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  1. * Auburn has gone 24 consecutive games without the starting quarterback passing for at least 200-yards during a game. Barrett Trotter was the last QB to do so, coming against Utah State during 2011. You would have to go back to 1982 through 1984 for the last 24-game drought without 200-yards passing. * Auburn has gone 95 consecutive games without having a 200-yard rusher during a game from the runningback position. Kenny Irons (2005-LSU) was the last RB to accomplish the feat. * Auburn has gone 63 consecutive games without a shutout. The last coming against La.-Monroe in 2008. * Auburn has gone 293 consecutive games without having a player with 20 tackles during a game. The last Auburn defender to do so was Jason Miska against Vanderbilt in 1993. * Auburn has gone 119 consecutive games without hanging 70 points on an opponent. The last time this happened was against La.-Monroe in 2003. * Auburn has gone 17 consecutive games without holding an FBS opponent under 100-yards rushing during a game. The 2011 Florida game was the last time the Auburn defense clamped down on the opponent's run-offense. During Auburn's last 17 games against FBS opponents, the Tigers have surrendered 209-yards rushing per game. * Auburn has gone 40 consecutive conference games without shutting out an sec opponent during the first half. The last time this happened was against Mississippi State in 2008. * During Auburn's last 15 games against an FBS opponent, the Tigers have been outscored 131 to 49 during the first quarter. This includes a current 7-game streak without scoring a single first quarter point. Magnifying the issue is the fact Auburn has been outscored 101 to 37 in the 4th period during their last 15 FBS games. * During the last 100 quarters of Auburn football (25 games), Auburn has been held scoreless in 40, while holding their opponent to 24 scoreless quarters. Just to show how far Auburn has fallen in defense, the Tigers held their opponent scoreless in 169 of 356 quarters from 2002-2008 (47.5%). From 2009-2012, Auburn held their opponent scoreless in 56 of 208 quarters (26.9%).
  2. On what might be the worst Auburn offense during the modern era of college football, Tre Mason has been one of the few bright spots this season. According to his position coach (Curtis Luper), Mason has worked very hard to be where he is at this point of his career. Though the offense has not given the fans much to celebrate, Tre Mason has shown flashes of greatness resulting in most fans wanting to see more of the sophomore running back. Through 7 games, Mason has accounted for 55.4 percent of Auburn's rushing totals, the 5th highest percentage by an Auburn player over the past 52 seasons. The stretch play... Auburn's bread & butter running play this season has been the stretch play, where Tre Mason has excelled. Against Vanderbilt, Tre Mason had runs of 17, 11, 10 and 34 and his 17-yard run is displayed above. The key to success was the blocks made by Patrick Miller and Brandon Fulse to create a running lane. Tre Mason breaks out into the secondary, following Jay Prosch, who takes out the safety dropping down in run support. Goal line touchdown... On this play Auburn has the ball at the 1-yard line, second and goal. Auburn comes out in a 3-TE set with an offset I-formation. The plan is to simply overload the left side of the line with 2-TE's, a pulling guard and a lead fullback. Tre Mason will follow Chad Slade into the end zone for a rare red zone touchdown.
  3. With the losses of Avery Young and Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn will need Patrick Miller and CJ Uzomah to step up to fill the voids left behind. Though Miller and Uzomah still have some physical growing up to do, their work ethic cannot be questioned. Auburn's biggest gain against Vanderbilt involved the great play of both players. The play... On this play Auburn faces a 2nd & 4 from their own 26-yard line. Auburn will run off tackle from an Ace Formation with CJ Uzomah and Patrick Miller opening up a gaping hole for Tre Mason to dart through. Bringing Onterio McCalebb in motion over the top of the formation and Jay Prosch blocking the backside, freezes the LB's, allowing Tre Mason to pop into the secondary. On the play Tre Mason has one man to beat once through the "C" gap and he is able to cut inside and through the safety dropping down in run support. He then races laterally across the field towards the sideline, where he extends the play for a 34-yard gain. In frame #3, you can see Uzomah taking out the OLB and Patrick Miller crushing the DE. Both players are still trying to find that level of consistency in their game but they have shown loads of potential in terms of their effort to improve as individual players. Different angle... This view reveals how the Vandy MLB (#36) is initially in position to play the "C" gap but he takes himself out of position because of McCalebb and Prosch moving in the opposite direction. This is why I believe it is important to have more plays designed with both RB's on the field. The play also reveals how physical Tre Mason can play despite being 5-9, 195. He's always quick to the hole and he has great vision to transition into the secondary once he has an opening to work with.
