Auburn fans are wondering what is going on, and they have a multitude of questions that they want answered. These range from play calling to personnel. The "whys", "whats" and "whose" will start to surface over the next few days, but the answers were there from the beginning.
The reality is, if you are not returning 85 percent of the starting roster from that previous season, it is highly unlikely the team will be at that championship level in the new season.
Auburn has done very well so far this season considering what they lost. Ask the Gators what it was like to lose Tim Tebow after they said Brantley was the second coming.
The Tigers returned some four starters on both sides of the ball. I don't care how many people you think were rotated in the lineup; the truth of the matter is, the more snaps you get, the better experienced you are. And being a starter gives you more snaps.
The fact that Auburn lost Heisman winner Cam Newton, who accounted for 60 percent of their offense and almost 70 percent of their touchdowns, along with the leading receivers, four starting offensive linemen, Lombardi award winner Nick Fairley and several other key senior players should give you an indication of what lay ahead.
With Newton gone, some were saying that Trotter was the man. I for one didn't believe he was good, nor did I think he could be any good. He has yet to face the top three defenses in the conference.
As for the second coming of Newton, Kiehl Frazier, on the other hand, can't read a defense to save his passing life. The kid is just too young and inexperienced. However, that can be changed with more snaps. So, trade the lesser of two evils. Play him now, lose more games immediately and give him experience, but win more next season and so on.
We heard nonstop how Gus Malzahn was a genius and that this offense would just keep rolling on. Now we hear how Gus is becoming too predictable and the play calling needs to change.
Gus can't save the day if he doesn't have the players nor their experience. That is just the bottom line.
As a reference, in 2010, at this point in the season, the offense totaled 2,898 yards with 220 points scored, and the defense allowed 2,009 yards with 128 points allowed. Compare that to this year at 2,248 total offensive yards with 167 points scored while allowing 2,637 yards and 175 opponents' points.
The offense is moving the ball but not completing the drives. The defense is stopping the ball but giving up the big plays.
Here in lies the rub. If Gene's imprints are on this defense, then something is amiss. Since his arrival, the defense has ranked 68th, 60th and now 105th at present. Does this imply that recruiting has not gone well and talent is not there, or that coaching is that bad?
The problems have nothing to do with coaches (defensive coaches, maybe) and nothing to do with personnel. The problem is experience. Auburn just doesn't have it. Nor do they have the leadership built yet to move this team forward.
The bad news is that the Arkansas game will not be the last loss in the season. The fall will continue; however, it may not be a fall that most outsiders are saying. The good news is, there are several winnable games left in the second half of the season.