Louisiana Monroe: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


Sep 15, 2012; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers receiver Sammie Coats (18) catches a touchdown pass over Louisiana Monroe Warhawks safety Isaiah Newsome (25) as time expires in the first half at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-US PRESSWIRE

The Auburn Tigers tried for the third consecutive Saturday to add a mark to the win column. Their opponents for the week were members of the Sun Belt conference: the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks. The Tigers could not afford to overlook the Warhawks due to the fact that just a week before heading to Auburn, the WarHawks went up to Fayetteville, Arkansas and knocked off Auburn’s SEC West brethren, the Arkansas Razorbacks in great fashion. The Warhawks defeated a top 10 SEC opponent in the Razorbacks by the score of 34-31 in overtime.

No need to overlook this opponent right? The Auburn Tigers, who have done it multiple times in the past, will just walk right into Jordan Hare Stadium and get the younger guys some experience by bashing a team from a weaker conference. You would think that would be the case, but in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend!”

After a double pass to tie the game in the second quarter, as well as a hail mary TD to take the lead to end the first half, Auburn again seemed to collapse after halftime. The offense went into a shell after a fumble inside the Warhawks’ 5 yard line by Tiger RB Mike Blakely. Once the offense went into the shell, the defense followed.  What once started out as a promising statement game, and a game to gain confidence, slowly developed into a game where the Auburn Tigers were fighting not to get beat at home against a weaker opponent. The Warkhawks came charging back to tie the game up at 28 late in the 4th quarter which took the game into overtime. In the OT period, the defense stood their ground and made the Warhawk offense go for a field goal which was blocked by Angelo Blackson, the team’s second block of the day. After getting the ball to the middle of the field, Tiger kicker Cody Parkey gave the Tigers their first win of the year with a 35 yard kick to make the final score 31-28.

As you can tell, this is yet another perfect game to show the inconsistency of this Auburn team with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

I said it on multiple occasions Saturday during the game: Coach Gene Chizik needs to give special teams Coach Jay Boulware a raise. If there is one unit of this Auburn Tiger team that has shown consistency week in and week out, it has been the special teams. Cody Parkey has been perfect going 6-6 in the past 3 weeks, with a career long of 46 against Clemson in Week 1. The Tigers blocked 2 field goals against the Warhawks on Saturday. The kickoff coverage team has been fantastic so far. One name to watch out for on the special teams is highly recruited WR Ricardo Louis out of Miami Beach, FL. Louis, a true freshman,  had a great game Saturday by accounting for multiple tackles on the kickoff coverage squad. Punter Stephen Clark did not have an above average game, but he still managed to make the Warhawks start at their twenty once on Saturday and booming one punt for 51 yards with the help of a friendly roll.  Overall, the special teams play has been the bright spot of this Auburn team and, very well, could be the reason the Tigers won the game on Saturday.

The Bad

It has been said on numerous message boards multiple times, but it remains important enough to constantly repeat: Where is the leadership on this team? Auburn looked like they were going to blow the game out of the water in the 3rd quarter after scoring on their first possession in the second half. Then, the defense held the Warhawks and gave the Auburn offense the chance to put the dagger in LA-Monroe’s heart. Auburn drove the ball down the Warhawks’ throat, and then it happened: Mike Blakely fumbled inside the Warhawks’ 5 yard line. After the fumble, it is like the wind left Auburn’s sails. What is most troubling is that it was not just the offense that folded. Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier folded and threw a costly interception late in the game. The Auburn defense folded, allowing the Warhawks to make a game out of it. Where was the maturity from older players or the coaching on the sideline to motivate this young team and tell them that one play does not make the game? This troubles me the most. If this Auburn team cannot find emotional leaders on this team, whether it be players or coaches, it will be a long year. This team is too young to make mistakes like they did Saturday and not learn from them and be encouraged to continue the race.

The Ugly

I believe I can speak for the majority of Auburn fans when I say that they are thankful for the win. I believe that this team and coaching staff is thankful for the win, but the facts are the facts: this win itself was ugly. Sure, the Auburn Tigers were able to secure their first victory of the year, but the way it was won really draws concern for the Auburn Family. Auburn shown flashes of improvement Saturday against LA-Monroe, but the lack of fundamentals such as tackling, the inability to shut the door on an inferior opponent, and the appearance of an emotional letdown in the second half really creates reasons to be concerned.

Make no mistake about it: a win is a win, but the way Auburn won the game is a cause for concern for the Auburn Family. The special teams should continue playing well throughout the year, but if the Tigers cannot fix “the bad” and “the ugly” from Saturday’s game, it could be a long year. There is a team coming into Jordan Hare on Saturday that is accustomed to beating SEC teams on a regular basis. Maybe, just maybe, these young Tigers  have learned enough from the first part of the season to come out Saturday night and be physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready for the annual Tiger vs. Tiger game against SEC rival LSU.