Auburn's Quarterback Discusses UGA Test

Brandon Cox will lead the Auburn offense as the Tigers travel to Athens to play the Georgia Bulldogs.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox faces a tough assignment Saturday against a Georgia defense ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense (13.8 points per game) and eighth in total defense (288.9 yards).

With talented players at every position on the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs under first-year defensive coordinator Willie Martinez run a 4-3 package that relies on playing fundamental football and being the more physical unit.

"We've watched film and they don't bring as much pressure and they don't blitz as much," Cox says. "They have a lot of speed so we're going to have to establish our running game and open up our passing game. They don't bring as much pressure from what I've seen."

Although Georgia blitzes only about 10 times per game, they still get to the quarterback with defensive ends Quentin Moses, Charles Johnson and Will Thompson combining for 15 sacks. Moses is second in the SEC with eight sacks.

"When they don't pressure as much you kind of get lulled to sleep," Cox says. "Then they'll bring some pressure and you won't be expecting it. You have to be ready and be able to read the defense. They do a good job of disguising their defenses so we'll try to be ready for it."

Cox looks for a receiver in Auburn's 49-27 victory at Kentucky last Saturday.

The passing lanes for Cox will be narrow facing a Georgia secondary filled with experienced players in senior cornerbacks DeMario Minter and Tim Jennings, senior free safety Greg Blue and junior strong safety Tra Battle. Blue leads the team with 62 tackles and is a semi-finalist for the Thorpe Award given annually to the nation's top defensive back.

"I'm going there to do my part," Cox says. "I just want to go in there and show I can play and if I do bad and we still win the game it doesn't matter for me. As long as we win."

The Auburn offense will get a boost this week with tailback Brad Lester returning to the lineup after injuring a groin muscle against Arkansas midway through the season. Cox says he hopes that Lester's return will take pressure off himself and Kenny Irons, who has carried the ball 115 times in the last four games.

"Kenny is a little banged up," Cox says. "His knee has been hurting him, but he has been like that all year and he has dealt with it and toughed it out. Kenny is a tough guy, but it will be nice to give him a break and give Brad the ball a little bit.

"He's going to give us a little extra experience back there with Carl (Carl Stewart) out," he adds. "Brad will be able to run some things that we did with Carl and when Brad was here. He will give us a little more depth."

Auburn enters the game with a 7-2 overall record, 5-1 in the SEC and is ranked 15th and 17th in the polls. Georgia is 7-1 overall, 5-1 in the SEC and ninth in the polls. With SEC title implications on the line for both schools, Cox says he is not worried about the hype surrounding the game.

"It is going to be an atmosphere just like the LSU game," he says. "It's a night game and we have proved that we can play in that type of atmosphere down in LSU. I don't think the atmosphere is going to bother us. It's just about going up there and playing our game.?

Kickoff is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. CST and the game is being televised on ESPN.

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