The Auburn defense was completely broken down in today's game against Arkansas. It feels good to be 7-0 but, the defense isn't getting better. There was 108 total points in this game.Two SEC teams should never have a score like that, unless there's multiple overtimes.
What you are on defense is based on what you are up front. When you can get pressure on the QB without having to send help, you can drop back into pass coverage.
Auburn doesn't get pressure off the ends. Nick Fairley got through a few times, but he's not consistently getting there. When the other teams figure out the heat isn't coming from the defensive ends. Fairley is doubled from there on.
Nosa Eguae won the starting spot over senior Michael Goggans. The Auburn coaching staff all reported that it was a performance based decision. So far I can't see any improvement from that position.
Antoine Carter and Nick Fairley have both played very well at times. Not enough at the same time and, not nearly with the amount of consistent pressure needed to be effective. I thought the line looked very good against South Carolina. Since that game it's seemed ineffective.
The linebackers have looked very well. The two fourth quarter interceptions by Josh Bynes made showed that. Last season Auburn didn't have much depth at linebacker but, I think they're better this season for it.
Auburn isn't wearing down the way they did last season. The Linebackers are helping the lack of pressure on the ends. The moving looks they give the opposing defense even had Mallett confused at times.
I think the the things Ted Roof is really making the defense work around the linebackers. The short pass we're not stopping. The medium range pass 15-30 yards, we're controlling with two linebackers and a safety.
Auburn has shutdown the opposing teams running game. Clemson found moderate success on the ground but, we've basically shutdown the running attack.
From the very beginning of the season the defensive backs have been the weak link. Despite being 7-0 after the win versus Arkansas we're still not improving on deep coverage. Auburn has played eight to 10 yards off the receivers to get the jump on the deep ball.
Against South Carolina and again today with Arkansas, their physical big body receivers are getting big runs after the catch. They'll take the three-yard reception, then turn it into a 15-yard gain with a couple of broken tackles.
The help from the safety position had been solid keeping other teams from testing the middle. There is nothing they can do with the deep ball. The corners can't defend the deep pass even with the 8 to 10 yards they give at the line.
We do not have one good cover corner on the team, Neiko Thorpe is the closest thing we have. Although he's made some big plays, he's given up just as many. Auburn really needs to work on the deep pass in practice. I'd let Trotter and Caudle work them deep this week in practice. Focus on shutting that down.
Ted Roof and Auburn's Defense
Auburn has the worst total defense of any undefeated team in the NCAA. We really are thin in certain positions and the backups are young. I think Roof has done a good job of using what he has.
We're not very deep at defensive back. Not something Auburn fans are used to seeing. We just don't have a Walter McFadden type player in our secondary. We need the one guy who can shut their best receiver.
The linebackers can help the medium coverage but, if they're having to spot the defensive line in getting pressure on the QB, they won't be in position to help cover the pass.
Success hinges on the defensive line getting pressure with a four man rush. Against spread offenses we need to free up those linebackers to make plays.
The middle of the defense is pretty strong, Fairley, Bynes and Etheridge. With the game film from this Arkansas game, I'm confident that Roof can keep us in position to win games. He's done a good job of protecting our weak spots so far. With the offense being as effective as it's been, it's given the defense some room to improve.