Busy Off-Week For Tiger Football

Auburn, Ala.--Quarterback <b>Daniel Cobb</b> will be battling to hold on to his starting job when the Tigers return to football practice on Tuesday.

Following a surprising 42-17 loss at Arkansas, head coach Tommy Tuberville declared the battle for the starting job re-opened. Cobb, who started spring drills as the third-stringer behind Jason Campbell and Jeff Klein, moved up the depth chart with a strong finish to spring training.

In two-a-days during August, Cobb was running No. 1, but redshirt freshman Campbell got the call as the opening day starter and kept it until being pulled after a slow start in the Florida game. That followed a sluggish Campbell performance in a win at Vanderbilt. Cobb's heroics against the Gators won him the No. 1 spot for the wild 48-41 homecoming victory over Louisiana Tech and last Saturday's loss in Fayetteville.

Commenting on the Arkansas game, Cobb says, "We just didn't put it in the end zone. We had untimely penalties and turnovers and you can't do that on the road."

Two of the turnovers came on intercepted passes. The first one caused a big momentum swing just before halftime, setting up the Razorbacks to score with five seconds left in the second quarter. That put the home team up 21-10. AU had just scored on its previous possession and the defense followed with a three-and-out series.

With 20 seconds left in the half, Cobb's pass to the sideline was intercepted by Tony Bua. "It was a screen to Carnell (Williams) to the left, Cobb says. "When I turned to throw, he had fallen down so I let the ball go to basically the wrong guy. That was not a good play. I wish we had that one back."

Daniel Cobb and the Tigers had a tough day in Fayetteville. On the plus side of the ledger, Cobb says he believes he did a good job of checking the offense into the right plays to help Williams rush for 177 yards and he says his reads helped the offense rack up 492 total yards, a season high vs. SEC competition.

Cobb says, "I can't say that I am ecstatic about my performance because I gave them seven points and huge momentum at the end of the half, but I was happy with the adjustments we made at halftime and the checks we had at the line of scrimmage when I saw some certain defenses and we had some big plays from that."

Tuberville says he has no desire to rotate quarterbacks, but warns that the coaches will make a change during the game if the starter is not getting the job done. The Tigers are scheduled to practice Tuesday through Friday during their off-week. They will travel to Georgia a week from Saturday.

"I think competition for the next few days will make us a much better team and let the team know that we are trying to do everything we can to improve," Tuberville says. "Obviously, it is going to more than just quarterback, now, it is going to be other positions. I think our team looks sometimes at the quarterback position and says, ‘Hey, this is our leader.' We need to make sure we have the right one out there. We not only want to do it for our sake as coaches but for the team's sake to show everybody we are trying to do the right thing."

Tuberville says that Campbell has looked good in practice. "He has worked hard the last few weeks," Tuberville says. "He didn't go in the tank, so to speak. He worked as hard as he has worked all year, waiting his turn as Daniel did. Now, we are going to give both of them the opportunity to earn that turn again. That is what you do during an open date. You open it up and let people compete instead of just working on the game plan."

Before the Tigers travel to Athens, around 40 players are expected to participate in a Thursday game against unbeaten Georgia Military College, which is ranked No. 1 nationally in one of the junior college polls. Fifth-year senior walk-on quarterback Jacob Allen is expected to get the start with freshman scout team QB A.J. Tamburo in reserve. Kickoff is 5 p.m. from Jordan-Hare Stadium. There is no admission charge.

Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who also coaches the quarterbacks, says that there were some encouraging signs amid the rubble of a 42-17 setback in Fayetteville on Saturday. "I thought the kids really made up their mind in the second half...the defense came out and stuffed them two times in a row. We went down and scored and got it back and started driving it again.Then we had a turnover and I think that kind of set us back on our heels.

"Games like that when you are on the road you can't turn it over, you can't make penalties and you have got to make some big plays. We had our chances. We just didn't follow through."

Cobb says he hopes to learn from the mistakes of his second Auburn start and play well back in his home state as the Tigers (6-2, 4-1) take on the Georgia Bulldogs (5-2, 4-2). Kickoff for the contest has been set for 2:30 p.m. CST and it will be televised by CBS.

"I think we are still in a good position to win this side of the conference," Cobb says. "We have got three tough games left, but I think we can regroup this week, get our act together and come out with a good game plan and give it our best shot against Georgia over there."

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