Offense Aiming For Quick Start at Arkansas

Al Borges talks about Auburn's offense heading into the road opener at Arkansas.

Auburn, Ala.-–A quick strike offense is what the Auburn Tigers have been under coordinator Al Borges since he came on the job before last season. In two years Auburn has outscored its opponents 311-53 in the first half of games. That's including a tally of 118-17 this season.

A fast start is important in any game, but particularly so on the road where crowd noise can grow and grow when the home team does well. A strong start is something the Tigers hope for again this weekend when they travel for the first time this season to play at Arkansas, but Borges says if it doesn't happen they'll still be okay as long as they don't panic.

"I think it's important, it's just not critical," Borges says. "It's important in that it's just establishing the tempo of the game in your favor, but the thing about not getting off to a fast start is that if you don't you can't say, ‘Oh, we can't do anything.'

"We like to emphasize it, but we don't overemphasize it to where it's a disaster if it doesn't happen, particularly on the road, because you lose confidence and it gets the crowd in the game."

Brad Lester enters Saturday's game with six touchdowns in his last 35 touches and has a team-high seven touchdowns this season.

This week is yet another chance for Auburn's running game to take the pressure off sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox. In the season opener the Tigers failed to have success running the ball, but since then the tandem of Kenny Irons and Brad Lester has added a spark to the running game with big plays and speed at the position. While it's not Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, Borges says in some ways it's similar to last season for the Auburn offense.

"It's going to be 1A and 1B I think," Borges says of the rotation at running back with Lester expected to start. "They're both doing a nice job. It's not really like last year because Ronnie Brown had his own separate part of the game plan where we really aren't doing that with either one of those. Maybe there will be a time or a day when we want to do that with one of them. The struggle with Ronnie was getting him tailback and fullback reps. We're not really struggling with that near as much."

The Tigers enter Saturday night's game fresh after an off-week that the team used to get ready for the Razorbacks. While most of the time it's a good thing to take time off, it doesn't always work that way. Three years ago Auburn came into the Arkansas game following an overtime win over Syracuse and a week off.

The Tigers proceeded to play one of the worst games of the Tuberville era in a 38-17 loss at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Borges says it's important not to try to do too much during the off week because keeping it simple is sometimes the best policy when dealing with college football players.

"I think we're doing a great job of not falling into that trap," Borges says. "We've done about what we want to do. The only thing we've got left is to look at the third down package. We already have some good pretty good ideas what we want to do there. Then our red zone package and we're pretty much done."


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