BCS Championship Game: A Quick Look at Auburn and Oregon Along the Line

Kevin McGradySenior Writer IDecember 15, 2010

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 06:  Defensive tackle Nick Fairley #90 of the Auburn Tigers watches play against the Chattanooga Mocs November 6, 2010 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Every college football fan is looking forward to this year’s BCS championship game. It is an intriguing matchup of cutting-edge teams. Both Auburn and Oregon are on the cutting edge of offensive and defensive strategy.

In coming weeks it will be fun to take a look at these two teams and what they do. It is a philosophy that is being used more and more in college and professional football every day.

As we compare these two teams, one thing is glaringly apparent. Both Auburn and Oregon play a large number of players on offense and defense in every game. High school recruits that possess a skill set that can be used in their systems should consider them closely.

Auburn and Oregon play more players for more repetitions than more conventional teams. This is built into both teams and does not change from year to year. Contrary to conventional wisdom, these high-paced systems match up well to the NFL where playing in a hurry-up, no-huddle system allows for a quicker adaptation to the NFL game.

The decision-making ability of hurry-up quarterbacks is much faster and better trained for the next level. A conventional quarterback in a conventional system playing against inferior collegiate competition often has a difficult time adapting to the decision-making speed of the NFL.

While many recruits and fans have listened to failed NFL coaches preach that playing in a conventional system is better to prepare for the NFL, statistics do not show this to be the case. In fact, quarterbacks that come from unconventional systems are more common in the NFL and more successful overall. The same can be said of running backs.

Some would say that it is easier to adjust to taking a snap under center than to adjust to the quick-paced shifts of NFL defenses. The no-huddle quarterback is accustomed to making such decisions much quicker.

Both Auburn and Oregon are rushing-based offenses. They run their offense in a multiple style out of what has become known as the spread set. Auburn uses some single wing formations as well. These systems require quick, athletic offensive linemen with a lot of endurance.

The defenses for both teams use a rotating scheme that is constantly getting fresh players on the field to avoid catastrophic breakdowns caused by fatigue. It is unlikely that either offense will wear down the opposing defense in this game.

Normally both offenses run plays at a tempo designed to fatigue the opposing defense and avoid allowing for substitution to the defense during a drive. This might not be as big of a goal in this game as this strategy is less likely to be effective.

In this game it is more likely the two offenses will attack perceived defensive weaknesses. Oregon is somewhat undersized on defense and they have emphasized speed at every position. Auburn has had problems stopping the passing attack and perimeter runs this year.

Both offenses are very adaptable and can both run and pass the ball effectively. It will be interesting to see how these two teams will decide to attack the opposition’s defense. While some may disagree, these teams are not based on the individual efforts of star players.

Star players can display their skills in a very viable way in these two systems. The offenses concentrate on getting athletic players in space and the defenses make plays in space. This is only a small part of the bigger picture.

Both the Auburn and Oregon offensive schemes are centered around great downfield blocking. They pull guards and use tight ends and H-backs to block and open up lanes to the second level. The receivers for both teams are then expected to make key blocks to extend play deeper into the secondary.

This game will be between two of the best blocking teams in the nation. The speed at every position on these offenses is among the best in the nation. Both teams are accustomed to having an advantage in speed, and neither will in this particular game.

The two defenses can match the offenses in speed and this will likely reduce some of the big-play potential. Both teams will counter this defensive speed with misdirection and deception.


It is now time to take a look at some of the players for both teams and how they compare.

Offensive Line

While Oregon’s offensive line is undersized when compared to Auburn, they are very athletic and pull well to block on the edges. They are unlikely to attempt to attack the center of the Auburn defense where they would be at a disadvantage.

They will likely leave Auburn’s overpowering defensive tackles unblocked at times and use the athleticism of their quarterback to force them to follow play. Many times these Oregon offensive linemen will be matched against defensive ends and linebackers where they do have a distinct size advantage.

Auburn has the best of both worlds at offensive line. They are very large and powerful and also get out on the sides to block well. Auburn will be able to attack all areas of the Oregon defensive line.


Offensive Line Rosters




Left Tackle

Lee Ziemba 6’8”

319 pounds

Bo Thran 6’5”

281 pounds


Brandon Mosley 6’6”

299 pounds

Nick Cody 6’5”

296 Pounds

Left Guard

Mike Berry 6’3”

316 pounds

Carson York 6’5”

286 pounds 


Bart Eddins 6’4”

304 pounds

Mana Greig 5’11”

291 pounds


Ryan Pugh 6’4”

297 pounds

Jordan Holmes 6’5”

300 pounds



Blake Burgess 6’2”

278 pounds

Max Forer 6’3”

267 pounds

Right Guard

Byron Isom 6’3”

303 pounds

C.E. Kaiser 6’4”

290 pounds


Jorrell Bostrom 6’3”

322 pounds

Ramsen Golpashin 6’4”

275 pounds

Right Tackle

Brandon Mosley 6’6”

299 pounds

Mark Asper 6’7”

322 pounds


John Sullen 6’6”

312 pounds

Darrion Weems 6’5”

292 pounds


6’4”, 306 pounds

6’4”, 290 pounds



The above players will be attempting to block the following players.

Defensive Line Rosters




Defensive End

Antoine Carter 6’4”

256 pounds

Terrell Turner 6’4”

240 pounds

Backup Rotation

Corey Lemonier 6’4”

227 pounds

Dion Jordan 6’7”

230 pounds

Backup Rotation

Dee Ford 6’4”

240 pounds


Defensive Tackle

Nick Fairley 6’5”

298 pounds

Brandon Bair 6’7”

272 pounds

Backup Rotation

Mike Blanc 6’4”

297 pounds

Taylor Hart 6’6”

262 pounds

Defensive Tackle

Zach Clayton 6’3”

296 pounds

Zac Clark 6’2”

270 pounds

Backup Rotation

Jeffrey Whitaker 6’3”

308 pounds

Wade Keliikipi 6’2”

289 pounds

Defensive End

Nosa Eguae 6’2”

258 pounds

Kenny Rowe 6’3”

232 pounds

Backup Rotation

Michael Goggins 6’3”

261 pounds

Brandon Hanna 6’2”

234 pounds

Backup Rotation

Craig Sanders 6’4”

248 pounds



6’4”, 268 pounds

6’4”, 259 pounds



Defensive Line Production




Defensive Tackle

Four-player rotation

Four-player rotation




Tackles For Loss






Quarterback Hurries






Defensive End

Six-player rotation

Four-player rotation




Tackles For Loss






Quarterback Hurries




Auburn has 33 sacks on the season and Oregon has 31. While 27 of Auburn’s sacks come from the defensive line, only 17 of Oregon’s sacks come from the defensive line. Auburn has 70 quarterback hurries from their offensive line this year, while Oregon only has 13.

This simply tells fans that while Auburn is able to get consistent pressure on the quarterback from the defensive line, Oregon must depend on the blitz. This alone will give Auburn a distinct numbers advantage downfield when on offense.

It would seem that Oregon would be forced to have a corner, safety or linebacker apply pressure to the 6’6”, 250-pound Cameron Newton. As all of these players are 20 to 30 pounds lighter, it will be difficult for them to do. This could be another advantage for Auburn in this matchup.