Auburn Football

Auburn Football: Don't Panic About the Tigers' Defensive Debacle in the Dome

Auburn DB Ryan White (left) and Clemson RB Andre Ellington
Auburn DB Ryan White (left) and Clemson RB Andre EllingtonKevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 4, 2012

New defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is supposed to be the man that turns around Auburn's defensive woes.

After one week of work, it looks like it's going to be a long journey.

VanGorder's defense was torched by the Clemson Tigers on Saturday to the tune of 528 yards, including 231 rushing yards by Andre Ellington.

That's Ted Roof-esque.

But it wasn't VanGorder's scheme that was the problem; it was the fundamentals.

Auburn can't tackle.

Ellington's highlight-reel 68-yard run in the second quarter came after Auburn linebacker Jake Holland had him wrapped up. That was one of several missed tackles by Auburn throughout the entire game.

That falls on coaching, but it's correctable—at least, theoretically.

But there's no need to panic about the defense just yet.

While Ellington's yardage, DeAndre Hopkins' catches and several key drops by Clemson will be talked about ad nauseam, VanGorder's scheme still worked.

Auburn got Clemson in situations of 3rd-and-5-or-more yards nine times. Boyd and Co. converted three of those chances and added a nine-yard gain that led to a fourth-down conversion.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was 4-of-7 for 54 yards, and rushed eight times for 20 yards on third downs against Auburn.

Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap to the man that beat you.

Boyd beat Auburn on Saturday night.

For Auburn to rebound this weekend vs. Mississippi State, it can't start doubting the scheme. The scheme isn't the problem.

Tackling, however, is an issue. While that seems to be an epidemic in all of college football and not just Auburn, it's not time for the Tigers to press the panic button unless it becomes a trend under this regime.

If the Tigers struggle with fundamentals in this week's matchup against Mississippi State, then it might be time to start panicking because a trend would then be developing.


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