Auburn Defense Must Step Up If Tigers Are To Contend for SEC

Michael AbbottContributor IIISeptember 6, 2010

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 20:  Defensive back Walter McFadden #6 of the Auburn Tigers drops back into coverage while taking on the LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 20, 2008 in Auburn, Alabama. LSU defeated Auburn 26-21.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Everyone was waiting to see what quarterback Cam Newton would do in his first game as an Auburn Tiger. He didn't disappoint.

The defense, on the other hand, was a different story.

The defense gave up over 300 yards passing and 22 first downs to a much inferior team, having some Auburn faithful second-guessing Chizik's decision to hire Ted Roof.

Last year was a down year for the Auburn defense, but with limited depth, Roof was given a free pass. Fans now are expecting at least improvement on defense this year, and didn't come away pleased after the Tigers' 52-26 victory.

Auburn has more depth than a year ago, although it is young. Coach Roof likes to blitz and play man-to-man putting the defensive backs on an island at times. If the blitz works, all is well, if not, the DBs must make a play. That didn't happen at all times Saturday night as the Redwolves made first downs when they needed to.

Give credit though to Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Alpin. When the Tigers came after him, he was able to get the ball off to the correct receiver where only his man could catch the ball. Alpin showed poise in the pocket and didn't get rattled.

Next week, Auburn must improve going into SEC play against a Mississippi State Bulldog team that looked much improved over last year's team, especially at quarterback.

It is obvious that the defensive backs of Auburn have a lot of work to do before they can make a serious run to Atlanta.