With under seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, Payton Thorne found Rivaldo Fairweather on a fade route at the back of the end zone from second and goal at the five-yard line to put Auburn football up 14-10 on Cal; which would end up being the final score of the Tigers’ historic September 9 non-conference clash in Berkeley.
As Hugh Freeze revealed to reporters on September 11, it was his play-call. And it was one of just three plays he called all game.
“I called 3 plays in that game, I did call the fade to Rivaldo,” Freeze said (h/t Mike Gittens).
Auburn football head coach Hugh Freeze may have to go back on offseason pledge to shift away from play-calling
During the offseason, Freeze announced that offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery would be taking over play-calling duties on a near-full-time basis.
“I think there’s a point in time where your whole concern is just what is best for whatever program you’re leading,” Freeze said back in February (h/t Montgomery Advertiser). “There’s so many dynamics to running a program at this level today that are maybe a little bit new and different. …
“I think there’s an enormous amount of time that I can put into that to help us. … I’m still going to call a share of them. Depending on what that looks like, probably more in the tempo world, we really don’t know exactly what it looks like (yet), but I know that I have great confidence in Philip as a play-caller.”
Through two games — with the obvious caveat that we are far too early in the season to make any absolute statements — the weakness in Freeze’s Tigers has seemingly been the offense. With just 4.2 yards per play on 230 total yards of offense against Cal, AU looked in over their heads against a Golden Bears defense that’s got nothing on the SEC opponents on the Tigers’ slate.
If Freeze has to go back on that offseason decree, he should. Because right now the play-calling, and albeit, the execution by the players as well, have been lacking offensively.