AUBURN, Ala. — In its last three games, Auburn's pass defense has allowed a total of 1,034 yards and 11 touchdowns.
But it's not deep passes that are constantly burning the Tigers' secondary for these big numbers.
Short completions that turn into huge gains thanks to missed tackles have been the biggest culprit in Auburn’s recent contests, and last Saturday’s 41-38 loss to Texas A&M was no exception.
“I think we had 11 (missed tackles) that added up to 114 yards, something of that nature, and that’s a lot of yardage,” Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said Sunday night. “Of course, you’re going to miss some on great players. But if you eliminate half of that, it will get you off the field quicker, get your offense the ball quicker, helps field position and everything.”
Johnson attributed some of Auburn’s misses to Texas A&M’s skill players who excel in space, but the recent tackling woes have been a mystery to the veteran coach.
According to Johnson, the Tigers have put in extra work on tackling in practice.
“The tackling this week was not good, and we have worked extremely hard,” Johnson said. “We went back (during the) open date and we put a 5-minute tackling circuit in our practice routine. We've done it every day, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, since that time. It’s got all aspects — open field, angle, head up tackling, stripping the ball — everything. We've got to coach it better, I guess.”