November 13, 2012

VanGorder still a stickler for size, strength


AUBURN -- Brian VanGorder turned heads last weekend by insisting that the Tigers' defense, despite a plethora of top recruits, lacks the strength and size to thrive against the top-tier Southeastern Conference programs.


A slip of the tongue?


Hardly.


Auburn's defensive coordinator on Tuesday re-affirmed his position about the team's personnel shortages and even expanded on his initial thought.


"This is a big man's game, a heavyweight game," VanGorder said. "We've got to get bigger and stronger here at Auburn. It's pretty obvious. We've gotten into games with teams where we haven't been able to tackle well. A lot of that is from a physicality standpoint, what we bring. It's got to get better."


Defense used to be a consistent strength on the Plains.


Even the Tigers' last disappointing team, the 2008 iteration that finished 5-7, allowed only 318 yards per game. That placed Auburn 29th among all Bowl Subdivision teams.


Not bad.


Since coach Gene Chizik's arrival prior to the 2009 season, though, the numbers have been skewing away from excellence. Auburn conceded an average of 374 yards in 2009, 368 in 2010 and 408 in 2001.


The 2012 team is on pace to set yet another school record for most yards allowed in a season - 436 per game.

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