There were some pretty major changes to Auburn’s roster and coaching staff leading up to their match-up with Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and as I proposed in my game preview, that ended up not being such a bad thing. The Chizik-led defense was more aggressive and got better as the game went on, McCalebb and Mason showed that they can play too, and Malzahn, on his way out, let his foot off the brake. The Tigers played like they were having fun, and sometimes changes are needed for that to happen, especially after the struggles they had this season.
After a few of Virginia’s drives, I was beginning to think that maybe Ted Roof wasn’t the problem. We definitely saw a few new looks and new sense of urgency on the defensive side of the ball, but too many times there were Virginia receivers left wide open. There was almost no pressure on the quarterback, which gave him plenty of time to throw to the best and what seemed like the only receiver on the team, Kris Burd. It’s amazing what even a mediocre quarterback can do if they have no fear of being sacked. We saw that all year. That needs to improve before next season. It wasn’t until Auburn took control of the game in the 2nd quarter that I felt like they weren’t going to score every time they got the ball.