Cox Wins Praise For Work With the No. 1 Offense

Comments from coaches and a variety of news and notes are featured from Wednesday's Auburn football practice.

Auburn, Ala.--If Auburn had been opening the 2004 football season on Wednesday, the Tigers would have trotted out a new starting quarterback at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

No. 1 quarterback Jason Campbell, who has flu-like symptoms, was not allowed to work out as the Tigers drilled for two and a half hours in full pads in a session that featured contact work as the Tigers were fortunate to get in a full practice with no interruptions from thunderstorms in the area.

"I really thought Brandon Cox did a nice job and he took every single play except for a few in skelly," offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Al Borges said.

"Brandon did a nice job," Borges added. "We tossed a couple of new things at him and he handled them pretty well. He just continues to improve. He is a real coachable kid who works real hard at being a quarterback and it shows up day after day. He did the ones, he did the twos--he took every play. I decided it was a great opportunity to give him the extra work."

Head coach Tommy Tuberville said he liked the idea of giving redshirt freshman Cox the extra work. "I thought it was good for him to get work with the first team offense and the first team center," Tuberville said. "That is altogether different sometimes."

Tuberville said the defense held the upper hand in the contact work in Tuesday's practice, but the offense made a comeback on Wednesday in situational work on short yardage conversions. "I saw lot more movement on the offensive line on the defensive line than I have seen," the coach said. "The offense really took it to heart that they weren't going to lose like they did yesterday."

The scout teams will be organized on the field on Thursday and Friday. The Tigers will take Saturday off and begin their game week preparations on Sunday.

"It has been pretty good effort-wise this week, but again we think we are getting a little stale," Tuberville said. "We need to pull off them a little bit in that area and get back to concentrating and teaching rather than hitting on the run.

"I think we are making some strides on defense," Tuberville added. "We have got everything in. There will be one or two small things we will put out through the year. We have got in everything now we need. After Friday,we will start cutting back and put our game plan in on Sunday."

In other news:

*Senior wide receiver Silas Daniels, who has been injured much of his AU career, injured a hamstring on Wednesday. Tuberville said the initial report is that team trainers hope it is not serious.

*Junior noseguard Tommy Jackson is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a dislocated bone in his arm. He saw some action in the scrimmage work on Wednesday and will likely play in the opener.

*Tuberville had praise for senior kicker Philip Yost, who struggled the first half of preseason with his consistency. "I am really encouraged by the way he is competing," said Tuberville, who noted that Yost had a better day than John Vaughn, who has won most of the head to head battles in preseason. Tuberville labeled the competition for the starting job as field goal kicker "too close to call. "It wasn't a great day for (Vaughn), but I like the way he is hitting the ball a lot more solidly than he did last year."

*Senior defensive ends Bret Eddins (stinger, ankle) and Doug Langenfeld (ankle, hip flexor) didn't participate in the contact work on Wednesday. Eddins is scheduled back at practice on Sunday. Langenfeld's return to practice schedule is up in the air.

*Redshirt freshman cornerback Zach Gilbert, who suffered a bruised knee in Tuesday's practice, jogged on the side. He may be back at practice as early as Friday, Tuberville said.

Sophomore offensive guard Jarrod Britt will redshirt this season after having shoulder surgery on Wednesday. Tuberville said he hopes the lineman will be ready in time for spring training. "He went through it fine," Tuberville said of the surgery. "They (team doctors) seemed real positive about it."

The Tigers work on a three-on-three drill at the goal line during Wednesday's practice. No. 52 is linebacker Kevis Burnam and 95 is defensive lineman Pat Sims.

*AU continued to look at true freshman speedster Jerald Watson as a potential punt returner, however, he is not catching the punts as well as Carnell Williams and Silas Daniels. Another freshman, wideout James Swinton, is also getting a look as a punt returner.

*The Tigers continued their recent routine of running wind sprints early in the practice session following kicking game drills.

*AU officials announced on Wednesday that the opening game on Sept. 4th vs. Louisiana-Monroe has been designated "Scout Day." Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Daisy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Venturers and their leaders who are in uniform will be able to enter Jordan-Hare Stadium without purchasing a ticket.

Tight end Cooper Wallace, who has been limited in practice with a hamstring problem, saw action in the contact work and caught a pass on Wednesday. Tuberville said he is hopeful the junior will be full speed by opening day.

*Auburn's opening day opponent, Louisiana-Monroe of the Sun Belt Conference, posted a 1-11 record last year that included a 73-7 loss to Auburn. That was the most points the Indians allowed last season. Ole Miss put up 59 points on the scoreboard vs. Coach Charlie Weatherbie's team.

*Auburn and Louisiana-Monroe (formerly Northeast Louisiana) have played five previous times in football going back to a 1994 Tiger victory in 1994. The only close game in the series was a 1996 scare when the Tigers held on for a 28-24 victory.

Tiger Ticket Extra: There weren't any Boy Scouts or Campfire Girls at Wednesday's practice, but there were scouts at the practice fields. Representatives from three National Football League teams attended the session. The Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons had scouts at the workout...Tommy Tuberville will have a special guest at practice on Thursday. Ernie Warren, who won a fundraiser by the Leukemia Society, will have lunch with the Auburn head coach and be his guest at practice...In addition to Jason Campbell, two defensive players previously caught the bug that sidelined the Auburn quarterback from practice. Linebacker Antarrious Williams and freshman cornerback Tristan Davis are back in action...Auburn University interim president Dr. Ed Richardson watched part of Wednesday's workout. "This is the first time I have been at an Auburn practice," Richardson told Inside the Auburn Tigers.

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