Auburn Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Louisiana-Monroe Game
Auburn escaped Jordan-Hare Stadium with its first victory of the 2012 season attained in overtime. It was an up-and-down type game for the Tigers on both sides of the football, which these grades will reflect.
The Tigers needed this victory. They had to pull out all the stops to get it.
Auburn held a two touchdown lead by third quarter, but the Tigers allowed the Warhawks to climb back into the ballgame. It started with a fumble on the ULM 1-yard line by Mike Blakely late in the third quarter.
A should-have-been Auburn score turned into a ULM turnover. Auburn had issues but showed a lot of growth on Saturday. Here are the grades for the Tigers by position against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.
Auburn looked prepared and ready to play in Week 3. The Tigers had control of the game and were in a game plan that could have put them up by 21 heading into the fourth quarter. Execution mistakes killed the Tigers' drives in the second half.
The Tigers did not take the Warhawks lightly, and it showed. Auburn was flying to the football and kept to their assignments on defense. The Warhawks were able to force an overtime period out of Auburn, but Auburn sealed the game and got the win.
Auburn didn’t have any major miscues in the game. There were a lot of play calls that should have gone for big yards or scores, but execution issues were what led to the mistakes, not coaching decisions.
Gene Chizik and Co. have started to get these Tigers heading in the right direction, but LSU comes to town this Saturday. It will be a long weekend for Auburn. This will be a week that the Tigers coaches can really earn their pay.
Kiehl Frazier: QB; C
Kiehl Frazier started the game on fire for the Tigers, completing 6-of-7 passes in the first half. Frazier was making great decisions and was giving an A-worthy performance.
Frazier looked commanding of the offense in the first half, controlling the clock and the huddle well. He was able to guide the Tigers down the field swiftly and consistently.
When the second half took off, Frazier continued to look good handling the offense, and then came an interception.
Once Frazier tossed the pick, he stopped looking to his checkdowns and crowded one side of the field on every passing down. He refused to take chances and tried to play a very safe game.
The interception did come on a play where Frazier missed Emory Blake open, running for the end zone. Those mistakes are going to happen with a young quarterback. Overall, Frazier played a much better game than in the first two weeks.
Key Stats: 10-of-18 for 130 yards, one touchdown, one interception
Onterio McCalebb: RB; A
Onterio McCalebb continued to impress in the third week of the season. McCalebb was the Tigers leading rusher had a strong day with over 100 yards rushing.
McCalebb has played very well for Auburn and will continue to be a leader from the Tigers backfield. There were a number of plays that McCalebb was able to help in pass-blocking situations, keeping Frazier protected with key blocks.
Add in McCalebb’s ability in the return game and the Tigers have an extremely effective offensive weapon that is tough to stop and to key on.
Key Stats: 11 carries for 128 yards, one touchdown; one kick return for 24 yards.
Jay Prosch: FB; A
Jay Prosch is a weapon that goes unnoticed for Auburn, but he is as important to the Tigers as submarines are to the U.S. Naval fleet.
Prosch had his hands in every rushing score the Tigers had. On McCalebb’s long rushing touchdown, Prosch cleared the way of three defenders.
Auburn always has a way to find a rushing lane with Prosch in the football game. He is extremely powerful, but his effort is what stands out the most.
Emory Blake: WR; A
Emory Blake didn’t get called upon very often in Week 3, but he was able to come down with two passes regardless. Blake was also very good on the perimeter for Auburn, blocking for the rushing attack.
There were a few miscues by Frazier that would have landed touchdowns if he would have noticed Blake. He was able to get a lot of consistent separation from his defender.
Blake will continue to be a weapon in the future for the Tigers.
Key Stats: two receptions for 26 yards
Sammie Coates: WR; A
Sammie Coates has been rumored to be a playmaker since he arrived on the Plains a year ago. A foot injury early in fall camp forced Coates to take a redshirt, but this year, he has a shot at making an impact for Auburn opposite of Emory Blake.
Coates was the Tigers' leading receiver with two receptions for 34 yards, but his Hail Mary touchdown is the highlight that is etched in the memories of Auburn fans.
