-40 pass-offense and top-40 run-defense, Auburn is 22-4. During this same time frame, Auburn is 10-7 vs. top-25 pass-efficiency offenses, allowing an average of 37 PPG. The Tigers are 32-5 vs. FBS opponents with a run-defense ranked below top-40, averaging 46 PPG. Alabama is the only remaining opponent on this year's schedule that falls under top-40 pass-efficiency offense and top-40 run-defense. Alabama is currently No. 3 in PE-Offense and No. 2 vs. the run. Georgia is close to it, ranked No. 28 in PE-Offense and No. 49 vs. the run. Thoughts?
  3. Will Auburn improve upon run-defense in 2014? It needs to for Auburn to make another championship run. Last season was the Year of the Quarterback in the SEC. I believe this season could be the Year of the Running Back in the conference. During the 125 games under Tommy Tuberville, Auburn's defense allowed over 200-yards rushing on 11 occasions or 1 every 11.4 games. During the 66 games since Tuberville left Auburn, the defense has allowed over 200-yards rushing, 23 times or 1 every 2.9 games. Auburn was 11-12 in those 23 games. During the last 25 conference games, Auburn has allowed an average of 204.4 yards rushing on 5.08 yards per attempt. National Rankings in Run-Defense over past 25 years.... 1989: 20th 1990: 21st 1991: 48th 1992: 11th 1993: 21st 1994: 17th 1995: 49th 1996: 32nd 1997: 22nd 1998: 19th 1999: 15th 2000: 15th 2001: 42nd 2002: 46th 2003: 7th 2004: 12th 2005: 22nd 2006: 45th 2007: 29th 2008: 54th 2009: 78th 2010: 9th 2011: 94th 2012: 97th 2013: 62nd It appears 2008 was the first season the run-defense began to truly slip, failing to recover except for 1 season. It's difficult to become a consistent or dominant defense without having a solid run-defense. From 1990-2013 Auburn has compiled a record of 138-32-2 (.808), when holding opponent to under 140-yards rushing.
  4. Since 1970, Auburn's average margin of defeat during it's 164 losses has been by 13.7 points. Broken down by coaches: Barfield .......... 13.7 Dye ............... 10.4 Bowden .......... 12.4 (This includes the entire 1998 season) Tuberville ...... 13.4 Chizik ............. 20.9 Here is the average margin of defeat for all the Auburn teams with at least 4 losses since 1970: During the 12 years under Pat Dye, his teams were defeated by 20 or more points, 7 times. During only 4 years under Gene Chizik, Auburn was defeated by 20 or more points, 10 times. That's 1 every 20.3 games for Dye and 1 every 5.2 games under Chizik.
  5. Entering the 2013 season, 4 SEC teams will have accumulated a roster of more than 50% 4-5 star talent according to Scout Services over the past 4 recruiting classes. Alabama ........ 65.7% Florida ........... 59.8% LSU ............... 52.5% Auburn .......... 51.0% The Georgia Bulldogs were close to making the cut at 49.5%. As fans, we tend to focus on the 4 & 5 star recruits but reality tells us that player development and preparation is the key to building a championship team. On paper, it looks good for the Auburn Tigers but how accurate are those rankings and how well has Auburn developed their talent? A well developed 3-star recruit can become a significant contributor at the SEC level. We witnessed this with many of Tommy Tuberville's teams. Entering the 2013 season, 10 of 14 SEC teams will have recruited at least 83 percent 3-5 star talent from the past 4 recruiting classes. This is why it should be no surprise 9-11 SEC teams will be bowl eligible by the end of the regular season and why a couple of close conference games can make the difference between a 7-win season and a 10-win season. Rather than listing the 10, I will list the 4 that failed to make the 83 percent cut. Arkansas ............ 79.0% Miss State ........... 73.2% Kentucky ............ 72.8% Vanderbilt ........... 70.2% This means that every team in the SEC has at least 70 percent 3-5 star talent, which makes the conference very competitive as well as the head-to-head match ups. Sadly, Auburn is 6-6 against the above 4 teams over the past 4 seasons. If the Tigers are struggling against these teams, how can we expect them to prosper against teams loaded with talent? Player development and preparation within their schemes is why a team like Texas A&M, who is No. 7 in the SEC in recruiting 4-5 star talent over the past 5 years can upset a team like Alabama, who is No. 1. It's the reason why a team like South Carolina, who was No. 9 in the SEC in 4-5 star talent can compile the nation's 10th best win pct over the past 3 years. These teams obtained the most of their talent, which makes them competitive week after week. During the past 5 seasons nearly 36 percent of conference games within the SEC were settled by 7 points or less. Based on 3-5 star talent signed over the past 4 years, Auburn should be 5-3 in conference play in 2013 but unfortunately games won't be decided on paper and recruit rankings. They will be decided on a combination of talent, development, preparation and coaching. Gus Malzahn and staff will only be successful if they develop their talent, something the previous staff failed to do the last 2 seasons. Gus has already stated there is enough talent to win now but winning is a choice and it takes commitment and hard work. Changing the atmosphere and culture of football at Auburn will not be an easy task and it will take more than 1 season to accomplish it. There are signs the transformation is taking place but we need to be patient as fans. See you all at A-Day!