  4. Auburn's defense has struggled against spread offenses this season and the zone-read has been difficult to stop for the Tigers. Ole Miss and Vanderbilt found success on the ground against the Tigers, something Auburn must improve on. On this occasion, Brian VanGorder calls a line stunt and a CB blitzing off the edge to defend the zone-read play. The play... Vanderbilt has a 1st & 10 at the Auburn 33, set to run their zone-read. At the snap, Gabe Wright and run a stunt with Wright going outside and Corey Lemonier looping over the top of Wright but not attacking the line. Angelo Blackson beats the center inside as the hand off is made to the RB. The QB reads the outside containment and gives to the back, who is immediately under duress from Angelo Blackson. The RB attempts to cut to his right but now faces Jonathan Mincy blitzing off the edge. Mincy gave a presnap look of covering the slot-WR but blitzes at the snap with Daren Bates jumping outside to cover the slot-WR. The RB is now trapped in the backfield and a fumble is forced, which is recovered by the Tigers. Though Auburn's offense was unable to score off the turnover the defense did manage to snuff out a Vanderbilt scoring drive.
  5. One of the bright moments on defense against Vandy was a 4th down stop Auburn made during the second quarter of the Vanderbilt game, setting up a short field for the offense. Vanderbilt utilizes a tight formation in an attempt to run for the first down but the Tigers obtained penetration in the backfield and held the play for a short loss. The play set up Auburn's only touchdown drive of the game, which gave Auburn the lead, though it would not last for very long. The play... On this play, Vanderbilt faces a 4th & 1 at the Auburn 47-yard line. The Commodores come out in an unbalanced line with 2-TE's and a FB. Just before the snap, Vandy's QB signals to the backfield, which way the run will go. Cassanova McKinzy tips off the defense to which direction the play will come after observing the QB's signal. At the snap, McKinzy knifes through the "B" gap into the backfield but misses the RB but he does force him outside. Demetruce McNeal steps down in run support and is able to make initial contact with the RB at the line of scrimmage. McNeal holds on until Jonathan Mincy and Chris Davis arrive to finish off the play. McNeal is the 2nd leading tackler on the team this season with 62 tackles in the last 6 games. The Vanderbilt game marked the 3rd time this season he has led the team in tackles and he is currently 2nd on the team with 5 tackles for loss. Different angle... This angle shows how the RB was forced outside by McKinzy's penetration into the backfield and how Demetruce McNeal was able to work his way past the FB to make the critical stop on the Vanderbilt RB.
