GAME DAY, Auburn vs. Clemson
Let's get to business.
Thanks as always for making this the Auburn blog on the 'net. The National Institute for Hypertext Hotness recently designated us such.
Today's stories from the Advertiser:
Cox approaching the end of a long journey
Recent stories from the Advertiser:
12/30: Auburn being evasive about new offense
12/29: Chris Evans made himself a valuable commodity
12/29: AU notebook
12/28: Auburn giving mixed offensive signals
12/28: AU notebook
12/27: OL working OT on new offense
Clemson LB Courtney Vincent, he of the recent DUI arrest, wasn't suspended for the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
AUBURN -- 23
CLEMSON -- 20
AU (1st, 8:54) -- Wes Byrum 36 FG
CU (2nd, 13:14) -- C.J. Spiller 83 run (Mike Buchholz kick)
AU (3rd, 11:33) -- Mario Fannin 22 pass (Byrum kick)
CU (4th, 14:58) -- Buchholz 23 FG
AU (4th, 11:24) -- James Davis 1 run (Buchholz kick)
CU (4th, 8:27) -- Ben Tate 1 run (Byrum kick)
CU (1OT) -- Buchholz 25 FG
AU (1OT) -- Kodi Burns 7 run
First quarter tidbits
They're running the new offense. Four wides is common. There always are three receivers in the game. Plenty of read options. Brandon Cox and Kodi Burns are shuttling in and out. The first drive was a good one, ended with a field goal.
*Mario Fannin is a focal point. He started, has two carries and is on the field often. I haven't seen much of Ben Tate yet. That's interesting because I think he is Auburn's best back.
UPDATE: Tate played more as the quarter progressed.
*Ryan Pugh was called for a chop block on Dorell Scott, who was injured on the play. I won't say it was "dirty," but there was no doubt Pugh was trying to hit Dorell below the waist while he was engaged with Tyronne Green.
*Tight ends are going to be a bigger part of this new offense. Bennett already has two catches. Tommy Trott isn't playing as much, though. It's mostly Bennett and Gabe McKenzie.
Second quarter tidbits
The offense is playing OK now. Not great. I see some awkward stuff. On a recent screen play to Ben Tate, Brad Lester was dropping a cut block. Seemed like a miscommunication to me.
*Auburn's defense totally busted on Clemson's touchdown. Quentin Groves had C.J. Spiller locked down at the line of scrimmage, but he popped out and scored on an 83-yard run. Awful tackling. Can't do that against this team.
*Auburn's defensive line is getting beat right now. Clemson has settled into a power-run paradigm and those offensive linemen are providing a meaningful push up front.
*Clemson's receivers are getting open deep. Cullen Harper is simply overthrowing them right now. We're talking about 2- or 3-yard cushions on deep routes. That will be a problem for Auburn because I'm certain Cullen, an accurate guy, will regain his touch at some point.
*It's amazing how effective that offense was after only 10 practices. It's clear that Clemson was taken by surprise in terms of the depth of Auburn's attack. This wasn't two plays. This was a system, albeit an abbreviated one, that was pretty dynamic.
*I'm still not sold on Kodi Burns. He played well. He was the difference in the game. Four pass attempts is weird. That's two coordinators now who don't call plays requiring Burns to throw the ball. I'm not sure what's behind those decisions. He was known as a passing guy in high school, so maybe those skills will develop over time.
*Outstanding effort from the defense. Pat Sims was awesome. I think that may have been enough to make him leave early for the NFL. We'll deal with that in the coming weeks. Will Muschamp's system works. He's worth every penny -- and there will be plenty coming his way in 2008.
*It's clear that Mario Fannin is going to be a Franklin fave. He was all over the place tonight.
*Auburn's offensive line has a chance to be really gross during the next few years. The best guy is a guy you never hear anything about: Guard Tyronne Green.
*Walt McFadden really showed out tonight. He made several shrewd plays in pass defense that caught my eye. Maybe he can handle an expanded role in 2008.
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