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StatTiger

Upon Further Review -Mississippi State Game

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  • 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!

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Stat, those are some truly miserable offensive numbers.  I find the offensive stats so far to be...offensive.  In 1998 when AU went through like four or five centers and Ben Leard was beat to a pulp and our Tigers opened against UT with an option (!!) attack and still took the Volunteers to the wire in UT's championship season, I kind of understood.  In 2011 with a new QB plus a new offensive line as I watched first Barrett Trotter and then Clint Moseley get beat up so bad that they both became "chuck and cover" QB's, I kind of understood.  In 2012, well...I ain't gonna say I understood that.

In watching the games the issues with the OL are apparent. What I don't get at all are the issues with Stidham. When the receiver is open by 15 or 20 yards and no one is really in the QB's face, how does he miss so badly?

From AL.com today...

Quote

Stidham matched Fitzgerald's rushes with one overthrown pass after another.

The play calling was there. Malzahn and offensive coordinator Chip Lindsay drew up a few plays that should have been easy touchdowns. But Stidham couldn't connect.

He badly overthrew Darius Slayton in the first half on a trick play so perfect that Slayton was 20 yards wide open. Slayton was again wide open in the end zone with 11:39 left in the fourth quarter, but Stidham's pass was too high and Slayton had it knocked away trying get his toes inbounds.

What in the hell is going on? It is just a game, but I was really looking forward to being entertained by some winning Tigers.  I don't blame JB Grimes.  Think he's about as good a technique guy as an OL coach as there is.  Kevin Steele's defense sort of got it taken to them against MSU, but with time of possession being what it was (or wasn't to be more precise), hard to cast blame there.

I won't join the "Fire Gus!" crowd just yet.  But I ain't so sure I might not pitch in on a moving van for Chip.  And I'm just about ready to say that Stidham should sit until he recovers from shell shock.  He isn't the QB he was.  He's reminding me of Sean White (whom I liked), but without the fire.

Edited by CleCoTiger
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7 hours ago, CleCoTiger said:

Stat, those are some truly miserable offensive numbers.  I find the offensive stats so far to be...offensive.  In 1998 when AU went through like four or five centers and Ben Leard was beat to a pulp and our Tigers opened against UT with an option (!!) attack and still took the Volunteers to the wire in UT's championship season, I kind of understood.  In 2011 with a new QB plus a new offensive line as I watched first Barrett Trotter and then Clint Moseley get beat up so bad that they both became "chuck and cover" QB's, I kind of understood.  In 2012, well...I ain't gonna say I understood that.

In watching the games the issues with the OL are apparent. What I don't get at all are the issues with Stidham. When the receiver is open by 15 or 20 yards and no one is really in the QB's face, how does he miss so badly?

From AL.com today...

What in the hell is going on? It is just a game, but I was really looking forward to being entertained by some winning Tigers.  I don't blame JB Grimes.  Think he's about as good a technique guy as an OL coach as there is.  Kevin Steele's defense sort of got it taken to them against MSU, but with time of possession being what it was (or wasn't to be more precise), hard to cast blame there.

I won't join the "Fire Gus!" crowd just yet.  But I ain't so sure I might not pitch in on a moving van for Chip.  And I'm just about ready to say that Stidham should sit until he recovers from shell shock.  He isn't the QB he was.  He's reminding me of Sean White (whom I liked), but without the fire.

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?

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Chip is half right about the screens.  They worked a couple times on 3rd and long amazingly but the 1st down bubble screen to Ryan Davis is getting stale.  From the stands It was obvious it was coming and Miss State blew it up repeatedly in the 2nd half.  

The most effective play I saw all night was the 7 yard pass to the sideline to Davis or Slayton.  

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3 minutes ago, Win4AU said:

Chip is half right about the screens.  They worked a couple times on 3rd and long amazingly but the 1st down bubble screen to Ryan Davis is getting stale.  From the stands It was obvious it was coming and Miss State blew it up repeatedly in the 2nd half.  

The most effective play I saw all night was the 7 yard pass to the sideline to Davis or Slayton.  

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.

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26 minutes ago, StatTiger said:

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?

Thanks. Your erudite words provide food for thought. 

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1 minute ago, StatTiger said:

 

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.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on what I feel is a better field stretcher than the screen and that is the jet sweep to Schwartz or Stove.  Not only does it stretch the D and keep LBs from crashing the middle but it also sets up the inside runs and play action deep like you mentioned above which are staples to this offense.  The lack of that play compared to years past is a head scratcher.

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2 hours ago, StatTiger said:

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.

/thread

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The screens work more than they don’t. The problem with our offense is nearly every possession we waste a play or two either with a bad call missed assignment or both and don’t recover. It’s inconsistency. The blame can be spread around pretty evenly too. JS is not seeing the field and not placing the ball well when he does. He is a good “ thrower of the ball” just not a great qb. Maybe not all his fault but it is what it is. We need him to make plays. He is not even hitting freshman tds. 