  6. For the seventh game in a row Auburn could not get out of it's own way taking two steps backwards for every positive step gained. Whether it is a missed tackle, penalty or turnover, Auburn has found a way to self-destruct, which points to a poorly prepared and coached team. Though the game was competitive and went down to the wire, one should not lose sight of the level of competition faced this Saturday. This Auburn team lost to a 2-4 Vanderbilt team that did everything it could to give away the game as the Tigers have slowly transformed into one of the worst teams in school history. Other than special teams, is there a position on this team performing better since the start of the season? Even during a losing season, a team can actually improve in some aspects but it would be difficult to make a case here in regards to Auburn. At 1-6 on the season, Auburn could still become bowl eligible but the odds of this happening are as good as me winning the lottery and I don't play the lottery. You have to hate it for the young men that suit up to play the game because they are simply a byproduct of a failed system for the most part. One could argue at the end of the day, the players are responsible for execution but persistent poor execution is often the result of poor preparation and coaching. In some areas the youth movement has been the culprit for poor performances but should this be an issue in year No. 4 of the current coaching staff? I have no doubt the coaches have worked diligently to resolve some of the problems but it doesn't mean the solutions implemented are the right ones. This team did not fall apart overnight for it took several years to get to where they are now. Sometimes a team must bottom out before they can expect to rise up again and I fear this is the case for the 2012 Auburn Tigers. We will likely see continued personnel changes but it won't likely make much difference until development and schematic issues are addressed. It's equivalent to placing a band aid on a gunshot wound. You have to win to develop a winning environment and the same can be said about losing. Once a team develops poor habits and begins to lose, its often difficult to pull out of the tailspin. The concern now falls upon a coaching staff that steered this team into the wrong direction and might not possess the ability to take control again. In reality, we are seeing the final product on the field but have been blind to the issues behind closed doors. Inside the Numbers... * During the 2009 season, Auburn completed 10 TD passes on first down during 13 games. In Auburn's last 20 games, the Tigers have thrown just one. Auburn's current pass-rating on first down is 14th best over the past 21 seasons. * Auburn currently has a pass-rating of 81.3 on third down, the worst rating by an Auburn offense over the past 20 years. * Though Cassanova McKinzy had a solid performance in his first start, Daren Bates had his least productive game this season. With Bates making the majority of calls this week, it's possible the extra responsibility might have slowed Bates productivity just as it did for Jake Holland. * 80 Percent of Clint Moseley's pass attempts were within 10-yards of the line of scrimmage against Vanderbilt. Though he completed 11 of his 13 passes on first and second downs, he averaged only 5.2 yards per attempt. * Auburn's defensive line accounted for a season low, 8.7 percent of the team's tackles. The previous low was 18.8 percent against Arkansas. * Once again, Auburn lost the tackle for loss battle with 10 tackles for loss on offense and only 4 on defense. During their last 18 games, Auburn has won the TFL battle only 2 times. * Prior to today, Auburn had compiled a 27-3 record since 1992 with a plus-3 turnover margin, including 13 straight victories. * During the first 4 games of the season the Auburn defense had allowed 6.5 impact plays (15-yds or more) per game. During their last 3 games, they are allowing 9.7. * Auburn's offense has either a turnover or loss of yardage every 5.6 snaps. * Since 1992, Auburn's TD percentage inside the red zone is 60.4 percent. This season, Auburn's TD percentage inside the red zone is 29.4 percent, the lowest percentage during this time period. * Prior to Gene Chizik inserting himself in the play-calling on offense, Auburn went "3 & out" 25 percent of the time. They are now going "3 & out" 40 percent of the time. * The last time an Auburn had only 1 offensive series that netted at least 30-yards during a game was the 2008 Alabama game. * Corey Lemonier has 1 tackle during the last 2 games. * The secondary has been responsible for 49.7 percent of the team's tackles this season. Against Vanderbilt, the secondary accounted for 62.3 percent, a season high. * Since Clint Moseley has replaced Kiehl Frazier, 52.5% of his pass attempts have been within 5-yards of the line of scrimmage. With Frazier as the starter, 48.5 percent of his pass attempts were intermediate to long range attempts, compared to Moseley's 25.5 percent. Final Word... A 1-6 start will definitely open the door for staff changes for 2013 but how bad does it have to get to make a complete change? For those making that decision, the question should not be whether or not Gene Chizik should be retained but whether or not they believe Chizik can turn the program around. I believe it's imperative that Chizik produce a short-term yet detailed plan on how he would correct Auburn's issues before considering his future as Auburn's head coach. The concern is not the current state of the program but how it arrived here. Before anything can be repaired a sound diagnosis must be completed to determine the correct solution. This is my fear of retaining Coach Chizik at this point. Though I believe his intent to build the program into a contender was present, all of Auburn's shortcomings fall upon his feet. If he was too short sighted in the first place to recognize he was losing control of the program, how can we now expect him to find his way? If you were the victim of a botched surgery, would you allow the same doctor to correct his mistakes or seek the assistance and guidance of another surgeon? This is not about whether or not Gene Chizik is a good man but whether or not he is the right fit to lead Auburn's football program. He brought Auburn a national championship and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts. He was also paid to maintain a high level of consistency, something he has failed to accomplish. If the decision is made to retain Coach Chizik but with major changes to his current staff, what are the odds of him making home run hires with 4-5 new coaches? What assistant coach would be willing to step into a situation, where it could be a one and done situation if the team struggles again in 2013? Money can be a huge motivator but established or proven assistants also want job security and the comfort of knowing that they will be given time to make all the needed repairs and changes. This could be an obstacle difficult to overcome with a lame duck in place at head coach. Again, taking this option would require the assurance that Gene Chizik truly recognizes the team's primary issues and how to address them. Is there anything in his work history that would indicate he can do this? At this point, the team can only play for pride the remainder of the season but it's obvious certain folks will need to come to an important decision regarding Auburn's future. I'm grateful I don't have to make that decision because there are no guarantees on any decision made. I've seen enough Auburn football in my lifetime to know that Auburn can and will overcome this season with or without Gene Chizik calling the shots. This thought alone brings some comfort but until changes are made, it will be difficult to be excited about Auburn football in its current state. You don't have to be an expert or coach to know this isn't close to Auburn football and the players are deserving of better leadership. As fans all we can do right now is support the players as they continue to battle through this nightmare of a season. War Eagle!
