Tigers Put Up Big Offensive Numbers On A-Day

The Auburn offense continued its recent trend of getting the better of the Tigers' defense as they took it to the D on A-Day.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn offense showed up ready to play again in the Tigers' Annual A-Day Scrimmage. Combining the Blue and White teams' statistics, Al Borges' new offense racked up 574 total yards and put four touchdowns on the board on Saturday.

Impressively, the Tigers put up those numbers in a very basic form of Borges' offense that did not even use the new bunch formation that will be a staple of the new offensive package.

"We didn't do much at all today," Borges said. "We shut it down quite a bit. We didn't run a lot of what we have been doing and we have only got about 55 or 60 percent of it in anyway. But, that was by purpose because we knew it was on television, plus this was a big evaluation for a lot of kids and we didn't want to confuse them so we didn't do a lot of stuff."

One player who stood out for the offense was back-up quarterback Brandon Cox. The redshirt freshman showed poise in the pocket and good touch on his passes throughout the day. Overall Cox was 12-13 passing for 206 yards and two touchdowns that included a 58-yard strike to Silas Daniels for a score in the second half. The performance was enough to earn him offensive MVP honors.

"He did a nice job," Borges noted. "We wanted to give him a chance to go with the first string a little bit, so he knew that he had a chance some decent protection and I thought he preformed well for the most part. He has still got a few things that we have got to iron out."

Tre Smith led all rushers in the game with 99 yards on 12 carries.

Cox's counterpart and starting quarterback Jason Campbell also had a solid day for the Tigers in only one half of play. Campbell was 8-10 passing for 96 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Tigers' third team QB Kelcy Luke was 2-6 through the air for 33 yards.

After Cox and Campbell released the ball on Saturday the Tigers' receivers stepped up and made the catches. The wide outs caught almost everything that came their way in the scrimmage and showed some good ability to make plays after the catch.

One receiver who stood out was Daniels. The senior, who is looking primed for a breakout season in 2004 if he can stay healthy, caught three passes for 84 yards that included the 58-yard TD strike.

"It felt pretty good," Daniels said about his performance. "I have been off and on and I just had to go out there and make plays. Show them that could still make plays. So, when I went out there if the ball came my way I just caught it. In the past I have had a couple of injuries that have set me back, but it just felt like this spring I took care of myself better and made sure that the little injuries didn't bother me."

"They made some nice plays," Borges said about the play of his wide outs. "Ben made a heck of a catch right there on the sideline on that one play. The one thing that I think is critical in this offense is that you can make the routine play consistently. When you have a chance to make a catch on a curl or a little swing route you have got to make the catch and if you do that you keep the chains moving. So, you create more opportunities to make big plays--you have got to make all of the little plays and we have been doing a pretty decent job of that."

Another theme of the game was the ability of the offense to set up the run off of the pass and vice versa. So far this spring Borges' offense has shown a strong ability to be balanced, which will be a big necessity if the Tigers plan on being a successful offensive team in 2004.

The Tigers who threw for 335 yards in the game were also able to rush the ball for 239 yards despite the Tigers Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown combining for only nine carries in the game.

"The balance was pretty good," Borges noted. "I think, whenever you can be balanced--whenever you can run that ball and pass that ball--present two threats to the defense you have always got a chance. As soon as you become one dimensional, particularly in this conference because there are some great defensive teams, you are in trouble."

The Tigers seemingly have the found ability to both run and pass the ball relatively efficiently throughout spring practice and Daniels said that has made a big difference in the attitude of the guys on offense.

"Yeah, we are more confident out there," Daniels explained. "Everybody knows that if the ball comes their way they have got to make plays and everybody is confident in that and they believe in it. We believe in him (Borges) and he believes in us so we are going to get the job done."

Even Tommy Tuberville said that he could see a difference in the attitude of his offensive players heading into the summer.

"It is something that our players are starting to believe in more and more," Tuberville said about the new offense. "Like anything if you believe in it you can get it done whether it is five plays or 10 plays or 20 plays. You are having fun doing it and everybody will work at it. So, our guys like this offense and our defense doesn't which is good."

Still despite the improved performance of the offense over the last two weeks Campbell said that he is not going to let himself or his teammates rest on their laurels.

"We can't settle with where we are at," the senior quarterback explained. "We have got to continue to get better. We have an opportunity to be one of the top offenses in the nation. We have got a lot of guys coming back with a lot of senior leadership on that side of the ball and we have got to continue to keep working to get better."

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