Dye-Gest: Opportunity to Improve In Week 2

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye gives his take on the Auburn Tigers heading into week two of the college football season.

Defensive line coach Rodney Garner (above) talks to his players during the Clemson game.

I am guessing that most of our readers are Auburn fans and I am just like all of the rest of you in being disappointed the Tigers lost their season opener to Clemson. I am right there with you because it was a game Auburn could have won if the Tigers had played a little better on offense or if the ball bounced the right way once or twice.

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Despite the loss there are positives this team can take away from that game. Where the Tigers go from here is up to the players and the coaches, but when I watched the game on Saturday night I liked a lot of what I saw. I believe there are reasons for Auburn fans to be proud of their players.

As a football coach what you ask of your guys is to play hard for 60 minutes and that happened on both sides of the football in game one. Auburn was very inconsistent offensively and really struggled at times, particularly in the first half, but I never had the feeling that the receivers weren’t playing hard or the offensive line wasn’t trying hard. I thought Kerryon Johnson showed a lot of heart and I thought the quarterbacks tried hard, too. The way it played out I didn’t see anybody who wasn’t trying to win and that is a plus.

Going against an offense as talented as Clemson is at the skill positions, I thought that Coach Kevin Steele and his defensive staff had a great game plan and their players did a good job of executing it. When you play against people like Clemson has you are going to get beat some, but overall there was a lot to like about the way Auburn played defensively.

There were real pluses the Tigers can take out of the first game as they prepare for the rest of the season. There also are lot of things they have got to be better at doing, especially on offense. I think this team has enough talent to play a lot better on offense, both running and throwing, than we saw on Saturday night.

It’s important that the offense corrects the game one mistakes. It is important that the coaching staff comes up with a good plan this week that will build the offense’s confidence so it can make the type of progress necessary to be successful not only this week vs. Arkansas State, but throughout the season beginning with the start of the SEC season in week three vs. Texas A&M.

I don’t know how good this offense can be, but I know it can be a lot better than what we saw vs. Clemson. To able to beat teams like Texas A&M and others on the schedule improvement is a must and nobody knows that any better than the coaches and players.

Despite losing a close game, I thought the players did an outstanding job of representing Auburn on opening night and I think this group still has a chance of developing into a really good football team. It is obvious the Tigers have a chance to be strong on defense. I also think the potential is there on offense to score enough points to win games. The speciality teams are really good so that should help.

A week’s worth of practice is plenty of time to make the type of changes that can make a positive difference going from game one to game two. I am excited to see how the Tigers look on Saturday night against Arkansas State to see if they are taking advantage of their opportunity to become a better football team.

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