  7. If Auburn is going to have offensive success against Vanderbilt it will primarily come from the running game. Vanderbilt has been very solid against the pass but have been gashed by opposing run-offenses. The Tigers must remain committed to their running game, something they strayed away from during the second half of the Ole Miss game. During the first half of the Ole Miss game, Auburn ran the ball 81 percent of the time on first down, scoring 17 points. During the second half, Auburn ran the ball 62 percent of the time on first down before Ole Miss extended their lead to 34-20. Auburn scored only 3 points during the second half. Onterio McCalebb... Onterio McCalebb has had more success than not running from the I-formation. The majority of his negative plays have come, when Auburn sends McCalebb to the edge on perimeter plays. When he has lined up in the I-formation, McCalebb has run the stretch-play, sweep and toss-sweep. On this play, Auburn lines up in an I-formation but after a safety cheats up to come off the edge, Auburn shifts Philip Lutzenkirchen from right to left and Jay Prosch moves out of the I to set Auburn up in an Ace formation. At the snap, Prosch picks up the safety off the edge and Emory Blake drives the CB outside to give McCalebb an inside running lane. McCalebb gained 8-yards on a first down play. Tre Mason & Onterio McCalebb... More sets with both backs on the field at the same time, forces the defense to focus on both backs rather than one. With Clint Moseley starting for the second week, it increases the need to have an extra set of feet on the field to keep the running game alive. The above play is a prime example of the defense having to defend both running options. The Tigers have found previous success with the end-around play with McCalebb, so the defense has to freeze for a split second to defend both run options. On this play, Tre Mason takes the inside hand off, cutting back away from the "B" gap to a running lane behind the over pursuing Ole Miss defense. The play also was keyed by a Jay Prosch block on the backside against the opposing DE. Tre Mason once again needs to be the focus of the running game but Mike Blakely needs to be involved this week to keep Mason fresh.
  8. I'll start it. Vanderbilt won't be ready for this team to come out and play with fire and tenacity unlike they have this season thus far. Vanderbilt won't be ready for the scoreboard at the end of the game to have them LOSE.
