Frazier says footwork, fundamentals caused Kickoff Game mistakes
After the 26-19 loss to Clemson on Saturday, sophomore running back Tre Mason said turnovers and red zone errors were the key difference in the game.
Before practice on Monday, sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier admitted to being responsible for many of those mistakes in his first career start.
Frazier completed only one of six passes for -5 yards and had one rush for one yard inside the 20-yard line on Saturday.
Auburn kicker Cody Parkey connected on all three of his field goal attempts in the red zone, but Frazier said that the team needs more than three points in the red zone in the future.
"We played well enough to win, but when you get into the red zone it's obvious to everybody you got to score," Frazier said. "We just got to make some changes this week so when we get down there this week we'll be able to get six and not three."
Frazier looked somewhat uncomfortable in the pocket on Saturday, hurrying through his progressions and not setting his feet on throws, but Frazier said the mistakes were not caused by nervousness.
"The first two plays were a little nervous, but after that we kind of got rolling and got comfortable in the game," Frazier said.
The offense seemed to click early on, racking up yards on the ground and keeping the Clemson defense on its heels.
Frazier showed some of his potential on a 54-yard touchdown strike -- the first of his career -- to senior receiver Emory Blake in the first quarter, but seemed to lose confidence as the game progressed.
Frazier was hurried through his progressions and often threw on the run before setting his feet.
On a few occasions, Frazier was flushed from the pocket and heaved the ball into triple coverage, one of which was picked off and another that was intercepted out of bounds.
"(I need to go) from one to two to three to four if you have four instead of stopping at three and trying to scramble, so there's some stuff I can definitely work on," Frazier said. "For my first game I thought I played pretty well, all the checks that I needed to make I pretty much made all the right ones, but fundamentally there's a lot of stuff I've got to work on. I had some high throws, I had some runs that I probably should have thrown away, so I've just got to get back and, before we get into conference play, just get those things fixed."
In the red zone, Frazier overthrew tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen in the back of the end zone and let the ball sail too high on crossing routes.
However, Auburn's red zone woes did not fall entirely on Frazier's shoulders.
Blake dropped a pass in the end zone and wide receiver Sammie Coates failed to adjust to a ball inside the 5-yard line.
Receiver Trovon Reed caught a touchdown pass, but lacked spacial awareness and came down just outside the back of the end zone.
"He just has to know more of where he's at on the field, and I could have put the ball in there a little bit harder so he didn't have to think as much," Frazier of Reed's error. "They had a good red zone scheme, but really it was us execution-wise. Kind of a combination of all of us, me and my footwork, the receivers and the timing so there's a lot we got to work on this week for the red zone."
Going into the team's first conference game of the season this weekend at Mississippi State, Frazier and a young offense have numerous improvements to make.
For Frazier, however, the team is not lacking for confidence.
"We definitely have confidence in ourselves, because we moved the ball pretty much every possession," Frazier said. "If we would have just gotten six instead of three it would have been a whole different ball game."
The leader of the offense was humbled by his first outing as a starter.
For the next game, he predicts improvement from the youth of the team.
"A lot of young guys got their first game experience, so usually when you're a young player... your biggest jump is from your first to second game," Frazier said.