Todd And Tiger Offense Fall Apart

Auburn quarterback Chris Todd discusses the problems on offense in a 14-13 loss to Vanderbilt.

Nashville, Tenn.--It started out like the Auburn players, coaches and fans were expecting from the Auburn offense. Saturday night's first three possessions were physical displays of football as the Tigers pounded out 53 yards on 10 plays, 49 yards on nine plays and a touchdown and 27 yards in just two plays for a second touchdown.

Auburn's first three possessions the Tigers had 21 offensive plays for 129 yards and 13 points to show for it. Just as quickly as things started strong, they disappeared like dust in the wind. In the remaining 10 possessions not counting a kneel down at the end of the first half Auburn managed just three drives of more than 10 yards. Those 10 possessions Auburn had just 79 yards of total offense and six first downs.

On a night when the offense started strong and finished sour, the same is true of the quarterback position. Starter Chris Todd completed just 8-16 passes for 70 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His first quarter was a thing of beauty as he was 3-4 for 37 yards and both scores.

Those numbers were just a microcosm of the entire offense. After that things fell apart for Todd and the Auburn offense and he said he's not sure why.

"They made some adjustments," Todd said. "They started bringing a little more pressure. They did a good job whatever they did. We just didn't respond to it. We started off good again but fell off in the end."

It's not the first time this Auburn offense has come out firing and then fluttered back to earth. Against Southern Miss and Tennessee both the Tigers had a strong first quarter only to lose it and never find the rhythm again. Todd said he can't put his finger on why it's happening.

"I haven't seen it coming," Todd said. "I don't know what it is. We started off real strong and did some good things. We've got to do better finishing the game and continuing on. We had some positive parts to the game. We've just got to find out what they are and continue with that."

One of the biggest areas of success for Auburn Saturday was running the ball from under center. Opening the game with three successive Ben Tate runs of 14, 13, and 13 yards, Auburn pounded the Commodores early but soon got back in the shotgun without success. Todd said that is something they've got to look at this week in practice.

"They did a good job with it," Todd said. "The line was doing a good job and the running backs were doing a good job. That was working out for us early. We'll go back and look at it and see what is working the best."

The old saying "back to the drawing board" doesn't even begin to apply to the Auburn offense at the moment. Not sure of its quarterback or even its direction, the Tigers' offense must try to find an identity in a hurry if they hope to keep the 2008 season headed down the right path. Todd said the pieces are in place they've just got to put them together.

"We have some great athletes all across the field," Todd said. "There is no reason we shouldn't be able to do this, no reason we shouldn't execute. We've done it before. We did it this game. We've just got to be more consistent. I guess it's just part of the transition process, I don't know. I can't explain it. We've just got to be more consistent."

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