Coming off a loss to Arkansas last Saturday after the firing of offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, the Tigers had to make some major adjustments in how things are going to be done the rest of the season.
Perhaps nobody had more to adjust to than Steve Ensminger. Auburn's tight end and inside receivers coach, Ensminger took on the role of interim coordinator and play caller for the Tigers last week. Now with a week under his belt and some changes to the offense, Ensminger says sometimes things don't go as planned and you have to make adjustments on the fly.
"It's hard and it's hard on our staff," Ensminger says. "We're going to do everything we can to help Auburn win. That's the attitude we took when this change was made, we'll have to get in there and work late hours. We'll do what we have to do to make this offense a little bit better."
With all of the changes happening after offensive coordinator Tony Franklin was fired, the Tigers have had a chance to step back with an off week and rethink what they're doing on the offensive side of the ball. Injuries have also bothered Auburn in recent weeks and Ensminger says having a chance to get some rest should be just what the doctor ordered for the team and he's already seeing some of the benefits in practice.
"I think it came at a perfect time on both sides of the ball," Ensminger says. "We're physically beat up on both sides of the ball. Our running backs, defensive line, we need some time off. We also need some time to work with everybody fundamentally, run blocking and pass blocking, and be able to make some subtle changes we need to do to be effective on offense.
"I think it has been real good," Ensminger says about practices in the off week. "You could tell talking to them (last) Sunday that they were down. We talked to them realistically and said this is where we're at and this is what we did this week. I really believed, at the end of the game I felt like we were going to win that game. Offensively, we took it right down there to the four-yard line and we didn't finish. Let's take that positive and build off it."
Finishing is a word that has been used repeatedly by Auburn offensive players and coaches all season long. It has especially been true the last week after the Tigers had chance after chance to put points on the board against Arkansas only to come up short. Because of that Ensminger says he saw some things to build on but still plenty of work to do as well.
"There were some positive things and that's what I tried to tell the kids," Ensminger says. "I thought we ran the ball well, especially inside the 20. We had opportunities to score. I thought we left four or five touchdowns on the field. In the first half we have Tim (Tim Hawthorne) open down there and throw a bad pass out of bounds. We dropped a touchdown pass.
"At the end of the ballgame on Tim's catch it should be a touchdown. Kodi gets grabbed by the shoulder and is late throwing the football and the ball hangs out there. If everything times out he can throw the football and catch it and run into the end zone.
"We're on the four-yard line and miss a fade route that is open. I saw improvement. I want to be positive with the team about it also in that we left four touchdowns on the field. If we'll execute and get better at that stuff we'll claim them in the next few games."