Arkansas: The Bad, The Ugly, and The Disgusting


Oct 6, 2012; Auburn, AL, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks receiver Cobi Hamilton (11) gets past Auburn Tigers defensive back Jonathon Mincy (6) during the first half at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Razorbacks beat the Tigers 24-7. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-US PRESSWIRE

The Auburn Tigers took the field Saturday in SEC West play, after a bye week nonetheless, against the Arkansas Razorbacks. This 2012 Razorback squad came into Auburn, Alabama in self destruct mode which had been highlighted by two blowout defeats by the hands of Alabama and Texas A&M as well as being upset by Louisiana Monroe in week 2. Auburn, on the other hand, had an inspiring performance against the LSU Tigers in week 4 that left many Auburn fans with high hopes for a good finish the rest of the year.

The Auburn team that took the #2 team in the nation at the time (LSU) to the limit a couple of weeks prior was nowhere to be seen Saturday against the Razorbacks. Although the defense appeared to maintain a decent level of play, the Auburn offense was, once again, nowhere to be found. Arkansas was able to soundly defeat the Auburn Tigers with a score of 24-7.

Let us dive right into it. There were not enough bright spots during Saturday’s game to have a “Good” section for this week’s breakdown. I believe Auburn’s performance could be better described as “The Bad, The Ugly, and The Disgusting”:

The Bad:

What is an accurate description for this Auburn offense? A pro style philosophy? A spread hybrid? Here’s the most accurate description: a pure dumpster fire.

Do not get me wrong. This Auburn offense has talent across the board due to great recruiting the past few years, but the usage of this talent really has to make you scratch your head. Auburn picked up a big time play maker in fullback Jay Prosch during the off season, and nothing was more entertaining than watching linebackers and defensive backs bounce off of him like a pinball during the Clemson game. Besides a petty 4 yard run against Arkansas Saturday, the use of Prosch so far has certainly been puzzling.

Also, the play calling is still not helping out Kiehl Frazier. Wait, I mean Jonathan Wallace. Wait, I mean Clint Moseley. That is another issue. Was it just me, or did it seem like Frazier’s leash was really, really short on Saturday? It did not take long, did it? The first series of the second half, backup quarterback Clint Moseley made his 2012 debut. Sure, he threw a TD pass to Emory Blake in the 3rd quarter, but the move should not have been made. To me, Frazier had one of his best halves against Arkansas besides an errant interception late in the half. I mentioned it after the Mississippi State: this coaching staff does not have faith in Kiehl Frazier, and it showed this weekend. A quarterback like Frazier with limited game time must be protected. You must establish the running game in order to open up the passing game. The offensive play calling by Auburn is just not setting up the pass very well. It really does not help that the offensive line played it worst game of the year, but I will save that for a later segment…

The Ugly:

The voices are getting louder. After making fabulous hires (Malzahn, Rocker, etc.) when he was first introduced as Auburn’s head coach in December 2008, Coach Gene Chizik probably made one of his most questionable hires in January 2012 with Scot Loeffler as Auburn’s offensive coordinator. Loeffler’s plan consisted of bringing a more pro style offensive approach to Auburn, focusing on the run and the play action pass. When a team and its recruiting is built on this philosophy, it can be successful.

But that is the problem, right? Gene Chizik decided to continue the once bizarre experiment of former coach Tommy Tuberville by hiring the hurry up no huddle offensive guru Gus Malzahn which turned out to be one of the best hires in Chizik’s tenure. Malzahn had immediate success and, famously one year later, brought a crystal football to Auburn, Alabama behind the arm and running skills of a player named Cam Newton. The 2011 season was not as successful as the prior year, but the Tigers were still able to win 8 games with the average of points scored being roughly 26. Through 5 games of the 2012 season, the Auburn Tigers are averaging the 15.4 points per game, which is 119th overall in the Football Bowl Series. This ties in with the “bad” section: Auburn has to stick with what they do best. I am not saying that they should run the spread only, but I believe that Auburn has to continue to try and protect their QB, whoever they choose it to be, by running the football. Maybe it is time for Chizik and company to look back at Tuberville’s philosophy (run the football consistently/play good defense) and put the passing game in a little a time.

Here is the rundown: if performance and execution do not improve in Auburn by the end of the year, somebody is going to lose their job. Could it be Chizik? I seriously doubt it, but I would not be surprised if Coach Scot Loeffler was used as the guinea pig for Chizik to have one more shot at it.

The Disgusting:

Arkansas brought in one of the worst defenses in the conference into Auburn this past Saturday. Auburn had a bye week. I feel like that fact is so important that I should type it once more for added effect: Auburn had a bye week. They were able to prepare for Arkansas on both sides of the football for a solid 2 weeks. Once again though, the Auburn offense was unable to establish an offensive identity. Tre Mason has been the most consistent ball carrier for the Tigers yet he was limited to only 6 touches against the Arkansas defense. The offensive line and Kiehl Frazier could not maintain their ground long enough to establish a passing attack which enabled the Arkansas defense to rack up 8 sacks and 5 turnovers. Once again, this Arkansas defense is no Alabama or LSU. Auburn’s offense was just bad. With terrible 1st down plays, penalties, and missed blocking assignments, the Auburn offense allowed the Razorback defense to have a breakout day.

Although I touched on it briefly in the “ugly” section, the disgusting viewpoint from Saturday’s game against Arkansas was the lack of offensive identity. Auburn must run the football first and foremost. Utilize fullback Jay Prosch’s blocking ability. Line Mason up at the tailback position and feed him. If the Auburn offense wants to try and muster up some play action passes, it must make running the football its number one priority. Sometime, somewhere, and somehow, this Auburn offense must establish an identity. I do not think that can be stated enough.


This game was just hard to watch if you are an Auburn fan. After coming off of a bye week, after an encouraging performance against LSU, many thought that this Auburn team would improve and send the Razorbacks back to Fayetteville in blowout fashion. I do not think many fans expected to see the Auburn offense look as lost as they appeared Saturday. Although the defense continues to make strides in the right direction, Auburn’s offense brings enough frustration to overlook the defense’s success.

Gene Chizik has to right the ship, and I think he is more than capable of doing so. As of right now, I see him on the hot seat, and with Saturday’s performance, it is much deserved. If the Auburn defense continues to improve, however, and the offense can establish a running game in order to help out the QB, whoever it may be, Chizik and company may be able to get things back on track in Oxford against a feisty Ole Miss team.