When No. 3 Clemson takes on No. 13 Auburn this Saturday night in Death Valley, linebacker Dorian O’Daniel knows he and the Tigers’ defense are going to see a lot of stuff from Auburn they did not see from the Georgia Southern tape.
“We knew they were going to try and keep it pretty vanilla,” the senior said on Tuesday. “No team wants to put all of their bread and butter on tape for their opponent to scout. You have to take that into consideration, but just from film studies and their tendencies in formations we are going to just have to adjust.”
Of course it works both ways. It’s not like Clemson gave away all of its trade secrets in the first game either. However, the difference is Clemson’s defense really does not know what to expect from an Auburn offense that has a new offensive coordinator in Chip Lindsey and a new quarterback in Jarrett Stidham.
“They have a new offensive coordinator so we know there is going to be some wrinkles from when he was coaching at other places, but I am sure there will be some carryover,” O’Daniel said. “We just have to respect the game plan and study film and get locked in.”
Lindsey has coached at Auburn and was the offensive coordinator at Southern Miss and Arizona State before coming back to Auburn in the off-season. Auburn still runs the same formations, but they run different plays and variations from head coach Gus Malzahn’s original scheme.
“They have definitely made some strides,” O’Daniel said. “They got a new quarterback. He is very good. He can throw the ball and he can run so you have to respect him on his feet and in the passing game. He presents a good challenge.”
One thing Clemson knows it will see it’s a healthy dose of Auburn running backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson. Both combined to rush for more than 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2016.
“That comes with technique,” O’Daniel said. “Hit hard, hit low and wrap up and you should be all right. They have a big physical back (in Pettway). He doesn’t go down on first contact. Collectively as a defense, we are going to have to gang tackle as a unit. Play hard, play fast.”
But more importantly, they have to watch out for some new wrinkles.
“That’s what football is about and that’s why we came to Clemson,” O’Daniel said. “We came here to compete at the highest level and I am looking forward to doing that on Saturday night.”
Clemson and Auburn will kickoff at 7 p.m. on Saturday and the game will be televised by ESPN.
—Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports