The Day After No Better For Tigers

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the loss to West Virginia on Thursday night.

Auburn, Ala.--"The Day After" was a film in the 1980's that depicted the effects of a nuclear holocaust on the United States but it could easily be adapted to the Auburn football team following a 34-17 loss at West Virginia Thursday night.

The third consecutive defeat for the Tigers, the loss drops Auburn to 4-4 overall and in serious danger of its first losing season since 1999. Looking for answers on both sides of the ball, coach Tommy Tuberville says it was a very disappointing game for the team and coaches.

"It's about 20 hours after the last game and we don't feel any better than we did last night," Tuberville says. "We didn't play very well and didn't coach very well. I thought we looked much better and improved on offense the first half. It kept us in the ballgame.

"Defensively we never matched up with them. They kept us on our heels. We missed assignments and missed tackles. We took bad angles. It wasn't a very good night on defense. That's one of those you always dread having. The last couple of outings defensively we haven't played very well and we've got to find some answers there. They've got to be there somewhere."

Offensively quarterback Kodi Burns played a solid game for the Tigers, particularly in the first half. Settling in as the starter, Tuberville says he saw some good and bad from the sophomore and that's something they can build on in the coming weeks. The one concern continues to be the play of the team in the second half, something Tuberville says they'll work to improve.

"I thought Kodi made some improvement," Tuberville says. "He's still got a long way to go. He made some good reads and made some bad reads. He made some good decisions. He handled the offense very well in terms of what we were doing. I think he's got a lot of room for improvement, which gives us a lot of hope.

"We have not come out in the second half," he adds. "We've obviously been a first half team all year long. We weren't physical in the second half like we were in the first half. We didn't block very physical. We didn't run the ball as physical. We didn't tackle the same way we should have but again West Virginia had a lot to say about that."

The numbers for the Auburn team in the second half this season are staggering. In eight games the Tigers have been outscored 90-46 but even more damaging are the numbers in the last six games. Against ULM and Southern Miss the Tigers put up 30 second half points. That means just 16 points in the second half of games in the last six games for Auburn while opponents have 77. Tuberville says it's something they'll work on but it hasn't just now become an issue.

"We've looked at it," Tuberville says. "We looked even before this game. It's not like you look at it after eight games, you start looking at it after two or three or four or five or six games that in the second half you don't come out and play as well. We make adjustments. To me, mentally and physically, we just don't play as tough. I think that's because we're playing a lot of guys that are playing for the first time. Some of the older guys are trying to do more than their share. Then when you start losing your confidence things go downhill.

"That team last night can make you lose your confidence pretty quick with all the talent they have in terms of speed. They put pressure on you every down. I knew we were going to have some problems defensively. I would have hoped we would tackle better and better at the point of attack. We're still looking for answers. The biggest thing is to do what you do, and do it best. We're starting to move along on offense. That's encouraging. We're taking some steps back on defense and that's discouraging. In the past we've never had these problems before."


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