  6. During the 4 seasons Gus Malzahn was an offensive coordinator in the SEC, his offenses generated at least 24 points in 22 of 34 SEC games or 64.7 percent of the time. At Auburn, the Tigers scored at least 24 points in 56.0 percent of their conference games under Gus Malzahn. In comparison, Auburn scored at least 24 points in conference play, 45.9 percent of the time from 2000-2008. In terms of overall conference play, SEC teams have scored at least 24 points in conference play, 49.1 percent of the time from 2000-2012. This means Malzahn has finished above standard during his 4 seasons as an OC in the SEC as well as the 3-year period as Auburn's OC. How important is the 24-pt mark in conference play? Overall, Malzahn's teams in the SEC were 19-3 in conference play, when reaching 24 points and 13-1 at Auburn. From 2000-2008, Auburn compiled a record of 33-1, when scoring at least 24 points against SEC competition. From 2000-2012, SEC teams compiled a win percentage of .772 by scoring at least 24 points. This basically equates to a 6-2 record in conference play, if you can reach 24 or more points in all 8 conference games. Auburn's record of 33-1 from 2000-2008, when reaching 24 points also stresses how important "defense" is in this conference. Tuberville's teams managed to win 42 percent of their conference games with less than 24 points scored, while Chizik's teams managed to win only 16 percent. From 2000-2012, Florida leads the league with 70 games of at least 24 points in conference play. The remaining pecking order is as follows... Georgia (68), Alabama (67), LSU (66), Arkansas (62), Tennessee (52), Auburn (48), Ole Miss (44), Kentucky & South Carolina (42), Miss State (33) and Vanderbilt (29) War Eagle!
  7. When someone transcends outside the cultural norm, the preexisting culture tends to protect itself. Coach Gus Malzahn was a part of and witnessed first hand the culture of football existing under Gene Chizik. Though some of it was productive, there were elements which caused internal friction. Returning as Auburn's head football coach, Malzahn has a new vision for the football program, which will require a culture change. Could this truly happen if the preexisting elements of the current culture were left in place? How can the players under the direction of Malzahn completely buy into his system if they have assistant coaches from the previous regime to cling to, when the players don't like the new changes or direction? This is not a matter of which system is best but the simple fact Auburn must be on the same page with the same goals to prosper. Looking at Auburn's short terms goals, retaining certain staff members might save this top-10 recruiting class but focusing on long term goals, would Auburn prosper from it? In my opinion, Tommy Tuberville obtained better overall production from his 3-star recruits than Chizik's staff obtained from the their 4 and 5-star recruits in 2011 and 2012. I am not advocating Auburn should be satisfied with settling for average recruiting classes because I believe Auburn can have both. I believe the potential remains to recruit well but to have better success developing the players once they arrive on campus. Only time will tell how well Malzahn's staff recruits but by bringing in coaches that are on the same page, their chances of developing their talent increases. As Gus Malzahn compiles his football staff, the most important theme should be that every coach believes in the schemes and the protocol to make them work. Bobby Petrino is one of the best offensive minds in college football with a tremendous amount of experience but how successful would Auburn be if he was the offensive coordinator in charge of running Gus Malzahn's offense? A great coach, coaching a scheme he doesn't believe in is doomed to failure from the outset. We learned this from the Tony Franklin debacle. Though Rhett Lashlee doesn't hold a candle to Petrino in terms of experience and success, which coach would be better suited in Malzahn's offense? Once again, this isn't about which offense is the better system but which coaches will mesh better in Malzahn's offense. This is why it so vital for the coordinators and their assistants to be on the same page and why Malzahn wants his coordinators having a major input on the assistants hired to coach their schemes. You can have a team of great engineers with the goal of building a new concept car but if they have different visions, the final product will not be the best it could be. They can bring different thoughts to the drawing table but the ultimate vision of their project has to be the same. One thought process is to build a program similar in structure and operation of Alabama. The theory is be like them in order to defeat them. I believe Gus Malzahn's theory is to truly find the best way for his team to be successful against Alabama. I utilize Alabama as an example only because they are currently at the top of their game and Auburn must face them every year because they compete in the same division. Coach Nick Saban has gone on record, speaking out again the spread offenses that utilize the no huddle and up tempo. How often do you hear him bickering about conventional offenses? His defense is built to stop offenses like LSU and the one Arkansas will install under their new head coach. Gus has to build his team based on what he believes in or he is destined to fail by simulating what everyone else might be doing. Getting back to culture change, this change must not only take place among the players, coaches and support staff. This change must expand to the fan base. For so long, we have associated success at Auburn with great defense, a strong running game, good kicking game and a quarterback who won't get you beat. There is nothing wrong with this formula for success but we would be ignorant to believe it's the only way to win a championship. The 2010 team proved you can win it all at Auburn with a dynamic offense and an average defense. For those close minded to suggest the 2010 team's success was built around Cam Newton and Nick Fairley, I would respond that every great team had great players they relied upon. I have no clue whether or not Gus Malzahn will be successful in terms of winning championships at Auburn but I do like his approach thus far. In order to change the existing culture will require substantial change, which initially makes people feel uncomfortable. By making whole sale changes to the coaching staff, there will be no residual for the returning players to cling to. They will be given two options under the new staff. You either conform and buy into the new approach or you don't. There will be no possible internal strife had multiple staff members been retained, which would slow down the progress of moving in a new direction. Only time will tell how successful Auburn's new coaches will be but at least they will start off on the right foot and headed in the same direction. I don't believe Auburn found a treasure with the hiring of Gus Malzahn. I believe Gus Malzahn has a new vision and he's driven and focused enough to find the real treasure....Auburn itself. This is what is truly great about the success of previous Auburn coaches. They were not big name hires when they arrived at Auburn but they became great coaches by coaching at Auburn. War Eagle!
