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Auburn Tigers Shifting Focus to Running Game: A Fan's Take

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Statue guarding the gates to Jordan Hare Stadium, home of the Auburn Tigers.

Auburn will focus on running the ball as it prepares to face Ole Miss. As reported by Charles Goldberg at AL.com, offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler stated during an interview that his offense will shift its focus away from a pro-style passing game to a strategy centered on running plays.

When asked about the shift in identity, Loeffler stated, "We've tried a lot of different things. We've got to make sure we definitely narrow down to exactly who we are - and who we are is this: We're going to run the football. We want to be a play-action team that has ability to take shots down the field."

I often mention in my articles that I am simply a fan and not at all an expert. Despite my amateur status, though, I had begun to suspect the truth by the second game of the season: Auburn was attempting to put a square peg in a round hole.

Loeffler had fashioned a pro-style offense that cast quarterback Kiehl Frazier as a pocket passer. The problem, according to my observation, was that Frazier is no such thing. He's extremely talented and athletic, but he seems to be far more comfortable in a spread offense where the focus is on running the ball.

Loeffler pulled Frazier from the Arkansas game at halftime and replaced him with Clint Moseley, leaving fans questioning whether the starting quarterback job was up for grabs once again. Head coach gene Chizik and Scott Loeffler confirmed that status in the following days, each stating that a starting quarterback would be chosen before the team faces Ole Miss on Saturday, October 13.

If Auburn is indeed shifting its strategy to that of a spread offense with a focus on running the ball, my prediction is that we'll once again see Kiehl Frazier in the starting quarterback position on Saturday. Despite his struggles this season, I believe he still remains the team's best go-to man for a running situation.

Having said that, neither Frazier nor Moseley will find much success if Loeffler isn't able to solve the offensive line's pervasive weaknesses. They allowed a total of eight sacks against Arkansas - a defense that was, at the time at least, ranked last in the SEC.

I believe Auburn's players and coaches have the ability and desire to improve, and provided they are able to make the necessary adjustments to the offensive line and offer greater protection to the quarterback and running backs, I believe they are headed in the right direction with this shift from a passing game to a running game. At the very least, this alteration seems to make more appropriate use of the quarterback talent and simplify the overall strategy.

However this weekend turns out: War Eagle!

Christopher Brown is an avid, almost rabid college football fan. More importantly, he is a fan of the Auburn Tigers, a team that always seems to provide its fans with an unpredictable and even frustrating roller-coaster ride.
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