Auburn's attack is hard to figure

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ATLANTA --- Clemson brings the ACC's top-scoring offense to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, while Auburn will counter with the defense that allowed the fewest points in the SEC.

Brandon Cox: Auburn's senior quarterback might not be option No. 1 if the Tigers opt for the spread offense Tony Franklin used at Troy.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Brandon Cox: Auburn's senior quarterback might not be option No. 1 if the Tigers opt for the spread offense Tony Franklin used at Troy.

But that test of strengths isn't the most intriguing matchup when No. 15 Clemson faces No. 22 Auburn in Monday's game.

Instead, the biggest mystery will be what happens when Auburn has the ball. Auburn hired Tony Franklin from Troy on Dec. 12 to replace offensive coordinator Al Borges, who resigned at the end of the regular season.

There has been much speculation about Auburn's new-look offense:

Who will call the plays?

What percentage of his no-huddle spread offense was Franklin able to install in two weeks?

If Auburn spends most of its time in the new offense, might freshman quarterback Kodi Burns play more than senior Brandon Cox?

At the center of the intrigue is Franklin, who emphasized Saturday that just as Auburn's offensive players are learning his system, he's still learning his new players.

"I guess I could talk about several of our players, but I don't know hardly any of their names," Franklin said.

"I'm probably the only coach who comes in here with a roster of his own team," he said, adding that the attempt to teach his offense so quickly "has been a real unusual experience for us."

The bowl preparation also has been painfully unusual for Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, who may deserve overtime pay after his extra hours spent studying game film.

"We try to be detail-oriented, but we really don't know what we are going to get," Koenning said.

Coach Tommy Tuberville and Franklin are eager to make the most of the mystery.

"It would be highly unlikely you could install the entire offense in nine days," Franklin said.

Clemson's defensive challenge is made more difficult by the loss of two of the team's top three tacklers, Nick Watkins and Tramaine Billie, to academic problems.

Watkins led the team with 118 tackles.


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