That question was answered Monday night against Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl as the Tigers rushed for 190 yards on the way to a 23-20 win in overtime. TheTigers also had a season-high 423 yards of total offense.
While the offense goes about it in a different way, the running game still begins with the guys up front and juniors Jason Bosley and Tyronne Green along with freshmen Lee Ziemba, Chaz Ramsey and Ryan Pugh got things done in their first game in the new offense.
"I thought we did a great job," offensive line Coach Hugh Nall says. "We've got a long way to go. We're certainly not where we want to be in this offense and the things that Tony wants us to do, but I thought they did a great job after nine days of practice. I thought they did an unbelievable job. They never quit. They hustled their butts off. It's just a great win."
One of the keys for success this season on offense has been the play of the freshmen offensive linemen. Starting since the season opener against Kansas State, Ziemba says it was a little different for the offensive line in a new system, but overall he thinks they did a good job once they got settled.
"After we came out of halftime and came out and scored we started to get a little more confidence," Ziemba says. "That was our second score. We just kind of had faith in it. You can say you had faith in an offense, but you have to show it on the field. I think we started to buy in a little bit. We can only get better from here."
A happy Lee Ziemba breathes a sigh of relief after Monday night's victory.
Playing in the no-huddle attack that led the country in plays per game this season, Ziemba and the Tigers had the ball for a season-high 90 plays in the victory for 423 yards. He says that as the game wore on he felt like the offense got better and better. Nall agrees.
"It seemed like the faster we went the more off balance their defense was," Ziemba says. "They couldn't stop it--the run, run, pass. We didn't change anything Auburn does. We run the ball. We mixed in a couple of different things that really put their defense off balance."
"I thought the way we ran the football at the end the guys were really into it," Nall adds. "They did a heck of a job with it."
Now the Auburn offense has a spring practice to get more acquainted with the system before opening the season next year against Louisiana-Monroe. After practicing for just nine days before the bowl game, Ziemba says he can't wait to see what the future has in store for the Tigers on offense.
"Obviously it was a new offense and it was a little different putting that sucker in over nine practices," Ziemba says. "It's just crazy. There were some kinks like we had in the first half, but we also showed a lot of promise. To come out with a win like that makes us really optimistic for the future. We're excited to see how much we can work to get to where we need to be next year to win the national championship."