The Dye-Log: Keeping Mistakes to a Minimum

Hall of Fame Coach Pat Dye writes about the Auburn Tigers and this week's UGA-UF contest.

After a disappointing performance on the road vs. LSU, this is an important week for the Auburn football team to regroup, continue to tweak the offense and defense, and turn its concentration to finish the season in an improvement mode.

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The Tigers will wrap up what has been a demanding October schedule with a much-needed home game on Saturday night. It will be important for Coach Gene Chizik's team to play well vs. Ole Miss and move into the final month of the regular season with positive momentum.

A big key to making that happen will be finding a way to be more explosive on offense, something the Tigers have been the past two years with Gus Malzahn as the coordinator. I know the Tigers have been limited some with injuries to their top wide receivers, but despite that they still need to find a way to make the wideouts a bigger part of what they are doing.

To reach its potential as a football team, the Tigers have to be able to successfully throw the football down the field. I believe the new starting quarterback, Clint Moseley, is certainly capable of getting that done, especially if the offensive line gives him enough time to find his receivers.

Auburn is not a bad running team. In fact, I think they are pretty good at it, but the ground game won't be able to reach its potential until the Tigers can get a semblance of a passing game. That is one of the challenges as the Tigers prepare for the Rebels this week. If the Tigers can do that, and keep their turnovers and mistakes to a minium, this team can position itself for a good bowl trip later this year.

A perfect example of what keeping mistakes to a minium can do for a football team is what is happening this year in Baton Rouge. There are better running teams in college football than LSU and there are a lot of better passing teams, but there is probably not a team that does a better job of not beating itself than LSU.

Mistakes on defense can be just as critical to a football team. A good example of that took place in Baton Rouge on Saturday. All three of LSU's first half touchdowns were aided in a significant way by penalties by Auburn that helped keep drives alive.

Through eight games LSU has turned the ball over just three times with just two interceptions and one fumble lost. That will win you a lot of football games when your team is strong on defense and in the kicking game, which LSU is. That explains why Coach Les Miles has his team rated number one again this week in the BCS standings.

An important matchup in the SEC East is on the schedule this Saturday as Georgia and Florida get together for their annual rivalry game in Jacksonville, a location that has generally not been a friendly one for the Bulldogs. There are so many Florida fans there it is like a home field for the Gators and this rivalry has leaned heavily in Florida's favor over the past 25 years.

I believe Florida has always got the advantage playing the Bulldogs in Jacksonville. It reminds me of Auburn playing Alabama in Birmingham before we got our home games in that series moved to Jordan-Hare Stadium when I was coaching the Tigers.

Since the Auburn-Alabama game was moved out of Legion Field the Tigers have had a lot of success against the Tide.

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)

Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.


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