More commentary to consider
GENERAL THOUGHT: There has been a lot of discussion about why Auburn struggles so badly during the second half. We all know several issues are to blame, of course, but there is one issue that hasn't been discussed. It may be the most important one.
Nobody owns this offense. Nobody has owned it since Al Borges was fired 10 months ago. Tony Franklin rolled in here last December and installed his stuff to spec, but it's clear that what Auburn used against Louisiana-Monroe (and beyond) wasn't Franklin's system. It was an amalgam of different ideas rolled into one corn tortilla and passed off as an enchilada.
It's not an enchilada.
Now that Franklin is gone, this offense truly is a hodgepodge of ideas. Who is responsible for tweaking it once things stop working? Steve Ensminger has been designated to handle that job. It's almost impossible. He showed during the first half at West Virginia that calling plays isn't beyond him. What may be beyond him -- and this staff -- is understanding how to adjust this hodgepodge offense when the other team deciphers the Tigers' initial plan.
I think that was the issue Thursday. Aside from some fourth-quarter let-downs, I saw an Auburn team that was trying to win. Effort wasn't to blame. West Virginia simply adjusted to what Auburn was doing early. Once the initial plan was derailed, Ensminger and the other offensive assistants didn't know how to fix that.
Again, it's not their offense. There are coaches out there, good coaches, who spend their entire careers perfecting a certain scheme so they can counter any adjustments a defense offers. Auburn has a group of people with essentially no familiarity with the scheme they're running.
It's almost doomed to fail. Here's a look at four things that would allow Auburn to avoid terminal offensive failure:
- Simply overpowering the opponent
- Playing a defense that doesn't/can't adjust to the initial plan
- Having playmakers than rise above the chaos
- Getting lucky
Imagine being a mathematician and taking over a colleague's complex proof, one that consumes 10 pages of computations, at the mid-way point. What do you do? Carry on where she left off? Start over? That's where the Tigers are right now. It's a mess.
INJURY REPORT: Someone asked for a full injury report, which is a difficult thing to do right now. There are a lot of minor injuries that affect players in different ways. Here's what I know:
- CB Jerraud Powers, left hamstring (not practicing; injury remains an issue)
- CB Neiko Thorpe, ankle (not practicing)
- OG Byron Isom, concussion (not practicing, but should be soon)
- TB Ben Tate, hamstring (practicing, but still in some pain)
- TB Brad Lester, right knee (practicing, but still in some pain)
- DE Hot Carter, left ankle (practicing, but still in some pain)
- TB Mario Fannin, right leg "twist" (practicing)
- DT Sen'Derrick Marks, unknown (practicing)
- DT Tez Doolittle, ankle (practicing)
- QB Chris Todd, shoulder (practicing)
- LB Tray Blackmon, right wrist (out)
Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University
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