Borges Pleased With Production Through Air

Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges talks about Saturday's scrimmage and what the Tigers need to improve on in the coming weeks before the season opener.

Auburn, Ala.-–For all the talk about the defense carrying the offense early in the 2005 season, it has been the offense that has been the strength of the team the last week for the Auburn Tigers and that continued in Saturday's scrimmage on the intramural fields.

Using a variety of lineups and formations, the offense had another solid showing and Coach Al Borges said he was pleased with what he saw, particularly out of starting quarterback Brandon Cox.

Showing a command of the offense and a pocket presence that allows him to find second, third and even fourth receivers, Cox was a very impressive 13-19 for 188 yards on the day with three touchdowns. His only interception came on a ball off the hands of Prechae Rodriguez that could have been caught that Will Herring picked off.

"He's just getting more comfortable because he's run the plays more," Borges said of Cox. "He's getting more reps than he's ever gotten. He's re-repping plays time and time again, hence he gets a better understanding of when everything is different and they play a different coverage. It's a different throw to a different guy. He's just getting to where he's seeing those scenarios and feeling more comfortable."

Al Borges talks to the team at halftime of Saturday's scrimmage.

Cox said that he felt that overall the offense was better on Saturday than in the first scrimmage earlier in the week. Because of that he said that the confidence level of the offense is growing every day it has success against the defense.

"We had an improvement since Wednesday," Cox said. "We got out to a quick start and Coach Borges is always preaching that. We turned around and went three and out right after that so we have to keep it going. We still missed some things and I missed some checks so we definitely have to improve.

"The passing game has really opened up the defense," he added. "That's the best defense we're going to see. To be able to come out and have a big day against them really boosts all of our confidence and hopefully everybody's confidence so we can get the job done."

Confidence is the name of the game for senior receiver Devin Aromashodu at the moment following another strong scrimmage in which he caught three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. With junior Courtney Taylor sidelined with a pulled groin much of preseason camp, the Hieleah, Fla., native has come on strong and looks like he could become one of the top players in the Southeastern Conference this season at the position. Borges said his progress has been astounding since last fall.

"He's had a helluva fall," Borges said. "He's playing better now than he has since I've been here. He's made play after play after play."

If there's a problem area for the offense so far this fall it has been with the running game. Throwing the ball at nearly will, the unit has struggled to maintain consistency on the ground and that was evident on Saturday. Running the ball 33 times, backs gained just 58 yards against a stingy defensive run group. Borges said that must improve before the first game if the Tigers hope to be successful.

"I can't tell until I watch a tape and we've got nobody up stairs to tell you," Borges answered when asked what is wrong with the running game. "It's never usually one thing, it's usually a combination of both (blocking and running). We'll look at it and fix it. We're going to run the football. We're going to make sure we run the football. We're going to be better than that."

If that is to happen then players like Kenny Irons must continue to run the ball strongly between the tackles. On Saturday Irons did a good job of that in short yardage situations, picking up a first down once and then scoring his only touchdown of the day from five yards out the second time. Irons said overall he was pleased with the play of the offense during the scrimmage.

"I think it went pretty well," Irons said. "We started off pretty fast. We scored on the first drive and the running was great. The blocking was awesome from the offensive line. They continue to do a great job. Brandon continues to step up each and every day in practice and it shows in the scrimmages. He's starting to direct this offense.

"The one thing Coach wants us to do is pick up our tempo," Irons added. "If we pick up our tempo up Coach has stressed we're going to be as talented as we were last year and that's showing in the scrimmages so far."

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