Borges Sees Areas to Improve, Areas He Likes

Auburn's offensive coordinator comments on how the offense is developing as the Tigers head into their second week of spring football practice.

Auburn, Ala.--Offensive coordinator Al Borges says that he saw encouraging signs in Auburn's first scrimmage of the spring along with areas that need work.

"We are still a little rough around the edges, but for the most part it wasn't really too bad," Borges tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I would have liked to have thrown the football better. I thought we ran the ball pretty good once we got in sync a little bit. We were sleep-walking the first couple of series.

"I think our passing game has got to improve, just some of the routine pitch and catch plays when guys are open," Borges adds. "We overthrew the fullback once. We missed a couple of slants. I think as we get more in a groove and work more with the same guys that will come."

The defense dominated the early part of the scrimmage on Saturday at the football complex, but the offense made strides later in the session that ran for more than two hours on the fifth of 15 spring practice days.

"The kids were spirited," Borges says. "There weren't a million assignment errors, but there were some--probably what you would expect in the first scrimmage.

"I thought up front we had some pretty good performances. Tim Duckworth, particularly for his first real situation in which he played significantly with the first group, I thought he did a very nice job. I also think Cooper Wallace played well."

Duckworth is a junior guard and Wallace is a senior tight end, who is a returning starter.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox steps up in the pocket in Saturday's scrimmage. With Jason Campbell graduated, finding a starter and backup at quarterback is a high priority this spring. Last year's number two, Brandon Cox, is not currently being challenged for the number one spot. Redshirt freshmen Calvin Booker and Blake Field are both in the mix for the first time and last year's third stringer, Dusty Goodwin, is also competing.

"The quarterbacks are a work in progress, still learning as they go," Borges says. "We are suffering a little because we are going through some growing pains with the center/quarterback exchange with the second group. We really didn't have any problems with the one group, but that is spring football. That is when you develop players, that is when you mess stuff up so you don't have to worry about it in the fall."

Carl Stewart is on the run in Saturday's scrimmage.

One of the highlights of the offense was good running by tailbacks Carl Stewart, Kenny Irons and Tre Smith. "I won't say they were a pleasant surprise because I wasn't surprised by any of them," Borges says. "I knew these kids are talented.

"Replacing players (Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown) like we had at that position is going to be very difficult, but the good news is that the kids replacing them are very talented.

"Kenny Irons holds true to for," Borges says. "Every time he touches the ball more than eight or 10 times he has a long run. Tre Smith, who probably had less room to run than any of the backs, did a great job getting some tough yards. Carl Stewart had probably his best performance in a scrimmage or a game. He is stronger, he is more aware."

Borges hopes to get redshirt freshman tailback Brad Lester into the mix, too. He has been recovering from a hamstring injury. "We need him," Borges says.

The Tigers will hit the practice field again on Tuesday and their second scrimmage is on Saturday.

"We have to start better," Borges says. "Our first scrimmage last year in the spring was like that. It took us about an hour to get a first down. Once we got into a groove in later scrimmages, and understood the importance of playing well from the beginning, we did a better job, but overall I was pretty happy with how we played. I wasn't satisfied, but I never am."

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