Cox's Backups Getting Extra Attention

Comments from a trio of Auburn quarterbacks are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--As Brandon Cox prepares for his final starting assignment of his first year as the number one quarterback for the Auburn Tigers, he says that he is much better prepared to lead his team than he was on opening night.

"I am so much more confident," the sophomore says. "I am a lot more relaxed. I know what I am doing."

In the opener vs. Georgia Tech on Sept. 3rd, Cox had five turnovers as the Tigers were upset by the Yellow Jackets. Since that game the lefty has significantly reduced the turnovers and the Tigers have won nine of their 10 games since losing to Tech.

"The big thing is having the experience," says Cox. "I didn't have it in the first game, but I have got it now."

As the Tigers prepare for their Jan. 2nd bowl date vs. the Wisconsin Badgers, one of the priorities for the coaching staff is to get Cox's backups some game-like experience. On Tuesday, the Tigers will have a scrimmage that will be a chance for third-stringer Calvin Booker to show what he can do and try to make a push for the backup job held by Blake Field.

Calvin Booker looks for a receiver in practice.

"Right now during bowl practices the coaches have a lot of time to look at younger guys," Cox says. "Quarterback is a big position. As a backup you need to take advantage of the time you do get because they will be giving them a lot of chances on Tuesday. Both guys, Blake and Calvin, have done a great job this year of progressing and I think they have taken a step forward."

Booker says he is looking forward to the opportunity. "A key thing for me is to show the coaches that I can be more consistent," he says.

Field says in addition to the two practices remaining on campus that he is "really looking forward to practices" in Orlando. "Last year in the practices at the bowl, Brandon got in more a few more reps than Jason (2004 starter Jason Campbell) did. It may be different this year, but I am hoping it isn't."

In addition to the work with the younger QBs, the offense is moving into high gear with game preparations for the Capital One Bowl after getting in four practices to get the kinks out following a 25-day layoff since playing or practicing.

Cox says the Tigers have been surprisingly sharp on offense in practice, particularly after the first day back.

"We started game-planning on Monday, putting in the game plays against our defense," Cox notes. "These next two practices are going to be game-like practices."

Following Wednesday's workout, the Tigers will break for Christmas and reassemble on the 26th in Orlando, Fla., and begin practices the next day. In Capital One Bowl, they will face a 9-3 Wisconsin team that will be playing its final game for Coach Barry Alvarez. The Tigers head into the contest with a 9-2 record.

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