Auburn, Ala.--Coming off another disappointing offensive performance in a 29-16 loss to Texas A&M, the Auburn Tigers turn the page to LSU this week with a huge game for Gus Malzahn’s program on the horizon. Currently 1-2 on the season with the other loss to Clemson, Auburn has lost six consecutive SEC games in Jordan-Hare Stadium with the last win coming against South Carolina in October of 2014.
On Tuesday, Malzahn took the blame for the slow start to the season and put the onus on himself and the rest of his coaching staff to fix things and fix things in a hurry.
“I've been at Auburn for seven years now, experienced some very good times, a few rough times,” Malzahn said. “The last two losses have probably hurt me worse than any of the others. I fully understand our fan base is disappointed, and they should be.
“The bottom line is we've got to coach our players better, and that starts with me. The fact is, we're close. As a matter of fact, we're real close to being a good team and we're going to get this thing turned around.”
Despite the losses to Clemson and Texas A&M when the Auburn offense scored just 29 total points and netted just 662 yards of total offense, 164 of which came in the fourth quarter against the Aggies, Malzahn said he feels like this team is close to getting over the hump.
“I think when you look at the first game we had opportunities to win that game,” the coach said. “That week we didn’t put points on the board when we had opportunities late in the game. We were close. We played solid football in week two. The score didn’t dictate it, I think everyone saw in the third quarter we had opportunities to take the lead in the third quarter that’s what I mean by close.
“That’s probably why it hurts as much as it does because from a coach’s standpoint you have to find a way to get your team over the hump. That’s what I mean by close, it’s very factual. It’s encouraging when you can take away the hurt and that’s what I’m doing. We are putting the hurt behind us. We left that on Sunday. We are moving forward to LSU, one of the best teams in college football, playing them at our place and we need to play well.”
Because of issues with the play calling, offensive line, scheme and more, Auburn has plenty of work to be done this week as Malzahn’s team gets ready to face a talented LSU team. He said all they can do is roll up their sleeves and get it done, starting with himself.
“As a leader, you’ve got to correct things that aren’t going good,” he said. “That’s the only thing on my mind.”
With everyone down on the program after the rough start Malzahn said he understands where the Auburn fans are right now because he’s right there beside them. Wanting to win in the worst way, he said getting the job done is the only thing on his mind.
“I definitely feel their pain first of all,” Malzahn said. “I know the Auburn family. I know their expectations. I don’t read social media. I just know they expect us to play good football. I hurt too. We got to do a better job, I got to do a better job. I’m going to.”
Kickoff for Saturday's contest will be shortly after 5 p.m. CDT with TV coverage on ESPN.