Earlier in the week I wrote about how I am seeing progess in Auburn’s defense. Offensively, I think there has been big improvement, too.
A key to success for the Tigers is continued improvement from the quarterback. Except for the fumble I thought Nick Marshall played a solid game in his team’s victory over Arkansas State.
He still needs to develop a better touch throwing the ball deep and I think he will. He also forced one pass that he shouldn’t have thrown last week. That ball should have been intercepted, but the Arkansas State defender dropped it.
With his quickness and his strong arm, Marshall is a dangerous player for defenses and he is not the only one. The speed on Auburn’s offense at all of the skill positions can create problems for opponents.
The key to success for the Tigers this week when they have the football is to clean up their mistakes. They were whistled for way too many penalties vs. Arkansas State and fumbled the football three times. The Tigers were fortunate to have just one turnover for the game.
The Tigers need to polish their execution to avoid illegal procedure penalties and holding calls. In each of the first two games the offense has had a touchdown called back due to a penalty. They were able to overcome those plays, but in close ball games those are the type of mistakes that will get you beat.
On the plus side for Gus Malzahn’s team, the kicking game continues to be solid and his guys are 2-0 as they head into SEC play on Saturday night against Mississippi State.
I don’t doubt that Mississippi State is going to be a more talented football team than the first two opponents the Tigers faced. I don’t know if the Bulldogs will be able to throw the football as well as Washington State did, but I expect them to be a stronger defensive group. We should have a much better idea of how to assess Auburn’s offense following game three.
(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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