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2011 BCS Champ. Position Breakdown - Defenses
Oregon DT Brandon Bair
Oregon DT Brandon Bair
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 7, 2011


The position-by-position breakdown of the 2011 BCS Championship - Defensive Lines

2011 BCS Champ. Breakdown

Auburn vs. Oregon - Def. Lines

- CFN 2011 BCS Championship Preview  
- CFN 2009 BCS Championship Breakdown - Florida vs. Oklahoma   
- CFN 2010 BCS Championship Breakdown - Alabama vs. Texas

CFN 2011 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN

- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches

By Pete Fiutak

Auburn: The 2011 BCS Championship could come down to one very simple aspect: Is the Auburn defensive line in shape? All year long, Oregon opponents have faked various injuries to slow down the speed and tempo of the Quack Attack, and it has been a long, long time since the Auburn defensive line has had to run in anger against South Carolina on December 4th. There’s a nice mix of size, athleticism, and experience, with a good rotation and activity from all four spots. And it all revolves around the best defensive lineman in America.

6-5, 298-pound junior defensive tackle Nick Fairley might be one of the top three players taken in 2011 NFL Draft, assuming he comes out, and while his meteoric rise to superstardom didn’t quite come out of left field like Cam Newton’s emergence did, it’s not far off. The former JUCO transfer was a solid reserve, and then he became special winning the Lombardi Award after making 10.5 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, and 55 stops. The focus won’t just be on whether or not he can get into the backfield on a regular basis; it’ll be to see if he’s cheap. Some will say he’s great at knocking quarterbacks like Ryan Mallett out of games, and others will say he’s dirty. And then there’s Georgia, who went nuts after Fairley hit QB Aaron Murray in the knee. Fairley is the presence on the inside, while 6-4, 256-pound Antoine Carter is the pass rushing threat on the outside. The senior disappeared at times over the second half of the year, but he has the speed and quickness to thrive against the Duck O line.

Oregon
: While Auburn has a couple of big guys in the middle in Fairley and 296-pound Zach Clayton, the Ducks are light, quick and agile up front … and that could be the problem. This group got shoved around a bit during the season, but it didn’t face too many teams that could get physical other than Stanford. Even so, Arizona State, who’s not exactly Wisconsin when it comes to pounding away, was able to control the game up front, and the concern for Oregon will be whether or not the 270 pound defensive tackles can hold up against a 250-pound quarterback who runs like a safety. Even with the potential issues, the Ducks have found a way to produce all year ranking first in the Pac 10 against the run allowing 118 yards per game and just 11 touchdowns with only one score coming in the final four games. On the plus side, what the front four lacks in bulk it makes up for in quickness and the ability to get into the backfield and to the quarterback from all four spots.

Senior end Kenny Rowe was the star of the 2010 Rose Bowl, and the production carried over with six sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss this season. A classic pin-your-ears-back speed rusher, he’s only 6-3 and 232 pounds, but manages to use his speed along with his 25 games of starting experience to be a disruptive force. He earned Second Team All-Pac 10 honors, as did Brandon Bair, a 6-7, 272-pound interior pass rusher who led the team and was second in the Pac 10 with 15.5 tackles for loss. Experienced both on and off the field, this will be his 52nd game as a Duck. The 26-year-old has a family and served on a church mission.

ADVANTAGE: Auburn. Oregon’s experience will come though early on against Cam Newton and the Auburn ground game, but the line could be beaten on and beaten up as time wears on. Fairley and Clayton could gum up the works on the inside by getting into the backfield and stopping the Oregon running game before it can get started. However, if there’s huffing and puffing by the Tiger front four in the first quarter, the holes will be ten miles wide by the middle of the third.

CFN 2011 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN

- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches