Auburn will host LSU on Saturday night, as the battle of the Tigers takes place for the 46th time. LSU holds a 24-20-1 edge all time but Auburn is 10-6 in games played at home. Auburn will be trying to move past what has been a shaky start to the season. Sitting at 1-2, the Tigers are off to their worst start since 2007, and will look to avoid going 1-3 for the first time, since losing five of their first six in 1998. Auburn has lost five straight to ranked opponents and must play better if they want to stay on the field with LSU.
LSU comes in ranked second in the nation, led by a strong running game and a stingy defense. The Tigers from Baton Rouge have outscored their first three opponents 145-31. LSU is also the owner of an NCAA best 16 straight regular season victories.
Auburn must get going in a hurry. Getting going, means getting quarterback Kiehl Frazier going. Through three games, Frazier is 34 of 67 for 449 yards and two touchdowns. Now here’s the bad part, he has thrown five interceptions, and is only completing 50 percent of his passes. Definitely not the numbers the Tigers need to win ball games.
New Offensive Coordinator Scot Loeffler has installed more of a pro-style system, and Frazier still looks to be picking up the system. LSU will be the most physical and aggressive defense Auburn has faced, so getting off to a fast start is important. So, what can Auburn do to help Frazier?
1. Quick Early Passes – Frazier hasn’t looked comfortable in the pocket and that’s understandable. He is a spread quarterback learning to take snaps under center. With the way LSU’s defense will fly up field, getting some early quick screens, or bubble screens could really slow the pass rush down. More importantly, it could give Frazier a few completions which would lead to confidence.
2. Get the running game going – This is much easier said than done, as LSU boasts one of the top defensive lines in college football. Auburn must be effective running the ball, as this will take a load off of Frazier.
3. Run/Pass Option – Whenever you have a quarterback with great legs, there’s no need to make him stand in the pocket and try to pick apart a defense. Especially a defense as good as LSU. Getting Frazier out on some bootlegs or rollouts, not only allows him to get away from the rush, but also allows him to make plays with his feet. Getting a quarterback out of the pocket also allows for better passing lanes. Using his legs is something Frazier definitely knows how to do, as he rushed for 1,164 yards and 22 touchdowns, his senior year in high school.
4. More Shotgun – Going to more of a shotgun look will get Frazier away from the line, allow him to see the defense, and give him better passing lanes within the pocket.
These four things could immediately impact Frazier’s play, making him more confident when he does throw the football. Auburn is in a position right now, where they need a big win in the worst way. Can they get it versus LSU?