Despite the close call in Auburn’s overtime victory over ULM, I thought there were positive signs in the game for the Tigers. I don’t see any reason why this group can’t get better as the season continues. However, at the same time that game revealed how much Auburn needs to improve as a football team.
I thought Kiehl Frazier had an exceptional first half on Saturday after not playing well the two previous games. However, he still struggled late in the game, which indicates he hasn’t fully matured as a quarterback.
In contrast, ULM’s quarterback, who has been in his team’s system for three years, was a mature, confident kid who performed better, not worse, in pressure situations late in the game. Kiehl Frazier needs to make the transition and become that type of quarterback. He needs to get any fear he may have of making a mistake out of his thought process.
A half of good play is not enough for the starting quarterback. He needs to perform at a high level from start to finish. My expectation is that Frazier will have a chance late in the game this year to step up and make the plays necessary to win a football game. Hopefully, he has matured enough by then to make good things happen for his team.
Kiehl Frazier celebrates after catching a touchdown pass in the second quarter in Saturday's game.
The more productive the other players around Frazier on offense become the less he will have to do to be successful and the quicker his transformation can be into a confident, productive quarterback.
I saw some good things out of Auburn’s defense vs. Louisiana-Monroe and I continued to be impressed with the kicking game. When you factor in the kickers, the coverage teams and the blocked kicks, it is impressive what the Tigers are doing in this area. I would have to think they compare favorably to any team in the country with their special teams play.
Next on the schedule for the Tigers is what has been a very impressive LSU team through the first three games. This will be a challenging week for Auburn’s players and coaches to make their team better and prepare for an opponent they should be excited about having the opportunity to play at home.
LSU lost good players from the team that won the SEC last season, but its program is at the point where the coaches are able to put in replacements who are just as good, or nearly as good, as the guys who were lost. Auburn, and a lot of other teams, are striving to get to that level.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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