Cox Solid In First Scrimmage

Sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox had a good first spring scrimmage for the Auburn Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.-–With fifth-year senior quarterback Jason Campbell gone to pursue his dream of playing football in the NFL, the job falls to the hands of the best of a four-man race this spring as sophomores Brandon Cox and Dustin Goodwin as well as freshmen Calvin Booker and Blake Field all battle for the position. Saturday was the first dress rehearsal for the quarterbacks and if it's any indication then Cox is going to be tough to keep off the field next fall for the Tigers.

In his first experience as Auburn's number one quarterback Cox was 8-22 for 97 yards with two touchdowns. Those numbers came despite a rough start that saw the offense fail to get a first down in three possessions. Cox said that once he and the team got a few positive plays in the confidence grew and so did the results.

"I'm a lot more comfortable than I was the first day," Cox said. "Each day I get more comfortable and more confident in the offense and the protection. We were slow starting today, but as we went on it got better. You could tell in the attitude of the offense that they were getting some confidence we could move the ball.

"The offensive line starting opening up some holes and our running backs were hitting them. Once we got that running game it helped the passing game. We were able to throw the ball around a little bit. Overall it was a successful scrimmage, but we made a lot of mistakes that we have to learn from."

Cox throws to running back Carl Stewart during Saturday's scrimmage.

Wanting to get a good feel for the execution of the offense and the quarterbacks, Borges kept the checks to a minimum at the line of scrimmage. Cox said that made it tough early, but once they got into a rhythm the offense played well.

"There were a couple that I had to check out of and get into different plays," Cox said. "We started off slow, but once we got into a rhythm everybody settled down and we had a little productivity. There are a lot of mistakes we have to learn from and get better from week to week."

Something that helped the offense have a good day was the running game led by running back Carl Stewart. The big sophomore had 120 yards rushing and one touchdown on just 15 carries. In all the offense rushed for 241 yards on 58 carries, but lost 40 on 12 carries from the quarterbacks. Cox said the compliment each back brings to the table should make for a fun offense to watch and a tough one to defend for future opponents.

"Carl is a big back," Cox said. "He's hard to tackle. You saw him out there today. He ran over a few people. We've got Carl then there's Kenny, who is straight ahead full speed every time. He broke that long run (61 yards). Then you have Tre, who is almost impossible to tackle and goes side to side. We've got three running backs with three different styles. That's big because last year we had just Carnell (Carnell Williams) and Ronnie (Ronnie Brown). This year we've got three that can all do something with the ball. It's going to be exciting watching them."

Auburn now takes off two days before returning to practice on Tuesday. Cox said that having film to watch and work from should allow the offense to correct the mistakes it made on Saturday and get better before the next showcase in one week.

"Everybody comes into the first scrimmage not knowing what to expect," Cox said. "Once we get in the film room and see our mistakes and learn from them, I think throughout practice next week and next Saturday's scrimmage you'll see a big improvement."


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