I previously showed the numbers relating to the 20-10 formula for success. The formula being at least 20 players with at least 20 games of experience and at least 10 players with 30-games of experience. This formula proved to be successful for the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2010 Auburn teams. More important is where that actual experience showed up on the roster, which is why the 20-10 rule was successful for those teams.
Here is a breakdown of where Auburn’s 20-game players showed up on the roster and how it helped each team.
On offense, Auburn had Troy Reddick, Ben Grubbs, Steven Ross, Jonathan Palmer and Tim Duckworth to work with on the offensive line. The Tigers also had Cooper Wallace and Cole Bennett at tight end to go along with Courtney Taylor, Ben Obomanu and Anthony Mix at wide receiver. This made the transition with Brandon Cox at quarterback much easier to go along with the talented Kenny Irons at running back. Having an experienced offensive line enabled the offense to maintain its consistency from 2004, despite the losses of Jason Campbell, Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown.
On defense, the front 4 was supported by an experienced Wayne Dickens, Tommy Jackson and Marquies Gunn. Behind the front 4 were Travis Williams, Antarrious Williams, Karibi Dede and Kevin Sears at linebacker. Will Herring and Montavis Pitts provided experience to the secondary. For the 2005 team, 5 of the most experienced players were starters in Auburn’s front 7 on defense. Three other 30-game players were at receiver, which was a confidence builder for a new starting quarterback.
Once again, experience on the offensive line was a key reason why the Tigers managed to compile a 11-2 record. Auburn had Ben Grubbs, Jonathan Palmer and Tim Duckworth to go along with King Dunlap and Leon Hart. On the defensive line, Auburn had plenty of experience with Marquies Gunn, Quentin Grives, Josh Thompson and Christopher Browder. The Tigers had Eric Brock and Patrick Lee in the secondary to go along with Will Herring and Karibi Dede at linebacker.
Special teams was a major factor in 2006 and Auburn had veteran kickers in John Vaughn and punter, Kodi Bliss. Just like 2005, Auburn had experience where it was needed the most and that was up front on the offensive and defensive lines. Auburn’s most experienced players in 2006 were Will Herring, Courtney Taylor, Karibi Dede, Ben Grubbs, Tre Smith, Jonathan Palmer, Kody Bliss, Cole Bennett, John Vaughn, Kevin Sears, Marquies Gunn and Tim Duckworth.
The 2007 team did not reach the 20-10 formula for success and had only 1 starter on the DL with 20 games of experience and only 1 starter on the offensive line. Auburn’s most experienced players in 2007 were Quentin Groves, Eric Brock, Cole Bennett, King Dunlap, Patrick Lee, Josh Thompson, Leon Hart, Carl Stewart and Brandon Cox.
The 2008 team also failed to reach the 20-10 formula but the defense had the majority of the team’s experience. Auburn had 3 players on the defensive line with 20 games of experience, 3 at the linebacker position and 2 in the secondary. This is why the defense played well despite sharing the field with a struggling offense.
The 2009 team fail short of the 20-10 formula but they would become a huge part of the success in 2010. The 2009 offensive line had only 2 with 20 games of experience. The Tigers did have 6 defensive lineman with experience but only 1 linebacker. Auburn finished 8-5 on the season but 3 of the losses were by 7 points or less. With a little more depth on defense, Auburn could have finished with an 11-2 record.
The 2010 team was blessed with experience at the most critical positions needed for a team to be successful. Auburn had 4 starting OL with at least 20 games of experience and 3 starters on the DL with 20-games of experience, which did not include Nick Fairley, who technically had over 20 games of experience if you included his JUCO experience. The Tigers also had 2 starters at LB and 3 starters from the secondary with 20 games of experience.
On offense, Auburn had 3 starting receivers with 20 games of experience to go along with their veteran offensive line. Though they were not fulltime starters, Mario Fannin and Eric Smith also brought plenty of experience to the offense. Add Cameron Newton and Michael Dyer to the mix and the Tigers had an offense ready to explode in 2010. Veteran kicker, Wes Byrum made several game-winning field goals that kept Auburn undefeated.
The 2011 team was well short of the 20-10 formula and it showed on the field. The Auburn offensive line had 2 starters with 20 games of experience and 1 of them was lost to injury (Jared Cooper). The defensive line had only 1 starter with 20 games of experience and he also went down with a season ending injury (Dee Ford). Magnifying Auburn’s lack of experience was breaking in a new starter at quarterback.
Based on experience, the Auburn defense has the potential to improve significantly in 2012. The starting front-4 will all have 20 games of experience. At linebacker, Auburn returns 3 previous starters with 20 games of experience. The secondary will have 3 players with 20 games of experience in T’Sharvan Bell, Demetruce McNeal and Ryan Smith. Looking past experience, Auburn has plenty of talent, who saw significant action in 2011 to provide quality depth.
The concern will be an offense that could possibly see 4 new starters at offensive line. John Sullen will be the only OL with 20-game of experience. Once again, Auburn will be looking to break in a starting quarterback with very little game experience as a starter. Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb will bring plenty of experience but McCalebb might test the NFL draft. Emory Blake and Philip Lutzenkirchen bring experience and proven talent to the field but Lutz could depart early too.
Cody Parkey was a major weapon on special teams in 2011 and he will bring over 20 games of experience to the field in 2012. The 2012 team is close to the 20-10 rule with 22 players with 20 games of experience and 9 with 30-games. Of course the experience is primarily on the defensives side and players like McCalebb, Lutzenkirchen and Bell might not be available in 2012, which would drop Auburn to 19-6. The 2013 Auburn roster should easily meet the 20-10 formula.
Around the SEC…
LSU: 30-10 ( LSU reloads with talent and experience in 2012)
Georgia: 26-13 (Georgia reloads in the SEC after being 31-12 in 2011)
Alabama: 26-8 (Don’t make the 20-10 cut but closer than their 19-8 experience level in 2011).
Arkansas: 25-11 (Razorbacks reload as well after being 29-12 in 2011).
South Carolina: 21-13 (Gamecocks reload too after going 29-10 in 2011).
Look for Tennessee to be more competitive. In 2011 they were 14-2 in terms of experience, well short of the 20-10 formula. The Volunteers will be 25-5 in 2012, which means more of a veteran roster for Dooley to work with.