#59 Auburn Football 2013 Preview

Auburn Tigers

Overall Rank: #59
SEC Rank: #13

Auburn Team Page#59 Auburn Football 2013 PreviewBuy Auburn Football Tickets

In the span of two years, the Auburn Tigers went from undefeated National Champions to a bottom-of-the-barrel 3-9, an almost comical 0-8 record in conference and allegations surrounding use of synthetic marijuana and recruitment violations. How the mighty have fallen. So would they trade in the title for a boost back up to relevance? With the threat subsiding that their BCS Championship is going to be stripped from them, the answer is most likely no. Any team would take time at the top followed by a steep fall back to the bottom over sustained mediocrity. Being good but not great is no way to be at all. Auburn is certainly lying at the bottom now but they can hold that crystal trophy to their chest while they’re down there.

2012 Record: (3-9, 0-8)
2012 Bowl: none
Coach: Gus Malzahn (0-0 at Auburn, 9-3 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Rhett Lashlee
Defensive Coordinator: Ellis Johnson

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Tre Mason, RB, 1002 yards
Passing: Kiehl Frazier, QB, 753 yards
Receiving: C.J. Uzomah, TE, 136 yards
Tackles: Demetruce McNeal, DB, 90
Sacks: Dee Ford, DL, 6.0
Interceptions: Trent Fisher, DB, 1

Other Key Returnees: QB Jonathan Wallace, OL Chad Slade, OL Greg Robinson, DL Angelo Blackson, LB Jake Holland, DB Jermaine Whitehead

Key Losses: RB Onterio McCalebb, WR Emory Blake, DL Corey Lemonier, LB Daren Bates, LB Jonathon Evans

Very little went right for the Tigers in 2012. With a change in leadership, fans will be hoping that shifts this season. Gus Malzahn, with only one year of collegiate head coaching experience, was brought in to lead. He was a coordinator on the National Championship squad from 2010 and, somehow, avoided all the negativity and problems that team encountered in subsequent seasons. Malzahn brought in an entire new staff with him and will have a couple of young QBs at his disposal. Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace split quarterbacking duties, giving both some good experience behind center for when Coach Malzahn picks his main man. Also returning is the team’s leading rusher, Tre Mason, and much of the offensive line from last season. This is a nice boon for an offense in dire need of stability. Malzahn was very successful last year coaching Arkansas State. The team won their final eight contests of the season on their way to a 10-3 record. He hopes to bring that mindset and success to the field at Auburn.

The saying goes a team with two quarterbacks has no quarterbacks. This is an apt description of Auburn. While Frazier and Wallace split time rather evenly, neither was good. Frazier finished up the year with a gruesome 2:8 touchdown to interception ratio. Wallace fared slightly better and also added a small element to the running game but it will be up to Gus Malzahn and his staff to find a starting quarterback out of this pair and JC transfer Nick Marshall. To make matters worse, the team’s two leading receivers both graduated. Emory Blake will be especially hard to replace. The Tigers completed 147 passes in 2012; Blake caught 50 of them. No other man had more than 18 catches and that was senior Onterio McCalebb. The do-everything back is also now gone, leaving the team without a kick returner. And then there’s the defense. Auburn somehow managed only two interceptions a season ago, leading to one of the worst turnover margins in the country. They struggled to get to the quarterback; they struggled to create havoc of any kind.

The Bottom Line:
The new coaching staff has their work cut out for them. From number one in the country to a bottom feeder in two years is hard to accomplish. If they wish to start that steep climb back up to the top, it will take a number of large strides this season. The team needs to find a QB they can count on. The running game needs to be a strength. The defense needs to improve by leaps and bounds with many starters returning. And the Tigers need a little luck to simply not finish last in the Southeastern Conference.

Projected Bowl: none

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 148.42 (78th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 156.58 (112, 13)
Total Offense: 305.00 (115, 14)
Scoring Offense: 18.67 (112, 13)
Rushing Defense: 197.58 (97, 14)
Pass Defense: 222.92 (47, 8)
Total Defense: 420.50 (79, 13)
Scoring Defense: 28.33 (66, 10)
Turnover Margin: -1.00 (106, 13)
Sacks: 1.83 (74, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 3.08 (109, 14)

Madness 2013 Football Recruit Rankings:
#8 Carl Lawson
#11 Montravius Adams
#38 Elijah Daniel
#161 Tony Stevens
#196 Tashawn Bower
#247 Jeremy Johnson
#248 Jason Smith


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