  8. Staff

    Close Call

    During this past season Auburn went 1-3 in games decided by 7-points or less. This was the difference between being 3-9 rather than 6-6, bowl eligible. Auburn's 1-3 record in close games marked the lowest win percentage in close games since 1981, when the Tigers also went 1-3 in close ball games. We often see the best and worst of coaching in these type of games, which can clearly make or break a season. When you consider over one-third (36 percent) of Auburn's ball games have been decided by 7-points or less since 1981, it becomes vital to be more competitive in these "down to the final whistle" contests. From 1981-2012 Auburn has compiled a record of 266-118-5, winning 69 percent of their games. This includes 9 seasons of 10-wins or more during a 32-year period. Had Auburn won all their games decided by 7-points or less, the Tigers would be looking at a record of 322-67-0 (83 percent), including 22 seasons of 10-wins or more. Had Auburn lost all their close games, the Tigers would be 183-206-0 (47 percent). On an average, Auburn will have 4-5 games per season, decided by 7-points or less, which enhances the reality of what these games mean to the outcome of a season. Auburn coaching records in close games from 1981-2012: Pat Dye ...................... 26-20-4 (.560) Terry Bowden .............. 16-8-1 (.660) Tommy Tuberville ......... 30-17-0 (.638) Gene Chizik ................. 12-6-0- (.667) At first glance, Chizik's record in close games appears to be the best but Auburn was 6-0 during the 2010 season and 6-6 in his remaining 3 seasons. Pat Dye appears to have the lowest win percentage but won 62 percent of his close games from 1982-1989. Tommy Tuberville also had a nice run from 2000-2006, when the Tigers won 73 percent (22-8) of their close games. Terry Bowden won 71 percent of his close games during his first 3 seasons and 61 percent during his last 3 seasons. So what is the key factor in close games? Of the 140 Auburn games decided by 7-points or less from 1981-2012, the "over and under" in points scored was only 41 points. Nearly 75 percent of the games involved a total less than 50 points scored by both teams. This would indicate defense being the key to success in close ball games. Over the past 32 seasons, there have been 7 seasons, the Auburn defense allowed over 350-yards per game. Those 7 teams won 59 percent of their close games, while the remaining 25 teams won 63 percent of their close games. Keep in mind, 6 of those wins by the seven teams with bad defenses came during the 2010 season. This means the other six teams with bad defenses won only 50 percent of the close games. Since 1981, Auburn is 19-46-0 in games the Tigers allowed 30 or more points on defense. Under Gene Chizik, the defense allowed 30 or more points 42 percent of the time. This is one of the reasons why a head coaching change was needed and why the next Auburn head coach will likely be a defensive minded coach. Under Gene Chizik's leadership, Auburn lost it's identity of being a hard-nosed physical team on both sides of the football. With the recent coaching rumors, it appears the next head coach will either be Kirby Smart or Gus Malzahn. Though I believe the talk of Gus Malzahn lacking discipline as a coach was ridiculous to say the least, there should be concern about what his style offense does in relation to his defense. Before he arrived at Tulsa, their defense was 21st in total defense the year before Malzahn arrived. They proceeded to be 108th and 75th the 2 years he was there. Before he arrived at Auburn, the Tigers were 29th in total defense. They became 68th, 60th and 81st during his 3 years there. The year before he arrived at Arkansas State, ASU was 24th in total defense and dropped to 53rd under Malzahn. I will be the first to admit, the mentality and physical make up of a football team starts at the top with the head coach but this remains an alarming trend, even if Malzahn was just the OC in all of those seasons but one. This past season was horrible on both sides of the football but I do believe the defense needs to be addressed in a timely manner. We have witnessed the worst 4-year run on defense in school history and it's not even close. If Gus Malzahn has the fortitude and drive to bring a more physical approach and mentality back to Auburn, than he would likely be very successful. Looking at Malzahn and Smart's coaching careers and the programs they worked under, which candidate is likely to be bring a hard-nosed mentality to his teams?
