Rough Around The Edges Offense Okay With Borges

Offensive coordinator Al Borges talks about Saturday's first spring scrimmage.

Auburn, Ala.–-In Auburn's first scrimmage without Jason Campbell, Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown there were some rough spots as expected, but overall the offense was solid for Coach Al Borges as he looks for players to step up at key positions in the offensive backfield.

At quarterback sophomore Brandon Cox was easily the winner of the day, passing for 97 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He hit on just eight of 22 attempts, unusual for him because of his efficiency throwing the ball, but threw the deep ball well and had some zip on his throws. Borges said that he was pleased with Cox on the day despite some early struggles.

"I thought he did a nice job of staying in the pocket and throwing the ball," Borges said. "Still, there were some plays that he usually makes that he didn't make, but he will make. As he gets his rhythm back and works with the same receivers all the time you'll see his completion percentage get better and better. He's a high completion percentage kid when he's fundamentally good and to this point he's been pretty fundamentally good."

Brandon Cox steps up in the pocket to avoid pressure.

While Cox was good, the same can't be said for the rest of the quarterbacks as they combined to complete just seven of 22 passes for 60 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. After throwing an early interception to Kevis Burnam that he returned for a touchdown, Calvin Booker settled in and completed 3-8 passes for 28 yards and one of the touchdowns. Blake Field also threw for 28 yards and a touchdown on 3-10 passing.

Although he didn't get a chance to throw much Dustin Goodwin was very good in his limited time and ran the team well. His performance likely solidified his place in the quarterback race. Borges said there were some plays that should have been made in the passing game, but overall things were good.

"It was a good first day and a good first scrimmage," Borges said. "We're rough around the edges, but what else is new. The routine plays you should make with open receivers, we didn't do that all the time. We have to get better that way. For the most part the aggressiveness and mentality was pretty good. The quality wasn't and isn't going to be first-rate right away."

While the quarterbacks were up and down, the running game picked up where it left off as Carl Stewart, Kenny Irons and Tre Smith all had good days.

The best was Stewart, who rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Several times Stewart used good cutback moves against the grain to pick up big yardage. Borges said that the sophomore is really coming on and along with Irons and Smith gives Auburn a solid backfield.

"Carl is a guy that is an unknown commodity because we used him sparingly," Borges said. "It's not like he never played because we used him some. When Carl is right he's good because he's got a lot of ability. We lost two great backs and that's an understatement of how good those players are, but we're fortunate enough to potentially have some great players coming in behind them and you saw some glimpses of that today.

"Kenny Irons really looked good," Borges added. "We didn't work Tre as much, but what little we did he looked pretty good. We made some nice plays out there when some plays broke down. We've got some talent back there. We're losing two great ones, but gaining a couple of potentially great ones. We'll see how that shakes out."

One problem for the offense was in the center-quarterback exchange as several times the snap was mishandled leading to timing problems and a few fumbles. Most of those occurred with Leon Hart and Jason Bosley at center, two players that have been working at center for Auburn just since Tuesday. Borges said he's not concerned about the problems just yet because of the inexperience of the players working at center with Steven Ross out with an injury.

"It kills your rhythm," Borges said. "We're moving though. We've got Leon Hart at center. That stuff is going to happen. If that is happening with a kid like Steven Ross or happening with a kid like Joe Cope then you're nervous. Steven Ross, when we first put him at center, was much worse than that. That will go away after a while when he gets more repetitions."

On the receiving end of things senior Ben Obomanu led the way with 55 yards and two touchdowns on three catches. Tight end Cooper Wallace also caught three passes for 21 yards while fullback Mike McLaughlin added 23 yards on two receptions. The third receiving touchdown went to Maurice Anderson, who caught a 17-yarder for a score.

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