Auburn, Ala.--Bowl practices are normally a time when a football team works on fundamentals while also giving young players a chance to show what they can do. This year it hasn't quite worked out that way for the Auburn Tigers as a change in offensive coordinators has made for a crash course in the basics of the spread offense.
Bringing on Tony Franklin from Troy to replace Al Borges, Auburn has made the chance from the West Coast offense to the spread attack employed by Franklin. For true freshman offensive lineman Ryan Pugh, the change is a fun one, but makes for a lot of work before the Tigers take on Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
"I guess you could say we're a work in progress," Pugh says. "We're going through a change right now. With that you've got people coming in and people leaving. It's definitely a change. Right now we're trying to work the kinks out and get ready for Clemson."
Those kinks include trying to determine how much of the new offense can be put in successfully while also trying to mesh some of the old offense into the mix. That is something that Pugh says is tough to balance, but also fun as well because it's something new.
"It's exciting," Pugh says. "Any time you get a change it's going to bring excitement. Coach Franklin has got a great concept and we're just trying to learn it right now. We're really still in the early stages I guess. I really don't know much about what we're doing to be honest with you. We'll probably still do about the same stuff we've been doing."
Pugh is one of the few current Auburn players that is familiar with Franklin and his system. The son of a high school coach, Pugh followed SEC football closely growing up and also played at Hoover his senior year. The Bucs were one of many teams that used Franklin's system, one that Pugh says makes it fun for a player.
"I had met Coach Franklin through recruiting when he was at Troy the past couple of years," Pugh says. "I knew who he was when he was at Kentucky. The type of offense he has is definitely going to bring attention wherever he's at.
"It's going to be exciting for anybody when you see what he does," Pugh adds. "We'll get into it in the spring more than we are right now. I guess that's up to the coaches. We're definitely excited."
While the offense will be extremely different for the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers, it will also mark a change for the offensive linemen with more blocking on the corners and down the field. Pugh notes that much of a change and it still comes down to basic fundamentals up front.
"It's not much different really," Pugh says. "You've still got to come off and block the guy in front of you. You've got to start there. If you can't do that you won't be successful at all."