Field Of Dreams For Freshman Quarterback

Redshirt freshman Blake Field talks about his surprise start against Western Kentucky and rates his performance.

Auburn, Ala.–-It was hard to tell who was more nervous. For Blake Field it was his first start at quarterback for the Auburn Tigers, but for offensive coordinator Al Borges it was time to see just how far his redshirt freshman had come since two-a-days. With starter Brandon Cox out with a virus just moments before the game, Borges and coach Tommy Tuberville gave Field the news that he was going to be the starter on homecoming against Western Kentucky. That was just fine with the son of a football coach who said he's waited a lifetime for that moment.

"I was very excited," Field said. "Coach Tuberville turned to me and said, 'We're going to run it a bit.' I said, 'That's fine with me.' It the nervousness away from me a little bit. I was excited about it. I was happy.

"Coach (Borges) has prepared me for situations like this," he added. "He's told me, 'If something happens you're a snap away.' That's what I have to be ready for. I appreciate him preparing me for that."

Field talks with offensive coordinator Al Borges during Saturday's game.

With the offense cut down to a manageable amount after learning of the illness to Cox, the Tigers went out and established the ground game early behind Kenny Irons. That enabled Field to get acquainted with the speed of play on the field. He said that it didn't take him long to setting into things and feel comfortable on the field.

"After the first play they were gone," Field answered when asked about having butterflies. "I turned to a couple of players and said, 'I've got to get rid of this first play and I'll be fine.' That's all it takes because you realize everything is fine. That's all I had to do is get over that first play and I was going to be all right."

From the first play forward Field was very solid. Completing 13-22 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns, Field more than held his own in his first collegiate start. Although the numbers turned out fine on the stat sheet, Field said that he doesn't think he played very well overall and he's just ready to work on his mistakes.

"I'm a big perfectionist," Field said. "I always believe that I'm never perfect. I say a five on a scale of 1-10. It may be wrong come Sunday when we get in the meetings, but I still have a lot to improve and I know that. Coach knows that and that's why I'm still working."

Something that helped Field in Saturday's game was practice time. Not only the practice time a back-up quarterback gets in normal situations, but having the opportunity to work with the first team offense several days in practice during two-a-days. While Brandon Cox rested his arm after throwing too many passes, Field had the opportunity to work with Joe Cope and the first-team offense for several days. He said that experience made it much easier when called upon against the Hilltoppers.

"I got a chance to work with them, with the ones, during two-a-days so they knew what I was like," Field said. "They were there with me and they believe in me. It's kind of bad if you don't believe in your number two quarterback. I got a chance to work with them this summer and that helped them. They knew what I could do and what they had to do. Joe Cope came to me and he said, 'If you need any help just come to me. Just talk to me and we'll help you out and take care of you.' I trust them and I believe in them. I appreciate all of my linemen for that."

Now that the experience is done, the Tigers may look back at Saturday's game and find out it was huge for the program. With Cox the only quarterback on the roster with any significant experience, playing essentially the entire football game has Field a more confident player if he's needed down the road. It all started against Western Kentucky, a moment Field said he will never forget.

"It was very valuable because I've always looked forward to this," Field said. "Ever since I was a little kid I looked forward to my first start in college football. First it was the first start in high school, now that I graduated high school I'm going to start in college. I was a little nervous but very excited about it."

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