AUBURN | No. 10 Auburn has won four-straight games including a 3-0 start in conference play. The defense has been one of the nation’s best from the start while the offense has steadily improved since an embarrassing performance at Clemson.
There’s plenty of reasons for optimism at the halfway point of the season, but there are also plenty of major obstacles for the Tigers coming up including a three-game SEC road trip and November visits from two top five opponents.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn is charged with navigating his team through a rough second half of the season.
“This time of year, we're at the halfway point, and coaches can see your tendencies, they can see what you're good at, what you’re not good at and they can try to take stuff away. This time of year it's about execution,” Malzahn said. “And it's more about execution right now than any other time because as a coach, whatever you're good at, you want to keep building upon those things.
“Well, other teams know that and they're going to try and stop it and you've got to have an answer when they try to do certain things like that. So really it's more about execution this time of year than it was the first half.”
Auburn’s offense gained just 117 yards in a 14-6 loss to Clemson. Since then, the offense has averaged 516.0 yards and 42.0 points per game.
“When you bring up that (Clemson) name it hurts to hear that,” Malzahn said. “I know that it motivates our players and coaches. All the experiences you have up to the first half helps build everything in the second half.
“The challenge is, very few teams around the country can continue to improve. It's extremely hard to do. It takes a lot to be able to get up each week and play at a high level. Very few teams can do it and that's our challenge. It's not easy. We talks about it, we address it and if we do it, then we'll end up having a pretty good year.”
Auburn takes on LSU at Tiger Stadium this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.