In Auburn's second game of the season I have a mixed opinion of what I saw. After last weeks game I felt the pass defense needed to be more tight in coverage. I also mentioned the special teams unit need to improve.
There was mostly positive feedback on the special teams unit. The fumble on the kickoff in week one was what I was most concerned with moving forward. We ended up giving up another fumble this week on a punt. To give up points when your suppose to have the ball, it's tough to watch as a fan. If the Tigers are going to go as far as I think they can, the fumbles on special teams must stop.
Cameron Newton was introduced to an SEC defense tonight. He looked good running the football, but not as good as I expected passing the ball. Most of his passes were screens to the wide receivers, or to the running backs. The interception in the end zone killed the momentum, but I couldn't say for sure that was totally his fault. Though it does have me questioning his accuracy on 30+ yard passes. It was a tough SEC defense he was facing, down the stretch last season Miss St played really good. That's the team that the Bulldogs are this season.
Mississippi State used two quarterbacks to get the mobility with an accuracy Auburn found with one. In the fourth quarter if the receivers hadn't dropped passes that hit there hands, there might have been a comeback in the game. I wasn't satisfied with how Auburn looked playing the bump and run coverage. The bend but don't break mentality isn't going to get us where we want to go. There needs to be an aggressive approach when the corners are playing man coverage. When Auburn bumped them at the line, they were quick to get behind the corner back. There are teams on Auburn's schedule that will expose that weakness later on, if it's not addressed.
I expected to see more Micheal Dyer this week, and that happened. I thought he played well when his number was called. I can easily see why this kid was the top high school running back in the nation. If you didn't know the kid was a true freshman, his play on the field wouldn't tell you he was. Auburn who is known for getting the best running backs have done it again. He reminds me of Ladainian Tomlinson with his running style, if I'm Chizik I try to work the kid in more each game. He's probably the closest thing to Ben Tate we have right now.
I really thought we'd see more passes to Darvin Adams. There were a few significant plays but, not nearly the amount I thought we'd see. I thought they were going to test our secondary, with Auburn doing the same down field with Adams to them. It ended up being more of a field position game than the shootout I expected. Auburn hasn't really opened up the playbook yet, I don't know if it's lack of trust or, if they wanted to win these first two games without revealing too much. I'm not talking about the gimmick plays like the one we used to get Newton the ball. The conservative offense isn't what I expected, and I'm not convinced we can win with it down the road.
We didn't give up the number of passing yards I thought we might. A large part of that was drops by the Bulldogs receivers. Not saying the defense didn't look better because it did. Early when Mississippi State was running the football down our throats, they seemed to be pushing us off the line at the point of contact.
In the coming games I'd like to see more Dyer, as well as more passing out of the spread. In the next two weeks Auburn will be tested with Clemson running the ball, followed the next week with South Carolina and Garcia passing it. These two games give the perfect chance to really fine tune the defense. Clemson is more than likely going to play us in a field position game, similar to the way Mississippi State did.
South Carolina will try to pass against us the way Arkansas State did. I saw a big change in the defense, although they were faced with a short week. Now with the extended practice week that comes from the Thursday night game will be the benefit the Tigers.
We could realistically be 5-0 going into the Kentucky game. One of the few road games on the Auburn schedule. More importantly it's a team we let upset us a year ago. Following this revenge game we'll be going into the heart of the SEC schedule. Auburn has to have all the kinks worked out of the offense, and have it firing on all cylinders. The defensive secondary has to prevent the play getting past them. While the defensive front needs to keep teams rushing attack under 100 yards per game. We're getting better but, in the Clemson game I'd like to see the gloves come off.