Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Midseason review: Auburn
By Chris Low
Record: (1-5, 0-4 SEC)
Things can obviously change very quickly in the SEC, but it’s stunning to see how far Auburn has fallen just two years removed from winning a national championship. That 2010 title is but a fleeting memory these days on the Plains. Auburn has won just one game this season and had to hold on for dear life to win that one over Louisiana-Monroe. It’s been a struggle the entire way on offense, as the Tigers haven’t been able to generate any firepower in first-year coordinator Scot Loeffler’s new system. They made a change at quarterback this past week and replaced Kiehl Frazier with Clint Moseley, but the results were the same. In six games, the Tigers’ quarterbacks have combined for three touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Auburn’s also the only team in the SEC averaging fewer than 300 yards per game in total offense. All of the Tigers’ woes can’t be blamed on the quarterback position, either. The offensive line has had its own issues and has allowed 19 sacks, which is tied for last in the league. Defensively, it hasn’t been much better. The Tigers are ranked 12th in the league in total defense. They played their best game against LSU in a 12-10 loss, but have given up an average of 31 points in their other three SEC contests. Going back to last season, the Tigers have now lost six straight SEC games and seven of their last eight. Fourth-year coach Gene Chizik is hearing it from the fans, too, and it’s only going to get worse if the Tigers limp to the finish. It’s telling that they’re a touchdown underdog to Vanderbilt this week. A loss in Nashville would likely mean a winless season in the SEC, which hasn’t happen at Auburn in more than 30 years.
Offensive MVP: WR Emory Blake. There just hasn’t been much to get excited about on offense. The Tigers have scored only nine offensive touchdowns in their first six games. The only semblance of consistency has come from Blake. That is, when the Tigers have been able to get him the ball. He leads the team with 26 catches for 378 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensive MVP: LB Daren Bates. Junior defensive end Corey Lemonier has the best sack totals, but Bates has been a better all-around defender to this point. He has an SEC-leading 70 total tackles and leads the Tigers with 5.5 tackles for loss. He also has an interception and has recovered a fumble.