Dye-Gest: ULM Offers A Real Test for Tigers

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about this week's Auburn game vs. Louisiana-Monroe.

When looking at Auburn's schedule back in the preseason, it appeared that the home opener this Saturday vs. Louisiana-Monroe would be a good opportunity to do some experimenting and play a lot of inexperienced people to see how they perform. However, after the way the Tigers struggled the past two weeks, and the way Louisiana-Monroe performed in winning against Arkansas last Saturday night, the reality is the Tigers are going to be facing a football team that looks like it is good enough to beat anybody.

I watched the Louisiana-Monroe game vs. Arkansas and I thought the Warhawks had as good of a defensive plan against Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson as any team I have seen. I know they hit the quarterback harder than anybody that I have seen. Wilson got nailed twice by blitzing linebackers on cold-blooded hits that took him out of the game and set the stage for the Warhawks to win the game in overtime.

I really like Louisiana-Monroe's quarterback. Kolton Browning is a great little operator with the running game and the passing game. He played against Auburn in 2010 and looked promising then. When you get a quarterback with talent who is running the same offense for the third straight season, it is not uncommon to see him do it very well, and that is what Auburn's defense is going to see on Saturday. He is very, very efficient.

I didn't expect this Auburn team to be 0-2 going into this week's game, but I am not shocked either. Much of the talent is young and this team doesn't have enough experienced players in several areas that are critical to success in the Southeastern Conference and it is showing.

Now is the time that everyone involved in the Auburn football program needs to step up and rise to the occasion--coaches, players and fans. If you love Auburn, now is the time to show what you are made of. Are you going to cut and run or are you going to be there when the going gets tough?

A football team off to a disappointing start like Auburn's team is doesn't get better by making excuses, pointing fingers, questioning people and whatever. You get better by working hard, pulling together and becoming a real team. You take your strong points and make them stronger while working to improve the areas that are not up to par.

Right now the Tigers are not a good team on offense or defense. When I say that I mean there is somebody breaking down on every play that hurts the overall efficiency on both sides of the ball. That is not uncommon with a football team counting on a lot of young players, but it is time for the Tigers to step up and play better. It is time for the players to be accountable. If there is good leadership on this team, it is time for it to step up and make a difference. Win or lose you want to see a team that will fight and scratch trying to find a way to win a game for the full 60 minutes. That is the way these Tigers need to play this Saturday and every Saturday this season.

From the mailbag:

Coach Dye,

I loved your recent article about Coach Chizik standing up for the right thing. You did the same thing at Auburn and I think you two men have been the real force to change Auburn forever.

Thank you so much for all you've done for Auburn and all of us that went there and love it!!

Sincerely Yours,
Marc M. Butts, '78

I am glad you enjoyed the column, Marc. I like Coach Chizik and have no doubts he will get the job done for the Tigers.

(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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