In the run-up to the Clemson-Auburn game, the Eyes on Auburn blog noted this key to victory:
This game will be won or lost up front. We are better than Clemson in the trenches. Our defensive line should outplay every defensive line in the SEC minus LSU (however, we have more depth than LSU here) this season. Clemson’s OL is young, unproven and not ready for what will roll into the Georgia Dome. It should be the difference in the game. If our defensive front doesn’t harass Tajh Boyd all night and control the line of scrimmage against an inexperienced offensive line, pack it in for a long season.
First, I rolled my eyes big-time at the “our defensive line should outplay every defensive line in the SEC minus LSU.” Really? Folks like Phil Steele disagree a bit. Steele listed five other SEC defensive fronts in his top 10 with no mention of Auburn’s. Just sayin’.
Second, this extremely talented and deep Auburn defensive line got rolled by Clemson to the tune of 320 yards rushing. Sure, not all of the 320 yards rushing can be blamed on the d-line, but things do start-up front. And this was against CU’s inexperienced offensive line. Here’s what Gene Chizik had to say about the bunch:
A four-man rotation at defensive tackle struggled at times Saturday, prompting coach Gene Chizik to say the group “has to significantly improve.”
I would agree.