He made a much more impressive play early in the game, when he dove for a pass along the far left sideline, catching the ball and having it ruled a touchdown. The touchdown was brought back because Auburn had a formation penalty.
The Tigers found a legitimate addition to the passing game with Coates this weekend.
Key Stats: two receptions for 34 yards, one touchdown
Philip Lutzenkirchen: TE; A
Philip Lutzenkirchen is a consistent target for the Auburn offense, but Frazier has had an issue making the throws catchable in the first three weeks.
Lutzenkirchen was able to pull down one reception and gained a first down for Auburn. Lutzenkirchen also did work in the rushing game, making some key blocks for Auburn on the outside of the line.
The Tigers need to get Lutzenkirchen more involved in the offense. He will be a key asset as the Tigers head into the thick of the SEC schedule this coming weekend against LSU.
Key Stats: One reception for 16 yards
Greg Robinson: LT; A
Greg Robinson came back from a slight injury last week to have another dominating performance for the Tigers this past Saturday. Robinson continues to impress with his ability to clear rushing lanes and hold the edge on passing downs.
Robinson showed a lot of toughness to come back into the starting lineup this week and play as strong as he did.
Robinson did not register a penalty.
John Sullen: LG; B
John Sullen played much better against the Louisiana-Monroe 3-3-5 stack this week than he did against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. There were still some pressures for them to make it in from the interior of the line, but overall, Sullen played well.
Sullen did not draw any penalties during the game.
Reese Dismukes: C; A
Reese Dismukes started his second game of the season against ULM and played very well from center. The Tigers had a very good push through the center of the offensive line and were able to get a lot of rushing yards in between the tackles.
Dismukes also did a great job of line adjustments against the Warhawks. ULM played a lot of shifts on defense, attempting to confuse the front line for Auburn. Dismukes was able to keep the Tigers in the right position and on the right assignment throughout the game.
Chad Slade: RG; A
Chad Slade played his best game of the season in Week 3. Slade found his blocks with fierce consistency and was able to keep the ULM pass rush from breaking through the right side of the line.
Slade led a lot of inside-the-tackle runs and paved the way consistently for the Tigers to find rushing lanes.
Slade was not charged with any penalties in the game.
Avery Young: RT; A
Avery Young has continued to do an amazing job on the right side of the line for Auburn. The freshman has not had any major penalties and still has not had a major breakdown from the right side.
Young plays very aggressively and rarely misses assignment. This past Saturday was another strong performance from the true freshman.
Corey Lemonier: DE; B
Corey Lemonier continues to show his speed and strength off the end for Auburn in the pass rush, but he is still out running plays and not running through tackles in the backfield.
Lemonier has worked hard to increase his abilities against the run this season, and that showed in this game. Lemonier was able to seal rushing lanes to the outside and made some key tackles for the Tigers.
He has to get more consistent at the point of attack when he is in position to make key sacks down the road.
Key Stats: Five total tackles, one solo, four assisted
Dee Ford: DE; B
Dee Ford has been a consistent starter for the Tigers defense opposite of Corey Lemonier this fall. He has maintained his ability to bring heat in the pass rush, and like Lemonier, has increased his play against the run.
Ford had a good day against the Warhawks, consistently creating pressure in the backfield. Ford had his most consistent performance this past Saturday.
Key Stats: Four total tackles; three solo, one assisted, one sack for eight yards
Jeffrey Whitaker: DT; C
Jeffrey Whitaker has gotten significant push for the third week in a row. Whitaker blows off the football and attacks his man, but he is unable to roll off the block.
Whitaker would be making a number of plays against the run if he could roll off his block—instead, the Tigers are giving up a lot of rushing yards through the middle.
Whitaker was able to make a few stops in the game, but he has to get better quick. LSU will have the best line he has faced to date.
Key Stats: Two total tackles; one solo, one assisted
Angelo Blackson: DT; C
Angelo Blackson had the biggest play of the day when he got a fingertip on Louisiana-Monroe’s field-goal attempt in overtime.
Throughout the game, Blackson was getting a great push on the offensive line alongside Whitaker. Blackson had the same issues as Whitaker, once he made it into the backfield with his blocker.
Blackson was unable to roll of blocks and make key stops in the rushing game. His blocked kick was crucial to the game.
Key Stats: one tackle, one solo, one blocked kick
Daren Bates: OLB; A
Daren Bates played a very good game against ULM. He was able to turn in another big day for the Tigers from the outside, mounting a number of key tackles in the game.
Bates also added to pass breakups to his stat sheet on Saturday. Bates is a constant and consistent performer, so far this season, and Saturday he solidified his position as a major leader for the Tigers defense.
Key Stats: 14 total tackles; five solo, nine assisted
Jake Holland: MLB; B
Jake Holland has been very inconsistent as a starter at the middle linebacker position. On Saturday, he made some changes and played a very good football game.
Holland made all the tackles that he was the lead on. Little things like finishing tackles are big for Auburn. The Tigers need players like Holland to be stepping up.
Auburn needs Holland to keep growing into the middle linebacker position. Can’t steps can’t be afforded.
Key Stats: 10 total tackles; five solo, five assisted
Justin Garrett: OLB; C
Justin Garrett got his first start at outside linebacker for the Tigers and came out looking right at mediocre.
Auburn is desperately searching for consistency at the outside position opposite of Daren Bates, and Garrett is a player the Tigers coaches have hope in.
He did earn one stop, but Garrett was far from having a huge debut as a starter.
Key Stats: One tackle; one assisted
Chris Davis: CB; B
Chris Davis was able to play a little press-man coverage against the Warhawks. A change that was surprising but good when the Tigers chose to utilize the press-man coverage.
Davis played very well in the game, finishing with a handful of tackles and keeping big plays from happening for the Warhawks.
Auburn is progressing their defensive secondary this season by taking gambles in the types of coverages they play. This game was one of the first experiences with press man, and Davis survived.
Key Stats: Six total tackles; Four solo, two assisted
Jonathon Mincy: CB; B
Jonathon Mincy started opposite Chris Davis this week and performed well against the Warhawks. There were a lot of intermediate throws that were completed, but overall, the performance from Mincy was good.
The Tigers are looking for a solid answer to personnel in the secondary, and Mincy may have provided an answer. Mincy is aggressive at the point of attack and has become a very good cover option.
Key Stats: Seven total tackles; five solo, two assisted
Demetruce McNeal: S; A
Demetruce McNeal was not the listed starter when the Tigers opened with ULM at home, but he earned starter-like snaps.
McNeal has been very consistent from the safety position, making a ton of tackles for the second week in a row. It is never ideal to have a safety as the leading tackler on the game, but McNeal has been very consistent from the defensive secondary.
Very few Auburn players have shown the ability to close on the football as well as McNeal.
Key Stats: 11 total tackles; nine solo, two assisted
Jermaine Whitehead: S; B
Jermaine Whitehead earned his third start for the Tigers at safety against ULM. Whitehead has had some growing pains but put away a lot of the mistakes in Saturday’s game and played very well.
Whitehead was a big playmaker for Auburn in the game. Auburn is asking for the safeties to make good reactionary-type plays, and so far, Whitehead is filling the role well.
There were no major missed assignments in the passing game this week by Whitehead.
Key Stats: Eight tackles—six solo, two assisted; one sack
Cody Parkey: K; A
Cody Parkey continues to impress this season, winning the ULM game with a walk-off kick in overtime. Parkey was perfect on his kicks in the game and provided a lot of good kicks to the kickoff team.
Parkey is now a perfect 6-of-6 for field goals on the season.
Key Stats: 1-of-1 with a long of 35; 4-of-4 on extra points
Steven Clark: P; B
Steven Clark had a successful day for Auburn at punter, assisting the special teams in another strong showing on Saturday. Clark punted a total of six times and landed one kick inside the 20.
Key Stats: Six punts for 40.2 yard average; long of 51