Chizik: 0-2 Auburn Tigers are 'manning up'
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn cornerback T'Sharvan Bell said warning signs that the Tigers might be in trouble started to develop with the team in preseason camp, when coaches had to turn into cheerleaders to drum up energy in practice.
"If you look at the first couple days of camp, we had all the energy in the world," Bell said Tuesday. "Come out in Week 1 and 2 and Coach has to get on us or start a period over because we come out flat and don't have any energy, so it's kind of odd to see. But we definitely got to get it fixed. We got to get it fixed fast."
The Tigers are floundering after an ugly loss at Mississippi State when there were deficiencies all over the field, from quarterback Kiehl Frazier to poor tackling and pass coverage. As a result, Auburn is 0-2 for the first time since 2003 and only the second since 1984. Now they're preparing for a Louisiana-Monroe team coming in Saturday off an upset of then-No. 8 Arkansas and suddenly looking dangerous, especially against a team looking awfully vulnerable.
Bell said neither unity nor coaching are the problems for a team with new offensive and defensive coordinators.
"I think the problem is the lack of execution on the field from us players," he said.
It has come on both sides of the ball. The Tigers rank 108th in total offense and 109th in total defense, getting outgained by an average of 163 yards through the first two games against Clemson and the Bulldogs.
Two years from a national championship, the team's poor start and tough schedule make even a bowl game far from a certainty. Auburn still must face Arkansas and three Top 10 teams — No. 3 LSU, Arkansas, No. 7 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama.
Coach Gene Chizik is defiant when asked about the team's morale.
"It's real simple: This is a man's game," Chizik said. "It reveals everything about who you are. You know what? We're manning up.
"It starts with me. We understand that we're very deficient and we've got to get better. We're not going to walk around right now and let our circumstances (have) us holding our head down and saying, 'Woe is me.' That's not how you do it in life, so that's not how we're going to do it here. That's exactly what I told the team: It's going to reveal who you are.