For quarterback Brandon Cox the day was a solid one with 245 yards and one touchdown on 19-29 passing. The performance was another step up for both quarterback and offense as Auburn continues to get better each week out. Cox said that the offense isn't the same one that the nation saw in game one against Georgia Tech.
"We've taken some big strides since that first game," Cox said. "People have been questioning us the last three games about the teams we've played. This was a good team and we came out offensively and moved the ball. We were playing on a short field a lot and we made some big plays. It was definitely a big improvement."
Cox looks for an open receiver during Saturday night's game.
Improvement is something that offensive coordinator Al Borges has seen out of Cox since that first week struggle. Saturday night the sophomore quarterback was good at time, but at other times missed throws that he normally makes. Borges said that overall he feels good about the way Cox played in the big victory.
"He did a good job," Borges said. "He had a good game. We've become a little bit spoiled because he is such an accurate passer. If he ever makes an errant throw, we go, 'What the heck? There must be something wrong.' But who knows, maybe not playing a week hurt him a little bit but it wasn't like it was a major problem. He missed a couple of balls. He wasn't throwing the ball all over the lot--he hit 19 of 29 which is a pretty good percentage."
There is little doubt that the Tigers would have liked to run the ball better than they did Saturday night with just 123 yards on the ground. Leading the charge was redshirt freshman Brad Lester, who had 53 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns. Kenny Irons also rushed for two touchdowns and 27 yards on 11 carries. He made up for that with 40 yards receiving on the night. Borges said that the offense did some good things, but still has a long way to go beginning with the play of the quarterback.
"Just some fundamental things and overall management of the offense," Borges said of things Cox needs to improve on. "There are still some things that I think he can get better like run checks and things of that nature. I don't know until I see the tape exactly what we could have done. I think we missed a site adjustment on a blitz one time. There are some things. His game is pretty solid for the most part. There are still a couple of things he can get better at."
The Tigers now have the luxury of a week off before traveling for the first time when they head to Arkansas to face the Razorbacks. While it might not seem like the best time to rest coming off a big victory against a SEC opponent, Cox said that the team could use some time to recover before taking its act on the road.
I think it's a good time," Cox said. "We've played five straight games at home. We get a break and a chance to get better in practice and then go on the road. I think it's a good break for us."
For Borges he's anxious to see how the team responds on the road, but noted that there's really no way to prepare for it until you go through it. "Until you see them work as a team on the road and have the feel for how to deal with a hostile environment and noise problems you don't really know," Borges said. "You try to practice it as much as you can, but you can't simulate certain things. You just can't do it."