Dye-Gest: Off Week Comes at Good Time for AU

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about the Auburn Tigers.

Rhett Lashlee (above) is Auburn's offensive coordinator.

I thought Auburn was going to have a lot more trouble in Starkville than the Tigers did against Mississippi State and because they didn’t it shows me that this football team is continuing to improve. With the Bulldogs having an extra week to get ready for Auburn, I thought it would be a much closer game.

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Because of what we are seeing, it tells me Auburn’s coaches have a good plan for helping their guys improve from week to week. It also tells me that the leadership from the players on this team is strong.

I haven’t seen a game the Tigers have played this season in which the team went out there and didn’t play hard, which is not easy to do. I will say in the second half of the Mississippi State game there was a little concern about the intensity, but the way the Tigers played in the first half to jump out to a 35-0 lead it was clear that they went over to Starkville with every intention of winning that football game in every way a team can win a game.

Another thing that has got my attention about the 2016 Auburn team is the way Sean White is progressing at quarterback. He did a lot of good things in the Mississippi State game. Even on his interception it wasn’t his fault because the receiver should have made that catch and made the first down. In my opinion he is playing as well as any quarterback in the conference and Coach (Rhett) Lashlee is doing a good job of calling plays.

I did think the Tigers got conservative with their play calling in the second half and I don’t think that fits this team’s personality. To be successful the offense is going to need to be aggressive throwing the football to open up running room. Unless you have a great runner at quarterback when you stop throwing the ball it takes the pressure off the defense and that is what happened in Starkville. Mississippi State decided to concentrate on stopping the run when it realized the Tigers weren’t planning to throw the ball in the second half and Auburn’s offensive wasn’t nearly as productive.

The Tigers have an extra week to get ready for their next game when they play Arkansas. I don’t believe the Razorbacks are as good as the Clemson, Texas A&M or LSU teams Auburn has faced this year, but I do believe this is a dangerous opponent because quarterback Austin Allen is doing such a good job of throwing the football.

Arkansas also has good wide receivers and is a threat to score a lot of points because of its passing attack, but Auburn has been pretty good defending the pass so that should be a matchup to watch.

The Tigers can certainly use the extra time to get ready for a good Arkansas offense and the off week is probably going to be a big plus for the players because it has been a grind for them going back to the first of August when preseason practice began.

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