Feed 'Em the Football: Let The Big Tigers Eat

Coach Tommy Tuberville discusses the philosophy of new offensive coordinator Al Borges that will feature feeding the football to the Cadillac and Ronnie Brown.

Auburn, Ala.--Despite having every offensive coach returning from the 2003 version of the Auburn Tigers, Coach Tommy Tuberville said things will be noticeably different when the team takes the field for the first time against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 4 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The reason for that is new offensive coordinator Al Borges, who comes on board off stints at Indiana, California and UCLA in recent years, is known for his west coast influences in the passing game.

"This is definitely a change," Tuberville said. "We won't look the same. The same guy won't be calling the plays and setting up the game plan, but he will have a very experienced group working with him. There's not a lot of different faces having to learn players. By keeping Steve (Ensminger) and Hugh Nall you gain the knowledge of what each individual player can do on the team.

"Now you've got a guy, for instance if Steve is in the press box, he understands the limitations and strengths of every player we have on the team. Other than somebody who wasn't here last year and doesn't have a clue about adjusting to different personnel because of what they really can and can't do and because they've only been around them for four or five months."

Carnell Williams will be a big part of the 2004 offense under Borges.

A candidate that probably would have been overlooked without a recommendation from Strength and Conditioning Coach Kevin Yoxall, Borges' style is steeped in the foundations of offensive innovators such as Bill Walsh and Don Coryell. While both were known for their passing styles, Tuberville said it was the threat of the run that ultimately convinced him that Borges was the right man for the job at Auburn.

"As we came down to it we decided to bring him in because as we looked at a little film and it was more two-back than what we thought," Tuberville said. "After looking at it, it wasn't as much west coast as it was more of what we're doing, but adding the west coast passing game to a running game very similar to ours. It was just kind of one of those things that happened.

"Once we saw it and listened to him explain what he was doing he fit right in to our personality. Not only this coaching staff, but what Auburn has done in the past with very a physical, tough offense and very similar to what kind of personnel we have right now."

The center of Auburn's offense will continue to be around the running game and backs Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown. Two of the top backs in America heading into the 2004 season, Tuberville said that both are going to get a chance to expand their games as seniors both in the backfield and as receivers because of an expanded passing game under Borges featuring multiple formations and packages designed to make the defense adjust before the ball is snapped.

Ronnie Brown is back and looking for an expanded role in the Tiger offense.

"It's going to be all of it," Tuberville said of formations. "It's going to be short passes, deep passes. The one thing I was looking for in an offensive coach is being able to stretch the field, getting the ball deeper down the field. I wanted to know how they were going to do it, when they would do it. Again, you have to look at your personnel. Our receivers will be older this year, a little bit more experienced, but it all starts with our running backs.

"We're not going to go into a passing game. We're going to have a great passing game, but it's going to start and be built around two guys named Carnell and Ronnie. We want to use them in different positions, not saying they're not going to be back there running the ball. If one of them is running it one might be out there in play-action catching the ball out of the backfield.

"We just have to get them in the game and he had a great plan for that. That was one of the deciding factors in this whole deal, how we could get both of those guys on the field and utilize the talent. That's what coordinators are for, getting your best players on the field the most and utilizing them as decoys or as participants in the play."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories