There is little doubt that Auburn's defense is very focused coming into this game as Clemson's offense presents a huge challenge in just about every facet of the game. Starting with a very productive quarterback and moving to running backs, wide receivers, and offensive linemen, Quentin Groves says Clemson has it all.
"To see a team get better each and every week is kind of scary," Groves says. "They've had over a month to prepare for this game. They've got a talented receiver in Aaron Kelly, a great quarterback in Harper (Cullen Harper), Barry Richardson is on everybody's All-American list. You can't just key on one guy and say ‘that's how we're going to stop their offense'. They've got two threats in the backfield that can strike at any time.
"We have to come out and play our brand of football and match their intensity," he adds. "They are going to be hyped up just like we're going to be hyped up. It's a great offensive team. You don't put up points like that in the ACC and you don't have the record they have if you're not a great offensive team."
Auburn's offense will try to become as versatile as Clemson's on Monday night as new coordinator Tony Franklin is working to install as much of his system as possible before the game. While it's making for a big adjustment running part of both systems, senior Brandon Cox says it hasn't taken him long to really like the new system and what it brings to the table for the Tigers.
"It has been different for sure," Cox says. "It's a complete 180 of the offense we've been running. We're trying to do a little bit of both. Practice has been a lot longer because we're working on some things, but its definitely a different offense. It's a spread it out and throw the ball around offense that I ran in high school. You're in shotgun and no-huddle throwing it every down.
"From talking to Coach Franklin he believes it does a lot for the running game too. You throw the ball around and spread them out and then run it up the middle. It's definitely a dynamic offense. We have a lot of playmakers that fit this offense well."
Brandon Cox at Friday's press conference.
Cox and Groves have taken their fair share of shots at each other throughout the years, but there is no doubt that there is a respect factor that both share for each other that is stronger than ever. Groves put the finishing touches on the bond they share on Friday when talking about Cox and what he's been through to play football for Auburn.
"It kind of reminds me of the time he went down in the Florida game, not this year but last year," Groves says. "He got hit and stayed down for a while. I said ‘this is not the Brandon I know that guy doesn't stay down'. When he bounced up I said ‘there's Brandon again'. It says something about what he's been through and what he continues to go through day by day.
"They said he couldn't play, they said he couldn't bounce back," he adds. "He stands here today as our starting quarterback. That speaks volumes for his strength and character and everything he stands for. Every time I see him it makes me live and breathe a little bit easier because I know he goes through hard things. A 22-period practice is nothing compared to what he's been through all his life."