The Auburn football offense in its second game of the season and the SEC opener took more than a stride in the wrong direction. It was more like a 40-yard sprint, actually. Taking a look at each offensive position group, some Tiger fans are already calling for Coach Gene Chizik and offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler‘s jobs, but do the grades fit the frustration?
Although his statistics improved from completing 1-7 passes for -2 yards and two interceptions at halftime, Kiehl Frazier‘s play vs. Mississippi State was terrible. Actually, that’s an understatement. Finishing the day completing 13-22 passes for 125 yards, the sophomore not only threw three interceptions, but also fumbled the ball twice.
Chizik and Loeffler both backed Frazier after the game, saying there was no consideration to ever take the first-year starter out, and both added he will remain the starter. Not only will significant improvement be needed immediately, but it’s hard to believe Frazier could play any worse.
Offensive Line: D
Despite Frazier only being sacked twice, the line struggled opening holes for the running game. Granted, with Frazier’s lack of confidence throwing the ball, the Bulldogs had the opportunity to focus on blitzing, which was done effectively. Center Reese Dismukes returned to the Tigers and made his first start of the season on Saturday.
Running Backs: D
With a net total of 91 yards, it’s hard to not give his group an F. However, Mike Blakely came out of his shell on Saturday, rushing for a team-leading 42 yards on 11 attempts, showing he can be an impact player. Onterio McCalebb had the Tigers’ lone touchdown, but it came on a kickoff, which was a 100-yard return.
Wide Recievers: C
It’s hard to produce yards when the quarterback has a day like Frazier did against Mississippi State. There was a bright side to the receivers corps on Saturday, though. With only Emory Blake having a big game vs. Clemson in the opener, followed by recording two catches for 31 yards against the Bulldogs, there were four other wideouts with at least one catch. Quan Bray led the team with six receptions for 50 yards.
Auburn football has more elements of the game to improve upon than anyone could imagine an SEC team would need … other than Ole Miss, of course. For everything to come full circle, coaching is the first thing that needs to improve. The offense, as a whole, gets an F because Auburn had no chance to win Saturday after Mississippi State took a 17-10 lead, and it was mostly the offense’s fault. It appears it may be a long season for the Tigers, but it may also be too early to tell.