  9. Ratio of run plays of 10-yards on offense (Top-5): Alabama: 1 every 6.39 attempts LSU: 6.80 Ole Miss: 6.88 Auburn: 6.93 Vanderbilt: 6.98 Ratio of run plays of 20-yards on offense (Top-5): Alabama: 1 every 15.26 attempts Florida: 23.94 Vanderbilt: 24.26 Georgia: 26.85 LSU: 26.86 (Auburn was No. 9 at 41.00) Ratio of pass plays of 15-yards or more on offense (Top-5): Arkansas: 1 every 4.68 attempts Alabama: 4.89 Georgia: 5.66 Auburn: 5.85 Florida: 5.96 Ratio of pass plays of 25-yards or more on offense (Top-5): Vanderbilt: 1 every 11.14 attempts Auburn: 12.81 Arkansas: 13.75 LSU: 13.79 Georgia: 13.86 Ratio of run plays of 10-yards or more on defense (Top-5): Alabama: 1 every 17.10 attempts Florida: 9.22 LSU: 9.04 South Carolina: 8.86 Miss State: 8.16 (Auburn was No. 10 at 6.86) Ratio of run plays of 20-yards or more on defense (Top-5): Alabama: 1 every 71.80 attempts South Carolina: 63.29 LSU: 60.71 Vanderbilt: 47.67 Georgia: 45.67 (Auburn was No. 8 at 33.40) Ratio of pass plays of 15-yards or more on defense (Top-5): Alabama: 1 every 12.19 attempts South Carolina: 8.68 LSU: 8.40 Arkansas: 8.38 Miss State: 7.57 (Auburn was No. 9 at 6.68) Ratio of pass plays of 25-yards or more on defense (Top-5): Miss State: 1 every 35.09 attempts LSU: 33.58 South Carolina: 30.00 Alabama: 26.42 Georgia: 23.69 (Auburn was No. 9 at 17.70)
  10. The following scores are based on scoring averages and scoring margins against BCS opponents only. I take the scoring averages of both teams and compare to the opponent’s scoring margins, which gives me two possible scores to the game. 01) Arkansas over Kansas State, 39-31 (Arkansas, 33-30 and Arkansas, 45-32) Kansas State faced the 16th most difficult schedule and Arkansas faced the 31st. Both scores favor Arkansas by 3-13 points. 02) Alabama over LSU, 14-13 (Alabama, 13-12 and Alabama, 15-13) LSU faced the most difficult schedule in 2011 and Alabama is not too far behind at No. 8. Both scores favor Alabama by 1-2 points, which means another tight ball game. I believe we actually see an offensive touchdown in the rematch but I expect both teams to score under 20 points. 03) Ohio State over Florida, 21-20 (Ohio State, 23-16 and Florida, 23-19) This appears to be a great match up, with the comparison projecting an Ohio State victory by 7-points and a Florida victory by 4 points. The Gators faced the more difficult schedule this season, ranked No. 32 and the Buckeyes ranked No. 64. The difference in strength of schedule could mean a Florida victory despite the projected Ohio State victory. 04) Michigan State over Georgia, 23-22 (Michigan State, 23-19 and Georgia, 25-22) Another great match up based on the above scores. Michigan State is projected to win by 4-points and Georgia by 3-points. Once again, strength of schedule swings this game in favor of the Bulldogs, with UGA facing the 18th most difficult schedule and the Spartans ranked No. 36. Georgia has the better defense, which will likely be the difference in the game. 05) Vanderbilt vs. Cincinnati, 23-23 (Vanderbilt, 25-22 and Cincinnati, 24-21) This one is so close it could overtime, which would be fitting to Vanderbilt’s season. They have fought through numerous close games in 2011 and their bowl game will likely end in the same fashion. 06) South Carolina over Nebraska, 26-18 (USC, 28-17 and USC, 23-19) The scoring margins and averages project a victory from 4-11 points. The Gamecock defense was stellar this season and should be plenty enough to dispatch the Cornhusker offense. I thought Coach Spurrier did a great job of overcoming the dismissal of his starting quarterback and the loss of Marcus Lattimore to an injury. 07) Virginia over Auburn, 24-22 (Virginia, 26-18 and Auburn, 25-22) Another solid match up with the numbers indicating a close Auburn victory by 3-points or a Cavalier victory by 8-points. The overall number comparison favors Virginia but it’s important to consider the strength of schedule. Auburn faced the 4th most difficult schedule in the country and Virginia competed against the 88th most difficult schedule. If it goes down to the wire, Auburn is 11-3 under Gene Chizik in games decided by 7-points or less. 08) Wake Forest over Miss State, 22-21 (Wake Forest, 24-19 and MSU, 23-19) The scoring margins and averages indicate another close game with Wake Forest favored by 5 in one comparison and the Bulldogs favored by 4 in the other comparison. Strength of schedule and defense gives the edge to the Bulldogs, despite what the scoring comparison projects. Save your money and don't count on the above to win you the bowl game lottery. I do see the SEC bowl games as very good match ups based on scoring averages and scoring margins.
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