Tigers Get Back To Work Getting Over Loss

Offensive coordinator Al Borges talks about the offensive performance against LSU and how the team responded on Sunday.

Auburn, Ala.-–Following a mentally and physically draining late night in Baton Rouge where the Tigers lost 20-17 in overtime to LSU, Auburn got back on the practice field Sunday afternoon for a short workout. Offensive coordinator Al Borges says that it was important not to overdo it as the team begins to get ready for Ole Miss coming to town next week.

"We just backed off a little bit," Borges says. "It was such a physical football game. We went through mostly all individual stuff today. We wanted to work on some fundamental stuff. We didn't want to pound them or do any of that. We played less than 24 hours ago.

"Our kids are still confident," he adds. "Had we taken a big licking that could really bruise your ego, but when you play good defense which we did, a really productive offense except for points. I guess that's the most productive thing, but it's not like we were stopped. We moved the ball and stopped people. The kids are resilient. I'm not saying that it felt like we won the game, because it certainly didn't, but I think we're going to recover just fine for this."

Brandon Cox handled things well in his first start at LSU.

It was a very physical game and as a result there were several players that didn't participate in Sunday's practice. Tailback Kenny Irons has a bruised thigh and received treatment during practice. He should return on Tuesday. The same is true of linebackers Kevin Sears, Karibi Dede and Antarrious Williams . Despite finishing the game Saturday night and playing well, all sat out on Sunday but will return for Tuesday's practice.

Following the game Saturday night Borges said that he was disappointed in the lack of finish by the offense. Despite gaining 451 yards, including 230 on the ground, Auburn was able to put up just 17 points and that's something Borges says can't happen again.

"The key is you have to score touchdowns and kick extra points," Borges says. "You don't rely on field goals. I heard Steve Young once say that every time you kick a field goal you come closer to losing. I don't necessarily agree with that, but we've got to finish drives so that we're not putting ourselves in situations.

"I preached this story early in the year. We didn't finish enough drives. We moved the ball really well and we ran the ball really well, particularly in the second half of the game...I liked our strategy and liked our approach. Unfortunately we just came up short."

In just his second career start and playing in perhaps the most hostile environment in the SEC, sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox played a solid game for the Tigers. Through the air he was 16-40 for 221 yards and one touchdown without a turnover. On a night when Auburn took some chances down the field and didn't do as much of the short passing game, Borges says Cox handled himself quite nicely in the face of constant pressure from LSU.

"He never waivered," Borges says. "He was always confident. He always looked good to me. He never looked like he was stressed or rattled by the situation. As long as you can maintain that demeanor, which he does an excellent job of, it always gives you a chance to make some crucial plays and he made some crucial plays. It was just a shame they didn't result in winning the game. He was solid as a rock and I think it's going to help us later on down the line."

A concern from the passing game Saturday night was the amount of drops by Auburn receivers, particularly in key situations. Several times Cox made a good throw only to see his receiver not come up with the grab. Borges says that's something they weren't happy about when watching the video of the game Sunday morning.

"We had seven in the game which is way too many," Borges says. "That hurt us. It wasn't the reason we lost the game, but it didn't help us. We're always preaching that you've got to make the routine play consistently. Some of the drops were tough and some should have been caught without question.

"We say with our drops that if you put your hands on it you should catch it, but so does the defender at times. In terms of clean catches there were probably four or five that were clean. We counted seven as balls that should have been caught."

Borges says the Tigers will continue to work on improving the offensive execution this week in practice. He has also been giving more time to the red zone offense, allotting an extra five minutes each week to working on that during practice. Despite the concerns the coordinator says that he feels like his team answered some questions in the loss Saturday night.

"I really believe at this point that our team has proven one thing," Borges says. "We're a good football team. We could have won that game just as easily as we lost it. I believe that our kids believe we can beat the rest of the teams on our schedule if we play like we can."


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