Campbell Says To Look for Offensive Changes

Auburn's junior quarterback is looking to get the passing game up to speed as the Tigers head into the stretch run of the 2003 season.

Auburn, Ala.--With Auburn averaging an SEC low 177.9 passing yards per game, look for the Tigers to try to do something about that this week.

That is the word from quarterback Jason Campbell and Coach Tommy Tuberville, whose Auburn team will be looking to get the offense on track after struggling last Saturday in a 31-7 loss at LSU.

"We are probably going to put in some new routes this week and do some new things to see how it is going to work as we are ready to head down the stretch," the redshirt junior quarterback says.

Jason Campbell has passed for 1,270 yards this year and backup Josh Sullivan has added 153 yards in three games.

When asked if he is surprised that his team is last in the conference in passing yards per game, Campbell says, "It is kind of surprising because we have athletes so we can have a real good passing game. Over the last couple of weeks we have been running the ball a lot. We have less (pass) attempts than anybody in the SEC."

There is nothing wrong with Campbell's completion percentage, which is a very solid 62.8 percent and he has thrown just three interceptions in 172 attempts. However, the problem is there haven't been enough big plays from the passing game that is averaging 11.6 yards on its 108 receptions.

When asked if there is something he and his Tigers can change to have more success throwing the deep ball, Campbell says, "There are some things we can do. We have to do it off of play action because if you do it off of a regular dropback it seems like you can read it more. We are going to have to at least take shots to have an opportunity."

At his weekly Tuesday press conference, Tuberville said that Campbell has the talent to be successful as a passer. "Jason is one of the better quarterbacks in the league," the head coach claims. "We just haven't tried to showcase him because, obviously, with a five-game winning streak and being able to run the football there was no need to. But now, for us to be successful, we have to throw the ball and get it downfield. We have to be able to become more balanced."

Last year Campbell was a two-way threat with the ball in his hands. This year he has done little running. He finished his sophomore season with 206 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. This year he has minus 117 rushing yards and no ground touchdowns. When asked if the QB running the football is still in the team's game planning, Campbell says, "It is still part of it. We just haven't put it in the game yet. Basically, we have been trying to keep ourselves out of third and long. When you are in third and long the defense tends to pull their ears back and bring everybody."

Before Auburn heads back into the serious tests of the SEC race, the Tigers take on 1-7 Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. for homecoming in a non-SEC game. "I think it is another opportunity for us to get better," the quarterback says. "We are still in the hunt in the SEC. We have just got to hope that things unfold down the way, but things can't unfold unless we take care of our business first and we really have to keep playing hard. We have to put the LSU game behind us and look forward to the games in front of us. It all starts this week getting better in practice."

Campbell says throwing the ball more effectively will be important if Auburn is going to win its final four regular season games. "We are going to play some top defenses and we are really going to have to exploit the passing game to win a couple of these games," says Campbell, who adds, "We have got to give people some new looks with the passing game. I think we are going to try to do that this week--try to give people something new to look at besides what we have been doing."


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