Offensive keys for FSU, Auburn

Scouting take on what the Seminoles, Tigers need to do to move the ball

Updated: January 6, 2014, 11:13 AM ET
By Todd McShay | ESPN Insider

Kelvin Benjamin and Sammie CoatesUSA TODAY SportsKelvin Benjamin and Sammie Coates could both play key roles on Monday night.

Two of the most prolific and efficient offenses in college football will take the field in Monday night's VIZIO BCS National Championship (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), when the Florida State Seminoles face the Auburn Tigers. What does each unit need to do well to execute in the biggest game of the season? We took a look at some keys to success for both the Seminoles and the Tigers.

Florida State

Handle Auburn's aggressive blitz packages
Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson isn't working with the greatest personnel this season, so he understandably employs a higher-risk approach to compensate for not having elite talent. Within Auburn's blitz packages, Johnson has shown a strong tendency for attacking the A-gaps (the spaces between the center and guards on both sides of the center). Johnson will have to be creative in this one, picking his spots to attack the interior of FSU's O-line with A-gap blitzes and stunts, twists, etc.

At first glance it might not seem like blitzing FSU QB Jameis Winston would be a good idea, given that he leads the nation in passing efficiency when opponents send five or more rushers. But when you study the tape, you see that against quality opponents -- particularly against Florida in the Seminoles' regular-season finale -- FSU has been vulnerable in this area. The Gators got to Winston several times using different creative blitz approaches like this. On one second-quarter sack, the Gators blitzed their middle linebacker through one A-gap while having their left defensive end loop back toward the middle and blitz the other A-gap.