What About Auburn's Offense?

ATLANTA - Auburn versus Clemson is an interesting match-up by itself. Throw in that Auburn is in the transition of making a drastic change in offensive philosophy and there is a ton of excitement and unanswered questions heading into the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday night.

To start with, what kind of offense will Auburn run in the bowl game? Will it be Al Borges' West Coast system or Tony Franklin's spread?

"I'll tell you after Monday," Franklin jokes. "We'll just let them continue to guess what it'll be and then we'll see. If Vic (Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning) is still listening then 99 percent of it is still Auburn.

"I think it's common sense that they would have to prepare for both," Franklin continues. "The advantage that Vic has is that he was at Troy before I got there. He has good relationships with some of those guys. Even though he's told me that he hasn't talked to them, I know he has. I'm sure he's gotten some information and I know he's gotten film. The good thing is that he has to prepare for both. Common sense wise that it would be highly unlikely that you could go in and install an offense in nine days. He knows that he might see something that we might have done and then at the same time he's got to prepare for the other. I think that that's probably a good thing for us."

A definite answer on the system that Auburn runs hasn't been stated to the media. With that said, who will call the plays?

"We'll all have a hand in it," Franklin explains. "There will be lots of opinions and somebody will make a final decision along the way. I'd say we all will. If I get in trouble sometimes they have to remind me. They'll just start saying ‘Auburn, Auburn.' And that tells me where I am again and remember to say it in words that they'll understand."

At Saturday afternoon's press conference in downtown Atlanta, Franklin did a solid job of deflecting questions relating to Auburn's offensive game plan. When asked who will make the final decision of play-calling, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp gave Franklin a hand in saying, "Coach Tuberville makes all of the final decisions."

What about going to the huddle before the plays?

"We'll probably tell you afterwards," Franklin jokes again. "It's been the one thing that I've done in coaching football is to try to believe that offense should control the tempo of the ball game, not the defense. It's the one thing that I've tried to teach and we hope to do because it's just such a great head start going into the spring is to have that advantage to be able to do some of that stuff."

Several offensive players, most notably receivers, have expressed their joy throughout bowl preparations of the new system and the possibility of running some of it against Clemson.

"They haven't done as good of a job with the media, I've read," Franklin says. "I'm glad they're excited because number one, football is about excitement. It's about teamwork and it's the greatest game that has ever been invented because it truly is a team game. I always tell our guys every week that the only stars we'll have every week are going to be the offensive linemen, because without them playing great every week we'll never win. If they play every week we always win. The problem is they never get their name for catching the touchdown or all of that stuff.

"The thing that has excited these guys is that they see so many people involved in touching the ball," he continues. "Since you're a little kid, you always go outside in the backyard and you play because you want to play with the ball. Everybody wants to touch the ball. The good thing about this offense is that everybody touches the ball. We had 14 different kids catch passes this year for touchdowns at Troy. That's a lot of different people getting involved. I think they're excited about that."

Giving one last hint of what to expect from Auburn Franklin says, "I think the discussion (among the staff) was that let's do the best thing you can do to win a ball game. I think to me that's what you always try to do. I think by looking at that it definitely needed to be a combination of both things--things that they've been doing for a long time, and at the same time maybe a taste of what they might see a little later."

Kickoff for the Tigers vs. Tigers is set for 7:30 p.m. Eastern and 6:30 Central on New Year's Eve.

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