September 29, 2013

Vicarious learning

AUBURN Ellis Johnson spent time during the summer getting a feel for Ole Miss' offense and refined his ideas during the Tigers' off week.

Yet only the very best information will yield substantive changes.

Auburn's defensive coordinator said Sunday that the Rebels' fast-paced offense, designed similar to Gus Malzahn's, limits the number of possible adjustments. The key to defending Ole Miss' attack successfully is consistently making sense of its array of formations.

"When you go real fast, there's only so much you can get lined up in," Johnson said. "Kids can't handle but so much in a game like this. We don't want to get too far away from our base. We'll always have game plans. We'll always have some ideas that come up -- something we want to do against a certain opponent."

Johnson may have learned a valuable lesson two weeks ago.

Auburn installed a five-man front package the Wednesday prior to its Sept. 21 game in Baton Rouge. The scheme was intended to counteract LSU's "22" personnel package, which included two tight ends along with beefy fullback J.C. Copeland as a lead blocker.

The plan made perfect sense.

The execution didn't.

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