The Razorbacks rushed for 282 yards, the most Auburn has allowed in a game this year, but all can't be placed on the defensive line. There were numerous missed tackles with most being attributed to the linebackers.
Rocker took some steps against Kentucky in an effort to keep his tackles and ends fresher by rotating two units most of the game. That effort was bolstered by a healthier Antoine Carter, who made his first start and the availability of Gabe McKenzie on defense.
After starting Antonio Coleman and Carter at defensive ends with Jake Ricks and Mike Blanc at the tackles, Rocker sent out McKenzie and Michael Goggans at the ends along with Nick Fairley and Derrick Lykes at the tackles for the Tigers' second defensive series. The rotation continued throughout most of the contest.
"I was trying to get as many out there as I could.,"?Rocker said. "They've got to learn how to play. We were trying o keep them fresh because we've got a long haul here and are trying to make sure we're ready as this deal goes on. Hopefully, we can get better."
Carter had been limited all season after coming off a knee injury suffered in the spring. McKenzie's status has been unclear. He's played some at tight end, but hasn't seen much significant playing time this season.
"Carter's return has helped," Rocker said. "Another return would be great and that's Zach Clayton. We also had Gabe McKenzie tonight and he's back with us full time on defense. That's been a plus."
Carter starting had to do with an injury to Goggans. "My hat's off to Michael Goggans, he played through some pain tonight," Rocker pointed out.
Rocker said Auburn's defenders played well throughout the first half and the third quarter by maintaining containment and keeping plays in front of them.
"But all of a sudden in the fourth quarter that all changed," Rocker noted. "Kentucky had that long run (61-yarder by Randall Cobb to set up Kentucky's winning touchdown) and that changed the game. I didn't see us in slow motion like we were worn down, but that's just me. We'll see more from the film," Rocker noted.
In other news and notes:
Auburn had won 15 straight against Kentucky. The Wildcats last victory in the series before Saturday was in 1966. The Tigers lead the overall series with the Wildcats 24-6-1.
*The Tigers are 19-4 in home night games the start of the 2000 season, including a 4-1 record this year.
*With Gene Chizik on the AU coaching staff, the Tigers had won 12 consecutive games at Jordan-Hare Stadium before Saturday's loss.
*Auburn's to Kentucky on Saturday extended to three games a losing streak by the Tigers for games played on October 17. The two straight losses before Saturday were to Florida in 1992 and 1998. Overall, the Tigers own a 10-6-1 mark in games played on October 17.
*Junior offensive tackle Lee Ziemba has started 32 consecutive games, the longest streak of starts for an Auburn player. Only three other players on the Auburn roster have starting streaks dating back to the 2007 season. Junior defensive back Zac Etheridge and junior center Ryan Pugh have started 22 games in a row each. Junior linebacker Craig Stevens has started 20 straight games.