  9. With the 38-0 pounding Auburn took tonight against the Georgia Bulldogs, the Tigers have now lost 13 of their last 21 games and 10 of those 13 losses have been by 14 or more points. During the 4 years under Gene Chizik, Auburn has been defeated by at least 14 points on 12 occasions. Shug Jordan had 11 during his first 4 seasons, Barfield had 11, Dye had 3, Bowden had 2 and Tuberville had 9. The major difference among these coaches comes when you look at years No. 3 & 4. Shug Jordan had 2 losses of 14 or more points, Barfield had 4, Dye had 1, Bowden had 2 and Tuberville had 4. During the last two seasons, Gene Chizik's teams have recorded 10 losses of 14 or more points and Alabama is penciled in for No. 11. Forget about schemes, personnel, play-calling, talent and experience. The Auburn football team that has competed in their last 5 conference games simply is not prepared or developed enough to compete at the SEC level. Even with better schemes and play-calling Auburn would still remain an under developed team physically and mentally. I truly believe the players want to win and they want to compete but they severely lack direction and guidance to play at their maximum ability on a consistent basis. Even with his back against the wall and in severe jeopardy of losing his job, Gene Chizik elected to take a delay of game penalty to punt from the Georgia 34-yard line during Auburn's second possession of the game. Auburn was already trailing by 7 and were facing a superior team, yet Chizik was not willing to gamble to give his team an opportunity to score points. In one decision he basically told his offense, "I have no faith in you" and he also told his place-kicker, he had no faith he could make a 51-yard field goal. Auburn punted, which resulted in a touchback and the difference in field position was the 20-yard line rather than the 34-yard line. A team's performance often mirrors the personality of their head coach and he made no crucial coaching decisions against Georgia that could have inspired his team to play harder or at a higher level. It was the same old feeling of Auburn waiting around for something positive to happen rather than making an attempt to make it happen. Inside the Numbers... During the last 3 games, Jonathan Wallace has accumulated a pass-rating of 159.8, which includes a completion percentage of 64 percent and 9.9 yards per pass attempt. Wallace continues to show plenty of potential and upside for the future but it won't be maximized under the current coaching staff. Emory Blake recorded his 4th 100-yard game of the season, giving him 713-yards on the season. Through 10 games, Auburn has averaged 58 snaps per game, while allowing 72 to the opponent. Over the course of a 12-games season that translates to the defense having to play 2.5 extra games than the offense. Auburn has fumbled the football in 16 consecutive games. The Georgia offense gained more yardage on their 33 first down snaps (272) than Auburn did the entire game. The Auburn offense has gone "3 & out" 34 percent of the time this season. During Auburn's 8 BCS games this season, 71 percent of Auburn's offensive snaps have failed to be a part of a scoring drive. Auburn's total number of red zone opportunities had been low this season but the Georgia game marked the first time this season Auburn failed to make it to the red zone. Even though the Auburn defensive line had their highest percentage of tackles this season with 39.7 percent, the linebackers had their worst game of the season, accounting for only 20.6 percent of the team's tackles. Onterio McCalebb averaged 11.8 yards per play against the Bulldogs but had only 5 offensive touches during the game. Georgia had 297-yards from just their 10 impact plays, compared to Auburn's 49 total snaps for 238-yards. The Georgia offense averaged 9.25 yards per play during the first half, close to the 9.28 Texas A&M averaged. For the season, I have predicted Auburn to score an average of 21 points per game and they have scored 17. I have predicted the defense to allow 24 points per game and they have actually allowed 30. Overall, I've picked Auburn to win 6 times and they have won twice. I still believe there is enough talent on this team to be 6-4 rather than 2-8. 47.7 percent of Auburn's offensive snaps have come under center, where the Tigers have averaged 6.23 yards per play. While in the shotgun, the offense has averaged 4.20 yards per play. For the season, Auburn has thrown from the shotgun 74.4 percent of the time with a pass rating of 111.1. When they have thrown under center, the pass rating is 149.7. Since Wallace became the starter, Auburn has a pass rating of 104.3 under center and 145.7 in the shotgun. Final Word... In the 35 seasons I have watched Auburn football, the 2012 team is the worst team during that time period. Their record of 2-8 is dismal on it's own but the fact they have lost to teams that had less talent magnifies just how poorly this team has become. Though there have been other bad teams, they did not have the level of talent currently available in year No. 4 under Chizik. Before this season began, I felt there was a possibility the team could go 7-5 again during the regular season but I thought if it happened, Auburn would show improvement from 2011. Not only will the 2012 team not equal half the wins totaled by the 2011 squad, one could argue they failed to improve at any position on the offensive and defensive side of the football. For a coach who made his name as a defensive coordinator, Gene Chizik's defenses as head coach of Auburn have allowed 394-yards and 27 PPG, including 163-yards rushing per game. Auburn's defense in year #4 under Coach Chizik is worse than year #1. When Auburn lost those 29 seniors from 2010, Chizik's teams became more dependant upon the players recruited and developed by the current coaching staff. Since 2010, Auburn's defense has allowed 420-yards and 29 PPG, while the offense has averaged 321-yards and 22 PPG. This is either an indicator of poor recruiting or poor player development but likely a combination of both. The staggering number of self-inflicted mistakes, penalties and turnovers have become common place this season, which sadly became the personality of this team. I believe Coach Gene Chizik is a good Christian man with positive traits as a football coach but not every