"It did at times," Herring says. "We gave up a lot of big plays. We missed a lot of tackles. Overall, we're not happy with our performance at all. We're going to go back to the chalk board and get back at it next week. We've got a big game with Georgia, who is a lot better opponent. We're going to have to bring our best game."
Saturday was anything but that for the Tigers. After holding every opponent this season under 200 yards passing, Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson threw for 335 and one touchdown. His attempts (43), completions (26) and yards were all career highs. Herring says that the defensive effort was there, but something was missing.
"I think it's kind of a wake-up call to us," Herring says. "We feel like up to this point we haven't had a letdown. We said going into the game that we didn't want to have one in this game either. I'm not going to say it was a lack of effort, because that's for sure not the case. We just had guys making mental mistakes and missing tackles, including myself."
With a comfortable lead at the half the Tigers cut down on the defensive scheme in the second half and also played several back-ups for extensive minutes. While both played a part in the breakdown, Herring says it shouldn't have mattered to the defense what they played or who was in the game.
"I don't think we blitzed a whole lot," Herring says. "We stayed basically in our four, two and three packages. I don't think that's the reason at all. We've lined up and played base defenses many times and shut teams down. I feel like if we do what we do to the best of our ability then we'll be fine."
Auburn now goes back to work to get ready for a showdown with the Top 10 Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. Before that happens though the defense will take a long look at the Kentucky game to figure out what went wrong. Herring says that he still feels like this defense is on the right track. The only question that remains is which team will keep rolling in the SEC race after game 10.
"You have your good days and bad days," Herring says. "I give Kentucky credit. They came with everything and definitely played a heck of a ball game. We definitely have to pick it up next week.
"We have to come with it next week," he adds. "Georgia has a heck of a football team. We've got to play our best offensively and defensively and special teams next week in order to win."