Borges Assesses First Major Tuneup For Offense

Comments of Auburn's offensive coordinator are featured as he discusses the first major scrimmage of the preseason.

Auburn, Ala.--Even though head coach Tommy Tuberville says the offense looked like it had the edge in the first major scrimmage of preseason, offensive coordinator Al Borges wasn't overly impressed.

"It wasn't bad," Borges says. "We did some good stuff. Obviously, we have a long way to go, but overall I thought we moved the ball pretty well. We threw the ball pretty accurately. At times we ran the ball well, too."

Borges arrived at Auburn just in time to install his version of the West Coast Offense in spring drills. It was a bit of surprise that the offense outplayed the defense throughout the spring even though the defense has more rebuilding to do in terms of graduated personnel. In Saturday's scrimmage, which lasted more than 100 plays, the offense had more big plays than the defense.

With star performers like seniors Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams being held out of the action, part of the focus was to see how the less experienced players performed on both offense and defense. The leading rusher in the scrimmage was a redshirt freshman, Carl Stewart, who gained 71 yards on 12 carries. He also caught a pass for 27 yards. True freshman Brad Lester scored two touchdowns as he netted 42 yards on 11 carries while showing lots of quickness at tailback. He caught a pass for a 14-yard gain.

"I thought Brad Lester stood out among the young players and I thought Carl Stewart had a real good day running the football," Borges says. "Our plan going into the scrimmage was to feature Stewart and he responded well. He is a guy who isn't talked about too much, but he is doing a good job for us."

Al Borges has been given the task of making the Tigers more productive on offense.

Borges says he saw some good things from the offensive line, even though talented junior tackle Marcus McNeill was held out of the scrimmage to give redshirt freshman King Dunlap and true freshman Leon Hart snaps with the first offense. "We are going to have a chance to have some depth across the offensive front," Borges says.

In addition to coordinating the offense, the veteran assistant coach is in charge of the quarterbacks. Jason Campbell played like a veteran as he hit 7-11 passes for 125 yards and threw the ball out of harm's way whenever his receivers were covered.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Cox rebounded from a slow start to hit 11-15 passes for 153 yards. True freshman Calvin Booker was 3-6 for 30 yards with the only interception of the scrimmage. Another true freshman, Blake Field, was 0-3 as he tried to connect on a pair of long bombs while splitting time with Booker as the third string QB.

"I thought the quarterbacks did a good job," Borges says. "One thing to take into consideration is that the defense played fairly conservatively. They didn't always come after us when they could have come after us. For what we asked the quarterbacks to do, they did a decent job."

"Overall, we did some good things, but we have a lot to do before opening day. This offense is still a work in progress."

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