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23 hours ago, StatTiger said:

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.

Ouch.

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Does anyone other than Ryan Davis ever catch screen passes? lol If he wasn't as quick as he is, every screen we throw would be for 2 yards or less.

While I agree that tempo is important for this offense, it's also important to actually do more in tempo than run the ball up the middle of the defense when we get a big first down. We're already struggling to run the football so why waste a down by doing something everyone and their mother can see coming? It'd be different if we actually did try to throw the ball more, or do a jet sweep, or anything other than run up the middle on those plays but nope... just hand it off for 2 yards or less.

I wish we had someone competent to step in for Stidham, but I don't think Malik is the answer there. He seems to be a one trick pony but doesn't even read the zone well enough to be effective. And who knows what Cord can/can't do.

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9 minutes ago, RunInRed said:

When's the last time Auburn failed to rush for 100-yards in three consecutive games?

I want to take a stab at this and say 2008! lol

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11 hours ago, RunInRed said:

When's the last time Auburn failed to rush for 100-yards in three consecutive games?

I think Cole Cubelic said September 1999 on twitter.  Even in 2008 and 2012 we were moderately successful running the ball.

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16 hours ago, RunInRed said:

When's the last time Auburn failed to rush for 100-yards in three consecutive games?

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.

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19 minutes ago, StatTiger said:

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.

Oooh, I was so close! lol But 10 consecutive without 100 yards?? I must have blocked that entire season out of my mind.

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23 minutes ago, Linayus said:

Oooh, I was so close! lol But 10 consecutive without 100 yards?? I must have blocked that entire season out of my mind.

Yeah that was Tub's first season when he had to make use of those "monsters" that Baby Bowden liked to recruit, trying to become FSU, Rusty Williams & Clifton Robinson. Markeith Cooper & that Nebraska tranfer everybody was excited about, Michael Owens.

It was so bad the leading rusher that year was Fullback Heath Evans at 330 yards (FOR THE SEASON).  He also led in avg at 3.5 ypc...

I'm starting to fear Gus is going to set Auburn back as much as Bowden did...

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17 minutes ago, AUsince72 said:

Yeah that was Tub's first season when he had to make use of those "monsters" that Baby Bowden liked to recruit, trying to become FSU, Rusty Williams & Clifton Robinson. Markeith Cooper & that Nebraska tranfer everybody was excited about, Michael Owens.

It was so bad the leading rusher that year was Fullback Heath Evans at 330 yards (FOR THE SEASON).  He also led in avg at 3.5 ypc...

I'm starting to fear Gus is going to set Auburn back as much as Bowden did...

Yep.. definitely blocked that one out. lol

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19 minutes ago, AUsince72 said:

I'm starting to fear Gus is going to set Auburn back as much as Bowden did...

That's bad, and sad, but true.

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1 minute ago, cctiger said:

That's bad, and sad, but true.

I only gave "like", only cuz I agree. I try not to give facepalms LOL!

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1 hour ago, StatTiger said:

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.

Thanks!  1999 ... Rusty Williams ... those were the days.

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2 hours ago, AUsince72 said:

I'm starting to fear Gus is going to set Auburn back as much as Bowden did...

Nah, The reason is took a while to get on track after Tot was because his recruiting was awful!

With Gus, he has continued to recruit very well for the most part, he just can’t do jack with the players once they get here.  A new coach, who is a good teacher, with a good game plan, could take this team and make them world beaters very soon!

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3 minutes ago, AUpreacherman22 said:

Nah, The reason is took a while to get on track after Tot was because his recruiting was awful!

With Gus, he has continued to recruit very well for the most part, he just can’t do jack with the players once they get here.  A new coach, who is a good teacher, with a good game plan, could take this team and make them world beaters very soon!

I agree in theory.  Unfortunately, we're stuck with Gus for at least another, or 2 years, due to the buyout.  If this team IS (big IF) quitting on him, that's going to set recruiting back until he's gone.  He may very well leave here with a recruiting mess too...

I can't seriously see another big time WR coming here, he won't recruit (or at least play) the type QB he needs, running backs are okay but apparently they're not recruiting top notch OL so...

Edited by AUsince72

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Just now, AUsince72 said:

I agree in theory.  Unfortunately, we're stuck with Gus for at least another, or 2 years, due to the buyout.  If this team IS (big IF) quitting on him, that's going to set recruiting back until he's gone.  He may very well leave here with a recruiting mess...

That’s true.  It could possibly turn into a recruiting issue/talent issue before he’s done.  But I’m hoping a change will be made before that happens.  🤞

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5 minutes ago, AUpreacherman22 said:

That’s true.  It could possibly turn into a recruiting issue/talent issue before he’s done.  But I’m hoping a change will be made before that happens.  🤞

We all do Preach, I promise.  I'd love nothing better than for the offense to come out Sat with a totally different look.  Heck, I'd LOVE to see MW get the start....why not at this point.  Just try SOMETHING... ANYTHING... different.

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