Auburn's position grades for 2015
Auburn had an up-and-down season. It’s not too surprising, then, that grades for each position on the Auburn team follows that similar theme.
Here are Auburn’s position grades for the season:
Jeremy Johnson and Sean White shared quarterback duties this season. Both had moments of success, but were defined more by their struggles. Decision-making and ball handling were areas of weakness, but both quarterbacks were able execute better as part of an up-tempo offense. Auburn ranked 12th in the conference in passing offense.
The run was the heart and soul of the Auburn offense. Many talented running backs were able to display their ability this season, including Peyton Barber, Jovon Robinson, Kerryon Johnson, and Roc Thomas. Auburn’s backs didn’t get the celebrity and flash awarded to other running backs in the SEC, but there’s no doubt that these players were the backbone of the 2015 team.
Ricardo Louis and Melvin Ray led the Auburn receivers during their tumultuous season. With instability at quarterback, the receivers were often deprived of a true opportunity to play at their best. When they were involved, however, the unit wasn’t always reliable. Both lead receivers struggled with dropped passes.
Despite Auburn’s offensive struggles overall, the offensive line was not a weak link. The line was tied for fourth in the conference for sacks allowed, and third in the conference for tackles for a loss allowed. The line also did a fairly good job creating running lanes for Auburn’s run-heavy offense.
Auburn’s defensive line was one of the units that struggled the most this season. With Carl Lawson injured for most of the season, the Tigers lacked a strong pass rush, which in turn put strain on the secondary. Auburn ranked second to last in the conference in sacks and 11th in rushing defense.
Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy were quality senior linebackers that will be missed. Frost led the linebackers in total tackles with 96, and McKinzy led the entire team in tackles for a loss with 10. McKinzy also led the team with 20 quarterback hurries.
As mentioned before, the lack of pass rush put a strain on Auburn’s secondary during the first half of the season. However, the secondary was able to improve as the season progressed. Despite being ranked 11th in the conference in passing defense, Auburn tied for the third-most interceptions. Freshman Carlton Davis led the way in that department, while Johnathan Ford led the entire defense in tackles with 118. Blake Countess also played a big role in the secondary’s improvement.
Daniel Carlson was one of the best kickers in the country in 2015, setting multiple school records while becoming a Lou Groza Award finalist. His 14 consecutive field goals this season set a school record, and he was also perfect on PATs. Ford and Kerryon Johnson were reliable kick returners, helping Auburn to be second in the conference on kickoff returns. The Tigers struggled more with covering opposing returns.