Progress Report: Auburn vs LSU

Posted by AUBurns | 3:48 PM | 0 comments »

Offense: Chris Todd had his best game of the year. He made several big throws, including the go-ahead touchdown late in the game, and he actually ran the football for good yardage. The receivers also had their best game: several fine catches, and many times when they were wide open. The offensive line had their worst game. The running game had trouble getting going, and Todd was subjected to big-time pressure at critical moments. Yes, LSU was the best defensive front Auburn has seen so far; indeed, they are the best defensive front Auburn will see for until the Georgia game. Try telling that to Hugh Nall.

Defense: The best defensive play Auburn made was Gabe McKenzie's interception and return for a touchdown. "Hey Coach Franklin, who says I can't catch the football?" (not an actual quote). Tommy Trott was one of the first to congratulate him. Nice moment.
The worst defensive play Auburn made occurred when Jaroud Powers knocked Andrew Hatch into la-la land. Up to that point, Auburn had the LSU offense contained and Jaret Lee was not going to change that. Suddenly, with Hatch no longer breathing down his neck or looking over his shoulder, Lee came alive. Sigh, that's football. Good play for Jaroud, crummy result for Auburn.
When Lee came in, Auburn wasn't able to get enough pressure to stop a quarterback who was completely in the zone. Tom Brady thought Jaret Lee made great plays (joke). Defensive backs can only do so much; you have to have an effective pass run to stop a quarterback like that. It also behoves you, as a defense, to not give up a long touchdown on a halfback pass. Yes, it was perfectly executed, but as a general rule, that is the kind of thing that happens to other defenses, not yours.
But most demoralizing of all was the was the way LSU's running game and Charles Scott wore down the Auburn defense. On all of those 5+ yard runs Scott had, Auburn had hands on him from the line of scrimmage up to the point when he finally wen down. Yes, I know Scott is a beast. Try telling that to Paul Rhodes.

Special Teams: This was simply our worst special teams performance this year, and I hope we don't have a worse one. The punting was not good, and the punt return was non-existant (the latter requiring credit to a good LSU punter and coverage team). The kicker (sorry) here was the onside kick. You simply cannot allow any team, much less a team as good as LSU, get an onside kick like that. Yes, the defense made LSU go three-and-out, which was magnificent work considering they had just given up a touchdown. Nevertheless, a major shift in field position occurred from which the offense did not recover; at least, not until after LSU had put another three points on the board. Auburn, of course, had no reason to expect an onside kick at that moment. Try telling that to Eddie Gran. (Besides, does "unexpected" ever apply to Les Miles anymore?)

Coaching: I'm not going to include this section in my progress reports anymore. I realized after this game that I don't really analyze in-game decisions, and this spot in the post would simply degenerate into a discussion of whether or not Tony Franklin's decision to let Chris Todd play to whole game was good one. I think I know why Tony (and Tuberville) made that decision, and I may explain my view in a later post. I'm not going to tell you that we would have won if Kodi Burns was playing, and I'm not interested in throwing Chris Todd, Tommy Tuberville or Tony Franklin under the bus because we lost.