Figuring out the Auburn offense

CLEMSON - The college spread or pro-style -- what exactly does Brent Venables expect to see from Auburn next Saturday in the Georgia Dome?

At the end of the day, Clemson's first-year defensive coordinator isn't 100 percent certain what the Tigers will see from the Tigers.

"I think you're going to get a little bit of both," Venables said. "I think you're going to see some spread. I think you're going to see some run and play-action oriented as well. I think they're equipped to do both."

There are plenty of pieces still in place from the previous offensive regime under Gus Malzahn. And there are a few viable options to help make Auburn into a pro-style team.

New Auburn offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler, who came from Temple, has done a little bit of it all during his coaching career.

"They have a transfer from Illinois. He's kind of a road grader, a fullback. He's a downhill player. They have some other good tight ends, some good backs," Venables said. "I think they've got good skill, to spread you out and a quarterback that can run all that spread stuff that everybody likes to do."

Auburn will also freature a trio of running backs, including a pair of former Clemson recruits in Onterio McCalleb and Mike Blakely, plus Tre Mason.


QB Kiehl Frazier should get the start against Clemson in the Georgia Dome. (Getty Images)
Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen and WR Emery Blake also present plenty of problems on the outside.

Auburn has yet to officially name its starting quarterback, but Kiehl Frazier is believed to have the inside track over Clint Moseley.

Frazier, the more mobile of the two signal callers, figures to test Clemson's new defensive scheme early with his legs.

THE LINE: Over the last three years, Clemson defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks has used a five-man rotation. That will continue this season.

"I think we think we have five guys. I don't know how many snaps, as far as inside tackles, as far as taking a percentage of snaps," Venables said.

DeShawn Williams, Grady Jarrett and Josh Watson will see a lion's share of the snaps.

"We have three guys that will take the majority. The two freshmen, we'll see what they can handle," Venables said.

The two freshmen Venables mentioned are Carlos Watkins and D.J. Reader.

On the edge, Malliciah Goodman, Corey Crawford, Victor Beasley and Tavaris Barnes make up the two-deep.

"I'm sure Malliciah will get a bunch [of snaps]. We'll rotate those other three guys," Venables said.

DEPTH ON THE PERIMETER: Darius Robinson and Bashaud Breeland are scheduled to occupy the starting cornerback spots. Venables thinks the depth gets a little bit dicey after those two.

"Not very good, not very good," he said, when asked about his thoughts on the depth at the position.

"We've got some guys that will have their opportunity sooner rather than later, to show what they can do. We just don't have very many numbers."

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