Dye-Gest: Moving On Past the Iron Bowl

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about the Auburn Tigers in his Dye-Gest column and gives his take on what the team's focus should be.

Montravius Adams (1) and his Auburn football teammates will try to win their ninth game to close the 2016 season.

As disappointing as it is for the Tigers to lose this year’s Iron Bowl game, you can’t take anything away from Alabama because that is a great team. I don’t see anybody out there across the country that is close to them at this point of the college football season.

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If you love Auburn there is no way your are going to be happy about losing to Alabama no matter what the circumstances. You just hurt. You can’t sugarcoat it. That’s just a fact of life.

Alabama has a great defense and because of that is able to play a young quarterback and not get beat when he makes mistakes like he did against Auburn. He has a security blanket with a defense that can get the ball right back for him after a turnover.

You can’t look at this year’s Iron Bowl game and say the Tigers didn’t play hard. I didn’t see any issues effort-wise. However, the same offensive problems that were there in the Georgia game were a problem vs. Alabama. The Tigers have had problems running the football vs. good defensive teams this year. It is just that simple. The quarterback situation is certainly a factor with the offensive struggles, too.

Defensively, I think the Tigers played good football in the first half vs. Alabama, but the way their offense struggled kept Auburn’s defense on the field way too long. Because of that in the second half the defense didn’t play with the crispness, the quickness, that we saw in the first half. The best example of that was the last drive when Alabama took the ball down the field and ran out the clock.

Now that the Iron Bowl is history this is an important time for coaches to be out on the road recruiting. Auburn had a really good 2016 class and there is no reason it can’t do the same thing again

Once the Tigers find out who they are playing in the bowl game they will get back to practice and when they do it will be important to come up with the right answers at quarterback position, whatever they may be.

As disappointed as the Tigers are about finishing the regular season with an 8-4 record they have plenty of company in the Southeastern Conference. If the SEC Championship Game goes as expected and Florida loses, no team in the league other than Alabama will have less than four losses. Although the Tigers exceeded the preseason predictions most had for them, it could have done more. They had opportunities to beat Clemson and Georgia, and the Texas A&M game was close until the Aggies got a late touchdown.

I am not pessimistic at all about the situation for the Tigers moving forward. The 2017 team should be really strong on defense and there are plenty of talented young players on the roster.

Personally, I would like to see Auburn play the toughest opponent possible in a bowl game to finish the 2016 schedule and come out and perform well to end the season on a good note. That would be exactly what this football team needs.

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