2011 Iron Bowl Recap: Auburn Loses Big, What Else Is New?

Michael AbbottContributor IIINovember 27, 2011

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Brad Smelley #17 of the Alabama Crimson Tide takes a reception upfield past Daren Bates #25 of the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Going into the Iron Bowl, Auburn didn't stand much of a chance to win. Auburn fans knew it, but still, the fans showed up in force to maybe, just maybe, see if they could help lift the Tigers to a major upset.

It didn't happen.

The Bama defense was too strong for Malzahn's offense, but then again, it was for several other teams this year. The Tigers' struggles weren't just because of Bama's No. 1 defense; it's been a broken record all season.

Even in last week's win against Samford, the offense took over three quarters before it was able to put Coach Sullivan and the bulldogs away.

Against Alabama, fans cheered for any positive play that the Tigers were able to put together. The offensive line had a hard time protecting Mosley, Mosley coudn't find any open receivers and finding holes to run in were hard to come by.

Sounds like the LSU, Georgia, Arkansas and—for much of the time—Utah State and Samford games all over again. Auburn's best weapon is Michael Dyer. Dyer wasn't only stopped by the defense, but was hardly given the ball at all. Yes, Bama's defense is tough, but to take away your best weapon yourself rather than giving him his carries in a game you had little other options in anyway doesn't give your team the best chance to win. 

Where has Emory Blake gone? He didn't have a catch last week, and his name wasn't called this week, either. Blake has the ability to go up against any cornerback in the league, and once again, in a game with few options, not to throw the ball deep to him a least a couple of times doesn't improve your chances of winning.

As for the defense, well, here we go again.

The defense forced a fumble and scored a touchdown to get the Tigers in the game only to give up a scoring drive the next possession. The defenders missed tackles on Richardson, allowing him to gain over 100 yards after contact.

Yeah, Richardson has done that all season, and in my opinion, the he's best player in the country. But, the Tiger defense has repeatedly had this problem.

The secondary has other issues as well. They seem to take the same bad angles as they did in the first game and continuously take the wrong position on pass routes. If the defensive back needs to take away the inside, they seem to go outside. When they need to take away the outside, they go inside.

Coach Roof had a built-in excuse this season: youth. But the problem with that reason is by the 11th game of the season, those type of mistakes shouldn't be happening as often. Yeah, they will happen from time to time with freshmen and sophomores, but the average fan should see a much better team by this time in the season than at the beginning.

That hasn't happened. In fact, they are having the same problems they had last year. The front seven last year was great against the run but average at best against the pass. Not much has changed. Only this season, the Tigers can't seem to do either.

I believe changes are in the winds on the plains. Much like Coach Dye did after the '85 season, Coach Chizik must make a new comment to the team and right this ship. Should he fire Coach Roof? Should he go back to a more of a power-running attack that Auburn has had for years?

That's up to Chizik, but after this season, the excuses are gone. Two top-five recruiting classes and working on a third this season will sooner or later put the eyes on Chizik instead of Roof and Malzahn.