Auburn Upbeat Heading Into SEC Opener

Quarterback Brandon Cox talks about what went wrong against Georgia Tech and what they're doing to prepare for Mississippi State.

Auburn, Ala.-–Auburn sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox has watched Saturday's game against Georgia Tech just one time, but that was enough to show the first-time starter that although he did some things well, his mistakes were one of the reasons why Auburn wound up on the losing end of a 23-14 score.

"There were a lot of good things I did, but the mistakes I had cost us big time," Cox said. "Coach (Al) Borges tells me that I'm going to make mistakes, but the mistakes I make can't cost us the game which they did Saturday."

Despite throwing for 342 yards, a record for a first-time starter at quarterback for the Tigers, Cox turned the ball over five times in the face of nearly constant pressure from Georgia Tech's blitzing defense. Without a running game to speak of Cox turned to Auburn's veteran wide receivers and they responded with several big plays on the night. The Trussville native said that having them in the offense has been a big part of his progression as a quarterback this fall.

Cox said the Tigers are working on eliminating mistakes this week in practice.

"They played a great game Saturday night, all of them did," Cox said of the receiving corps. "They were open all night and the times I got them the ball they made big plays. That's encouraging, because once we get the running game going the passing game is going to be even more open. If you get them the ball they're going to make big plays.

"That's what won us games last year was having a running game as well as a passing game," Cox added. "That's going to be a big thing this week for us is getting our running game and focusing on that, which will open up our passing game."

This Saturday there will likely be a different looking offense on the field for the Tigers as they face a more traditional defense in Mississippi State. While they have shown they will blitz from time to time, the Bulldogs prefer to play heads-up the majority of the time. That will make Auburn's running game even more important if they hope to have success against coach Sylvester Croom's team.

"We've watched a little film on them from last year and from the game they played against Murray State," Cox said. "It's a different style of defense than Georgia Tech. They're not as pressure oriented, but they're a good defense. They've got a lot of big guys. They're more of a base defense. They'll pressure every now and then, but we're probably going to have a different gameplan. We might expect a little more pressure, but right now we're expecting what they've shown on film."

Unlike two seasons ago when the Tigers stumbled out of the gates in losses to USC and Georgia Tech, Saturday night's loss has left a much different taste in the mouths of the Auburn players. After having several chances to get back into the game or take the lead only to come up short, Cox said that the team is staying positive and ready to get back on the winning track this weekend after a hard week of work in practice.

"The older guys especially, but everybody has been upbeat," Cox said. "After the game Travis (senior linebacker Travis Williams) was standing in the doorway as everybody came in getting everybody's head up and telling everybody that we're going to be all right. That's good to see, especially from our defense, since we struggled offensively. Everybody has been upbeat saying that we did good things and if we correct our mistakes we'll be a good football team."

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