Offense Coming Together For Borges

Offensive coordinator Al Borges talks offense and how the development of several young players has helped the unit.

Auburn, Ala.-–After watching the video of the win over Kentucky, offensive coordinator Al Borges says it was hard not to be pleased with what he saw. Scoring 49 points and racking up 589 yards of total offense, the Tigers blasted the Wildcats from start to finish with a unit that continues to improve in all phases of the game.

"When you run the ball like that you're usually going to win," Borges says. "When you convert third downs like that you're usually going to win. I think a lot of that is a tribute to our offensive line and Brandon Cox.

"Week in and week out he continues to improve and play at a level I think is a little unnoticed by a lot of people around the conference and the country. The kid is really playing as well as probably any quarterback in this conference right now. The biggest reason we won the game was our offensive line's ability to knock them off the ball."

Despite starting Jonathan Palmer and Leon Hart in place of full-time starters Timmy Duckworth and Troy Reddick, Auburn's offensive line didn't miss a beat Saturday. Dominating at the point of attack, Borges said the group was as good as he's seen this season in the running game.

"You had three kids basically gross over 100 yards," Borges says. "The offensive line was moving some folks around. It was a lot of zone plays. It's body on body. We got some great surge. It reminded me a lot of Arkansas. They tried to slant and do some things, but it was futile because our kids were coming off the ball so well and so disciplined. It was hard because if they stood still they were going to get hit and if they moved they were going to get hit."

Borges says Brandon Cox is playing as good as anyone at the moment.

The line paved the way for Kenny Irons to get his sixth 100-yard game of the season while Tre Smith and Tristan Davis also had big days. Smith rushed for 99 yards while Davis gained 162 on just eight attempts. He scored from 75 yards out in the third quarter, which showed the burst that has Borges excited about the possibilities with him down the road should he remain at running back.

"He's got something that a lot of kids don't have, he's got a home run dimension," Borges says. "I think the more time he gets at the position the better he's going to get at all phases of the position. He has a tremendous burst of speed, something that not many backs have. If he gets a step on you he's just so fast. He actually demonstrated in this game the ability to break some tackles too. When you put those two together you could have a very special running back."

Another player that has come out of the woodwork for the Auburn offense is wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez. After catching just six passes in the first seven games this season, the sophomore has six in the last two games for 134 yards and one touchdown. He also added two carries for 17 yards and a touchdown against Kentucky. Borges says that he gets better every day and is becoming more of a consistent threat for the Tigers.

"Greg Knox has done such a great job with him," Borges says. "At the beginning of the year he was shaky assignment-wise. He didn't play spring football and that's certainly understandable. You're trying to put different things in week to week and that could confuse anybody. As he's gone through the season he knows our system better and he's caught up mentally with how to play the position. Hence he's not playing analytically anymore he's playing more reactionary. That's helped his game."

Borges will need all the weapons he can muster this weekend when the Tigers face a Georgia defense that is third in the league in scoring and fifth in total defense. While new stars have emerged from the Bulldog reserves to replace names such as David Pollack and Thomas Davis, Borges says that they still look like the same tough defense to him.

"It's the same old Georgia," Borges says. "They are very, very sound defensive team. They always have been and they probably always will be. They don't make very many mistakes. They're not quite as high risk as some of the teams we've played in terms of pressure packages although they've got a little more than they've had in the past. A year ago a blitz came few and far between. Now they've got a few more pressures, but they make their living by playing good, sound defensive football."

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