coach can be a successful head football coach at this level. Once you become a head coach, everything about the team will be a reflection of your ability to organize, develop and prepare your team. It's no longer about specializing over one unit or a position and it's no longer about being responsible for 10-15 players or even 35-40 as a coordinator. You are now responsible for every phase and aspect of the team including 100-115 players. There is no doubt, Coach Chizik was a solid position coach and an even better coordinator but something is missing at the final step in his coaching progression and Auburn can no longer wait to see if Chizik can somehow make that final connection. I still believe at the time of his hire, Gene Chizik was what Auburn needed because he along with his current staff (Malzhan too) positioned the Tigers into being the best team in the country, even if it was for just one season. The dynamics of the program have changed and sometimes success in short term does not translate into a long term investment. The future of Auburn deserves better, the fan base deserves better and more importantly, the players deserve better. War Eagle!
  10. Does Auburn have the right combination of athletes and schemes to… 1) Rush for at least 100-yards per game on a consistent basis. 2) Complete at least 50 percent of their passes on a consistent basis. 3) Average at least 7-yards per pass attempt on a consistent basis. 4) Hold their opponent to under 150-yards rushing on a consistent basis. Separately, the above statistical goals do not seem difficult to achieve but the combination of all four during the same game has been an entirely different story. Since 1961, Auburn has compiled an astounding 166-6-0 record, when they accomplish the above four goals during the same game. It sounds easy, when looking at the objectives separately but it has only been accomplished in 29 percent of Auburn’s games from 1961-2011. Auburn did it 36.8 percent of the time from 1985-2011, compiling a record of 118-3-0. The Tigers did it 37.4 percent of the time from 1993-2011, compiling a record of 86-2-0. It increased to 40.9 percent from 2000-2011, with a combined record of 62-1. This is the very reason why the 2012 Auburn coaching staff has placed an emphasis of playing as a “team”, attention to details, execution and to becoming a more physical team. As fans we all hope for dramatic improvement on offense as well as defense. In reality, a slight improvement in all phases of the game can make a major impact on how much Auburn improves from 2011 to 2012. From 1986-1989, Auburn possessed the 3rd best win percentage in the nation over a 48-game period. Pat Dye’s teams during that 4-year run reached the magical combination listed above in 47.9 percent of their games, producing a 23-0-0 record. The Tigers rushed for over 100-yards in 89.6 percent of their games, completed at least 50 percent of their passes in 87.5 percent of their games, averaged at least 7-yards per pass attempt in 56.3 percent of their games and held their opponent to under 150-yards in 79.2 percent of their games. They accomplished all four during the same game in 23 of 48 games. Pass-offense was the primary issue when it came to yards per pass attempt. From 1993-1996, Auburn possessed the 8th best win percentage in the nation over a 46-game period. Terry Bowden’s teams during that 4-year run reached the magical combination listed above in 39.1 percent of their games, producing an 18-0-0 record. The Tigers rushed for over 100-yards in 78.3 percent of their games, completed at least 50 percent of their passes in 80.4 percent of their games, averaged at least 7-yards per pass attempt in 67.4 percent of their games and held their opponent to under 150-yards in 67.4 percent of their games. They accomplished all four during the same game in 18 of 46 games. Overall defense and run-defense became the primary issue for the Tigers in 1995 and 1996. From 2004-2007, Auburn possessed the 5th best win percentage in the nation over a 51-game period. Tommy Tuberville’s teams during that 4-year run reached the magical combination listed above in 54.9 percent of their games, producing a 28-0 record. The Tigers rushed for over 100-yards in 80.4 percent of their games, completed at least 50 percent of their passes in 86.3 percent of their games, averaged at least 7-yards per pass attempt in 72.5 percent of their games and held their opponent to under 150-yards in 80.4 percent of their games. They accomplished all four during the same game in 28 of 51 games. Compared to Dye's best 4-year run and Bowden’s best 4-year run, Tuberville’s 4-year run from 2004-2007 was the best, when it came to reaching the statistical combination. As Gene Chizik enters his 4th season at Auburn, the Tigers will be looking to improve on their ability to reach the same statistical combination. Thus far, Auburn possesses the 10th best win percentage in the nation over a 40-game period. Chizik's teams during their current 3-year run have reached the magical combination listed above in 40.0 percent of their games, producing a 16-0 record. The Tigers have rushed for over 100-yards in 90.0 percent of their games, completed at least 50 percent of their passes in 85.0 percent of their games, averaged at least 7-yards per pass attempt in 67.5 percent of their games while holding their opponent to under 150-yards in 55.0 percent of their games. They accomplished all four during the same game in 16 of 40 games. Auburn's issues through 3 years under Chizik have been primarily run-defense and inconsistency in their vertical passing game. The talent is there to field a quality running game in 2012 but how consistent will the pass-offense be in 2012? Gene Chizik brought Scot Loeffler aboard to replace the departing Gus Malzahn in hopes that Loeffler would be able to develop Auburn's quarterbacks and improve a pass-offense that became to reliant upon a perimeter passing game. Overall defense as well as run-defense has been an ongoing issue for the Tigers since Chizik arrived as head coach. Auburn did manage to field a top-10 run defense during their national title run. Auburn’s ability to stop the run during 2010 allowed the “team” to reach the statistical combination in 10 of their 14 games. The 2004 Auburn Tigers did it in 10 of 13 games during their undefeated season.
