Offensive Strategy Doesn't Get The Job Done

Comments from offensive coordinator Hugh Nall and Auburn offensive players are featured.

Athens, Ga.--Facing the nation's second-ranked defense, Auburn's game plan on Saturday was to attack the Bulldogs from the air first and run later.

Coach Mark Richt's Bulldogs handled Auburn's passing game and everything else the Tigers threw at them on the way to a 26-7 victory at Sanford Stadium.

"We felt like we were going to have to throw the football," said offensive coordinator Hugh Nall. "They were rolling the safeties down and doing a good job of stopping the running game. That was part of their game plan. Of course, it has been part of everybody's all year. We knew we had to throw.

"We thought we had some things that would work," Nall added. "Once again, evidently, it wasn't a good enough job."

Quarterback Jason Campbell hit 9-16 passes in the first half, but the Tigers had only 45 yards on those catches. In contrast, the Bulldogs had 172 yards and a touchdown on their 10 first half completions.

Campbell improved his passing numbers in the second half, but not enough to make a difference in deciding the winner and loser.

Jason Campbell scores for the Tigers.

When asked if the Bulldogs did anything unexpected with two weeks to prepare for Auburn, Campbell said, "No, they didn't do anything. They didn't blitz as much as we thought they would. We just didn't make plays. We had the opportunity to make plays and we didn't make them."

Auburn finished the game with just 259 total yards and only netted 81 yards on 25 rushes. Nall took blame for the offense's lack of performance. "It wasn't a good job on my part of having them ready," he said. "Of course, you have to give Georgia credit. They did a great job of coming out and playing hard-nosed defense and they shut us down. I don't think we had but 50-something (54) yards in the first half. That is nobody's fault but mine. I didn't have them ready and prepared enough. They just lined up and played some good base defense and got after us."

Campbell scored the only Auburn TD on a six-yard run after Georgia had already wrapped up the game in the fourth quarter. Auburn's last chance to get back in the game came with 11 minutes left to play and the Tigers trailing 19-0. On a third and goal play just inside the UGA three, Campbell's tipped pass was intercepted and run 99 yards for a score by linebacker Odell Thurman.

"I saw Courtney (wide receiver Courtney Taylor) in the end zone waving his hands," Campbell said. "I was trying to make a play. He was open. We just tipped the ball."

Campbell said the play reminded him of some other big plays this year. "A lot of things haven't gone our way this season. It just seems like one of those years that everything that can happen bad to you is happening. We have just got to regroup. We have one more regular season game. We have just got to get that fight in us.

"This is the first time I have ever been through anything like this," Campbell added. "I play with a lot of heart. I am a champion and I will fight to the end no matter what the score is or whatever. We just have to get everybody fighting. We have got to get everybody playing like a champion and wanting to fight and win."

The Tigers close the regular season at home next Saturday night vs. Alabama. "All the leaders on our team right now, it is our job to step up this week," Campbell said. "This is the biggest game because it is Alabama--the biggest rivalry. Their ain't no use hanging your head now. We have one game left in the regular season."

Senior offensive tackle Mark Pera said it was frustrating to not take advantage of the scoring opportunities the offense did have. "We were down in scoring area several times and came away without points," he said. "We have just got to finish off drives. The first half we weren't able to establish the running game because we came out trying to throw the football. In the second half, when we started running it, we had a lot more success and were able to move the ball. We just have to go back to running the ball next week."


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