Despite allowing 407 yards of total offense in the win, coach Gene Chizik said he saw some things to like from his defensive group. Allowing a long touchdown run on the second play of the game and a late touchdown with the reserves in action, Chizik said in between they did some good things but must improve a great deal the next three weeks.
"The second play of the game, the long run, was a situation where we needed to get off some blocks and we didn't quite do that," Chizik said. "I assess everything on how we respond after that. I thought we did a good job of getting the jet sweep under control.
"They got some three and outs at a time when as a whole football team we were gelling together. I thought the special teams were making their mark. I thought offensively we were moving the football. Defensively we were getting the ball back to the offense at that point. I thought they responded well to a negative situation early."
Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen was banged up in Saturday's win over Ole Miss in the first half of the game and was in street clothes for the second half. Chizik said they'll evaluate him throughout the week to see if he'll be ready to go this week. "He's just beat up like everybody else," Chizik noted.
Another injury forced Auburn's hand two weeks ago in practice and resulted in freshman Ryan White's redshirt getting pulled in week nine. When T'Sharvan Bell went down with a hamstring injury against Arkansas, it put the pressure on an already thin Auburn secondary. With Anthony Gulley Morgan also banged up this week, that meant Auburn had just four healthy corners including White, who played for the first time.
"Simply by bodies, two weeks ago we had to make the decision to play him," Chizik said. "We had to take him out of the redshirt, which we didn't want to do, but we were at that place and time where we don't have a choice. We took him out last week and said he's got to play some special teams and on defense. We've got to get him in there. That's where it evolved and that's our idea every week to get him in there."
When asked about which players stood out to him in Saturday's game, Chizik didn't hesitate to name several players that helped the Tigers win their third game on the road in 2010.
"I think Demond (Demond Washington) played well," Chizik said. "Overall he just played well. I think Nick Fairley played well. I think Michael Dyer had a really nice game. They were bottling things up in the middle and decided to take away the inside quarterback run game. Now the perimeter with Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb opened up.
"I think our offensive line played well again," he added. "Kodi Burns blocked well on the perimeter. Wes Byrum did a nice job yesterday. The kickoffs and our kickoff coverage team was swarming the football. We were getting some good kicks from Cody Parkey and from Wes. I think that has been a big factor on our kickoff coverage."
Auburn will face Chattanooga (5-3, 4-2) Saturday at noon at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be available on a pay-per-view basis only.