April 17, 2014

Auburn Preview: Just What the Doctor Ordered?

After a disappointing trip to Aggieland, the Razorbacks try to regroup this week as they go on the road to face the Auburn Tigers (1-3, 0-2).  The 11:00 kickoff will be televised by ESPN2.

Same song, second verse.  The 58-10 beat down at the hands of Texas A&M Saturday was not a surprise to anyone, except maybe Las Vegas, who only had the Aggies favored by 13 ½.

While the Hogs offense did move the ball pretty well at times, turnovers (still last 120th nationally) and missed red zone opportunities plagued the Razorbacks all day.

On defense, the matchup was just historically bad, with this flailing Razorback unit looking helpless to stop Johnny Manziel from running away, around and through them en route to 557 total yards – a new SEC single game record.

What this squad could use is a big shot of confidence only gained by winning and having success against an inferior offense.  Hog fans, let us introduce you to the 2012 Auburn Tigers.

Now, given where we are, we’re not stupid enough to be calling for a win here (or even a cover for that matter).  We subscribe to the mantra “Don’t catch falling knives,” and the Hogs are the sharpest piece of cutlery in the NCAA ranks right now.

What we are saying is that the matchup this week is not a bad one for Arkansas – and here’s why.

The Tigers are led by Gene Chizik (31-13, 4th year), who is proving to the Auburn faithful everyday what kind of coach he is without Cam Newton in his back pocket.  Chizik is under heavy fire after their 1-3 start, and the natives are beyond restless.

We certainly don’t want Gene to go anywhere…we like him just where he is.  He has spent all week talking up the wounded Hogs.

“I know that on the outside looking in, Arkansas hasn’t done exactly what they wanted to do and what their expectations were at the beginning of the season,” Chizik said, ”but it’s still a very good football team that’s very dangerous.”

The Tigers defensive unit has been below average so far (ranked 76th, 419.3 YPG), doing just enough to keep them in every game they’ve played.  Linebacker Daren Bates leads the team in tackles (47), while defensive end Corey Lemonier is quick off the edge and has recorded 5 sacks.  The secondary has no interceptions so far in 2012.

The problem for Aubie has been on offense, where new offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler leads a group that currently ranks 113th nationally (297.8 YPG).  Quarterback Kiehl Frazier continues to be a train wreck, throwing for just 546 yards (2TDs, 7Ints) in four games.  His passing efficiency numbers are last in the SEC by a wide margin.

Negative plays have also been a huge problem for this offense.  In just four games, the Tigers have allowed a staggering 35 tackles for loss (ranked 119th) including nine sacks. That is an incredible number, and speaks to the inexperience in the offensive line.

To make matters worse, one of the playmakers for the Tigers, wide receiver Quan Bray is suspended for the Arkansas game after his weekend arrest in Georgia.  Bray is their third leading receiver (11 catches) and has thrown one of Auburn’s three TD passes this year.

 

If the Hogs are going to stay in this one, it may be time for defensive coordinator Paul Haynes to use that 5-man front that was pretty successful at stopping the run vs. Rutgers, and see if Frazier can beat us through the air.  It’s worth a shot.

Any early success against this Tiger offense could be just what the doctor ordered.  We’re not sayin’…we’re just sayin’.  The Tigers are favored by 10.

  • Seth

    Just what the doctor ordered? Maybe… MAYBE for the offense to get some points while in the red zone. But, with how Haynes’ defense has played so far this year, I can see Frazier having a hay-day and tearing up our secondary. A 10 point spread is achievable by Auburn.

    • texhogforever

      Dub this one the Loony Tune Classic.

