|Head Coach Tommy Tuberville
has embraced the underdog role before and used it to great advantage at Auburn
and earlier at Ole Miss. In addition to the players who left for the NFL, Auburn
graduated veteran QB Ben Leard, OT Colin Sears, WR Reggie Worthy and back Clifton
Robinson. That leaves just 8% of the offensive production from last season.
At quarterback, the Tigers turn to three candidates: senior Daniel Cobb, junior Jeff Klein and redshirt freshman Jason Campbell. Cobb figures to be the starter with Campbell waiting in the wings.
With a history of past greats Bo Jackson, Stephen Davis and Joe Cribbs, running the ball is a tradition on The Plains. Redshirt freshman Ronnie Brown, sophomore Casinious Moore and freshman Carnel "Cadillac" Williams will all get their chances to add to that tradition.
Marcel Willis and Deandre Green will highlight the receiving corps. Tight ends Lorenzo Diamond and Robert Johnson combined to catch 28 passes last season. Auburn also has a tradition of sending offensive linemen to the NFL. The next in line appears to be left tackle Kendall Simmons.
The Tigers' chances in 2001 rest with the defense. Senior DE Javor Mills and sophomore tackle DeMarco McNeil will hold down the line. At linebacker, Dontarrious Thomas and Mark Brown had great springs.
All-SEC punter Damon Duval gives Tuberville a scoring threat on special teams. He booted a 43-yard average in 65 punts last season.
Last year, the Tigers edged the Razorbacks 21-19 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in heartbreaking fashion. A Rudi Johnson fumble gave Arkansas possession at the Auburn 34 inside the final two minutes, but freshman quarterback Zac Clark was intercepted on the next play. Auburn went on to win the SEC West with decisive victories over LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss.
2001 Season Preview: Game 7 vs Auburn
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