Not Ready For Prime-Time Offensive Performance

The Auburn offense had its moments, but players and coaches admit there is plenty of work to be done.

Auburn, Ala.--A hot and cold performance left the Tigers feeling lukewarm about how effective their new West Coast offensive system did in an opening day 31-0 football victory over Louisiana-Monroe.

Junior tackle Marcus McNeill said he would give the Tigers a six on a one-to-ten scale.

Star tailback Carnell Williams said the Tigers got off to a "slow start" to open the season, but then amended that to say the offense was "pretty good."

Senior quarterback Jason Campbell was a little more generous, calling it a B+ effort, however, he graded on scale taking into consideration "we were running a new offense."

Campbell, who is playing for a fourth different offensive coordinator in the past four years, completed 11-18 passes for 110 yards with two going for scores. He was intercepted one time. His backup, redshirt freshman Brandon Cox, completed 3-6 passes for 76 yards. Cox ran for one of Auburn's scores.

"We are trying to get comfortable with the new offense," Campbell said. "We knew it would take a little time for us to get rolling, but I think we can make a big improvement from game one to game two."

Junior Devin Aromashodu caught two catches for 53 yards.

The Tigers netted 380 yards to 239 for the visitors, a team that the Tigers scored 73 points against last season.

"They had a lot of movement in their defensive package," Borges said. "They did a nice job in some situations. One thing Hugh (offensive line coach Hugh Nall) was saying, he would like to see us get off the ball better. I think some of their movement helped that. It wasn't a complete surprise. What we saw was pretty much what we practiced for."

McNeil said the defensive movement caused some problems for the offensive line at times. "They threw a few new things at us that we weren't expecting, but our defense did a good job of holding them," the big lineman said. "Overall, we have to be proud of the win and now we need to improve this week and get ready for Mississippi State."

Looking at the overall picture on offense, Borges said, "I think it was a good start, but I think the most improvement will come from game one to game two. We had some things happen that were typical first game things. You would always like to go out and score 70 points, but you are not going to score 70 points every week. We did some good stuff and some bad stuff."

Borges, who coached at Indiana last year, said the Tigers fell short of their goal of passing for more than 200 yards. They finished with 186 as the two QBs combined to hit 14-24 passes. Borges predicted the offense will average around 28-32 passes per game.

The Tigers rushed for less than 200 yards, too. "We ended up with 194, which at the end of the day that is a pretty good rushing day, but we were like a block away here or there from springing Carnell," Borges said. "You could see he squirted through there a couple times, but we couldn't quite get him going. I think Hugh will refine some of that stuff and we will be fine."

Borges, who is also the coach of the quarterbacks, said, "I think both of them had some good plays and some bad plays. I think Jason did a really nice job on the four-vertical play on third when he hit Devin (touchdown pass to Devin Aromashodu). It was a great read and a great throw. We turned somebody loose on the backside on the naked bootleg one time and he got blindsided (for a lost fumble). The interception he was hit on so there was only so much he could do.

"For the most part, it was pretty solid," the offensive coordinator added. "It could have been better, but for the first game it was pretty solid."


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