Roof: Defense Needs All-Around Improvement

Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof discusses his team's loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Fayetteville, Ark.--After his defense struggled early and often on Saturday in a 44-23 loss to Arkansas, defensive coordinator Ted Roof didn't see a lot to like as Auburn suffered its first loss of the 2009 season.

Arkansas rushed for 221 yards and racked up 28 first downs vs. the Auburn defense. The Razorbacks finished the game with 274 passing yards and averaged 6.0 yards per play on offense.

Going into the game Roof, Auburn's first-year defensive coordinator, said the Tigers needed to put a lot of pressure on Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett. He was sacked just once on Saturday.

"It wasn't just one thing," Roof said of the reason Auburn's defense struggled. "There were a lot of things we needed to do. I don't think it comes down to any one thing. There are a lot of areas we need to address. We will and we will continue to do that and we will go back to work to get them corrected."

Roof said the Razorbacks didn't do anything that surprised the Tigers. He said their success was due to good execution. "I think they did a good job," Roof said. "That is a good football team. We played well at times, but made too many mistakes, obviously. We didn't get it done."

Michael Smith led the Arkansas ground game with 45 yards on 18 carries.

"We thought they would try to run the ball at us," Roof said. "We missed some tackles we were in a position to make on cutbacks that we have got to make the plays on. They executed very well and we didn't play well enough to win."

The Tigers played without starting linebacker Eltoro Freeman, who did not make the trip to Arkansas. Head coach Gene Chizik said the sophomore is dealing with some issues, but said he is part of the team.

Commenting on the linebacker situation, which is very thin even with Freeman available, Roof said, "I am not going to make any excuses. They beat us today and that is what happened."

In the second half the Tigers played without starting cornerback Walt McFadden, who reinjured his knee while making an interception. Demond Washington and Harry Adams filled in for McFadden and appeared to do a solid job, the coach said.

Roof noted that he and the Tigers are already looking ahead to playing better next week in a home game vs. Kentucky. Commenting on the team's mistakes, he said, "They are correctable and it is up to us to go correct them. We played well at times, but it was way too sporadic. We have to put together a 60-minute football game."

Roof added, "It was a game of spurts. It can't be that. We have to eliminate some of the big plays and find a way to get more stops."

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