Auburn Football: Why Kiehl Frazier Is Key to Tigers Avoiding Upset vs. ULM

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 11, 2012

Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier
Auburn QB Kiehl FrazierButch Dill/Getty Images

The Kiehl Frazier era at Auburn hasn't gotten off to the most sterling of starts for the Auburn Tigers.

The sophomore signal-caller is only completing 49 percent of his passes in 2012, with 319 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

His first-half performance vs. Mississippi State, in which he had minus-two yards passing, has people throughout the country calling for the backup—any backup. The problem for Auburn is that there isn't a healthy backup to trot out there.

Mississippi State defensive Chris Wilson commented on the game plan on Head To Head Radio, which is syndicated in the state of Mississippi:

Wilson: "We knew we had to make (AU) one dimensional, and force them to try and throw the ball around."

— Head To Head (@HeadtoHeadRadio) September 10, 2012

That's exactly why Frazier struggled.

Mississippi State stuffed the run and forced him to throw, and he responded with three picks, two fumbles and several bad decisions vs. the Bulldogs.

He has to trust himself moving forward.

He has to make quicker decisions in the pocket, trust his arm, trust his receivers and trust in his offense.

Not take the snap, make one read and then look at the pass rush. He did the former in garbage time vs. the Bulldogs, but it was too little too late.

The game vs. ULM was supposed to be a tune up game before the Tigers' Week 4 showdown with LSU next weekend. But after ULM's upset of Arkansas last weekend, the Warhawks are now more dangerous than initially thought.

That's a good thing for Frazier. 

It's not mechanics that are his issue; it's confidence.

Whether it's a play-action pass out to tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen or a fly pattern to Emory Blake, Frazier has been apprehensive.

The Warhawks have Auburn's attention now, and Frazier has to use that to his advantage to get confidence back in his game before heading back into SEC play next week.

If he doesn't, it could be a long afternoon Saturday on the Plains.