Auburn is off to a surprising 0-2 start to the 2012 season with a lot of concern falling at the feet of the Tigers' quarterback. Kiehl Frazier had a terrible performance against Mississippi State, but his mobility will be a factor that will save Auburn Football in Week 3.
The Tigers have been inconsistent on both sides of the football so far this season. One major struggle has been time of possession by the offense. The Tigers have been very inconsistent at maintaining sustained offensive drives, forcing the defense into some tough situations late in games.
One bright spot that was supposed to come with the Scot Loeffler system was less three-and-out scenarios, giving more rest to the defense. So far, that has not happened. Auburn has to find a rhythm on offense—it starts with Kiehl Frazier’s legs this week.
Auburn has struggled to get production out of Kiehl Frazier consistently this season. Frazier has looked like an all-star on a few reads and throws, but overall has struggled to find his go-to man in the passing game.
One way to help settle Frazier would be to walk him into the new offense more. At this point the Tigers are attempting to field the complete Scot Loeffler system with few similarities to the system that was on the field a year ago.
Kiehl Frazier is a young quarterback who is faced with a major offensive change. Why not slow down the game for him a bit and offer easier options? In the Malzahn offense throws are often scripted. Loeffler brings a more in-depth read to the table.
It doesn’t look like Frazier can quite grasp all of those reads, so slow down the offense. Offer Frazier two pass reads, and then let him scramble if he can’t find a play. Shift his options to one side of the field, closing down half of his decision-making problem.
There aren’t many ways to slow down the college game for Frazier other than taking pieces of the offense away. While the Loeffler offense appears to be a great scheme, the current quarterback can’t handle it just yet.
Slowing the implementation of the scheme will offer Frazier less options and more confidence.
On the rare occasion that Frazier has looked confident it has come on a roll-out play. Most of them have come from a closing pass rush to this point, but look for the roll-out play to become a norm in the Auburn offense.
Frazier hasn’t made the best throws on the run just yet, but it will come. As the Tigers devise more roll-out plays for the offense, there will be more open windows to throw to.
Right now Frazier does not look calm and collected in the pocket. Getting him away from the pass rush will be a good fit and allow for his athleticism to take over. Designed roll-outs will also give Frazier the ability to snap off a few yards with his feet if the play were to break down early.
With time of possession being a concern this season, the Tigers need to call more designed draws and draw-option plays. Frazier was the Wildcat quarterback for Auburn a year ago and rarely made mistakes with the zone-read option play.
Auburn would do itself a favor by adding this play back into the system, giving Frazier a bit of familiarity and also slowing down the clock.
With the early downs hosting a lot of incomplete passes, Auburn is squandering opportunities on the field. Frazier is not confident he will complete passes right now, and the miscues are forcing Auburn into long, late down situations.
The Tigers need to get the ball rolling by handing easy plays to Frazier—plays that he can gain some yards and confidence with.
He can run the draw and get yards while doing it. The draw needs to find its way back into the playbook.
A twist that could be added to the roll-out call for Auburn would be a play-action read. The Tigers were stagnant on offense last week with Frazier looking lost trying to find targets down the field.
Simple solution: put one target beside him, and one directly in front.
Frazier has the wheels to make plays with his feet, so adding an option read to the roll-out would seem to be a no-brainer. Put Philip Lutzenkirchen and Quan Bray on mid-level and short drag routes, and bring the running back into an option formation.
If Frazier can’t find one of his two drag options open, he could keep the ball on a quarterback keeper, or toss away to the running back running with him on the option. With three options at his disposal, Frazier would have to try and make the wrong read.
Simple short throw, run or toss.
Scot Loeffler has to be asking how the Tigers can get the ball moving. The scheme that has been implemented has worked, but a number of reads have been missed by Kiehl Frazier, rendering open receivers useless.
One way that Loeffler can get an easy read into the game and implement Frazier’s abilities is to start with the triple option. Jay Prosch is not known as a ball-carrier, but he would be enough to threaten defenses up the middle.
Keeping the ball on the ground would also eliminate the interceptions that Frazier has tossed, and give Auburn an additional option to the offense, confusing opposing defenses. Auburn has the running backs to create havoc with an option run.
Will Auburn pivot to the option play? That’s a question that doesn’t readily have an answer, but it would be a surprising change that would be beneficial to the Tigers, utilizing the running strengths of Kiehl Frazier.