Auburn Football 2011: For Success, the Winds of Change Must Sweep the Plains

Kevin McGradySenior Writer INovember 14, 2011

DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 10:  Head caoch Ted Roof of the Duke Blue Devils looks on from the sidelines during the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Wallace Wade Stadium on September 10, 2005 in Durham, North Carolina. The Hokies won 45-0. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)
Craig Jones/Getty Images

A huge hole was again exposed as the Auburn staff failed the team miserably. In particular, the defensive play calling was atrocious. This was a problem early on in the season and has returned with a vengeance in the late season. The cure for this problem rests entirely with staff management and has nothing to do with the players.

The Auburn offense still does not have a starting quarterback capable of the kind of play necessary to make the offensive system work against elite defenses. It is obvious at this point that if the best player is starting, this Auburn team has no chance of competing at a high level on offense against elite defenses.

No Auburn offense is going to be successful if the defense can’t stop opponents and give them a chance with the ball. While turnovers and mistakes are expected from a young team, a faulty defensive game plan with telegraphed play calling is usually what one expects from a rookie high school coach, not a top-tier SEC program.

Auburn will handle Samford easily this week and will give Alabama a good game and possibly even pull off the upset in Week 12. Neither team has an elite quarterback or offense. If they did, Auburn would likely have absolutely no chance with the current defensive play calling and game planning.

If Auburn is to have any success with the multitude of talented players at its disposal on defense, there will need to be a substantial change in the defensive game planning and in game play calling. A good NFL defense could not be successful with the defensive staff performance in the game with Georgia last Saturday.

This has been a repetitive and ongoing problem since this staff arrived in 2009. Auburn has not fielded a defense capable of consistently handling elite offenses in that three-year period. Auburn has not had a single good defensive game during that time against any above-average quarterback.

This leaves the team needing an offense that can simply outscore every opponent they face. With the two starting quarterbacks Auburn has used this year, this will never be the case. Both Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley could likely develop into an average SEC-caliber quarterback as the offensive line improves, but neither have the physical tools or mental quickness to lead an elite offense in the SEC.

Both of these are issues that must be addressed before the 2012 season or Auburn will again find itself being stomped by every SEC team with a good quarterback. It does appear the answer at quarterback is being addressed in the future, but something has to be done about the defensive staff.