The Auburn Tigers offense needs to find consistency. They are consistently inconsistent. At 2-2, the season might be at its breaking point with a trip to Oxford, Mississippi on Saturday. Auburn is lucky to have the record it does have. If not for a bad call against Arkansas and a few plays going differently with Kentucky, Auburn could be 0-4 right now. This team has a lot of issues, and if they do not start to get them fixed this season could turn into a disaster.
Auburn Tigers Offense Needs Consistency
Bo Nix Must Be Better
Bo Nix has been the topic of many discussions surrounding Auburn football in the last couple of weeks. Nix is capable of making the great throw that leaves you saying, wow! He also has the ability to leave one scratching their head. The blunder against Arkansas was bad enough and would have been a lot worse had Auburn not gotten a favorable call. Then, he has a three-interception performance in a loss to South Carolina. All three of those turnovers turned into Gamecock touchdowns in their 30-22 victory. Hopefully, the true sophomore has stayed away from social media. But what are the issues?
A trend for Nix is his first 17 games is his poor play away from Jordan-Hare Stadium. As the starter, he is 3-5 in those games and has thrown 10 interceptions with a completion percentage of 51%. Conversely, when the Tigers are at home, Nix is 8-1 as the starter with zero interceptions and a completion rate of 62%. To be a big-time player in the SEC, playing well on the road is a must. The great play that is seen at home must travel. It has not thus far for Nix.
Another issue has been fundamentals. Nix constantly wants to leave the pocket. The Auburn offensive line is not one of the best in college football, but they have given the quarterback a clean pocket at times. It is not just leaving the pocket that has plagued Nix, it is his fundamentals when he does. Constantly not setting his feet and throwing off his back foot has resulted in horrible passes and interceptions such as the ones against South Carolina.
That is partly on Nix, but it is also on coaching. Both head coach Gus Malzahn and offensive coordinator Chad Morris must do a better job in developing the young signal-caller. Morris was brought in to help Nix and make him a better passer. If anything, Nix has regressed since the arrival of Morris. It must be fixed though because there is no option this season beyond Nix at quarterback. Win or lose he is still their best option to win games in 2020.
Find the Playmakers
Auburn has plenty of playmakers on this team. Freshman Tank Bigsby should be the focal point of the offense. On Saturday against South Carolina, Bigsby rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown. Those are good numbers that could have been better had he got more carries. Bigsby got his number called just 16 times. Nix had 15 rushes on the day and threw the ball 47 times. Auburn should go back to its roots and be a run-first team. That would then lead to more easy plays down the field in the passing game and take the pressure off Nix.
The Tigers do have one of the absolute best receivers in the SEC in Seth Williams. Sometimes though it does seem they force the action on him. Both Nix and the play-calling showed that in the loss to the Gamecocks. With receivers like Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove on the field, it might be a good idea to use Williams as a decoy to open things up for those players. If those players get going early, then the defense would have to adjust to stop them, and then big things likely open for Williams.
Ole Miss Prediction
Up until last week, the Ole Miss offense had looked almost unstoppable. Quarterback Matt Corral had only thrown one interception in the first three games of the season. Against the Arkansas Razorbacks though he threw six interceptions. Auburn will be the more talented team, and if those mistakes happen again Auburn should be able to run away with it. That is if Nix is not doing the exact same thing.
On the other side, the Ole Miss defense has not been good this season. The Rebels are giving up 47 points per game, and 265 yards on the ground. This could be a get-right game for the Auburn Tigers offense, and potentially a big day for Bigsby.
The Auburn defense should be able to make stops against this team and cause turnovers with the offense moving the ball at will. Auburn wins 35-17.