  11. Breaking down the recruiting classes from 2002-2012, I sorted the classes based on classes with at least 20 recruits and on the average rating of the recruits. I sorted the top-100 classes and found the following results... By Conference: SEC - 34 teams Big 12 - 18 teams Big 10 - 16 teams Pac-10 - 15 teams ACC - 10 teams Independent - 4 teams Big East - 3 teams Within the SEC: LSU - 9 Florida - 6 Alabama - 5 Georgia - 5 Auburn - 4 (2010, 2011 and 2012 classes) Tennessee - 4 South Carolina - 1 Auburn recruiting notes: During Tommy Tuberville's last 7 recruiting classes at Auburn (2002-2008), the Tigers signed 10 OL rated as 4 & 5 stars. They also signed 15 DL rated as 4 & 5 stars during the same time period. During Gene Chizik's last 3 recruiting classes, the Tigers have signed 10 OL and 10 DL rated as 4 & 5 star recruits. From 2002-2007, Tuberville's staff inked 3 players outside the southeast, rated as 4 & 5 stars. Chizik's staff over the past 4 seasons has signed 6 recruits rated as 4 & 5 star recruits outside of the Southeast region. Last 3 recruiting classes... For those who might feel Auburn has fallen behind in recruiting with the major players within the conference, consider the following. Alabama has a national ranking average of 4th place over the past 3 seasons, signing 49 four & five star recruits. Auburn has an average ranking of 6th place, signing 42 four & five star recruits. LSU has an average ranking of 8th place, signing 35 four & five star recruits. Florida has an average ranking of 11th place, signing 42 four & five star recruits. Georgia has an average ranking of 13th place, signing 33 four & five star recruits.
  12. Coach Gene Chizik’s staff finished out their 2012 recruiting class, bringing in 19 new recruits along with the transfer of All-American fullback, Jay Prosch. Chizik’s fourth recruiting class finished with a final ranking of No. 14 in the nation according to Scout’s recruiting service. It was another strong class for the Auburn Tigers, giving them four consecutive finishes in the nation’s top-16. Based on the average rating of Auburn’s recruits, the 2012 class was tenth nationally with an average ranking of 3.63 per recruit. Though Auburn missed out on several high profile recruits, Coach Chizik was pleased and committed to those who remained committed to Auburn University. For the second consecutive season, eight Southeastern Conference teams finished in the top-25 of Scout’s recruiting service. Of all the teams at the FBS level that make up the 11 conferences and independent teams, 30 percent of the nation’s top-100 players faxed their LOI’s into Southeastern Conference programs. The Pac-12 and Big-10 were tied for second with 18 percent. Of all the 4 & 5 star recruits signed, 30 percent inked with Southeastern Conference schools. The Pac-12 was second with 18 percent of the high profile recruits. Once again, it was a clear case of the rich becoming richer as the Southeastern Conference remains the strongest conference in college football. Though Auburn did not make the nation’s top-5 in recruiting, the Tigers continued to stock their roster with a high number of impact players. During the last 3 recruiting classes only Alabama and Florida has signed a higher percentage of 4 & 5 star recruits than Auburn. Alabama has signed 63 percent, Florida signed 62 percent, Auburn signed 53 percent, Georgia signed 52 percent and LSU has signed 47 percent. The current Auburn coaching staff has taken recruiting to another level, which will be necessary for Auburn to compete within the conference on a yearly basis. One more top 10-15 finish will likely place Auburn in a position of reloading, completing the initial rebuilding process. When Auburn entered the 2008 season during Tommy Tuberville’s last season, their scholarship roster consisted of 32 percent of their players rated as 4 & 5 stars and 30 percent of the roster were rated as 2-stars or worse. When Chizik’s fourth team takes to the field in 2012, 49 percent of the scholarship players will be rated as 4 & 5 stars and only 13 percent of the roster will be rated as 2-stars or worse. There should be no doubt how much Auburn’s roster has been transformed into a more talented squad