Experience Paying Dividends For Cox

Quarterback Brandon Cox talks about the difference in training camp and his game as compared to last year.

Auburn, Ala.--For quarterback Brandon Cox the preseason in 2006 has been quite different than last season when he was entering his first year as Auburn's starter. Learning on the run how to be the leader of the offense and all the while becoming a better quarterback, the junior says that he's just now becoming the player he hoped to be last season.

"It's completely different," Cox says. "I'm so much more comfortable out there. It's comes a lot easier now. I know what to expect going into the season. It's a lot more fun."

Friday the Tigers took part in their second scrimmage of the preseason and Cox says the offense came away with mixed results. While there were two touchdown passes by Cox and several solid drives, he says they still have work to do before the opener and it's mainly on being more consistent.

"We were real close on a lot of things," Cox says. "We're still not where we need to be, but we had a lot of good things that went on. We're still close. We had a lot of big plays that could have happened but didn't. There were a lot of good things that happened.

"We have all of our offense in now," he adds. "We went out there and it was game-like situations. Coach (Al Borges) was calling plays like he would during the game and we were moving it down the field. We were throwing it on first and second down instead of running it. It gave us more of a game-like situation."

Cox has completed 57.8 percent of his passes while at Auburn.

After a tough first scrimmage when the offense worked on becoming more physical and rarely threw the ball before third down, things were different on Friday as the entire package was used to give the coaches on both sides of the ball a better feel for who would be ready when the season opens.

"It's really the first time watching everybody together in a scrimmage," Cox says. "You could see who was making plays and who wasn't. Like Coach said a lot of people moved up. We still need some guys to step up and I think they're going to come through."

The toughest part for the offense has been up front as nagging injuries to Joe Cope early in the camp and recently to Tim Duckworth and King Dunlap have kept them from playing together as a unit as much as OL coach Hugh Nall wants. Friday they were back together again and Cox says that gave them a chance to see what the future may hold.

"It has been tough," Cox says. "But you saw that when we have the five guys that are going to be starting you saw a big difference. It has been tough having to go back and forth, but when they were together seeing the productivity is good news."

As for Cox the improvement hasn't been dramatic because in his first year he was very solid. Starting 11 of 12 games last year he threw for 2,324 yards and 15 touchdowns with eight interceptions. In two seasons he has passed for 2,681 yards and 19 touchdowns. The touchdown total is good enough for 10th in Auburn history with two seasons remaining. Borges says that the scrimmage wasn't great for the offense, but he likes the progression that Cox has made since last year.

"He was a high 80s (grade) which is a little below than he should be," Borges says of grading Cox. "He had a few throws that he probably should have made but he was consistent. He was smart and he pretty much did the right things. He missed one audible. For the most part he was solid. He's still getting his sea legs a little bit, too, and we had some dropped passes which hurt us a little, too. He was 88 or 89. We'd like for the low 90s, which is what he graded out all last year. He'll get there and he'll be okay.

"He's just so much more confident in what he can do," Borges adds. "He's much more comfortable and consistent. The more you line up under center, the more you get that way."


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