Auburn Football: Gene Chizik Must Shake Things Up on the Plains

Michael AbbottContributor IIINovember 14, 2011

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 12:  Carlton Thomas #30 of the Georgia Bulldogs rushes between T'Sharvan Bell #22 and Eltoro Freeman #21 of the Auburn Tigers at Sanford Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 45-7 loss to Georgia Saturday showed one glaring and unwanted fact: The defense isn't improving as it should.

Yes, the Tigers are young, and yes, the Tigers do have talent, but the mistakes the defense were making in the first game, the 2010 season—well, to be fair, Chizik's first year in 2009—keep rearing their ugly heads. One fact any fan with football knowledge will look for in a young team is effort and are the players getting better.

These young Tigers are not getting better.

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof keeps telling us this is unacceptable. I agree, and he also keeps telling us it'll get better. It has not. The defensive backs continue to take bad angles on their way to make  tackles, as well as on the ball when it's in the air. These are the same mistakes the DBs were making the last two seasons.

Auburn fans overlooked it because of an offensive player, Cam Newton. Even with an average defense, the offense could answer any team score for score. This year, points have been hard to come by and easy to surrender.

One sees flashes of what they can do. In the Arkansas game, the Tiger defense kept a high-powered Hogs offense within striking distance as long as it could, but the offense couldn't take advantage. The young Tigers also gave it all they had to the end. At the time it seemed as though the defense was coming around.

Yeah, it was a loss, but the fight and effort was there to give hope that by the end of the season they would finish strong.

The Florida game saw the Auburn defense hold the Gators without a touchdown. In the SEC, holding any team without a touchdown is no easy task and once again gave the Auburn faithful a reason to look at the future with promise.

The LSU game saw the defense, offense and the team as a whole take a step backward and they haven't been the same since. They looked OK against Ole Miss, but that's not a very good gauge on just how the lack of improvement was evident.

Should Auburn fire Coach Roof? Well, I don't know. One thing I do know, however, is head coach Gene Chizik has to get a handle on the situation. He can either give an "improve or else" speech at the end of the season or be more hands-on with the defense, and possibly clean house on the defensive side of the ball and hire a young aggressive coordinator.

Whatever Coach Chizik decides to do, Auburn must revert back to the teams Auburn fans are used to seeing on defense.

The talent it there, coach—what are you going to do about it?