over the past 4 years. The final sequence to success will be the development of the talent stock piled by Auburn’s coaching staff. Gene Chizik will bank on new coordinators, Scott Loeffler and Brian VanGorder to make this happen. Which teams have made the most of their success in recruiting? Nick Saban and Alabama has turned their top-5 recruiting classes into 2 BCS National Championship teams over the past five seasons. Recruiting is indeed the lifeblood of college football but it doesn’t always translate to positive results. Other teams have been average in recruiting but have made the most of their talent. Here is a comparison of recruiting and how it translated to success on the field. Here are the averaging recruit rankings of each team in the SEC from 2002-2005 and the results of each team during the 2006 season. Tennessee – 5.5 (9-4 in 2006) Georgia – 7.5 (9-4 in 2006) LSU – 9.5 (11-2 in 2006) Florida – 10.8 (13-1 in 2006) SECC & BCSNC Auburn – 20.0 (11-2 in 2006) South Carolina – 20.3 (8-5 in 2006) Arkansas – 26.5 (10-4 in 2006) SECCG Alabama – 29.3 (6-7 in 2006) Ole Miss – 31.5 (4-8 in 2006) Miss State – 34.0 (3-9 in 2006) Kentucky – 59.5 (8-5 in 2006) Vanderbilt – 64.5 (4-8 in 2006) Tennessee had 4 consecutive top-10 classes (Average ranking of 5.5) from 2002-2005, fielding a 9-4 team in 2006. Georgia wasn’t too far behind with an average recruiting ranking of 7.5 during the same 4-year period, resulting in a 9-4 finish in 2006. Tommy Tuberville’s Auburn teams made the most of their top-20 average from 2002-2005, fielding an 11-2 squad in 2006. Arkansas made the SECCG in 2006 despite having an average recruiting class of 26.5 during the 4-years leading up to the 2006 season. Here are the results from the recruiting period from 2006-2009. LSU – 5.5 (11-2 in 2010) Georgia – 7.5 (6-7 in 2010) Florida – 9.0 (8-5 in 2010) Alabama – 10.8 (10-3 in 2010) coming off a BCSNC season Auburn – 12.3 (14-0 in 2010) SECC & BCSNC Tennessee – 17.8 (6-7 in 2010) South Carolina – 21.8 (9-5 in 2010) SECCG Ole Miss – 25.3 (4-8 in 2010) Arkansas – 27.0 (10-3 in 2010) Miss State – 29.5 (9-4 in 2010) Kentucky – 43.0 (6-7 in 2010) Vanderbilt – 73.5 (2-10 in 2010) LSU moved to the top of the conference in recruiting during the 4-year period (2006-2009) along with an 11-2 record in 2010. Georgia remained the second best recruiting team in the SEC during the same time period severely underachieving with a 6-7 record in 2010. The Florida Gators also underachieved in 2010 with an 8-5 record despite having a top-10 recruiting ranking during the 4 years leading up to 2010. Auburn improved their recruiting average from 20th to 12th nationally, rewarded with a BCSNC season in 2010. Alabama now under Nick Saban drastically improved their recruiting along with their winning percentage. Bobby Petrino should also receive credit for building a strong Arkansas team despite having only one top-20 finish in recruiting over the past 11 seasons. Under Gene Chizik, Auburn has improved their national recruit ranking to 9.5 over the past four seasons. This should translate to a very successful season in 2013 if Auburn’s trend in developing their talent continues. Auburn’s 2012 season should be a solid step forward in making 2013 a special year. The Tigers had a talented roster in 2011 but it was youthful requiring further experience and development, especially on the line of scrimmage. Chizik’s coaching staff has already brought home the ultimate prize in college football but that 2010 squad was sandwiched between two 8-5 teams. In order for Auburn to become and remain one of the elite teams in the conference, the Tigers must find consistency in the development of their talent. Auburn's 2012 recruit class was made up of 58 percent 4 & 5 star recruits, making it a very good class in terms of star-gazing. If my count is correct, Auburn is now sitting at 80 scholarship players going into the 2012 season. The only depth concern I see is at linebacker, where Auburn will have 9 LB's on scholarship in 2012. It would have been nice to ink one more LB but for the most part, Auburn met it's recruiting needs with this class. Now it's time to continue the development of the last 3 recruiting classes. War Eagle!
