Roof And Defense Searching For Answers

Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof talks about the struggles Saturday night in a loss to Kentucky.

Auburn, Ala.--Through six games of the 2009 season, the Auburn Tigers had given up more points than any team in school history through the same six-game start of a season. Even with those numbers, Saturday night's loss to Kentucky may have been the lowest of the low points so far in Gene Chizik's first season on the Plains.

Facing a team without its starting quarterback, the Tigers allowed the Wildcats just 75 passing yards on 9-22 attempts, but it was the running game that did the home team in. Speedy Derrick Locke churned out 126 yards while wildcat quarterback Randall Cobb added 109 yards and a touchdown as Kentucky ran over and around Auburn for 282 yards in a 21-14 upset win.

Much of the damage came in the fourth quarter as a thin Auburn defense allowed 142 yards on the ground. Defensive coordinator Ted Roof said while the defense started out fast, the Tigers didn't finish things off.

"For three quarters I thought we played well," Roof said. "We gave up a couple of big plays and missed a couple of tackles in the fourth quarter that were a big factor in the ballgame. It's a 60-minute ballgame. We have to find a way to play well for 60 minutes."

The biggest of the big plays came with the game tied at 14 and just over five minutes left in the contest. Taking over at its own 31, Kentucky ran Cobb around left end for four yards and went back to the well one more time. The speedster delivered with a 61 yard jaunt through the line all the way down to the Auburn three. Two runs netted one yards in losses before Cobb again got the call, scoring the game winner around the left side. Roof said the 61-yarder was a case of his defense not making a play against a good player.

"We overpursued the ball and he cut it back," Roof said. "Then we have to find a way to get him on the ground. With the formations and the way they make you adjust you've got to find a way to get him on the ground.

"He's a good player regardless of where he lines up," he said. "He's a real good player. What it forces you to do is guys have to make one-on-one tackles because they spread you out. At times we didn't do that."

The road doesn't get any easier for the Auburn Tigers as they must travel to Baton Rouge this week to face a rested LSU team with loads of talent on the offensive side of the ball. Searching for a solution and some confidence, Roof said right now all they can do is continue to work and try to fix some of the problems.

"It's our job, it's what we have to do," Roof said. "It's what we get paid to do. It gets back to the big plays. We've got to eliminate the long runs. There were some things that happened after some missed tackles. We've got to keep work on getting that corrected. There is no magic dust and you don't snap your fingers. The only way I know to do it is to get back to work and keep grinding. That's what we're going to do."

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