That may be putting it lightly, because to the immensely dissatisfied fans, the team has won only two games, neither of which were against SEC opponents, and a former national champion head coach, Gene Chizik, is on the hottest of seats.
To the organization’s credit, they have not been making excuses. The coaches and players know that this year has been a disappointment, and the mindset in the locker room is to finish the season with heads held high.
“It hurts to lose the way we’ve been losing,” said senior cornerback T’Sharvan Bell. “We’ve just got to keep fighting. The season is not over, we’ve got two games left, so we’ll try to make the most of these last two games.”
After suffering a crushing defeat at home against Georgia, the Tigers will face Alabama A&M and Alabama, respectively, in the next two weeks.
Barring a huge upset in Tuscaloosa, Auburn will likely finish the season with three victories, and badly miss out on a bowl game. After three straight seasons with bowl wins, the big question is what happened this year and how can it be fixed?
Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder had several blunt suggestions of how to improve on the defensive side of the football.
“We’ve got to get bigger and stronger here at Auburn, it’s pretty obvious,” VanGorder said. “I think that’s our responsibility, to develop them physically and mentally. That’s our job.”
He also spoke of how his experience in the NFL relates to the relatively small Auburn defensive side.
“In the NFL there was one defense that was built in the ideal of small and fast,” VanGorder said. “It was a defense that was built with a high-scoring offense that was ahead all the time, and it worked.”
The problem is, Auburn has had anything but a high-scoring offense this season as it has averaged a meager 163.7 passing yards, 134.8 rushing yards, and 17.3 points per game.
Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said the season has not been the easiest to stomach.
“It’s been extremely difficult,” Loeffler said. “But I think it has been extremely difficult for a lot of people. Every single person in this program, Auburn, myself, and the Auburn people aren’t used to going through something like this. I think it’s discouraging and it’s hard for all of us.”
No one has felt the weight of the Auburn discouragement more than Chizik, who has taken criticism for the poor season.
VanGorder, downplayed the notion that Chizik’s job may be in danger, but when asked about his confidence concerning the head coach’s future at Auburn, he said he was unsure.
“I don’t know that I can say that I’m confident [about it],” VanGorder said. “But it’s not something that’s overly burdensome to me.”
While the status of Auburn’s head coach may not be burdening VanGorder’s mind, there is one thing that is weighing heavily on the defensive coordinator’s, the Auburn organization’s, and Auburn fans’ minds: the uncertain future of the Auburn football program.