Dye-Gest: How Will the Tigers React?

Coach Pat Dye writes about Auburn's two-game slide heading into the home finale for the 2014 football season.

Coach Gus Malzahn's Tigers will look to improve their record to 8-3 this week.

I know all the Auburn people are disappointed about the Georgia game on Saturday, but looking back at it I don’t know that it was all that different from the way the Tigers played a week earlier in their loss to Texas A&M. The big difference may have just been that Auburn was playing a much better football team at Athens than the Tigers faced at home vs. Texas A&M.

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As was the case in the loss to the Aggies, Auburn had breakdowns on offense, defense and in the kicking game vs. the Bulldogs that need to get fixed as soon as possible.

How the Tigers react to their last two games is in the hands of the coaches and players. It is going to being interesting to see what type of leadership comes from the players going forward because how this team handles adversity and performs at the end of the season will be a big part of how this group will always be remembered.

There are many of the same players on the field this year for the Tigers who had so much success last season. I know they must be frustrated and the same has to be true for the coaches, the same group that helped this team reach the national championship game just a year ago.

Auburn fans are hoping their team can rise up here at the end of the season and win the rest of the games. It’s in the hands of the players and coaches to make that happen, but the Tigers must play much better. When you play good it shows up on the field and when you play badly it shows up on the field, and in the Southeastern Conference it shows up more severely than in many other places because of the quality of the competition.

I can use the Georgia team as a perfect example. I watched the Bulldogs play against Florida and they were truly awful. You couldn’t be much worse than they were, both offensively and defensively. The Bulldogs didn’t change but one thing from their game vs. Florida to their game vs. Auburn and that was their attitude. If Auburn is going to make a big improvement the Tigers are going to have to do the same thing Georgia did. If they don’t nothing is going to change.

Not being critical of Samford, which has a good team in its league, but it is not SEC-caliber competition so that gives the Tigers two weeks to get ready to correct problems and get ready to play Alabama. Auburn needs to use that time wisely. If the Tigers can’t win against Samford by being basic, playing with effort and taking care of the fundamentals, the team is certainly going to be in big trouble the last week of the regular season.

Looking at this week’s SEC games:

Eastern Kentucky at Florida--The Gators should be able to get back in the win column vs. a weak opponent despite the news about Will Muschamp losing his job in Gainesville.

South Alabama at South Carolina--After rallying for a big finish at Florida, the Gamecocks will get a second straight win.

Charleston Southern at Georgia--This should be an easy win for the home team.

Western Carolina at Alabama--Playing a weak opponent gives Alabama extra time to get ready for the Iron Bowl regular season finale.

Ole Miss at Arkansas--The Razorbacks have a chance to win this one after finally breaking through with a league victory vs. LSU, but Ole Miss is well-rested and should be able to win on the road in what could be a very, very close game. I am tempted to pick Arkansas to win, really tempted, but I shouldn’t so I am going with the Rebels.

Vanderbilt at Mississippi State--The Commodores are on a path to a winless season in SEC play and even a disappointed bunch of Bulldogs should win this game with ease.

Missouri at Tennessee--I think the Vols are playing much better at this stage of the season than they were earlier in the year so I am not convinced that Missouri is good enough to past Tennessee in Knoxville even though this is a big game for the Tigers. Look the Vols to win this one.

Samford at Auburn--Coach Pat Sullivan’s Samford Bulldogs are having a good season, but this is a game the Tigers should be able to win by a comfortable margin vs. an opponent from the Southern Conference.

Season Record: 71-23

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