  13. Here are a few things to consider about Auburn’s Scot Loeffler. Under his supervision, his starting quarterbacks at Michigan, Florida and Temple had a TD-INT ratio of 2.34. Anything over 2.0 is very solid. Though his offense at Temple this past season appeared to be run-heavy, it would be wise to focus on the 142.8 pass rating his THREE starting quarterbacks compiled. In comparison, Auburn had an overall pass rating of 124.7. It was amazing he obtained that kind of efficiency from his quarterbacks. His run offense was No. 7 in the nation but the focus should be on his pass offense and play calling. When you consider Auburn is 49-1 over the past 12 years in games with 175-yards rushing and a QB rating of 135.0 or better, Coach Loeffler will maintain offensive balance, when it comes to efficiency. When Auburn has committed to the run, the Tigers have always been able to field a solid running game. This was the case under Pat Dye, Terry Bowden, Tommy Tuberville and Gene Chizik. The key being committed to the run. For Gene Chizik, he wanted the next offensive coordinator to have the ability to develop quarterbacks and to field an efficient pass-offense. Scot Loeffler has plenty of experience at working with quarterbacks at the collegiate and professional level. Formations: Under Scot Loeffler, Temple's offense gave the opponent multiple looks. He utilized power formations to run the ball. He used 2 and 3 TE formations as well as 4-5 WR sets. The quarterbacks played under center and in the shotgun. With his coaching stops at Michigan and Florida, Loeffler will field an offense, which will utilize the "skill" players on the field. During the 2011 season, Temple had 7 different offensive players, who had at least 6 impact plays. In comparison, Auburn had 5 different players. Their run offense generated 34 plays of 20-yards or more or 1 every 18.7 carries. The 2011 Auburn running game generated a 20-yard run every 38.3 carries. A quarterback like Kiehl Frazier will have an opportunity to thrive under Coach Loeffler, running and throwing the football. His lack of experience as an offensive coordinator is the only possible concern but he will certainly make up for it with his effort and creativity. His former employers have praised him for his diligence in preparation and his relationship with his players. He has a creative offensive mind and has built a reputation for being a solid recruiter. Based on what I was told about the interview process, Scot Loeffler must have impressed Coach Chizik in breaking down defenses. I know there has been an issue about the delay in the hiring and the questioning of the delay. Though we may never know the exact reasons for how this hiring played out, common sense would tell you Coach Chizik made the hire when he did for a legitimate reason(s). Does anyone actually believe Chizik would intentionally delay the hire with no concerns with recruiting? At this point, it makes no difference and Auburn has their coordinators in place. War Eagle Coach Loeffler and Welcome to the Auburn Family!
  14. After winning the SEC-West in 2000, Auburn’s 7-5 record in 2001 was a disappointing year but 2 of the 7 victories were memorable games. Auburn defeated the No.1 Florida Gators at home and defeated No. 19 Georgia on the road during Tommy Tuberville’s third season on the plains. The Tigers were coming off a 42-17 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks, taking full advantage of their bye-week to prepare for the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. Coach Mark Richt was in his first year at Georgia and his team was coming off a 24-10 loss to the Florida Gators. Like Auburn, Georgia also had a bye-week before the meeting, giving both teams an extra week to prepare for one another. The Bulldogs scored on the third offensive snap of the game with David Greene hooking up with Fred Gibson on a 67-yard touchdown pass. Auburn tied the game during the first period with a 9-play, 59-yard touchdown drive. Freshman, Carnell Williams scored on a 1-yard run to tie the game. Georgia took a 14-7 halftime lead with Greene connecting on another long touchdown pass, this time to Terrance Edwards from 56-yards out. Georgia had 191-yards by halftime but 126 of those yards came on two plays. Auburn had 126-yards at halftime but one possession ended in a fumble and a second possession ended with a missed field goal. Auburn tied the game on the opening possession of the second half, marching 80-yards on 12 plays with Daniel Cobb connecting on a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Robert Johnson. On their third possession of the second half, Auburn marched 53-yards on 9 plays, scoring on a Damon Duval 32-yard field goal to take their first lead of the game, 17-14. Georgia tied the game 2 possessions later, kicking a 43-yard field goal with 8:28 remaining in the game. The drive was set up after Auburn failed on a 4th down conversion at the Georgia 31-yard line. Auburn retook the lead on the subsequent possession, with a 5 play, 78-yard touchdown drive. The highlight of the drive was a 61-yard screen pass from Cobb to Williams. Williams scored his second touchdown of the game from 1-yard out to give Auburn a 24-17 lead. Georgia came close to scoring two times during the last 6:47 of the game. Georgia marched 71-yards on 11 plays but was held on downs at the Auburn 9-yard line. During their last possession of the game, the Bulldogs traveled 44-yards on 5 plays but Jasper Sanks was tackled for no gain at the Auburn 1-yard line as time expired. Carnell set a school record with 41 carries against the Bulldogs, netting 167-yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns. He also had 4 receptions for 71-yards. Cobb was 14 of 22 in passing for 193-yards and 1 TD pass but he was sacked 6 times during the game. Dontarrious Thomas had 15 tackles during the game as the Auburn defense held the Bulldogs to just 73-yards rushing. Both teams had 375-yards of total offense but Georgia was held to 2 of 12 on third-down conversions. The victory put Auburn at 7-2 on the season but sadly; it would be their last victory of the season. Beat Georgia!