Rollercoaster Ride For Cox In First Start

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the play of quarterback Brandon Cox in his first career start.

Auburn, Ala.--Brandon Cox's first game as a starting collegiate quarterback was a night filled with ups and downs as he threw for 342 yards, but also added four interceptions and a fumble in the season-opening 23-14 loss to Georgia Tech.

The day after the Yellow Jackets ended Auburn's 15-game winning streak, head coach Tommy Tuberville said that the Tigers will need improved play from the position to win games in the rugged Southeastern Conference.

"You can't win turning the ball over like that," Tuberville notes. "For Brandon's ability I thought he played very average. He's got a chance to be a real good player. He did a lot of good things. There are a lot of things that go on that the quarterback has to do and most of the time he got us in a good play and threw to the right guy."

Cox looks for a receiver during Saturday night's game.

To go along with Cox's four interceptions and a lost fumble on consecutive possessions, the sophomore made other mistakes during the course of the game that cost the Tigers dearly.

"We have third and a foot, he changes the play at the line of scrimmage and turns the wrong way," Tuberville says. "He forgot he had changed the play. It's little things like that--his mind's going 100 miles an hour--and it's just not natural to him yet. We can't win SEC games playing quarterback like that and throwing interceptions."

While Cox did make many critical mistakes, he wasn't playing in an ideal situation for a first-time starter. The Georgia Tech defense brought blitz after blitz, and the Yellow Jacket offense was also able to jump out to a 10-0 lead and put the pressure on the young QB to make plays.

"It wasn't a very good game in regards to him having to bring us back," Tuberville says. "That's not the scenario you'd like to come in as your first game as a starter in college football. He kept his poise, he made some big throws, but he's got a lot of room for improvement. He's got a very strong base to build on. Brandon's the type where he'll come in tomorrow and work twice as hard as he's been working. He understands what he's got to do."

While it may be tough for the Auburn coaching staff to make good light of five turnovers by one player, Cox did make his fair share of impressive throws while guiding the offense to nearly 400 yards against the tough Tech defense. Cox set an Auburn record for passing yards by a first-time starter with 342 while completing 22 passes to seven different receivers and adding two scores.

"He was physically beat up pretty good," Tuberville says. "They got to him and tried to rattle him. Mentally, I thought he stayed in the ball game pretty good. He just made some errant throws and that's one of those things he'll have to work through himself.

"You can talk about it and we hear Coach Borges and the other offensive coaches saying, ‘Take what they give you,'" he adds. "A couple of times he just rushed and didn't make the correct decision. If you look at everything he did last night, and as many times as he threw the football, he was pretty impressive probably about 70 percent of the time."

The Tigers return to action at home Saturday at 11:30 a.m. against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who beat Murray State 38-6 on Saturday.

"He (Cox) turned into a leader Saturday night," Tuberville says. "I saw him talking to our players on the field and he got a little bit agitated. I wanted to see him get a little fire to him. He got hit late a couple of times and it's good to see him bow up and take control of the situation.

"I'm not proud of the situation of turning the ball over, but if you take away a few plays Brandon showed a lot of promise. He's got to do it every week. We'll go back this week and work harder."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories