Cox Throwing Again At Friday Football Practice

Auburn, Ala.--Quarterback coach Al Borges said Friday night that he that he is glad to have his starter back throwing the football, even if it was in a limited situation.

Brandon Cox, who hadn't thrown any significant number of passes since Sunday night's practice, ran the first team offense in their "thud" scrimmage-like situational work for approximately 20 minutes on Friday. The "thud" drills feature full speed contact, but no tackling to the ground with the whistle blowing to stop the play when there is contact with the ball carrier.

The left-handed sophomore was held out of the pass-skel portion of the work to not overdo his return to passing as he tries to recover from a sore shoulder.

Al Borges is preparing to put together his second Auburn offense since arriving at AU prior to spring training in 2004.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville noted there was some give and take in the 11 on 11 work on Friday with the offense having the advantage early and the defense finishing up strong in the third down situational part of practice. Borges agreed.

"It was a pretty good day for our offense except in the last period when we weren't very good in the third down segment," he said. "Overall, it was a decent day and it was really good to get Cox back playing a little bit. He hadn't done much for three or four days."

The first two periods the offense and defense battled in first down situations. The third period was dedicated to blitz situations. The fourth period featured third downs.

"The defense did a nice job of getting some pressure on the passer on the third downs," Borges noted. "Generally, the defense is going to have the advantage on third downs, but the offense has to win at least half of those to have a reasonable chance of moving the ball. You can't be striking out a lot on those."

Commenting on Cox, Borges said, "For not playing in a while, he didn't do too bad. He was a little rusty, but he wasn't too bad. When he had decent pass protection, he threw the ball pretty well. The only one when he didn't was the last period."

Borges said as Cox's arm feels better his amount of throwing at practice will increase. "We are being kind of careful," the offensive coordinator says. "We are probably being more careful than we have to be, but we had rather be safe than sorry."

Redshirt freshmen Blake Field and Calvin Booker had been sharing the number one duties this week. Tuberville said Field has taken a slight lead in the battle to be number two.

Borges said on Friday night he isn't ready yet to pick the number two quarterback. "We will probably decide on somebody here in about a week or so. We want to give both kids totally a chance. We don't want to make a snap decision. We don't want to make a premature decision before both kids have had an opportunity to show what they can do over several weeks. I think that is going to come to a head here reasonably soon."

Borges added that the long preseason practice makes it less urgent to rush Cox back into the passing drills. The Tigers are still two weeks away from the opener vs. Georgia Tech. The coach said he thinks Cox probably threw about a dozen passes in the 11 on 11 work. Borges said that he talked to the left-hander after practice about how the shoulder felt and the QB said "he felt fine."

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