Sep. 3 Utah State W 42-38
Sep. 10 Mississippi St W 41-34
Sep. 17 at Clemson L 38-24
Sep. 24 Florida Atlantic W 30-14
Oct. 1 at South Carolina W 16-13
Oct. 8 at Arkansas L 38-14
Oct. 15 Florida W 17-6
Oct. 22 at LSU L 45-10
Oct. 29 Ole Miss W 41-23
Nov. 5 OPEN DATE
Nov. 12 at Georgia L 45-7
Nov. 19 Samford W 35-16
Nov. 26 Alabama L 42-14
Dec. 31 Virginia W 43-24
Sep. 1 Clemson (Atlanta, GA)
Sep. 8 at Mississippi State
Sep. 15 ULM
Sep. 22 LSU
Sep. 29 OPEN DATE
Oct. 6 Arkansas
Oct. 13 at Ole Miss
Oct. 20 at Vanderbilt
Oct. 27 Texas A&M
Nov. 3 New Mexico State
Nov. 10 Georgia
Nov. 17 Alabama A&m
Nov. 24 at Alabama
Head Coach: Gene Chizik | Record: 30-10; 3 Years | Offensive Coordinator: Scot Loeffler | Defensive Coordinator: Brian VanGorder | Returning Starters: 18: 8 Offense, 8 Defense
We start the list with #25 and the Auburn Tigers coached by Gene Chizik. The Tigers are just two years removed from a national championship season led by the highly controversial quarterback Cam Newton. Auburn will look much different from their recent teams this season with a new influx of coaches.
Out goes Offensive Coordinator Guz Malzahn (hired as head coach of Arkansas State) and Defensive Coordinator Ted Roof (hired as DC at UCF); in comes Scott Loeffler (from Temple) and Brian VanGorder (from Atlanta Falcons).
Loeffler’s offense isn’t the exciting and innovative spread offense that Gus Malzahn brought to Auburn, but the focus is still the same: run the ball. Loeffler’s offense at Temple was 7th in the nation last year in rushing yards.
VanGorder takes over a young defense that has a lot of potential that has fans excited to see if he can get the unit to play like his defenses did at Georgia in the early 2000s/
Auburn football is still based on the same philosophies of running the ball and playing great defense and they could have a great season this year.
Switching from a spread offense to pro-style is usually a tough transition that takes a year or two to fully get in place. A recent example for Auburn is Florida, where they have struggled mightily in the transition.
Still, Auburn has the advantage of having talented players in place, with experience and the same core philosophy of running the ball.
The Tigers need to make a decision at quarterback where Kiehl Frazier and Clint Moseley are battling for the starting spot. Frazier looked sharp in the spring game and would provide a dual-threat option.
Expect returning senior Onterio McCalebb, sophomores Corey Grant and Tre Mason, as well as freshman Mike Blakely to get the touches at running back. The biggest question is can they still produce in the pro-style sets, as opposed to the spread which is more of a proponent of athleticism. Auburn will definitely miss Michael Dyer, since he was a very tough inside runner that could have flourished in the new offense.
The Tigers are led by two solid players in the passing game in Philip Lutzenkirchen and Emory Blake who both could have big seasons. Both are at or near the top of their positions in the SEC.
Center Reese Dismukes returns to anchor a maturing offensive line that was 32nd nationally in rushing last season. Greg Robinson will make his highly-anticipated debut at left tackle after redshirting last season.
Brian Vangorder inherits a defense that was young and inexperienced last season but has a lot of potential. Expectations are very high at Auburn, where fans have grown accustom to great defensive play. The defense has fallen off since Gene Chizik has arrived but it is very likely to improve this season.
The defensive line has the potential to be very good, led by Corey Lemonier. They have a solid rotation at end with Lemonier, Dee Ford, Craig Sanders, and Nosa Eguae.
The linebacking unit is led by senior Daren Bates, who led the team in tackles at outside linebacker. He is the only returning starter but Kris Frost looked very good in the Spring at the other outside linebacker spot. Linebackers were always a strength on his Georgia defenses so Auburn should be okay.
The secondary is coached by enigmatic coach Willie Martinez. Martinez was a great secondary coach under VanGorder at Georgia but failed miserably as the DC and then as a secondary coach at Oklahoma. Can he return to his previous form now that he is back with VanGorder? There is some starting experience there with three returning starters.
Auburn has a home-friendly schedule this season, with LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Georgia all at home but they still seem like a team that is a year away from competing for an SEC title. The transition on offense might be rough and the defense will have to carry them early on if they want to have success this season.