Borges Pleased With Field's First Start

Offensive coordinator Al Borges talks about the performance of Blake Field in his first career start.

Auburn, Ala.-–The timing could have been better, but the results were as good as Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges could have hoped for. Finding out just before the game that he was going to be the starter, Blake Field threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a 37-14 victory on homecoming.

With starter Brandon Cox out because of a sudden stomach virus that brought on a fever of 103 degrees, Borges had a lot of work to do in a short time before Saturday's game getting the playbook down to a manageable size for the redshirt freshman.

"We cut way back," Borges said. "It was probably 40 to 50 percent. What we did is we took the gameplan and I went through the gameplan. Every week I do this assuming Brandon could get injured. I look at what I feel are the best play calls for Blake. This time it kind of caught me by surprise because I had no prep time. I went through and marked every single play on the call sheet that I felt he felt good about. There was still a lot of offense on there. It wasn't like we had to eliminate it all. The big thing is we didn't want him to have to get up there and check protections and do a lot of high maintenance things at the line of scrimmage."

Field looks for running room in Saturday's game.

With Field in the game the Tigers turned to a physical running game to take the pressure off his shoulders. Junior Kenny Irons led the attack for Auburn with 111 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown while redshirt freshman Brad Lester added 64 yards on 10 carries. For the day the Tigers rushed for 209 yards on 42 carries, good for a five-yard average.

"Early on our plan was to try to take as much pressure off him as we possibly could by emphasizing the running game," Borges said. "We felt like we could run the ball pretty well, so we did that. Once he got his feet on the ground, got settled a little bit, we started opening it up and letting him throw it."

Spreading the ball around with 10 different players catching passes, Field did a good job when called upon to air it out. The biggest threats of the day were back-up receivers Prechae Rodriguez and Lee Guess, who both caught two passes. One of the catches by Guess was for a touchdown, the first of his career. Borges said overall he thought it was a solid outing by Field.

"I thought he did a wonderful job when you consider that he found out he was playing about an hour before the game started," Borges said. "It may have been less than an hour. I went and told him when we were stretching in the tunnel because that's when we found out. When you consider that he really did a nice job. He threw three touchdown passes. He managed the game pretty well. We tried to keep it as low maintenance for him as we could. He kept us out of trouble for the most part and didn't have a turnover until late. I was pretty pleased with him."

While Cox is expected to be fine and actually returned to the sidelines for the second half of Saturday's game, Auburn now has some confidence in the back-up quarterback after the performance of Field. Borges said that while it wasn't the best of situations, there is a lot of positive to come out of the win over Western Kentucky.

"I think it's a blessing in disguise," Borges said. "We didn't choose to play Blake as the starting quarterback. We did it because Brandon got hurt (sick). The residual effects of that are such that those snaps are just invaluable. He played a whole game against a formidable opponent. A lot of people are going to say they're not, but they're the number one I-AA team in the country. I coached I-AA football and I can tell you it's pretty good quality. Especially for a kid in his first start, that's a great place to start for him."


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