Preview 2018: Auburn Tigers. The Big Player In CFP Race, Again

Preview 2018: Auburn Tigers. The Big Player In CFP Race, Again

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Preview 2018: Auburn Tigers. The Big Player In CFP Race, Again

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What You Need To Know About The Auburn Offense

When the Auburn offense hit its stride, it was unstoppable. Everyone had to be healthy, rested and rolling, and from the start of the SEC season it scored 40 points or more seven times in eight games. However, the Iron Bowl win over Alabama was the only time the Tigers won when scoring fewer than 28 points – at least when they were trying; the 24-10 scrimmage against Mercer doesn’t matter.

This year, there’s enough talent at the skill spots to blow up from time to time, but to get back to the SEC Championship, the offensive line has to come together in a hurry. Four starters are gone with just Mike Horton back at one guard spot. The front five has to do it’s job, because …

– Auburn might just have the best quarterback in college football. Jarrett Stidham might have had his down moments, but he got Auburn to the SEC Championship, survived the Alabama win, and it wasn’t his fault for the Peach Bowl loss to UCF. He’s got the receivers to throw to for a passing game that should do even more.

Losing Eli Stove and Will Hastings to knee injuries takes away two key parts, but Ryan Davis is an excellent short-range target, and Darius Slayton is a devastating deep threat averaging over 22 yards per catch. Stidham and the offensive style will make the receivers, and not necessarily the other way around.

Losing Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway is hardly a plus, but Pettway was banged up for most of the year, and Johnson missed the Clemson game early on and wore down late. Kam Martin was second on the team and averaged over six yards per carry, and now he’ll combine with the great-looking JaTarvious Whitlow in the rotation.

With great recruit Asa Martin in school early, the Tigers have more than enough talent to keep the nation’s 26th-best rushing attack better, but …

Biggest Key To The Auburn Offense

The O line has to rock. Even with the veteran pieces in place last season, the pass protection was a problem, and there were way too many plays behind the line.

When Auburn’s offense is hitting its stride, it’s ripping through defensive fronts too quickly to allow anyone to get into the backfield. For example, the 2013 team that went to the national title allowed just 65 tackles for loss and 18 sacks. Last year? 90 tackles for loss and 36 sacks.

Granted, different backfield, different talent, different players – Auburn threw 382 passes last year, and with Nick Marshall under center, threw it 285 times – but still, the line has to be fantastic despite all of the new parts.

NEXT: Defense Breakdown, Top Players, Final Prediction & What Will Happen

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