AUBURN — Ted Roof has a rough idea of the speed in which Oregon runs its offense. Auburn’s defensive coordinator sees it every day in practice when his own fast-paced Tigers go through their drills.
Auburn and Oregon, No. 1 and No. 2 in the BCS and two of the fastest-scoring teams this side of the Pacific, are gearing up to put on a show in the national championship game Jan. 10, though Roof would surely like to slow the runaway Ducks.
Good luck. Auburn and Oregon are each ranked ninth in their respective conference in time of possession because they score so fast.
Oregon, which leads the nation in scoring and is first in the Pac-10 in offense, has 48 scoring drives of less than two minutes, including 25 of less than a minute. Seven of those are 10 seconds or less.
Auburn, which is sixth in scoring nationally and first in the SEC in offense, has 34 scoring drives of less than two minutes, including 17 of less than a minute.
“There are a lot of similarities,” Roof said. “And the big similarities are they score a lot of points and they go up and down the field real fast.
“We’ve worked a lot against our offense from a tempo standpoint which has been really, really great work for our defense.”
Auburn returns to practice today after a five-day holiday break for Phase Two of its workout schedule. The Tigers practiced four days before Christmas, are scheduled to go the next five days on campus and then will fly to Arizona on Jan. 3 to begin the final preparations for a game that is still almost two weeks away.
Auburn is slowly building to the expected track meet. The Tigers conducted mini-scrimmages for players who will redshirt last week and put in some of their basic offensive and defensive sets as they eased back into their practice routine. This week will be more serious.
“Our goal when we come back,” said offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, “is to be locked and loaded and back in playing shape.”
Not that Auburn was out of shape from taking two weeks off after beating South Carolina in the SEC championship game. Coach Gene Chizik said he’s not worried about the 37 days between games, or the on-again, off-again nature of practice.
“In a typical game week, you get about three days of practice. You still have plenty of time to get accomplished what you need to,” Chizik said.
Roof is using the fast-paced practices — Auburn has already put a special emphasis on that — to prepare for the Ducks. But even a hurry-up offense “can only go so fast.”