  • GolfHog

    Looks like Vegas learned their lesson, they’ve favored an team that shouldn’t score ten points with a ten point spread. I guess they’re expecting the defense to return several turnovers for scores.
    This circus should be the real laughter of the year, worthy of watching from beginning to oh-so-excrutiating end. You just have to hope it doesn’t go to overtime. It might never end. Auburn should have a bit of an advantage in the battle for last place, they began with lower expectations and they have a coaching staff fighting to keep their jobs. Our coaches are just waiting to see where BMFP lands next.
    But, on paper, we should win, even in our depressed state, by at least 10. Vegas may have to just stop listing the Hogs. I think we bounce back on the plains and take a run at the Liberty Bowl.
    I will take a bit of exception with your defensive stratagy. I think last week’s scheme is the one to favor from here on out. Let teams run if they can on our front four, protect those young corners. We won’t see another QB for a while that will make us pay unless we put too much into stopping the run and leave those corners exposed. Let ‘em run clock, less time for us to make mistakes. If we score it’s not likely to be a ten play drive. Our red zone if from the 40 to the 25.

    • Jim Doggg

      “Looks like Vegas learned their lesson, they’ve favored an team that shouldn’t score ten points with a ten point spread.” Golf, you have forgotten that LMonroe and Jacksonville scored more than 10 points. Plus Auburn scored 10 points against LSU. Oddsmakers aren’t too far off thinking that Auburn could exceed that. The strategy of stopping the run and making Frazier win by passing has only one flaw: Stop the run. Right. McCaleb is dangerous and Frazier has quick feet. From what I’ve seen of Auburn, blitzes and pass rushes are what have upset Kiehl. Oh wait, the Hogs haven’t done that either. You let any QB sit in the pocket and the Hog secondary will allow him to look like Tyler Bray. Forget the defense, Frazier will look like a ballerina out there. Only hope is that Tyler and company can outscore the opposition, Oh wait, they haven’t done that either. Actually, from what I’ve seen, the DL and backers have been doing a decent job. But how to get over the constant inability to stop third down passing plays whether short or long. Hoping the receivers will drop the ball and/or the QB will be inaccurate is not a good game plan. LBs and DEs must get to Frazier before Frazier gets to Lutsenkirchen (sic). Shine’s analysis is very good in that the DL is working hard but what else have you got? My own assesment is that the game may rest on the Hog’s OL vs Auburn’s OL. The one that performs the best will determine the winner.
      ‘it may be time for defensive coordinator Paul Haynes to use that 5-man front that….’ How about it may be time for Paul Haynes and the other assistant coaches to do their jobs. Unless they do, then it will be up to the kids theselves to pick up the pieces.

      • GolfHog

        I didn’t watch the Auburn LSU game, I can’t speak to that. I have watched Frazier play a bit this year. He has a nice arm when the guy is wide open and he knows where to go. I believe that forcing anyone to throw on our secondary can not be a game plan. You have to cover up the weak corners. Our D-Line will hold their own with a lead or in a close game. As bad as PPetrino has been, I’m betting even he is learning a bit about this team after 5 weeks. He has the talent to score. Auburn will score but not as easily as anyone we have seen so far. It could be very close. I don’t see them running off from us unless we fumble 5 times. As long as we’re in it we have a better chance to score and win. IMHO

    • NEA Alum

      What drug are you on? To make the Liberty Bowl the Hogs would have to win 5 of the 7 remaining games. Ain’t gonna happen with this team and coaching staff. We can’t even make the Toilet Bowl in Flushing, NY. Wait ’til 2015!!

      • GolfHog

        Just high on life! I’m sure you’re right, especially about these coaches. There is still a lot of talent on this team. They haven’t caught a break in months.

  • Jim Doggg

    This is a hugh game for Gene Chizik and his coaching staff. Lose it and the program will begin to slide further down. Not so much with the Hog’s staff since they know they won’t be here next year. May have an impact on the game. If the Tigers play with more intensity than the Hogs, this could be a reason. I heard a rumor from someone in Texas, who heard it from someone in Arkansas, who heard it from someone in Alabama that if Gene doesn’t straighten out this ship soon then he’ll be gone and here’s the whopper, BP is being considered as his replacement. Wonder who and for what purpose that rumor was started?

    • GolfHog

      Actually that is the one angle that really cuts about eight ways. Auburn would have no questions about bringing in BMFP. They would do anything to compete with Alabama. If they want him, this is the year to dump Chizik. So, beating Chizik gets Arkansas’ staff a big step closer to their new jobs at Auburn. Our staff should finally be motivated to take the field.