Preview of the Bulls

A preview of the Buffalo Bulls with comments from coordinators Al Borges and Will Muschamp.

Enrollment: 27,200
Conference: Mid-American
University of Buffalo Stadium Capacity: 29,013
2006 Results:
Win 9-3 over Temple in overtime
Loss 48-40 at Bowling Green in triple overtime
Loss 31-13 at Northern Illinois

Head coach Turner Gill, who is in his first year as a head coach, is making his second visit to Jordan-Hare Stadium. His first visit was when he was the quarterback of the 1982 Nebraska team that featured Irving Fryer, Mike Rozier and many other great players. The Cornhuskers won that game 41-7.

Gill spent 13 seasons as an assistant coach at Nebraska before moving on to the Green Bay Packers of the NFL for one year. After last season, he was hired to replace Jim Hofher, who was just 8-49 in five years at Buffalo, including a 1-10 record last season.

Through the first 15 quarters of last season the Bulls managed just three points. After scoring an average of 10 points last season, the Bulls are scoring 20.7 points in the 2006 season, led by quarterback Drew Willy.

"They scored 40 points against Bowling Green, which is a quality opponent in the MAC," says Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. "They're a team that's going to have a chip on their shoulder coming in here.

"The quarterback started as a true freshman last year and he is throwing the ball down the field especially," he adds.

Willy has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 576 yards this season without an interception.

Another part of the offense that Muschamp's defense must key on is redshirt freshman tailback James Starks, who was a good quarterback and basketball player in high school. Starks is the leading rusher with 31 carries for 161 yards.

"First of all they're pretty multiple and in their pro-formation shifts they can get you outflanked at times," Muschamp notes of some of the formations that Gill learned in the NFL last season. "They have an outstanding running back in #19 (Starks). He's a good football player, a freshman that has come in and is playing well for them right now."

Buffalo is averaging 124 yards on the ground and 192 yards through the air.

Muschamp says he'll be just as intense against Buffalo as he was against LSU.

The Bulls defense is fairly simple--a 4-3 alignment with basic gap control schemes. Perhaps the biggest Buffalo weakness is Auburn's strength in these types of games as the Bulls are allowing 260 yards per game on the ground.

"Their outside pressure package is good," says Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges. "They're basically very sound. They don't have any holes out there. They're going to make you block them. That pretty much capsulates it."

The leading tackler is linebacker Ramon Guzman, who has 37 tackles, five of which are for a loss.

Buffalo has been outscored 28-7 in the first quarter of games this season, so the Auburn game plan will likely be to open up a lead early and shift into cruise and allow the backups to gain valuable game experience.

* The University of Buffalo started football in 1894 and fielded a team until 1970, with the exception of 1943-1945 because of World War II. The program was dropped from 1971-1976 but then resumed in 1977.

* The Bulls moved up to Division I-A in 1999 joining the MAC. Since then they have won just seven conference games. Their overall record since the move is 11-71.

* Five members of the Buffalo coaching staff had previous experience with Gill at Nebraska.

* Offensive coordinator Gerald Carr was the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at Indiana in 2001, the year before Borges coached in Bloomington.

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