Cope Becoming More Comfortable

Auburn center Joe Cope talks about his growth at center and the improvement in the Tigers' offense.

Auburn, Ala.--Joe Cope says that he believes that he and the rest of the offensive line did the things that they needed to do against the Kentucky Wildcats in a 49-27 victory on Saturday.

"I think we played good," he says. "We had a bunch of rushing yardage and that is always good as an offensive line, I think. We didn't give up any sacks and (quarterback Brandon) Cox said he only got hit one time so that means we must have done a pretty good job."

Cope has played well at center for the Tigers in 2005.

Cope also notes that he feels like the continuing improvement on offense is having an effect on the entire team. "It feels great," he says about the way the offense is clicking. "We are bonding so good as an offense, not only as an offensive line, but as an offense in general, and I think that is starting to carry over to the whole team bonding."

The center says that he played around 60 or 70 plays in the Kentucky game and is in good shape physically heading into the week despite a small injury on one play. "I'm feeling good," he notes. "I just got stepped on. I have a little bruise on my foot, but other than that I am 100 percent, doing good."

With the 22-point victory over the Wildcats behind them, Cope says that he and the rest of the team are ready to get the stretch run of the season started against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday.

"It is a big game," he explains. "These two games are the games we circle on our schedule and this is one of them. We have got a bunch of guys from Georgia on the team and I know it means a lot to them. We are going to try and go out and everybody is going to practice as hard as they can for them and we are just going to go out and try to get the W.

"For this Georgia game we are going to have to have a complete game on offense, defense and special teams," he adds. "Everybody is going to have to bring their A-game. We had a good day of practice on Sunday and we are going to come out on Tuesday and keep polishing, kind of get after it and do a little bit of hitting and just get ready for this weekend."

He adds that from looking at the Dawgs' defensive front on tape he knows that he and the rest of the offense are in for a big challenge this week. "We looked at them a little bit and they are good," he notes. "They have got one of the best defenses in the nation. Their D-line has good pad level. They come off low and hard every play. They don't ever stop. They have a bunch of hustle players and a lot of great athletes over there."

However, he also notes that with a bigger challenge comes a higher level of enthusiasm. "It is exciting," he says. "These are the games that you dream about kind of like the LSU game, big atmosphere, prime time TV and you know everybody is going to be watching. This is a big game right here coming up. I'm excited and I just want to get out there and get after it."

Cope says that already having the chance to play in a huge road game at LSU earlier in the season has been a big thing for his development and will also give him some good lessons to take into this weekend's game at Georgia.

"A huge game like that, on the road, it was my first big away game," he says. "That is a game that you look to. It was real loud and you can build off of that type of stuff. Maybe you can't hear the snap count sometimes, but we have just got to go out there and play ball. I think that game helped me a lot as far as feeling confident out there on the field and stuff."

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