Big Plays Hurt Defense, Roof Says

Comments from Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof are featured after AU's loss to LSU.

Baton Rouge, La.--Auburn's problems tackling opposing running backs weren't the big issue they had been in recent weeks, but Coach Ted Roof's defense was burned by big plays in the passing game as the Tigers fell 31-10 to LSU on Saturday night.

LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson was the star of the game as he hit 21-31 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball for 26 net yards and another score.

"He is capable of making the field outs and keeping the routes alive with his feet," Roof said. "I thought he did a good job in this game. He is a good football player."

The other LSU touchdown came on a 69-yard by Russell Shepherd in the third quarter. That accounted for more than half of LSU's net rushing total of 122. Shepherd is normally a quarterback, but he lined up at running back on that play.

"We had seen that a little bit, but more so in the gun stuff," Roof said. "They have a diverse offense and they spread it around and mixed and matched. Their guys did a good job of making plays."

Auburn's defense was led by 12 tackles from Eltoro Freeman, who was back in action at linebacker for the first time since the Tennessee game.

"I?thought it was good to get him back and I thought he took a major step forward toward becoming a better football player," Roo said. "We are going to keep working. He is a work in progress and I expect him to continue to do that."

Roof pointed out that the Tigers hurt themselves with penalties, particularly in the first half.

"We were off the field a couple of times, but penalties kept us on the field including the (first) drive that resulted in a touchdown. The other first half touchdown, we had them in third and eight and he (Jefferson) scrambled and scored. Yeah, it is certainly frustrating so that when we do get off we are off the field."

Commenting on the play of the defense compared to other recent games, Roof said. "With the exception of long run we did a much better job against the run tonight, much better than we had.

"On the other hand their quarterback made some great throws. Their receivers are some of the most talented we will play against. They went up and made plays on the football that I thought we were in a position to make some plays. Sometimes you have to credit the other team. Those guys are talented. They (the receivers) will be playing on Sunday.

"They made the plays that we didn't and at the same time there were some good things out there," Roof added. "We are going to build on the good things and go back to work."


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