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Scouting the Auburn Tigers: Offense

I'm going to have to keep this one short. Things are busy this week.

Offensive Philosophy: We've talked a bit here about Gus Malzahn and his no-huddle spread offense. If you're curious to learn more, take a look at what DrB at STS has to say.

Season Numbers: Auburn is 12th in rushing offense, 77th in passing, 21st in total, and 42nd in scoring.

Quarterback: The Tigers picked up a commitment from five-star JUCO QB Cameron Newton this past recruiting cycle. Newton, as you probably know, is a former Gator and was pegged to replace Tim Tebow before Newton was kicked off the team for disciplinary issues. Newton, currently the team's leading rusher, is a multi-talented QB that can beat you both with his feet and his arm. He's also huge, coming in at about 250. What strikes me as most apparent about his game is how elusive he is in the pocket. He's had a lot of success making defenders miss and making plays out of nothing. He oftentimes seems to flounder a bit when forced to stay in the pocket and throw the ball like a traditional drop-back passer.

Runningbacks: The Tigers' two main backs are Onterio McCalebb and Michael Dyer. Both are very good and are averaging about 70 ypg. I would expect to see Dyer begin to get more and more carries as the season progresses.

Wide Receivers: When the Tigers go to the air, they like to go to Darvin Adams. Adams isn't catching many balls each game, but when he does, he makes it count--he's averaging about 20 ypc. This should tell you quite a bit about Auburn's passing game--they've had their most consistent success running the ball, but when they do throw it, they're dangerous on the big play.

Offensive Line: The Tigers have a good line, but they'll be without right tackle A.J. Greene, who went down with an ankle injury.

Analysis: I would imagine that our approach in this game is going to be to try to slow Auburn's running game down by stacking the box and then trying to make Newton beat us with his arm. That's not where Auburn is most comfortable, and Newton has been a little mistake prone when he's been forced to pick apart defenses from the pocket. As you probably saw last week, Clemson's DBs gave him quite a bit of trouble.

Another major key in this game is how much pressure we can get on Newton going against a banged up Auburn line and, when we do, if we can actually bring Newton down. Newton has escaped quite a few sacks this year, and our ends and--hopefully--Shaq Wilson can't let that happen again.

Finally, you need to catch the ball, DBs. I'm tired of seeing dropped INTs. Newton will probably throw an errant pass or two in this game. Whether or not we can turn that game on its heard depends on whether or not we capitalize on those mistakes.