DaVonte Lambert and Auburn's defense catches LSU's Leonard Fournette (Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics)
By Charles Goldberg
BATON ROUGE, La. ― Rodney Garner knows what it takes to flip a loss into a big run. Auburn's defensive line coach watched the Tigers do just that in 2013 when they lost at LSU before reeling off nine consecutive victories on the way to the national championship game.
Garner hopes Auburn will follow that path to success again after Saturday's 45-21 loss to LSU.
"It was true two years ago. That was a turning point that season. We went on from there and got better," Garner said in an interview on the Auburn radio network. "I can promise you that's going to be the goal going forward: To get better. Our whole focus is going to be: What is it going to take to get Auburn better?"
"We are going to get better," said coach Gus Malzahn. "In 2013 we were in a very similar situation to this right now, and we got better. That's what we're going to do."
Auburn, now 2-1, can do that against 2-1 Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadum after a game in which LSU's Leonard Fournette rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Garner said he was disappointed with that, but "I'm excited to getting back in and studying the film… and what we've got to do to fix this."
Auburn showed more life in the second half of the 2013 LSU game, and again Saturday.
"There's a lot of football left to be played," Garner said. "We told them we're at a crossroads. We have to decide which way we want to go. We have to change our habits. We all have to get more of a sense of urgency in what we do."
Garner said he'll stress overcoming the "little things" that have slowed Auburn.
"If we do that, we won't have big problems," he said.
Defensive back Jonathan Jones said the solution is simple enough
"At the end of the day, we've got to tackle," he said.
But Saturday, "we weren't able to stop the run and, as a defense, that's always your main priority."
Auburn played without Carl Lawson, the pass-rushing defensive end who slides over to play the stand-up Buck position. He's dealing with an injury. Malzahn said after the game that "hopefully" Lawson would return this season.
Jones said Auburn needs to keep playing either way.
"Guys have to step up and play when their number is called," he said.
"We feel like we're deep in the defensive line," said linebacker Kris Frost. "We have to do a better job, and as linebackers, we have to do a better job feeling gaps. All of us, collectively, have to do a better job."
LSU defensive end Tashawn Bower said that what his team did against Auburn.
"We respect them. They respect us," Bower said. "We know they are a great, physical and fast team. We played them like so. We did our job as a team and we got the win."
Also from Saturday...
• Kerryon Johnson's big game
• Gus Malzahn sizes up things
• Game story
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine