" Few things give me more satisfaction than watching Nick Saban beg for that second back." - Casey Kelley
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012
AUBURN v CLEMSON: One Fan's Perspective
On Saturday night, with a full house watching, The Auburn Tigers and The Clemson Tigers will take the field to kick off their respective 2012 seasons. This is my take on the game based on reading different publications and stories about each team.
Auburn enters the contest with a lot of unknowns. A new starting quarterback, a new stable of running backs since the departure of Mike Dyer and a revamped offensive line. There is a great deal of talent there but it is as of yet untested and unproven. Sophomore Kiehl Frazier takes over the starting spot at quarterback while Onterrio McCalleb will be called upon to lead the trio of running backs that look to carry the load for at least this game.
The offensive line is big, quick, and very athletic. The only problem here seems to be experience or a lack of it. The Tigers will get their fair share of experience on Saturday night and will need to grow up quickly to be able to establish a running game in order to open up the passing game for Frazier and his receivers. The ability of the O-line to create space and also give Kiehl time to throw will dictate exactly how effective the offense will be on the night.
The strength of the Tigers from Auburn should be the defense. Well, at least for the first part of the season. The front 7 should be able to dominate most teams as they rely on their strength and quickness to apply pressure. The defensive backs should be much improved over past years as the talent level on the Plains has risen greatly.
The front 4 must get a tremendous push towards the quarterback to give the linebackers a chance to make plays. They must also be sure tacklers in the backfield; something that was missing last year as the defense struggled in the running game, especially on third down.
The linebackers MUST make plays when they are supposed to do so. Missed tackles cannot plague this team this year. Last year missed tackles led to extra series for opposing teams and in turn wore the defense down resulting in too many blowout losses.
The defensive backs will be much improved and could end up being the strength of the defense by years end.
The Other Tigers
The other Tigers will be led by quarterback Tajh Boyd but for this game will be without returning superstar wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Their O-line is very much like Auburn's in that there is a lot of youth on the line. It has been stated that as many as three true freshman could find playing time on the offensive line Saturday night.
The defense will be playing under a new coordinator this year as Kevin Steele is out and Brent Venables is in. See what giving up 70 does to your job security? The defensive line is replacing 3 starters the linebackers have been weak the past two seasons and the defensive backs have had too many breakdowns over the past couple of seasons to be considered with the top secondaries in the country. The new defensive coordinator should help but that's a lot of problems and inexperience to overcome.
It appears to be strength versus strength in this game. Auburn looks to have the better defense and Clemson with a slight edge on offense. The edge would be bigger if Watkins were playing but that is just not the case.
In the end it is said that defense wins championships so that is where I will go with this game. The Auburn defense simply overpowers the Clemson offense and Auburn scores just enough points to win.
Look for Auburn to hit the mid 20's while keeping Clemson under that mark. in the end let's call it