Before turning his complete attention to the Vols, offensive coordinator Al Borges had some good things to say about the production of his offense against I-AA The Citadel. Rolling up almost 600 yards of total offense, with 359 yards coming through the air in a combined effort from Jason Campbell and Brandon Cox, the offense did some good things. Borges said that he continues to be pleased with the things that Campbell brings to the Auburn offense on game days.
"Jason was very consistent and again he graded high," Borges said. "He grades as high as any quarterback that I can remember. I'm not an easy grader, but he's very consistent and made very few mistakes the time he was in there. Brandon took some shots. He had a shot in the ribs in the third quarter that kind of affected a couple of passes. I think when he got loosened up a little bit he settled down and started throwing the ball better.
"All told, it was good work. We would have liked to score more points, but when you win by 30 and play all your guys there's not a lot to complain about."
The running game was also solid with Carnell Williams rushing for 95 yards and redshirt freshman Carl Stewart adding a career-high 91 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries. Playing in the place of both Ronnie Brown and Tre Smith, who were held out of the game with minor injuries, Borges said that Stewart showed him what he saw out of the talented back this spring.
"It's great to see Carl get a chance to show," Borges said. "I have been telling you, the kid is capable, very capable. I think with more development, another year with Yox (Kevin Yoxall) and doing what he's been doing, the kid has a lot of talent. He's versatile. He can play some fullback. He can catch the football. He can run the football. He can do a lot of things. He's a little bit like Ronnie."
Averaging just 4.3 yards per carry for the game and fumbling twice, Williams didn't have one of his finest hours in an Auburn uniform Saturday against the Bulldogs. Once again facing teams that are stacked to take away Williams' impact on the game, Borges said they aren't going to abandon running number 24, but he understands why teams are so concerned about the speedy senior.
"Wouldn't you," Borges asked. "They are going to watch Carnell closely and make it as hard on us as they can. Carnell, other than having a couple of fumbles, ran the ball hard. He had 95 yards and could have had a ton of yards if we chose to keep him in the game. He played his heart out. We're going to do our best to prove just how good of a back he is in these next seven games."
With both Brown and Smith expected back in the lineup this weekend at Tennessee, Auburn should be very close to full strength when the Tigers take on the Vols. That will be needed as a physical and quick defense awaits the Tigers, a defense that looks eerily similar to one that Borges saw on his previous trip to Neyland Stadium in 1996, a 35-20 Tennessee win.
"It's a typical Tennessee team, they are really athletic," Borges said. "They have great speed. I remember playing them when we were at UCLA and it's similar body types. They have good looking pass rushers and good looking cover corners. They are going to give us all we want. It's going to be interesting."
This season many of Auburn's best offensive plays have come after Campbell checked into a different play at the line of scrimmage. With 107,000 people in the stands cheering this weekend that's going to be almost impossible to do for Auburn, but Borges said that it shouldn't affect the offensive performance very much if the team takes care of the business at hand.
"We have a few deals that I have played with in the past," Borges said to help get his team prepared for the noise. "There are a couple of drills that we do where we have to echo calls. You have to be careful about getting too much into audibles or checking at the line because half of the team gets it half of the team doesn't and then you can't execute. It's one of those games where I don't think you can depend on a lot of play at the line of scrimmage.
"I don't think that hurts us too much. You would like to be in a situation where you could do a lot of audibiling, we've done it the first four games, but we have audibled as much as you probably would think. This last game we did very, very little. Audibiling is something that is great equipment for your offense, it's just not something you can depend on every week because you're playing games like this. You have to be able to line up and play. Whatever they've got you have to be ready to block it."
On the injury front the Tigers appear ready for Saturday's big game as quarterback Jason Campbell's sprained big toe should be much better with another week of rehab. Defensively, Doug Langenfeld suffered a deep thigh bruise, but said he would be ready for Saturday's contest. Langenfeld started at weakside defensive end against The Citadel and if ready could earn the start against the Vols.
Kickoff for Saturday's contest is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. CDT and can be seen live on ESPN. This will be the 12th consecutive meeting between the two schools that featured as least one ranked team.