Fannin Fired Up About Franklin's Offense

Auburn redshirt freshman Mario Fannin discusses new coordinator Tony Franklin and Auburn's bowl victory over Clemson.

Atlanta, Ga.--Mario Fannin couldn't contain a grin after his first experience with the spread offense as his team took an exciting 23-20 Chick-fil-A Bowl football victory over Clemson.

Fannin and his teammates had a crash course in the spread from new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, who Tommy Tuberville hired away from Troy after the regular season.

Fannin says he likes what he has seen. "It is a great offense," the redshirt freshman says. "I can't wait until we practice it more and get more involved in it."

He played running back and receiver vs. Clemson and finished the game with five catches for 53 yards and one touchdown while adding three runs for 18 yards.

Fannin admits there was a "wow factor" when he found out that Auburn was making a radical change in offense prior to the bowl game.

"We just knew we had to do it," he says. "The coaches told us it was going to be difficult, but we knew we were up for the challenge. We came out and showed what we can do."

The offense rallied the Tigers from behind to pull out the victory. AU drove 70 yards on 11 plays to tie the game at 17-17 in the fourth quarter, answering a score from Clemson.

In the overtime, AU put the ball in the end zone for the game winning touchdown to trump a field goal by Clemson that put the CU Tigers up 20-17.

"Coach Franklin told us that there would be some bad things that would happen during the game and it was going to be up to us to come back and overcome them," Fannin said. "We never put our heads down. We knew what we could do and we came out and played hard that second half and showed them what we are about."

Fannin adds that he is excited to see what the Auburn offense can do next year with more time to learn the system. "Who knows what will happen during the off season," he says. "Coach Franklin is a genius. He did a great job coming in here and teaching us the offense. I trust him a lot. He is going to be a great asset to this team."

Like many of the other young players on the Auburn team, getting the victory meant a lot more than just the ninth win of the season. It was the school-record 50th in five years for the redshirt seniors.

"It meant a lot to the seniors," Fannin points out. "We wanted to win it for them and make them the winningest group of seniors to ever come through here."

Fannin and his teammates did that to send thousands of Auburn fans out into the Atlanta night to ring in the New Year in a festive mood.

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