"We didn't tackle very well," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville says. "We didn't play with as good of fundamentals as we had in the last few weeks. Arkansas had a little something to do with that. It was a game where we played a little tentative and we were afraid to make a mistake. There are some things that we need to work on. We gave up a lot of yardage and 20 points."
After scoring the 30 first-half points the Tigers were only able to score eight in the second half. It wasn't the first time that the offense struggled in the second half after a getting off to a fast start. In Knoxville two weeks ago, Auburn scored 31 points in the first half and only three in the second.
"Offensively, we played a real good first half, but in the second half we let up a little bit," Tuberville says. "We lost our focus and didn't play near as hard the second half as we did the first half. That's one area of concern because we know that down the road we're going to have some games that we're going to have to play for four quarters."
Coach Tommy Tuberville
Despite Tuberville's displeasure with the offensive production in the second half of games this season he admits that even though his background in coaching is as a defensive mind, he would have a tough time developing a game plan to slow the Auburn offense that is producing nearly 450 total yards per game.
"I wouldn't know how to play us right now with the way we're doing it," Tuberville says. "It's tough with the different formations each week, different personnel settings and putting Ronnie (Ronnie Brown) and Carnell (Carnell Williams) in different places. I haven't looked at the stats but we've got to be pretty balanced between the run and the pass. How do you play us? Nobody has found that answer yet. Either we've gotten stronger or people are playing us wrong. People are taking too many chances. It's been interesting to see the different game plans set up against us."
The win moved Auburn to 4-0 in the league and every other team in the SEC West has at least two conference losses. The Tigers appear to be in excellent shape to reach the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 4, but Tuberville says that the defense can't afford to have any more games like Saturday's contest with Arkansas.
"For us to have a chance to get to Atlanta we are going to have to play better defensively," he says. "Our offense can't be the only one that's playing. We've played good at times on defense, but there have be times where we haven't played very well. We didn't tackle well at all. We were in the wrong position. We over-pursued.
"If we're going to be able to make it to Atlanta and have a chance to win in Atlanta then we're going to have to play much better on defense," he adds. "I don't think we're good enough offensively to where we can just get in a scoring match--we never have been--and out-score people. Twenty points is a lot of points to give up. We don't want to settle for mediocrity."
The first BCS poll of 2004 will be released Monday and Auburn is expected to be no worse than fourth, which would be its highest ranking since the system was introduced in 1998. Tuberville says that his Tigers might not be deserving of their high ranking.
"I don't think we're good enough yet to even consider the BCS or where we're ranked in the polls," he says. "We'll have to give that a few more weeks and see what happens. Right now (the polls and rankings) are just good for talk. They won't do us any good if we lose a game because we won't be in them. Nobody will be asking about them of we lose a game."
Against Arkansas, quarterback Jason Campbell finished the day completing 17 of 19 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns to earn Auburn's Offensive Player of the Week. Linebacker Antarrious Williams had seven solo tackles and one assist to earn Defensive Player of the Week. Tailback Carl Stewart was named Special Teams Player of the Week.
Tuberville says that his Tigers came out of the Arkansas game healthy with only bumps and bruises. Backup offensive guard Jonathan Palmer is expected to be out of action for two to three weeks with an illness.